Set Against The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials Of , Annette Hess S International Bestseller Is A Harrowing Yet Ultimately Uplifting Coming Of Age Story About A Young Female Translator Caught Between Societal And Familial Expectations And Her Unique Ability To Speak Truth To Power As She Fights To Expose The Dark Truths Of Her Nation S PastFor Twenty Four Year Old Eva Bruhn, World War II Is A Foggy Childhood Memory At The War S End, Frankfurt Was A Smoldering Ruin, Severely Damaged By The Allied Bombings But That Was Two Decades Ago Now It Is , And The City S Streets, Once Cratered Are Smooth And Paved Shiny New Stores Replace Scorched Rubble Eager For Her Wealthy Suitor, J Rgen Schoorman, To Propose, Eva Dreams Of Starting A New Life Away From Her Parents And Sister But Eva S Plans Are Turned Upside Down When An American Investigator, David Miller, Hires Her As A Translator For A War Crimes TrialAs She Becomes Deeply Involved In The Frankfurt Trials, Eva Begins To Question Her Family S Silence On The War And Her Future Why Do Her Parents Refuse To Talk About What Happened What Are They Hiding Does She Really Love J Rgen And Will She Be Happy As A Housewife Though It Means Going Against The Wishes Of Her Family And Her Lover, Eva, Propelled By Her Own Conscience , Joins A Team Of Fiery Prosecutors Determined To Bring The Nazis To Justice A Decision That Will Help Change The Present And The Past Of Her Nation Frankfurt in 1963 has been rebuilt and optimism is prevalent throughout German society When a young woman, with only vague memories of the war, takes on a job as translator for the Auschwitz trials she is appalled to learn that the average German in uninterested in dredging up the past Those uninterested include her parents and wealthy boyfriend who are against her involvement in the trials What she learns throughout the process changes her life forever Without the complicity and support of Hitler by ordinary Germans, the horror of the holocaust never would have occurred Although it is slow to start, this is another fascinating take on the aftermath of WWII from the viewpoint of a young German woman who hears firsthand the suffering her countrymen inflicted. Eva is navigating life as young adult while trying to balance newfound independence Accepting a new job translating at a trial, she is torn between her career and her boyfriend, Jurgen, who wants her to be a stay at home wife Eva then learns that her own family does not agree with her involvement as a translator in the trial either Translating for the Polish victims of the Holocaust, Eva is met with stories of horror and bravery But as the trial progresses, she can t help but feel there are secrets her family is hiding This is a book that grows on you as you read Having said that, it took time to get to know the characters They felt out of reach at first, and it was hard to get to know them for almost the entire first half of the book The beginning was slow to start, and it wasn t until around 40 50% of the book that I felt like I was getting into it This was primarily because the plot was slow to develop, and the characters were distant It takes a while to get used to the writing style as there are no chapters and it skips around a lot The story presents a lot of tough questions to the reader It tests the waters of human nature speculating the condemnation of one alone for the killing of millions I would have liked to have heard from other characters perspectives Specifically, Walther Schoomann, Sissi, and David Miller In the end, I felt left with unanswered questions about some of the characters.The courtroom drama and the trial were my favorite part Halfway through, I could not put the book down The last few pages of Part 3 were very powerful and moving I recommend this to lovers of courtroom dramas Many thanks to Edelweiss and HarperVia for this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. 4.5 starsWhen I first saw this historical fiction book was about the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials of 1963 I knew I had to read it Even though I have read many historical fiction and nonfiction books about World War 2, I don t often read books that explore the postwar years The aftermath of the war is something I m thankful the author deemed worthy of writing about as this was a fascinating read for me It s 1963 and Eva Bruhns is twenty four years old and living with her family in Frankfurt Given her young age during World War 2, she really doesn t have many memories of that time period She is working as a translator and is hoping her wealthy boyfriend, J rgen Schoormann, will soon propose marriage A man named David Miller wants to hire Eva as a translator for an upcoming war crimes trial, and that doesn t sit too well with J rgen Eva is horrified at what she learns at the trial and it weighs heavily on her mind.Eva is the main character and heart of the story but you do get the opportunity to get into the minds of the other characters as well Near the beginning of the book, it was slightly jarring when you would be following one character and then without any warning it just bounced to a different character This was something I adapted to fairly quickly, however I could see how the disjointed transitions might drive other readers nuts.I felt like there were two parts to the story You have the trial which goes into detail about the atrocities of the war, and specifically what took place at the Auschwitz concentration camp But the other compelling part of the story was Eva I don t want to get into specifics about the plot and get into spoiler territory but I thought the author did a good job showing the attitudes and mindsets of the people in Germany during that time period I lived in Germany for a few years not that long ago and actually lived not too far from Frankfurt And I ll admit that might be part of the reason I was so into this story as in my mind I kept thinking about the differences between that time period and now One of the interesting things I learned while living there was it is mandatory for Germany students to learn about the Holocaust in school and many are required to tour a concentration camp or visit a museum so they can learn about the horrible things that occurred so it may never happen again.The only small criticism I have of the book is in my opinion Annegret s storyline wasn t entirely necessary I would though be willing to change my mind if I ever found out the author s reasons for including it Some context would probably help Highly recommend reading especially if you are a frequent reader of World War 2 historical fiction Thank you to the publisher and BookishFirst for sending me an advance reader s copy I was under no obligation to post a review here and all views expressed are my honest opinion. Vergangenheitsbew ltigung is a German term describing the struggle to overcome the negatives of the past or working through the past The word has become key in the study of post 1945 German literature, society, and culture In true German form, vergangenheitsbew ltigung has 25 letters But perhaps its extreme length shows the importance of the processes needed for a society to move forward from it s criminal, violent past Vergangenheitsbew ltigung is based upon philosopher George Santayana s observation that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it Source Wikipedia Annette Hess s novel The German House focuses on the concept of vergangenheitsbew ltigung as seen through the eyes of those involved with the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials of 1963 The main character, Eva Bruhns, is hired by the Frankfurt prosecution team to translate what the Polish witnesses are saying Eva s family and her wealthy boyfriend, J rgen Schoormann, do not want her to participate in the trials However, Eva feels her role as a translator is important in that she is able to provide a voice for the witnesses Eva s parents are the owners of a Frankfurt restaurant called The German House The family has always been very close However, as the trial goes on, Eva realizes that her parents are possibly hiding something from her about their own wartime activities Eva s relationship with J rgen also suffers, but she keeps her resolve to be helpful and independent.On a personal note, I have never visited Poland or Auschwitz, but I have toured Dachau in Germany It was gut wrenching to walk through the showers and to see the furnaces where the bodies were burned I am thankful the German government has preserved this camp so that the atrocities will not be forgotten.The novel has been translated into English by Elisabeth Lauffer and will be published on December 3, 2019, by HarperVia a new division of HarperCollins Publishers which is focused on acquiring international titles for World English publication I would like to thank HarperVia and Bookishfirst for my Advanced Reader copy in exchange for this unbiased review 4 Stars Book Club recommended.Please check out my book reviews and recipes, too at www.kerrinsbookreviews.com The German House is a five star read It is a powerful and impressive novel, well written and meticulously researched The story takes place in Frankfurt, Germany in 1963 at the onset of the first Frankfurt Auschwitz trial which charged 22 defendants under German law for crimes committed as SS officials in the Auschwitz concentration camp Eva is a young and naive woman whose main goal in life is to get her wealthy beau Jurgen to ask her father for her hand in marriage She lives with her tightly knit family in an apt above The German House, a quaint local restaurant that her parents own and operate Eve works as a Polish translator for an agency Her life changes forever when she is tapped to be the translator for the Auschwitz survivors who are to give their heartbreaking testimony against the defendants on trial for their war crimes.Eva s family and fiancee, both voice their displeasure at her acceptance of the job However, she accepts the position Eva has not even heard of Auschwitz, nor the horrific events that occurred there As the trial progresses, Eva struggles to cope with the realization of the magnitude of the crimes against humanity committed by the Nazi regime She cannot believe the general attitude of the populace in economically booming post war Germany which is to suppress the depth of the atrocities which occurred in the concentration camps as well as the reluctance to contend with the reality of the crimes committed After Eva uncovers painful secrets about her own family during the war period, she makes life changing decisions in order to remain true to herself and her own conscience. The German House takes place in 1960s Germany, where many are trying to forget about the war it s tragedies The story centers around Eva, a young woman in her 20s, helping out at her her family s restaurant, The German House, working as a Polish translator Eva is too young to have known what transpired during the war herself, everyone she knows refuses to talk about it As she is living her life of finding herself, as well as finding a husband, she is pulled into translating during the Frankfurt trials Naturally, her family boyfriend vehemently oppose to Eva taking part in the trials.Eva s boyfriend, Jurgen, is one of the worst characters in the book although her sister, Annegret, is by far the most awful person in Eva s world However, it is to be taken into consideration that the time frame this takes place, a woman s role is very different and Eva struggles with becoming an independent woman or a potential traditional wife She is also at odds with her family, who begins acting strangely when she accepts the job to translate during the trial She wonders what secrets they are keeping from her.I love historical fiction, but there are so many historical fiction novels that take place during WWII that I almost avoid them at this point But, The German House is a different take on the horrific aspects of the war, specifically from the German viewpoint It is a story of a country with a generation trying to heal rebuild, while ashamed of the atrocities that occurred the juxtaposition of a modern generation trying to moving forward, while forcing those to acknowledge their actions as well as those who chose subservience.I really enjoyed The German House as both a historical retelling of the Frankfurt trials, as well as Eva s personal story her family Thank you to BookishFirst HarperVia for the advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review BlogInstagramTwitter Wow This was a recommendation from my favorite bookseller and it did not disappoint What I found a bit tricky is that the book is divided into four parts but not into chapters It was very difficult to put down because the story was very gripping and there were no natural breaks The book treats one of the difficult times in German history It takes place in Frankfurt a.M in 1963 and the protagonist a German interpreter for the Polish language gets sucked into a lawsuit against a bunch 20 of men who worked in Auschwitz, meanwhile she also discovers that her family has a secret It was very interesting, gripping and of course heartbreaking to read about the way most of characters struggle to get to terms with the past It is also an interesting portrait of that time, of how society was still permeated with antisemitism, Nazis in influential positions, fear of strangers and also of how family life was structured. The German House uses the story of a young translator to examine German responses to the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials, which ran from 1963 to 1965 These occurred almost twenty years after the better known Nuremberg trials held at the end of World War II Life has moved on for many Germans, and there is powerful public pressure to leave the past buried The novel was originally published in German in Germany this is the first U.S edition.The story of Eva, the translator, is contrived in terms of the number of coincidences needed to bring together different threads and characters in the plot These coincidences, however, allow exploration of the trials from multiple perspectives both among those living in Germany during WWII and among those living there in the present day.Somehow, Eva has grown up in Germany with little or no knowledge of the WWII death camps While this hardly seems credible, it does allow the reader to share her gradual awakening to the extent of the horrors The first half of the novel, when Eva is learning about the camps, moves slowly to document her gradual realization The second half of the novel, when Eva has learned about the camps and become committed to bringing the perpetrators to justice, moves much swiftly The speed of plotting is directly connected to Eva s ability to trust and act on her own knowledge and adds to the the emotional experience of reading the book.The German House is well worth reading for its exploration of a lesser known moment in German history and for the myriad conundrums it poses about humans ability to perceive even their worst behavior in a non critical light.I received a free electronic ARC of this title for review purposes The opinions are my own. FULL REVIEW WILL BE ON DECEMBER 3.It is 1963 in Germany where the Frankfurt trials are ready to get underway.We meet Eva who works there as a translator for the Polish witnesses who were testifying against the Germans Ms Hess has a writing style that will pull you in and have you completely absorbed in the book Her research is impeccable.THE GERMAN HOUSE is a book that historical fiction fans will devour.You do not want to miss reading this bookit is an impressive, powerful, thought provoking read.This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book takes an interesting angle on the Holocaust and, especially, the complicity of ordinary Germans but I found it a disappointing read Focalised via a young translator called Eva in the 1960s, it seeks to engage with the question of past guilt but I found the whole thing unsophisticated Eva feels like a character in a YA book she knows practically nothing about the war, she s not even a very good translator, and she s shocked and horrified when she learns about Auschwitz This might work if the reader is, somehow, similarly innocent but for me, as an informed adult, it s just irritating watching Eva uncover her own national history with the requisite hand wringing I also found the writing, possibly translation, clunky so that the prose can lack flow And there s a whole soap opera around Eva s family and wealthy boyfriend that feels like padding A complex idea but treated rather simplistically, I m afraid Maybe better for YA readers.Thanks to 4th Estate for an ARC via NetGalley.
- 336 pages
- Deutsches Haus
- Annette Hess
- 26 November 2018 Annette Hess