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Monday, 29 December 2014

David Baddiel – The Secret Purpose




Reviewed by showhost 29th Dec 2014.
It’s the build up to WW2 and in Germany persecution of the jews has begun, businesses closed down, segregation, beatings and strict rules.  Those who are lucky manage to get visa’s and escape before the real massacres begin.
One such person is Isaac Fabian.  Isaac, a Jewish communist, is married to lulu, a Christian, which did not go down well with their families,and they have a baby daughter. But because of his wife’s family connections they do manage to get that visa and escape to Britain, leaving behind his parents and siblings.
He doesn't realise how uninterested the British government will be to the plight of the Jews-  passing all the stories off as Jewish propaganda and how a little beating here and there was probably deserved for dissent.
On arrival in London Isaac and his family find themselves segregated.  Isaac is interned on the Isle of Man whilst his wife and child (because they are Christian and not Jewish) remain in a rented room in London.
On the Isle of Man they are treated well but do not have access to any news or information.
June Murray works for the British government - Ministry of Information department - and is perturbed by some of the reports coming out of Germany and the memos received from British Ops which basically request the information to be ignored, and not made public to

the British public.  June is appalled by this indifference so sets out to gather first hand reports from the internees.  Isaac Fabian is one of those internees and becomes involved.

The beaurocracy of the English government was a revelation, how they disbelieved the reports about the Nazi atrocities and were a little racist towards Jews themselves and the internment on the IOMan was an unknown fact to me.
I started  to read it because I had agreed to as part of our bookgroup, but I was not rushing to pick it up but when I did I became interested in it again.
I thought it was a well written book which captured the mood of the time very well. It wasn't a harrowing book.  But I found myself skipping a few paragraphs at times later in the book. The novel is a mixture of historical fact & fiction. 

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