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Gerald Green - Holocaust
Rosettabooks | 2001 | ISBN: 0795301421 | Pages: 397 | PDF | 1.13 MB

Historical accounts of tragedies such as the Holocaust often allow readers and students a certain detachment in the formidable but impersonal catalogue of numbers, events, policies and processes. Gerald Greens novel Holocaust, which is based on his teleplay for the 1978 NBC miniseries, seeks to put faces on the tragedy by telling the story of the experience of two German families whose lives intersect at certain points. The Dorfs are "good" Germans, loyal to the new Nazi regime, and their son Erik, a promising lawyer, finds his ambitions realized in the SS at the side of the ruthless Reynard Heydrich. The Weiss family is Jewish, also seemingly "good" Germans, but doomed under the new regime and its determination to exterminate the Jewish population.

Green tells his story through the first-person reminiscences of Erik Dorf, the ambitious SS officer, and the passionate and courageous young Jew Rudi Weiss, who ran away as a boy from his doomed family, to fight wherever he could against the Nazis. In creating such a story, Green manages to have his characters witness or participate in virtually every significant event that marked the 12 years of the Third Reich. He explores the delusional hope of people like Erik Dorf and the chilling efficiency of the SS, as well as the horrific reality of Kristallnacht and the mass exterminations at Auschwitz. By keeping the narrative on the level of personal accounts, Holocaust puts a human face on every aspect of this monumental human tragedy.

Green is a powerfully effective storyteller, as his earlier novels have proved. Holocaust reflects the broad canvas of the miniseries that inspired it, and it holds the reader as an instructive narrative. Green succeeds in giving the reader a sense of the extraordinary choices all of the Germans, Jew and Gentile, were forced to make on a daily basis, and the unimaginable tragedy that loomed if the choices were wrong. The personal context of the story makes it deeply moving, whether it leaves the reader speechless at Erik Dorfs descent into evil or stirred by Rudi Weiss struggle to fight for his people. Exciting and well-written, Holocaust sweeps through history to bring the reader face-to-face with its heroes and its villains in the greatest drama of the 20th century.

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