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The Address | NCERT Solution | CBE Questions | Critical Analysis

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

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CBE-Based Questions with Answers

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Historical Background of the Story


  • "The Address" by Marga Minco is a work of fiction, but it is deeply rooted in historical events that took place during World War II and the Holocaust. The story reflects the experiences of Dutch Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.


  • During World War II, the Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany from May 1940 until May 1945. The Nazi regime implemented anti-Semitic policies and targeted Jewish communities for persecution and deportation. As a result, around 75% of the Dutch Jewish population, approximately 107,000 people, were murdered in the Holocaust.


  • Marga Minco herself was a Dutch Jewish writer who lived through this period. Born as Sara Minco in 1920 in the Netherlands, she experienced the devastating effects of the Nazi occupation and lost much of her family during the Holocaust. Her first-hand experiences and the collective trauma of the Dutch Jewish community inspired much of her work, including "The Address."


  • In "The Address," the narrator's recollections and feelings of loss, displacement, and uncertainty mirror the experiences of many survivors and victims of the Holocaust. The story's themes of identity, memory, and the lasting impact of war are deeply connected to the historical context of the Nazi occupation in the Netherlands and the Holocaust's atrocities.


  • As a work of historical fiction, "The Address" serves as a powerful reminder of the human cost of war and the immense suffering endured by those who experienced the Holocaust. It also highlights the importance of remembering and understanding this dark period in history to prevent such atrocities from happening in the future.




Do You Know?

Holocaust & its Effects on Dutch-Jewish Community


  • The Holocaust was the systematic, state-sponsored genocide of six million European Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. It took place from 1941 to 1945 and is considered one of the most horrific and devastating events in human history. The term "Holocaust" is derived from the Greek word "holokauston," which means "sacrifice by fire," and it specifically refers to the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis.


  • The effects of the Holocaust on the Dutch Jewish community were profound and tragic. Prior to the war, the Netherlands had a vibrant Jewish population, with approximately 140,000 Jews living in the country. During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, which began in May 1940, the Jewish community faced increasing persecution and discrimination.


  • The Nazis implemented anti-Semitic policies, forcing Jews to wear yellow stars as identification, segregating them from the general population, and imposing restrictions on their rights and freedoms. Jewish businesses were confiscated, and Jews were subject to forced labor and forced into ghettos.


  • In 1942, the mass deportation of Jews from the Netherlands to concentration and extermination camps began. Families were torn apart, and individuals were sent to camps such as Auschwitz, Sobibor, and Bergen-Belsen. These camps were designed to systematically murder people on an industrial scale, and millions of Jews were killed in gas chambers or through forced labor, starvation, and disease.


  • The Dutch Jewish community suffered immensely during the Holocaust. Approximately 107,000 Jews from the Netherlands were deported to concentration and extermination camps, and the vast majority did not survive. Only a small percentage returned after the war. The Jewish community in the Netherlands was decimated, leaving behind broken families and shattered lives.


  • The Holocaust also had lasting psychological and emotional effects on survivors and their descendants. Many survivors faced difficulties in rebuilding their lives and coping with the trauma they experienced during the war. The loss of family, friends, and community members left a void that could never be fully filled.


  • In the aftermath of the Holocaust, the Dutch Jewish community faced challenges in reestablishing itself. Despite the immense loss, survivors and their descendants worked to rebuild their lives and preserve their cultural and religious identity. Today, the Dutch Jewish community continues to remember and honor those who perished during the Holocaust while striving to ensure that the atrocities of the past are never forgotten and never repeated.




Do You Know?

How is Holocaust related to the story?


  • The Holocaust is directly related to the story "The Address" by Marga Minco. The narrative revolves around the experiences of a Dutch Jewish family during World War II and the Holocaust, and it reflects the devastating impact of the Holocaust on individuals and families.


  • In the story, the protagonist, a young Jewish girl, recounts her family's experiences during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and the subsequent persecution of Jews. The family is forced to go into hiding to evade deportation to concentration camps, a fate that befell thousands of Dutch Jews during the Holocaust.


  • The central element of the story is the absence of the narrator's family members and their former home, which becomes a symbol of the losses suffered during the Holocaust. The narrator's home address is the focal point of her memories and longing, but it also serves as a painful reminder of the past and the loved ones she lost during the war.


  • The theme of memory and its unreliability is closely connected to the Holocaust experience. The trauma of the war causes the protagonist's memories to become fragmented and unclear, echoing the disorienting and traumatic nature of the Holocaust's impact on survivors.


  • Furthermore, the story reflects the lasting effects of the Holocaust on individuals and their identities. The protagonist struggles to come to terms with her past and her family's history, attempting to understand who she is in the wake of such immense loss and displacement.


  • By incorporating the Holocaust into the narrative, Marga Minco sheds light on the tragic history of Dutch Jews during World War II. The story serves as a poignant and moving tribute to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, reminding readers of the atrocities committed during that dark period of history and emphasizing the importance of remembering and understanding the past to prevent such horrors from happening again.




Do You Know?

What is 'Liberation' in the context of the Dutch Jews?


Ans: In the context of Dutch Jews during World War II, the term "liberation" refers to the period when the Netherlands was liberated from Nazi German occupation. The liberation of Dutch Jews was a significant event that marked the end of their persecution and the horrors they endured during the Holocaust.


During the war, the Nazis occupied the Netherlands from 1940 until 1945, implementing anti-Jewish measures, confiscating Jewish properties, and eventually deporting Dutch Jews to concentration and extermination camps. The largest and most infamous camp where Dutch Jews were sent was Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland.


As Allied forces advanced through Western Europe in 1944-1945, the Nazi grip on the Netherlands began to weaken. In September 1944, Allied forces, including British, Canadian, and American troops, launched Operation Market Garden, an attempt to capture key bridges and secure a path to Germany. The operation was not entirely successful, and the liberation of the Netherlands took longer than anticipated.


The liberation of the Netherlands began in late 1944 and continued into 1945, with various cities and regions being freed from Nazi control. In May 1945, the German military surrendered, and the Netherlands was fully liberated. The liberation brought an end to the suffering of Dutch Jews and other oppressed groups under Nazi occupation.


The liberation of the Netherlands and the defeat of Nazi Germany marked the conclusion of World War II in Europe and the end of the Holocaust. It allowed survivors, including Dutch Jews, to begin the process of rebuilding their lives and communities in the aftermath of the war's devastation. The liberation of the Netherlands is commemorated each year on May 5th as Liberation Day, a national holiday to celebrate freedom and remember the sacrifices made during the war.



Do You Know?

Why were the Dutch Jews subjected to Discrimination by the Nazis?


During World War II, the Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany, which led to the persecution of Dutch Jews. The reasons for this horrific treatment can be attributed to Nazi ideology, which was characterized by anti-Semitism and a belief in racial superiority. The Nazis considered Jews as an inferior race and a threat to the purity of the Aryan race, a concept central to their racist beliefs.


When Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, they implemented discriminatory laws against Jews, stripping them of their rights and subjecting them to various forms of persecution. Dutch Jews were forced to wear yellow Star of David badges as a means of identification, which made them targets for discrimination and violence.


As the war progressed and the Nazi's Final Solution, their plan to exterminate all Jews, was implemented, the treatment of Dutch Jews intensified. They were subjected to forced labor, mass deportations to concentration camps, and ultimately, extermination in death camps like Auschwitz, Sobibor, and others.


It's important to remember that this was not specific to Dutch Jews but was a part of the larger Holocaust that targeted Jews across Europe, as well as other groups deemed undesirable by the Nazis, such as Romani people, disabled individuals, and others.


The Holocaust remains one of the darkest and most tragic chapters in human history, serving as a stark reminder of the consequences of unchecked hatred, discrimination, and prejudice.


Theme:

  • The theme of the lesson "The Address" by Marga Minco is the lasting impact of war and the Holocaust on individuals and their identities. The story revolves around the experiences of a young Jewish girl and her family during World War II and the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

  • "The Address" explores the profound and unsettling effects of war and the Holocaust on the protagonist and her family. The war disrupts their lives, forcing them to go into hiding to evade deportation and potential death in concentration camps. The absence of family members and their former home becomes a symbol of the losses and displacement suffered during the war.

  • The narrative also delves into the theme of memory and its unreliability. The passage of time and the trauma of war cause the protagonist's memories to become fragmented and uncertain. The uncertainty about the fates of her loved ones further adds to her sense of loss and identity crisis.

  • Throughout the story, the protagonist grapples with her identity and struggles to understand who she is in the aftermath of the war's traumatic events. The process of rebuilding a shattered identity after experiencing such immense loss and displacement is a central struggle in the narrative.

  • Overall, "The Address" serves as a poignant lesson on the lasting impact of war on individuals, the unreliability of memory, and the human search for identity in the face of devastating events. The story highlights the importance of remembering and understanding the past to preserve the memory of those who suffered during the Holocaust and to prevent such atrocities from happening in the future.



Story-At- A-Glance

  • This is a heart-touching story by a young girl who was the lone survivor in the family after the holocaust of World War II

  • A young Jewish girl comes back to Holland in search of her mother's belongings only to realize that her search does not hold any meaning or relevance any more.

  • Th narrator, a young girl, knocked on the door of a house and introduced herself to the woman who opened it.

  • The woman did not show any sign of recognition, but started at her in silence.

  • The narrator felt she had rung the wrong bell, but recalled having seen this woman briefly long back.

  • Her doubt was put to rest by the green knitted cardigan that the woman was wearing actually belonged to her mother.

  • When the young girl asked the lady about her mother, she said that she had thought none of the people who had left had come back. The girl replied that she was the only one.

  • The woman expressed her inability to help her out although the girl insisted that she had come by train only to talk to her.

  • On her way back to the station, she looked at the address again which her mother had once informed her about.

  • It was the girl's mother who informed her about Mrs. Dorling, who used to visit their place regularly and had taken something with her on every visit , with the assurance that she would save all the nice things in case they had to leave.

  • She walked back to the station through familiar streets and places that she had seen for the first time after the war.

  • The streets and houses brought back precious memories of a bygone time which she wished to forget.

  • She remembered meeting Mrs. Dorling for the first time. She was walking out of their door carrying a heavy case. It was at the moment when her mother had briefly introduced them both and asked her to remember the address.

  • The narrator was scared of coming face to face with a painful past that reminded of times which no longer existed and of people long gone by.

  • She wanted to see her mother's belongings, touch them and recollect the memories attached to them. So she paid a second visit to Mrs. Dorling.

  • Mrs. Dorling was not home and her fifteen year old daughter opened the door. The narrator found herself in the midst of things that once belonged to her mother.

  • She was distressed and aggrieved at the coarse and disorderly manner in which they were arranged.

  • The girl brought tea and took out spoons from a box. The narrator knew they were all silver ware, her mother had told her once. She rubbed her fingers over the woolen table cloth and remembered the burn mark on it. Memories came flooding back to the lone survivor of a Jewish family.

  • It was time for her to leave as she had a train to catch. She did not wish to wait for Mrs. Dorling. At the corner of the road, she read the name-plate 'Marconi Road'. She had been to Number 46.

  • The material possessions seemed valueless when severed from their familiar surroundings and true owner.

  • She realized she did not need them anymore. She decided to leave the past behind and forget the address.



NCERT Solution


1. ‘Have you come back?’ said the woman. ‘I thought that no one had come back.’ Does this statement give some clue about the story? If yes, what is it?


Ans: Yes, this statement gives us indication that some event of mass migration took place sometime back. And the speaker was pretty confident that no one would survive the outcome of the crisis.


Mrs. Doris was a non-Jewish acquaintance of the narrator's mother. They had known each other before the war. The narrator's entire family being non-Jews might have been executed with the exception of the narrator, who survived the war and came to catch a glimpse of her mother's belongings, which were in possession of Mrs. Dorling.




2. The story is divided into pre-War and post-War times. What hardships do you think the girl underwent during these times?


Ans: The pre-war time consisted of the time when the narrator came home and found several things missing in her house. Those were times of uncertainty and fear. Mrs. Dorling used to visit her house and took away belongings of her mother. They were always prepared to flee or face arrest by the Nazis.


The post-war time was traumatic for the narrator. She was the lone survivor of her family. She could not gather enough courage to face even the material possessions which remained with Mrs. Dorling. Finally when she got a chance to see every material possession, she resolved to forget the painful memories of the past. As her mother was no more alive, therefore, she resolved to forget the belongings that were owned by her mother.




3. Why did the narrator of the story want to forget the address?


The narrator wanted to forget the address as the address reminds her of her past. After visiting Mrs. Dorling's house for the second time in the absence of Mrs. Dorling , she could discover her mother's belongings which Mrs. Dorling took in her possession. The narrator immediately felt disappointed as the person who actually owned these things were no longer alive. It was then that she realised how valueless the 'nice things' were without her family. She thought it useless to recall the past by examining these things. Therefore, she walked out of the house resolving never to come back again. Thus she wanted to forget the address so that the address does not cause any further pain and agony in her mind.




4. ‘The Address’ is a story of human predicament that follows war. Comment.


Ans This story is divided into two parts. The pre-war details are informed to us through the narrative of the victim girl. During the pre-war period Mrs. Dorling came to the narrator's house and took away their nice things. During those days, the narrator and her family were always in the grip of constant fear to flee or encounter arrest by the Nazis. We get the glimpse of her pre-war times through her memory.


The post-war period is awful and pathetic as the narrator was the lone survivor of the war. She was a young Jewish girl in Holland who became victim of World War II. In order to get some comfort from seeing her mother's belongings which were under the custody of Mrs. Dorling, She decided to pay a visit to Mrs. Dorling's house. In the midst of these material objects, she understood how insignificant things become when severed from the people they are associated with. Therefore, she decided to leave the house of Mrs. Dorling and forget the address altogether. Thus the story very poignantly describes a trail of suffering, pain and agony that war leaves behind. The narrator in this story has to live with the trauma of losing her parents for the rest of her lives. Thus the war leaves behind only regret, repentance and nostalgic moments.




Extra Short Questions ( 30-40 Words each)


1.Why did the narrator visit Mrs. Dorling's house?


Ans: The narrator went to Mrs. Dorling's house to catch a glimpse of her valuable belongings which her mother had given to her during war time. She wanted to renew her past memories.


Q2. How did Mrs. Dorling receive the narrator in her house?


Ans: Mrs. Dorling accorded a cold welcome to the narrator. She refused to recognize the narrator and on being introduced by the narrator, she expressed her surprise by saying that she had expected none of them to survive the war. Mr. Dorling also refused to talk to her as she thought the narrator might claim her mother's belongings that are under Mrs. Dorling's possession.





Q3. Why did the narrator not wait for the return of Mrs. Dorling ?


Ans: The narrator had come to see, touch and recall her memories by catching a glimpse of her mother's belongings in Mrs. Dorling's house. Soon she realized that these objects were attached to the memory of her mother, who had become a past for her. Therefore, she did not want to remember any connection of the past and came out of the house without waiting for the return of Mrs. Dorling.




Glossary:

Nazis:

Nazis were members of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, commonly known as the Nazi Party, which was led by Adolf Hitler. The Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933 and established a totalitarian regime, ruling until the end of World War II in 1945.


The Nazis promoted an extreme form of fascism, characterized by ultranationalism, racism, and anti-Semitism. They believed in the superiority of the "Aryan race" and sought to create a racially pure German society. As part of their ideology, they targeted and persecuted Jews, leading to the genocide of six million Jews during the Holocaust.


Under the Nazi regime, Germany embarked on a campaign of military expansion, leading to World War II. They invaded and occupied numerous countries in Europe, resulting in widespread destruction and loss of life.


The defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 brought an end to their reign of terror, and the Nuremberg Trials held accountable the surviving leaders for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. The Nazi era remains a dark chapter in history, serving as a powerful reminder of the consequences of unchecked hatred, prejudice, and totalitarianism.

Bigotry

Bigotry refers to an unreasonable, intolerant, and prejudiced attitude or belief towards individuals or groups based on their race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. It involves holding strong, negative, and often unfounded opinions about certain groups, often leading to discrimination or hostility towards them.


Anti Semitism

Anti-Semitism is prejudice, discrimination, or hostility directed towards Jewish individuals or the Jewish people as a whole. It involves negative attitudes, stereotypes, and actions based on their Jewish identity. It has a long history and can manifest in various forms, including hate speech, violence, and discrimination, and is considered a form of bigotry and human rights violation.

Aryan race

The term "Aryans" historically referred to an ancient group of people who spoke Indo-European languages and migrated to various regions, including parts of Europe and Asia. This linguistic designation was originally used by scholars to classify certain language families.


However, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the term was misappropriated by some ideologues to construct racist and nationalist ideologies. In this distorted context, the concept of the "Aryan race" was propagated as a superior and pure racial group, leading to discriminatory and hateful beliefs.


Notably, the idea of the "Aryan race" was infamously exploited by the Nazi regime in Germany during World War II to promote their racist ideology, leading to the genocide of millions, particularly Jews, during the Holocaust.


It is crucial to understand that the original linguistic concept of "Aryans" does not denote a superior race, and any association of the term with racial superiority is entirely discredited and false. Modern scientific research emphasizes that all humans belong to the same species, with no inherent biological basis for categorizing people into superior or inferior racial groups.




Indo-European languages

Indo-European languages are a large and diverse language family that includes a vast number of languages spoken by various peoples across different regions of the world. These languages are historically and linguistically linked through a common ancestor known as Proto-Indo-European (PIE).


The Indo-European language family is one of the world's largest and most widely spoken language groups. It encompasses several major branches, each consisting of numerous languages. Some of the main branches of Indo-European languages include:


1. Romance Languages: These are the modern descendants of Latin and include languages such as Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian.


2. Germanic Languages: This branch includes English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian, among others.


3. Slavic Languages: This branch includes Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Czech, Bulgarian, Serbian, and many others.


4. Indo-Iranian Languages: This branch is further divided into two sub-branches: Indo-Aryan languages (e.g., Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi) and Iranian languages (e.g., Farsi/Persian, Kurdish).


5. Celtic Languages: This branch includes languages like Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, and Breton.


6. Hellenic (Greek) Language: This branch consists mainly of the Greek language.


7. Balto-Slavic Languages: This branch includes Baltic languages (e.g., Lithuanian, Latvian) and Slavic languages.


8. Albanian Language: This is a branch in its own right, spoken mainly in Albania and neighboring regions.


The Indo-European language family has had a significant impact on the world's linguistic diversity. Many languages spoken across Europe, parts of Asia, and even some regions of the Americas (through colonial influence) belong to the Indo-European family. As a result, this language family plays a crucial role in shaping cultural and historical connections between different peoples and regions.

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