Hilmar and Odette
Two Stories From the Nazi EraBook - 1995
Part detective story, part biography, this is the fascinating tale of Hilmar and Odette, both born illegitimately in Germany before the Second World War, both half-Jewish, both brought up by "Aryan" families. Eric Koch, having discovered that his well-to-do family has two skeletons in the closet (Odette is his half-sister and Hilmar is his step-cousin), embarks on a search into his family history and into the very different fates of these two "Half-Jews" who grew into adults as the Nazi party came to power. Hilmar's adoptive mother discovers he is a Jew, and (despite his being a dutiful, even loving, son) when the opportunity arises denounces him to the Gestapo. Hilmar's increasingly desperate attempts to escape deportation and stay with the woman with whom he has fallen in love prove futile. He finally falls victim to the machinery of oppression and is sent to Auschwitz. By contrast, Odette, never suspecting that she is part-Jewish, ascends the social ladder and comes to hobnob with the Nazibohèmein her Berlin salon. To ingratiate himself with the right people, her publisher husband dreams up new forms of propaganda to help the Nazi cause. Hilmar and Odette's parallel stories advance in step through this book, each casting light on the other. And around the fringes of their lives move the spectres of Napoleon, Joseph Goebbels, and Lili Marleen. The narrator's detective tale becomes a third story, as he probes his family's past and explores the shadowy territory where personal uncertainties and frailties meet the implacable sophistry of Nazi ideology.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, 
Copyright Date: ©1995
Branch Call Number: 940/.5318/092/243/Koc 3580bc 1
Characteristics: ix, 227 pages : illustrations, portraits