Roped Together is the true story of how a Jewish mother and daughter survive the Second World War by hiding in a workshop in Vienna for four years. Hackl uses the daughter’s memories to reconstruct her family history over three generations, creating a story of displacement and survival which explores the bonds of friendship and family.
Regina Steinig and her daughter Lucia are assisted by Reinhold Duschka, a beltmaker by trade and a close friend of the family. Hackl meticulously describes the workshop and the daily life of Regina and Lucia – passing the time by helping Reinhold to make handicrafts while living in constant fear of discovery by neighbours, customers or the postman. In November 1944, after Reinhold’s workshop is damaged in an airstrike, he temporarily moves Regina and Lucia into his summerhouse and then to the cellar room of a friend’s shop, narrowly escaping a roadblock. The book concludes with Lucia’s efforts to gain recognition for Reinhold’s selfless act of heroism, realising her desire to share her story as widely as possible.
Roped Together is an unembellished account of life before, during and after the Second World War, based on real memories and actual events. The work not only paints a vivid picture of the hardships forced upon people by war and separation, but also depicts the ravelling and unravelling of relationships as a fact of life in times of peace and freedom.
Erich Hackl has published twelve books, of which six have been translated into English:
(Alfred Knopf, 1989) Translator: Edna McCown
(Fromm, 1992) Translator: Edna McCown
Narratives of Loving Resistance: Two Stories – Love at First Sight / History of a Promise
(Ariadne Press, 2005) Translator: Edward T. Larkin
The Wedding in Auschwitz
(Serpents Tail, 2009) Translator: Martin Chalmers
(Piscataqua Press, 2014) Translators: Edward Larkin and Thomas Ahrens
Three Tearless Histories
(Doppelhouse Press, 2017) Translator: Mike Mitchell