Published by Diogenes as Abschied von Sidonie
English Title: Farewell Sidonia
The gripping story of a young gypsy girl born in the year the Nazis came to power in Germany. Adopted by a loving working-class family, Sidonia grows up as a nurtured and protected child in a small, impoverished Austrian town. The times are turbulent and saturated with fear and violence. Everything foreign is perceived as dangerous, and general insecurity turns into hatred. Sidonia looks different than the other children in town, she cannot hide her heritage. As the Nazis gain influence and power, danger mounts for her and her socialist foster parents. They are exposed to increasing pressure until ultimately their very lives are threatened and Sidonia's fate lies in the hands of the townspeople. As a mercilessly sober chronicler of facts, Hackl presents us with historical events that were long suppresssed. Yet beyond the actual individual case the clear intensity of his language evokes the fate of all those who are persecuted for their ethnic origin, political beliefs, or religious background. In the end, no reader can escape the haunting question who has to bear responsibility for injustice that was committed and that still is committed today.