Sunday, June 3, 2012

The German Series #22 - Hans Blickensdörfer's 'Die Baskenmuetze'

The Basque beret is a novel by Hans Blickensdörfer, published in 1973. The book became a bestseller and was translated into 18 languages.
 The author tells of his experiences immediately after the end of World War II. In order to avoid capture by the Russians, he flies and ends up in France, where he has friends from before the war and occupation.
 However, he is betrayed and detained and, because of his excellent knowledge of French taken for a spy. He is taken to the notorious prison Bonne Nouvelle at Rouen. In addition to the hatred from the Germans , violence, hunger and disease, he also experienced solidarity and assistance from the French prisoners. Thus, the author provides insight into the post-war trauma in France, of occupation and collaboration.
 In the end, he manages to escape. He wears a Basque beret to hide his shaved head. After several re-imprisonments and escape attempts, he finally gets home, back in Germany.
 In 1990, the novel was turned into a Franco-German TV co-production with Patrick Bach in the title role, directed by Alain Bonnot.

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