A Danish reporter for the newspaper Information contends that the German translation of Hallgrímur Helgason’s book ‘The Woman at 1000°’ has been censored, RÚV reports.
Erik Skyum-Nielsen, a critic for Information and a professor of comparative literature at the University of Copenhagen, reviewed both the Danish and German versions and found that there are thirty chapters altered or missing from the latter’s translation of the book, according to an article on Information’s website. The chapters omitted address topics such as Hitler, the SS, concentration camps and World War II. Erik contends that these chapters were removed to appease German readers.
Valgerður Benediktsdóttir, the Icelandic publisher of Hallgrímur’s book, says that the German version was not cut but was actually the first, incomplete publication of the novel. “It has nothing to do with the translation,” says Valgerður.
The book was in released in Germany prior to Iceland when the author was the guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2011. “The problem was that the translator needed to start as soon as possible and I was not quite finished writing the book,” Hallgrímur told Information. “There was deadline pressure for it to be ready for the festival so cuts had to be made.”
The German publisher proposed the chapters to be cut which Hallgrímur either rejected or approved. He added that he was not fond of the process but accepted the need for it to be done and did not regard this as a compromise.
The only instance he cites as possible censorship was a chapter about Hitler that the publisher said would be too much for German readers. “I don’t know German culture well enough to assess what might offend them,” says Hallgrímur.
He hopes that the full version of the book will someday be translated and re-released in Germany.
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