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.
This is unlike any WWII era book I have ever read. Down takes readers inside the minds of Germans on both sides of the insanity of Hitler’s regime.
This book really focused reader’s attention on other atrocities of the regime, namely the murder of humans deemed unworthy of life because they were disabled in some way, physically or mentally. It also illustrated the murder of homosexuals. It is accepted that Hitler’s regime murdered Jewish people by the millions, but other populations are not as represented. Their murders are brought to the forefront in this novel in a unique way.
It has been a long time since I sacrificed sleep to finish a book. This is the book that did it for me. I stayed up late just to finish it and then I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about it. The betrayals to Hedda were so many that it boggled my mind.
This book is a look into German society and how much loyalty to Hitler’s regime cost the Germans that followed him, either by design or by default. Parts of it were so, so hard to read, but it is necessary to be informed about the past so that it is not repeated!
If you are fan of WWII fiction, this is a great choice. If you have read numerous books of this era, like I have, this book offers a unique perspective that is much appreciated.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.