was published but two days before Hitler came to power, and was then immediately suppressed. He went into hiding in Germany and wrote a novel of the first period of the Hitler terror, Shot Whilst Escaping, which was smuggled out of Germany and published in London and Paris in 1934. A year later Schoenstedt came to the United States. In Praise of Life, written and first published in the United States, is an autobiographical novel.
from In Praise of Life by WALTER SCHOENSTEDT, translated by Maxim Newmark
ONE DAY I saw the dairywoman's youngest son. He was on leave, after having been in a hospital near Berlin for several weeks. He found the store locked, and all the neighbors only shrugged their shoulders when he asked them where his mother was. They were afraid to tell him the truth.
His face was like leather, very dry and brown, and there was an odd look of bewilderment in his eyes. The experiences of the last two years showed in his face, but in his eyes were only the impressions of the last few hours and the question: what has happened to Mother? He had always been restless and active, always up to something or other, and now he was standing in front of us silent and still. Perhaps he was thinking that his mother was dead, perhaps that she had only gone away to stay with some relative. Perhaps one of the neighbors had written him something of the sort.
Mother stared at him anxiously as if afraid to break the silence, but finally she spoke to him. She hastily pushed a chair toward him, telling him to sit down; he looked so pale.
'Hellmuth, your mother is in jail.'
The young soldier stood up. He looked over at me to see whether I was smiling; then he would know it was a joke. Then he limped over to the window, stretched out his arm and clutched at the sash. He stood there for a moment, his head raised. I thought, if he raises his head only a bit more he'll be able to see a narrow streak of sky.