A Jew Must Die
Translated by W.Donald Wilson
A novel based on a true story . . .
On April 16, 1942, a few days before Hitler’s birthday, a handful of Swiss Nazis in Payerne lure Arthur Bloch, a Jewish cattle merchant, into a stable and kill him with an iron bar. Europe is in flames, but this is Switzerland, and Payerne, a rural market town of butchers and bankers, is more concerned with unemployment and local bankruptcies than the fate of nations across the border. Fernand Ischi, leader of the local Nazi cell, blames everything on the Jews and Bloch’s murder is to be an example, a foretaste of what is to come once the Nazis take over Switzerland.
Jacques Chessex, winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt, was a child in Payerne. He knew the murderers and sat next to Ischi’s children in school. He has written a terse, implacable story that has awakened memories in a country that seems to endlessly rediscover dark areas of its past.