The Autobiography of a Lesser God Synopsis Selwyn Bergner, the fictional biographer, was born at the outset of the Great Depression. He and his cousins, Naomi and Norman Figler, are the children of third generation immigrants living through WW2 in Philadelphia. Norman, aka Chickie, is drafted on his high school graduation and is assigned to a diversionary regiment known as the Ghost Battalion. D-Day takes him to Europe and through Southern Germany to the surviving remnants of a concentration camp outside of Flossenbuerg, Austria. As the war ends, Chickie is introduced to the Irgun, a shadowy Israeli organization that is smuggling displaced Jews out of Europe and into Israel against the dictates of the UN. This involves him with a dark figure, Seitz Graustein, who has created a ‘Robin Hood’ action that convinces mid-level Nazis to ‘contribute’ stolen jewelry and art work to the Israeli emigration cause. An American,
Nathan Stern-Guilbert, devises a plan to smuggle these valuables to America where they are converted to cash through the business of Sid Bergner, Selwyn’s father, and the money sent back to Irgun in Europe. But someone has been skimming. When Sid Bergner suddenly disappears the inference is that he is the thief. However, Selwyn refuses to believe it, and with the help of cousin Naomi and Selwyn’s friend, David Bierman, he chases down clues to his father’s disappearance. But while Selwyn’s discoveries find the truth, that truth, as Selwyn himself says, leaves him angry and quite literally up in the air above a yard full of subway cars.
by Leo Cohen
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