Books: The Wise Victims

HEROD'S CHILDREN by Ilse Aichinger. 238 pages. Athenaeum. $4.50.

The human mind has been haunted for 2,000 years by the Massacre of the Innocents, in which men killed children for reasons of state beyond the comprehension of their age group. Adolf Hitler is today's Herod, according to Viennese novelist Use Aichinger, and she has undertaken the tremendous responsibility of explaining what children thought about it all. In a thoroughly unbearable novel called Herod's Children, she invokes both recent history and Biblical Judea to belabor the reader's conscience with things that most people prefer to forget.

A group of children move between dreams, Passion...

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