The Forest of Gods
by Balys Sruoga
This one is a funny book about things not so funny. Horrible things, really. The man who wrote it had been imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, and he was one of the few that came out alive to tell about the "life" there. Fear, hunger, pain, torture, death and things worse than death are all to be found in his book. Yet... described in a funny way. Might well be it was irony that helped the author through. It`s all laughter through tears, of course. The author tells us about SSmen and other authorities of the camp, about how the poor darlings had to drop with fatigue doing their job of beating and killing and tormenting the prisoners, and of course stealing what could be stolen, and so on and so forth... and about the ungrateful prisoners dying just to spite the hard-working supervisors... he laughs at himself, cold, sick and starving... Yes, the book is very funny! Only the fun somehow gives the reader the shivers. And one cannot help thinking of how strong the author must have been to be able to find such words for describing such things. It`s really hard to understand, and not everybody can understand it. That`s why - most probably - the book was severely criticized by persons who had never seen a concentration camp. Well, I hope the author didn`t have to listen to the criticists for too long, as he died in 1947, shortly after writing the book, which, by the way, was forbidden and accordingly not published until 1957, ten years after his death.
The book is written in Lithuanian. It has been translated into some languages, but I think it should be both republished and translated into as many languages as possible, and that for two reasons: so that people might see it is possible to laugh instead of whimpering, and so that the "funny" horrible things might not happen again.