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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 395

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It was a moment of transition. The town was about to be invaded by the vacationers (3).

Badenheim is in a moment of transition during the book, but, as the characters begin to realize, the transition is far greater than ushering in the vacation season. They live in Austria on the eve of World War II and at the beginning of the Holocaust.

The town had grown used to them, as it had grown used to Dr. Pappenheim's eccentricities and to the foreigners who had insinuated themselves like diseased roots. Only the pastry shop owner was adamant. He would not allow them to cross his threshold, and they were thus deprived of the best cream cakes in the world" (5).

The prostitutes in the town are shunted aside, and their treatment prefigures the treatment of Jews and others who would be killed during the Holocaust. Even before the Holocaust, figures such as the Jewish Dr. Pappenheim are not really accepted but are treated like "diseased roots." The pastry shop owner's actions symbolize the way Jews were kept out of shops even before the war.

The next day the public was informed that the jurisdiction of the sanitation department had been extended, and it had been authorized to conduct independent investigations" (13).

The Nazis emphasized the idea of cleansing Germany (and Austria) of Jews and "foreigners," and the sanitation department's increasing role in the novel symbolizes this attempt to ethnically cleanse Austria and Germany.

They may be poor, but they're not afraid...

(The entire section contains 395 words.)

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