Závada’s new novel focuses on a legendary family at a dramatic moment in history. It is spring 1944, Hitler’s army has just invaded Hungary, and the inheritors of the Manfréd Weiss Works are weighing their chances of survival. The family, owners of the biggest steelworks and munitions factories in Hungary (and one of the biggest in Europe) are well-known figures in the economic, political and social life of Budapest. In the first half of the novel we learn much about their opulent lifestyle as well as their heartaches and desires. However, as most of them are of Jewish origin, their story soon turns into an astonishing and controversial saga of survival as Ferenc Chorin, the head of the family of magnates, decides to accept the offer of SS Obersturmbannführer Kurt Becher to trade their wealth for the lives of their family.
Is it right to make a pact with the devil if your life is at stake? Are any of the dilemmas that arise in this predicament – collaboration, high treason, the betrayal of hundreds of thousands of fellow sufferers – at issue here? Without passing judgement on his characters, the real-life as well as fictitious members of the family, Závada shows how they deal with these questions, each in their own particular way.
ISBN 978 963 1438 55 0
2019, hard cover with jacket
420 pages, 4299 HUF
English excerpt available
A wealthy Jewish family serving the German aircraft industry