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In this war, nobody has covered himself with glory. And nobody has understood what happened.

But the obsessive curiosity which drove Cunha to his equivocal, unforgettable masterpiece is a contagion. People crave stories, stories they can believe.

Those Heads on the Stakes

For the Republican Army the explanation of Canudos was a monarchist conspiracy aided by the agents of a European power. For the followers of Antonio Conselheiro the explanation of the expeditions sent against Canudos was that Apocalypse was imminent and that these were the forces of the Dog.

Neither of these one-sided accounts still works: the first was baseless propaganda and the date-stamp on the second has long passed. Yet Os Sertoes is founded on a tragic sense of the necessity of illusions, a necessity to which it sometimes romantically gives way with a certain self-consciousness. At other times they deliberately exaggerated their feelings. Vargas Llosa puts them back on the ground.


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Kathie y el Hipopotamo , his drama, apparently concerns a ghost writer hired to help a woman tell lies about the past. Canudos itself can be viewed like this, as a systematic rectification, under the influence of Christianity, of the misery of life in the intolerable Sertao Cunha often looks at it this way.

Correspondingly, there is no account, as there is in the deterministic Cunha, of the amazing unhappy background of the baffling Counsellor himself.

How did World War One end and what happened next?

The bandits and killers who repent and join the Counsellor fight brutally for him, but the good faith of their conversion is not explicitly questioned, except by them in their conscientious soul-searchings. The lives of these people are — at least subjectively — redeemed by the significance and shape conferred on them by their contact with the Counsellor.

Cunha ends his book with the severed head of the Counsellor phrenologically analysed. The archives of the National Library, naturally, contain material that reflects the historical moment of the war's end and the German surrender.

The War of the Worlds: Book 1, Chapter 1, The Eve of the War

One fascinating example is the diary of Samuel Hugo Bergman. From he served as a professor of philosophy at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Like many of his generation, Bergman kept a diary in which he documented personal issues, but also related to political developments and general matters. Bergman wrote his diary entries in German, but used the shorthand method, widely used at the time among speakers of German and other languages. The use of shorthand enabled very quick writing, but it has become a kind of secret language, since today, we barely know how to decipher it.

A selection from the diaries was published in Germany in The original diaries are located, together with other writings and documents, in the Samuel Hugo Bergman Archive in the Archives Department of the National Library. The printed edition of Bergmann's diaries.

World War One

As a philosopher and a person who was aware of goings-on in the world, Bergman of course related to the last moments of World War II in early May Despite this, his daily affairs at the university and in the various organizations of which he was a member received a more substantial place in his diaries than news about the collapse of the Nazi regime. Following are a few diary entries Bergman recorded at the time:. May 2: This morning, the news of Hitler's death, which passed without making an impression for a number of reasons: because one does not believe it, or because we were prepared for it, or because, after all, of what happened and lingers like poison in the soul, the death of the chief person responsible is already not significant.

There is no joy in the air at the time of this victory, just as there was no excitement at the beginning of the war. May 5: Two letters from Uri [one of Bergman's sons], in which he reports on his meeting with German prisoners.

What is the “world” that will end?

They are human beings like everyone. May he give one of them a knife so that he will be able to open a can of sardines?


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Should he give him cigarettes? He wrote about the Jewish soldiers who continued fighting to the end, so that they would not be forced to become prisoners, and he asked what my opinion was about it. Yesterday I wrote to him. Yesterday I heard a story on the radio about the surrender of the Germans in Holland, Denmark, and northwest Germany.

Afterwards, they aired the verse from Psalms "We were like dreamers. May 6: [ May 8 and 9: Two days of peace celebrations. On the way, I heard that Germany had surrendered. In the evening, at the home of [David Werner] Senator, during the meeting at 9. That same evening, I went with Esha to Zion [Square], where all we saw was drunken soldiers. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server.

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