“Butterfly Dream” by David Lara and Bud Gundy— Gay and Jewish in Hitler’s Germany

Lara, David and Bud Gundy. “Butterfly Dream”, Create Space, 2010.

Gay and Jewish in Hitler’s Germany

Amos Lassen

When he was just six years old, Banat Frantz learns that he is Jewish and this came at a time that such a thing was considered a crime against the state and the punishment in Nazi Germany was severe. Frantz had to learn survival skills as he and his family were forced out of their home and immigrated to Holland. They were soon to learn that they had not traveled enough and the Nazis were soon once again biting at their heels. The family was torn apart and they were forced into the Holocaust. It was then that Frantz realized that he was gay and in love with another young Jewish boy. Sent to Auschwitz, his life becomes one of unspeakable horror yet his spirit is strong and he dreams of beauty. From other inmates he is exposed to the beauty of art and he remains in survival mode.

I have often said that one does not enjoy reading a Holocaust story but Holocaust stories must be read so that we can never forget what happened during the darkest period of world history. We begin our journey with Frantz in 1933 and are with him for another 75 years. The main focus of the book is the period of the Holocaust and it is handled in great detail (for a work of fiction). It is interesting that no matter how much I read or see about the Holocaust, I am always shocked anew each time and this book is a shocker. I will never understand the cruelty and lack of humanity.

It is also amazing that this is the author’s first novel and he manages to write beautiful sensitive prose and what it does that makes it different from other Holocaust stories is both religion and sexuality are major issues. Now you may wonder why I have only mentioned one author when there are two listed. I learned that the story belongs to Bud Gundy but it is Dave Lara who actually put it on paper.

I cannot imagine how Frantz was able to deal with what he had to deal with and stay alive. We get an in-depth look at human nature as well as the human condition and this is certainly one of the most powerful books I have ever read. I began reading on the Boston subway and I know I got some strange looks from other passengers but I bet if they were reading the same book and I was merely a rider, they would get the same looks from me.

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