Since the Middle Ages, vagrants and thieves in Central Europe have spoken Rotwelsch, a secret language influenced by Yiddish and written in rudimentary signs. When Martin Puchner inherited a family archive, it led him on a journey into this extraordinary language but also into his family's connections to the Nazi Party, for whom Rotwelsch held a particular significance. A riveting story of the mindset and milieu of Central Europe and of the way language can be used to evade oppression, The Language of Thieves is also a deeply moving reckoning with a family's buried past.
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Date of Publication: 07/01/2021