Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
The original Hebrew title of the novel, which translates as “Badenheim, resort town,” emphasizes place even more than the book’s English title. By adding a date, the English title clearly sets the story in the context of the Holocaust.
Hotel. Huge Badenheim building adjoined by the spacious, beautiful Luxembourg Gardens. The clientele of the hotel are entirely Jewish, and most of its workers are Jews from Austria and Poland.
The novel starts at the beginning of the resort season, early spring. As the novel progresses, the Sanitation Department erects fences, puts out rolls of barbed wire, and erects cement pillars enclosing the hotel and its gardens and thus enclosing the Jews. Although to the reader, the nature of the changes the Sanitation Department makes clearly relate the setting of the story to the Holocaust, the visitors and workers in the hotel blissfully misinterpret what is happening; they see the changes as a sign of the Sanitation Department’s efficiency. They eat, drink, listen to music, and enjoy themselves.
As the seasons progress, the abundance of the spring season gives way to the scarcity of fall. People begin to pack. Dogs and sentries patrol outside the barriers erected around the hotel. The post office closes. There is less and less food and drink for the visitors and workers. People loot the pharmacy, stealing drugs, and begin to take them in private.
Sanitation Department. Government department that quickly becomes the center of the town’s activity. All Jews, both visitors and workers, must go there to register. Even Christians who have Jewish parents or grandparents must register there. To both visitors and workers at Badenheim, the Sanitation Department itself begins to look like a travel agency decorated with posters about the value of labor and the wonders of Poland. However, it is the government agency that is overseeing the destruction of the town’s Jews. Aside from a few people who do not consider themselves Jews, but whom the Sanitation Department considers Jews, no one confronts the department or even tries to leave, despite the ominous warnings.
Railway station. Badenheim train depot through which virtually all visitors pass. Visitors to Badenheim get there by various means, but most come by train, arrive at the railroad station, and take carriages to the hotel. All of them leave by train. At the end of the novel, policemen and dogs accompany the Jews as they walk through the town and the fields to the railroad station. When they arrive, they are excited about their trip. The sun comes out, and they get a beautiful view of the area around the station. Even when an engine followed by four dirty freight cars enters the station and the people are forced into the freight cars, they do not lose their enthusiasm. One passenger even optimistically suggests that the fact that the coaches are dirty must mean they have not far to go.
*Poland. Apparent final destination of all the Jews at Badenheim. Austrian Jews at Badenheim blame the Polish Jews for all their problems; they consider themselves more cultured than the Polish Jews and thus less Jewish. The Polish Jews reply that they are all Jews. It is apparent from the circumstances of the novel that Nazi death camps in Poland are the final destination of all the Badenheim Jews.