Readings — From the October 2014 issue

Body Count

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By Alexander Kluge, from Air Raid, an account of the destruction of Halberstadt, Germany, by American bomber squadrons on April 8, 1945, out this month from Seagull Books. Kluge is a German author and film director whose works include Case Histories and Learning Process with a Deadly Outcome. Translated from the German by Martin Chalmers.

After the air raid of 11 February 1943, the charred remains of a man were found in a house in Blaubach. One resident of the house maintained that they were the remains of her husband. A second woman from the same house declared that her husband had likewise been sitting in this destroyed cellar, probably one was sitting next to the other. These were also the remains of her husband’s body. She too would want to be able to visit a grave. At that the women who had first returned to the ruined building suggested dividing the remains of the charred man.

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