Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

 

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In the 1930’s, Germany was filled with unrest, poverty and uncertainty, where hatred marched in its city’s streets.  At seventeen, Gretchen Müller has grown up under the wing of the National Socialist (a.k.a. Nazi) Party, with very little inkling of the animosity and evil intent the Party had towards the Jewish Community.  When she was eight, her father became a martyr for the Party, when he died in place of his friend, Gretchen’s “Uncle” Dolf.

Gretchen was often invited on outings with Uncle Dolf and his family. Always treated with kindness and great care by him, Gretchen had believed he would always be there to protect her family. Until the night she watched her brother and his friend almost run over an old man and then proceeded to beat him.  When she threatened to go to Uncle Dolf with the information, she was told to stay out of the Party’s business or she would find herself in jeopardy of receiving the same treatment.

Then Daniel Cohen, a young Jewish reporter, came into her life informing her of his belief that her father’s death had not been a random shooting. He had, instead, been the intended victim. Gretchen had been taught to believe the Jewish people were at the root of all Germany’s problems. At first, she was uncertain whether or not to trust Daniel.

However, in the face of her growing distrust of the Nazis and the strong hold her brother had over the family, Gretchen made the decision to delve into her father’s death on her own. As she starts digging into the past, she comes face to face with the realization that her trust and belief in those she loves was full of smoke and mirrors.

Through Gretchen’s eyes, we see Uncle Dolf as a kindly father figure with a gentle voice who liked picnics art and fine music, cares greatly for his family and country, and wants to help Germany to become strong again.  But the country is in turmoil, its leaders looking for someone to blame. United in the search for answers, Daniel and Gretchen find themselves targeted as the enemy of their country and its people.

In Prisoner of Night and Fog, we are shown how Nazis manipulated the German people, driving them towards the inevitable horror of genocide and war.

Formats Available:  Book (Regular Type), eBook

Reviewed by Katy, Shawnee Branch