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Babylon Laid Waste--A Journey in the Twilight of the Idols by Brigitte Goldstein

Babylon Laid Waste--A Journey in the Twilight of the Idols

by Brigitte Goldstein

390 pages
A young Jewish woman's perilous travels and encounters among the ashes of immediate post-war Germany.

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Category: Fiction:Historical
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About the Book
Alerted by a letter from Berlin that her grandmother may be alive in a Jewish hospice there, Misia Safran, a former refugee living in New York, is determined to follow the lead and return to her native Germany. However, it is 1946 and the defeated Reich, under Allied control, is off-limits to civilian travel in or out. With the help of a people-smuggling ring, Misia manages to breach the fortress and enter with forged German identity papers under an assumed name. As her journey takes her ever deeper into the devastated enemy territory, she encounters an array of colorful, frequently shady characters ranging from victorious Americans, unrepentant Nazis, ordinary civilians, Jewish survivors, and washed-up Wagnerian opera stars; all of whom have an intriguing personal story to tell and private agenda to pursue.

When Misia runs afoul of the US military authorities, she meets her nemesis in the person of Major Emil Zweig. Since she lacks the crucial “Persilschein”—a denazification certificate—he sends her to a prison for female Nazi criminals. At this nadir of her ill-starred attempt to reach Berlin, a savior appears in the person of an enigmatic Jewish survivor who calls himself Frantiçek Kafka. Impelled by the romantic attraction sprouting between them, Misia embarks with him on a whirlwind search for a pair of Nazis. In the course of a rollercoaster ride of many unforeseen emotional ups and downs, she becomes a major player of a drama in which nothing and no one is what appearances suggest or pretend reality to be.


The writing is unique, visceral, and descriptive. From the start, the reader is offered vivid images and reflections of the dark times against which the narrative takes place. […] .” The story is filled with grit and I enjoyed how the author explores the theme of man’s inhumanity to man. The protagonist is a brave character, determined, and poised to fight the darkness that invades her soul. Her resilience is symbolic of the spirit of the Jewish people faced with Nazi brutality. While the plot is intelligently done, one of the strengths of this novel lies in the wonderful setting and the way it melds with the story. A gripping tale.
- Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
It was a delight to read and experience this unique adventure, with its pathos, its heroics, its unconventional love story, all to the tune of an implied operatic soundtrack. I looked forward to it every time I sat down to read. I was fascinated by the settings—both the overall time and place and the individual settings the characters moved around in—as well as the narrative energy created by the mystery of where it was all going and where our heroine might end up. […]The story had twists and turns, a cast of interesting characters, and good changes of scene, all of which kept it moving forward. Bravo! You should be very proud of this tapestry of plotting and characterization you’ve woven.
- Carrie Cantor
[A]n intriguing narrative set in a fascinating time in history. You immerse the reader in your setting of the years just after World War II in Germany, describing the political realities of the conflicting motivations of the countries’ governments, as well as the horrific conditions that Jewish families endured. You also have excellent instincts as a storyteller. Fabulous characters! You’ve created characters that fit the era, have led fascinating lives, are the product of a time of cultural upheaval, and are admirable in many ways.
- Chanticleer Reviews
"The syntax has a seamless, lyrical flow, driving the emotions of the scenes. The author is quite skilled at this, and it’s one of the book's strengths."
- The BookLife Prize



About the Author
Brigitte Goldstein Brigitte Goldstein is the author of four previous award-winning historical novels with settings ranging from medieval France to modern Germany. She is well versed in European culture and literature and holds a Ph.D. degree in European History from New York University. She is also the translator of several literary works from the German, among them the Lodz Ghetto notebooks of the Viennese writer Oskar Rosenfeld. Before turning to full-time writing, she taught college history and worked in publishing.



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