Book Nazis

According to Wiki it's the 79th anniversary of the opening of Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp. And it also happens that I'm reading a book right now that revolves around Nazis.

The book is A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr and it involves his recurring characterBernie Gunther. The books involving Gunther all involve Nazis because the books take place largely in Berlin in the 1930s and 1940s. This particular book takes place in Buenos Aires in 1950 but most of the book involves flashbacks to 1930s Germany where Gunther was a police investigator.

Dachau, on the other hand, according to Wiki, was "the first Nazi concentration camp opened in Germany, located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory near the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (9.9 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, which is located in southern Germany. It opened March 22nd 1933 (51 days after Hitler took power)."

I've not finished the book, A Quiet Flame, yet but so far there's been no mentions of concentration camps. However most of the flashbacks take place just before the 1930 elections which established the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP or Nazi) as a force to be reckoned with. So, no concentration camps yet but the handwriting was on the wall. And that's what makes this book both powerful and depressing.

You've got the rank depravity of the late Weimar Republic, particularly in Berlin, alongside the crude strong-arm tactics of the NSDAP as they beat up gays, Jews, and communists, often in broad daylight. Scary times to be sure. Adding to the mix is the rampant unemployment and runaway inflation. All in all it's a depressing backdrop yet the strong visual language that Kerr employs is amazing. The descriptions are so vivid you could almost believe you are there. Which is good and bad.

It's just a little too real. But pretty impressive writing.


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