About the Book:
BY ELLIE MIDWOOD
Publication Date: October 11, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 364 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
A strange case scheduled for the Denazification Court lands on the desk of an American psychiatrist currently serving in Germany, Dr. Hoffman.
A former Auschwitz guard, Franz Dahler, is set to appear in court, and he has requested to bring the most unexpected witness to testify in his defense – one of his former inmates and current wife, Helena.
As soon as one of the newly emerging Nazi hunters and former Auschwitz inmate, Andrej Novák, recognizes the officer’s name, he demands a full investigation of Dahler’s crimes, claiming that the former SS man was not only abusing Helena in the camp but is also using her as a ploy to escape prosecution.
Silent, subdued, and seemingly dependent on her husband’s every word, Helena appears to be a classic victim of abuse, and possibly more of an aid to the prosecution instead of the defense.
As she begins giving her testimony, Dr. Hoffman finds himself more and more confused at the picture that gradually emerges before his eyes; a perpetrator is claimed to be the savior and the accuser, the criminal.
The better Dr. Hoffman gets to know each participant, the more he begins to question himself; whether he’s facing a most unimaginable love story, or a new and still-nameless psychological disorder affecting the very manner in which Helena sees the events of the past.
Partially based on a true story, this deeply psychological, haunting novel will take you back in time to the heart of Auschwitz and post-war Germany, and will keep you guessing the true motive of each side.
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON
Franz Dahler and Helena Kleinova did not have a typical romance. Franz is a wounded SS Officer assigned to head up Kanada-the sorting detail for all of the objects taken from the inmates upon arrival to Auschwitz. Helena is a Czechloslovakian Jew being prepared for the gas chamber. Before she is taken to the chamber, Helena is pulled from line in order to sing Happy Birthday to an SS Officer. The Officer, Dahler is enraptured with Helena and arranges for her to be placed in Kanada, saving her life. As Helena and Franz spend time together, a relationship forms. Franz also rescues Helena's sister from the gas chambers and Helena eventually cannot imagine her survival without Franz. Now, in 1947 Franz and Helena are married. Franz is set to appear in Denazification Court for his crimes at Auschwitz. Another Auschwitz inmate, Andrej Novák wants Dahler to be fully investigated for his crimes against Helena. Two America psychiatrists observe the strange couple to figure out if Helena is a victim of abuse or simply a woman in love.
Stories from the Holocaust are more important now than ever since the world seems to be forgetting the result of hatred towards a group of people. Helena and Franz' story seems fictional, but is based on the very real story of Helena Citrónová and Franz Wunsch. The timeline of the story goes back and forth between 1947 as Helena testifies to the court in Franz' defense and Helena and Franz' memories of Auschwitz from 1942-1945. The writing manages to portray an uncertainty of the nature of Franz and Helena's relationship as Andrej, Helena and Franz recall the same events with different emotions and insight. I was amazed to learn about Kanada, the sorting detail. While I knew of the vast piles of items, I was unaware that the inmates of Auschwitz were made to sort through them. The description of Kanada and the rest of Auschwitz is detailed with historical accuracy. While workers in Kanada were typically better fed and kept in better conditions than the rest of the inmates, they were still subject to the torture of Auschwitz and the guilt that the deaths of others kept them alive. Also highlighted were the many SS Officers who knew what they were doing was wrong and tried to help inmates in their own small ways. The most valuable lesson of Helena and Franz' story comes from Andrej's character- we must never stop talking about what happened, we must not let people forget the damage that hatred brings.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Ellie Midwood is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning historical fiction author. She owes her interest in the history of the Second World War to her grandfather, Junior Sergeant in the 2nd Guards Tank Army of the First Belorussian Front, who began telling her about his experiences on the frontline when she was a young girl. Growing up, her interest in history only deepened and transformed from reading about the war to writing about it. After obtaining her BA in Linguistics, Ellie decided to make writing her full-time career and began working on her first full-length historical novel, “The Girl from Berlin.” Ellie is continuously enriching her library with new research material and feeds her passion for WWII and Holocaust history by collecting rare memorabilia and documents.
In her free time, Ellie is a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, neat freak, adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew, and a doggie mama. Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.
For more information on Ellie and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.