Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Leduc (leh-DEWK), a psychiatrist and former French artillery officer. He protests that Germans have no authority to make arrests in Unoccupied France when he and several others are separately taken into detention on suspicion of being Jews. He tries to organize an escape but is frustrated by the others’ apathy and by the German major’s show of force. Trained to doubt human rationality, he is persuaded that everyone looks for scapegoats to explain their flaws and pay for their weaknesses. Even Jews, he says, have their “Jews,” mistrusting anyone different from themselves. Leduc counsels each person to be honest with himself or herself, one’s true identity being more important than a life of safety based on deception. He accuses Von Berg of being relieved that someone else, not himself, will die, yet he accepts the prince’s pass to safety when it is offered.
Wilhelm Johann Von Berg
Wilhelm Johann Von Berg (VIHL-hehlm YOH-hahn fon behrk), an Austrian prince. He first questions if the other detainees are Jews, because, as a Catholic, he would be safe. Once he hid three musicians who were suspected, though he could not protect them long from the Nazis. Despite the fact that, as an aristocrat, he has been denouncing the Nazis for their vulgarity, gradually he admits that he knew that his cousin, a baron, was a Nazi. His forgetfulness has been an...
(The entire section is 583 words.)
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