Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 395
Here are some quotes from Badenheim 1939:
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 of death (14).
The musicians speak about the Poles, and their words prefigure the way in which Germany would take over Poland.
In May a modest announcement appeared on the notice board saying all citizens who were Jews had to register with the Sanitation Department (22).
Increasingly, laws are passed to curtail the freedoms of the Jews in Badenheim in an effort to "cleanse" the town.
It was he who had called Theodore Herzl 'a hack writer with messianic pretensions, and his associates 'petty functionaries who jumped on the golden bandwagon' (62).
Professor Fussholdt, in an attempt to distinguish himself, dismisses Herzl, who is the father of Zionism. The Jews in Europe did not always value Zionism, or the idea of moving to Israel to form a Jewish state, in part because they falsely considered themselves safe in Europe. The Professor represents this attitude.