The Arms Maker of Berlin-Dan Fesperman

The Arms Maker of Berlin

Dan Fesperman

Knopf, Aug 4 2009, $25.95

ISBN: 9780307268372

WWII history professor Dr. Nat Turnbull specializes in the German resistance movement.  He is shocked when he learns his former advisor octogenarian Dr. Gordon Wolfe was arrested by Pennsylvania police for possessing stolen archival information from the 1940s.

Nat sees some of the findings and realizes what Gordon had squirreled away is incredible as none of the documents can be found elsewhere as far he knows.  However, he also finds a gap in what the police took and assumes Gordon, for whatever reason, hid part of the cache of data.  When Gordon is found dead in his cell, the FBI asks Nat to investigate Gordon’s strange clues.  As he begins to uncover the secrets of the White Rose Resistance buried for decades, Berlin’s Free University Professor Berta Heinkel offers to help him.  He soon distrusts everyone including the German visitor and the FBI as the evidence point towards a cover-up to protect a German weapons manufacturer, Bauer, who apparently hid his WW II activity so that he could keep his Jewish family members from the camps.

This should be must reading for ideologues as family motives easily supersede everything is this poignant clearly timely and profound thriller.  Although Turnbull is the superstar of the tale from the opening shocker to the final denouement with five survivors at his side, Bauer owns the story line then and now.  He did what he had to for his beloved ones to survive war and the Final Solution; choices are not simple Bushian for or against as the Neocons proclaim and Congressman Tim Ryan has recently affirmed, but instead complex and complicated as Bauer made choices that has haunted him in life and will do so until he dies.

Harriet Klausner

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