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Magdalena Parys (born 1971) is a poet, writer and translator. She is the founder of the Polish-German literary magazine Squaws, and a graduate of Polish philology and pedagogy at Humboldt University in Berlin.


EUPL Year 2015 | Winning Book



The starting point of the story is a press release: ‘In 2010, the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records (the German government agency) cleared almost six kilometres of files (20 million pages). It is estimated that in the time of the Iron Curtain about 4,500 people from the Eastern Bloc tried to escape to the West across the Bulgarian borders. About 100 of them lost their lives.’ This information provides the inspiration for a multilayered story about people trying to unravel the circumstances of mysterious deaths in the 1980s. Although the story is set in 2011, its roots go back to the 1950s. That’s when an operation called Magik began: a brutal operation where GDR Stasi cooperated with Bulgarian border guards to murder refugees from the socialist countries who, in the days of the Iron Curtain, tried to illegally cross the Bulgarian-Turkish or Bulgarian-Greek borders. Although the pretext was to prohibit illegal border crossings, this led to the elimination of opposition activists. In the book, GDR history intertwines with the outbreak of the Solidarity movement, contemporary Berlin, human stories of guilt, punishment and escape from responsibility, as well as a complicated investigation by a disobedient police officer, Kowalski. Though removed from the investigation, he does not give up – and will discover the dark past of some influential politicians in the reunited Germany…



Translated Excerpt 


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