A Novel of Hitler's Germany
By Thérèse Down
The purity of the nation must be protected at any cost and those who could possible weaken the nation's might must be purged from existence. But when the next weakest link could be your own flesh and blood what will you decide?
In 1933, Hedda Schroeder becomes acquainted with two SS officers, one of whom she marries. Walter Gunther is driven to achieve honor in the name of German achievement and supremacy. She didn't know who she was marrying but she is about to find out.
In 1941, Germany's T4 euthanasia programme is a celebrated success - a success that the average citizen knows nothing about. Working behind the scenes on this project are Hedda's father Ernst Schroeder, her husband Walter, and Karl Muller a man she once knew.
But when the T4 programme threatens their own families these men must decide where they will ultimately place their loyalties. Is it with the Fuhrer and the Nazi party? With their own family? Or with God? These decisions could very well decide not only the future of the German people but their very souls.
In the quest for dominance many ceded logic, reason, and sanity to the insanity of Nazi despotism.
It is interesting to read some of the changes that Germany underwent under Hitler. One was that women who were professionals were no longer allowed to work - the highest honor a woman could now hold within Germany was that bearing the next generation of Aryan purity. I also found the references to rewriting the Bible to remove Jewish references interesting.
There are some rather disturbing scenes in regard to the T4 programme in this book. The cruelty of the human race against those it has classified as unworthy was and is shocking. This book though dark is well written and engaging as one watches the various characters as they face evil and either confront or embrace it.
This would be an excellent choice for a high school historical fiction book report title. Those who are fascinated by World War II history will find this an intriguing book with the majority of it taking place in 1941, with a brief stage setting in 1933. This is not a feel good book, though there are moments when one feels triumph at a small victory.
I was provided a copy of this book through the Kregel Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.
About the book:
Two SS officers—both involved in Hitler's Final Solution, both in love with a beautiful woman— but only one can live with his conscience
Berlin, 1933: as Hitler rises to power; the law--designed to protect and serve--becomes twisted to the will of those who dream of a pure Aryan race.
SS Officer Walter Gunther is intensely loyal to the Third Reich. His readiness to kill without question or remorse would seem to make him the ideal candidate to lead the T4 euthanasia programme. SS officer Karl Muller, a trainee doctor and engineer, is also brought into the programme, and assured that his work is consistent with the Hippocratic oath he's due to take.
Their mandate: to kill the "unworthies"--not just the Jews, but crippled children, the mentally ill, homosexuals. Hedda, Walter's wife and old acquaintance of Karl, has no idea of what their work entails. Until, that is, the fate of their families is at stake, and each must confront afresh the choices they have made.
This dark, tense novel is a compelling story of human tragedy, and man's potential to revel in, or fight against, the evil actions of a corrupted nation.