Bruno Slept Here

Rubess, Banuta
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University of Guelph

Bruno Slept Here is a hybrid memoir/novel in which the author seeks to enter the silences of her father’s past using research-driven journeys and fictional techniques. In 1942, her father was involved with a clandestine yoga club in Nazi-occupied Riga before, at the age of 17, being conscripted into the Latvian regiment of the Waffen SS in 1944. He survived the vagaries of war thanks to a Vedic mantra, he claimed. The text combines research into collective post-war amnesia; examination of belief in the transcendental as mediated by a transcultural correspondence between Riga-based yogis and swamis in India and Los Angeles; fictionalized episodes in Bruno’s life; and the author’s personal confrontations with crisis. Beginning with road trips as a child in 1970s Germany, she returns to Europe as an adult to map her father’s escapes and imprisonments from Poland to Belgium and muses on themes of trauma and resilience

yoga, World War Two, Latvian Legion, Zedelgem, POW camps, astral projection, Yogananda, Dīkmanis, Rīga 1940-1944