“The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.”
—Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
The Prisoner of Night and Fog is set in the early 1930s. Instead of depicting the life of someone in Germany during the beginning of the Holocaust who is Jewish, this book turns to the other side of the coin and tells the story of Gretchen Muller, daughter of a martyred National Socialist. After his death Adolf Hitler took the Muller family under his wing, so much so that Gretchen knows the crazed leader of the Third Reich as none other than Uncle Dolf. With her father gone, life seems quiet for young Gretchen, except for her angry psychotic brother, who likes to “teach her lessons” when no one is paying attention. Gretchen loves Uncle Dolf, because he is the only one that listens and takes care of her brother when he gets out of line; however, things are changing and Gretchen isn’t a little child anymore, she’s beginning to understand what is going on.
After meeting a young Jewish reporter, she falls into a down whirl spiral of questions that threatened to break her life as she knows it apart. How can these Jews be so kind, when all they want is to mislead people? Even though they are cold-hearted people that abuse the trusting Germans, is it okay to beat them in the street? Is it possible that all Jews inherit the evil gene, and we must also punish children? How can everything that Uncle Dolf taught her be wrong? Gretchen begins to see things in the perspective of the hunted, especially since the reporter, Daniel Cohen, has made her question her father’s death. Who was really behind his death? Could it have been his friends and comrades? One thing Gretchen is certain of is that things are not as they seem and she needs to know what is going on. Falling for Daniel is another catalyst component to her journey. She must do everything in her power to find out the truth of about what happened to her father, help Daniel expose the ill treatment of the Jews to the world, and save herself from those that were her family and friends.
This was a riveting YA historical/fiction novel. The themes are close to other books set at this time and during this particular event; however, because it is in the perspective of someone inside of the Nazi party it’s much more interesting to me. I believe it holds great value for readers, so that they can see how WWII affected all citizens of Germany, and also to expose the idea that not everyone was brainwashed or completely behind the Nazi movement. I would recommend this to people who have a clear interest in the Holocaust and WWII, and also those that enjoy historical fiction or political conspiracies.
4.5 Stars. Thanks Edelweiss!