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All But My Life : Summary Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

A week passes and there is no news about Arthur. Gerda takes refuge in pleasant memories from the past, including the previous summer, when she and Mama had stayed in the resort town of Krynica.

Mr. Pipersberg, Papa’s business associate, comes to visit. In the afternoon, he goes to visit the factory, and Gerda accompanies him. When they get to the factory they see a truck that is being loaded up with pelts. All the property of the factory is being carried off. There is also a sign outside that says DOGS AND JEWS NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER. Gerda goes home.

Later, Mr. Pipersberg comes to Gerda’s room. He has been beaten by Nazi troops after he went inside the factory and it was discovered that he is a Jew. Gerda tends his wounds, and he spends the night in her room, while she sleeps in Arthur’s room. By early morning, he is gone.

Analysis

This chapter is carefully structured, with a flashback to a pleasant summer Gerda and her mother had had at the resort town of Krynica, with the hotel facing the Carpathian mountains on one side and manicured gardens on the other. It is an idyllic scene, suggesting pre-war happiness that the family had known, although even then there are foreshadowings of war, when a young man warns that war is coming. But no one takes him seriously.

Against this background of happy memories, for the first time Gerda encounters Nazi brutality in her own town, as she tends to the wounds Mr. Pipersberg suffered at the hands of Nazi thugs. For Gerda, the war is becoming more real and more brutal as time passes. 




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