“Few novels strike such a stark note of warning, or capture with such accuracy the perilous years of the rise of a dictatorship.” Financial Times
“A timely reissue of an anti-fascist classic.” Irish Times
An updated version of the James Cleugh translation of The Oppermanns (1933) has been published by Persephone Books (London), with a preface and notes by Sir Richard Evans, Emeritus Regius Professor of History, Cambridge University.
In his preface Professor Evans notes that “the brutality and criminality of the regime were clear enough even in the first months of the Nazi dictatorship, and Feuchtwanger’s novel supplies unforgettable evidence of their extremism and their extent, as well as the complacency of so many people, including a substantial part of the Jewish community, who failed to realise what was happening until it was too late.”
He also points out that the novel is “all too relevant in the twenty-first century, as a warning against complacency in the face of lies and abuse, and a call for vigilance in the defence of democracy against those who would destroy it. It is the first great masterpiece of anti-fascist literature, and deserves to be as widely read today as it was on its original publication.”
— A brief account of the novel’s significance can be found in ‘Lion Feuchtwanger and the Culture of Remembrance‘, in: Against the Eternal Yesterday, Essays Commemorating the Legacy of Lion Feuchtwanger, (Los Angeles: USC Libraries/Figueroa Press, 2009)
— For a full analysis of the novel and its reception, see ‘Die Geschwister Oppermann: A German Jewish Family in Extremis‘, (accompanying image set), in: Daniel Azuélos, Andrea Chartier-Bunzel and Frédéric Teinturier (eds),
Feuchtwanger und die Erinnerungskultur in Frankreich (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2020)