John A. Williams - Clifford's Blues. PDF

PDF A very interesting construction of a diary kept by a fictitious gay black American jazz pianist, Clifford Pepperidge, incarcerated in Dachau leading up to and during the Second World War, but driven by real events. Upon arrival at the concentration camp Clifford is recognised and selected as a house servant by SS Captain Dieter Lange, a former pimp and low life acquaintance of Clifford’s, who is not only interested in the pianist’s musical abilities, but also as potential for his own sexual outlet. The strange and dependant relationship that develops between Cliff and Dieter Lange, and Lange’s wife Anna, becomes ever deeper as they learn each others secrets.
The diary is very revealing about life in a Dachau, and brings home the horrors of the suffering and struggle for survival of the inmates; how circumstances changed as war broke out and progressed, and the desperation of both inmates and captors as the war was clearly coming to, for Germany and possible for the inmates, a disastrous end.
While I am in no position to confirm the authenticity of such a fabrication, the accuracy concerning the fact that in addition to blacks, and Jews, dissidents, criminals, gypsies, gays etc, from very early on Jehovah’s Witnesses were imprisoned in concentration camps (something rarely acknowledged), and their unique position (their potential freedom was in their own hands), leads me to assume that the John A Williams has carefully research all his facts, supported by the usefully included bibliography.
All in all it makes for a captivating, moving and informative read.

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