Caught amongst the swirling tides of 60s revolutions and the reemergence of a painful history unexamined, “The German House” is a powerful drama ably demonstrating the “story” found in history.
Set in 1963 Frankfurt, Eva Bruhns has been content to spend her days hoping that her beau Jurgen will finally make the move to propose to her and provide her a comfortable and fulfilling life. But things soon turn to weightier topics when Eva is tapped to serve as a translator for the upcoming trials taking place in town against several Nazi officers accused of operating and causing the deaths of so many at Auschwitz. While Eva has little memory of the events that happened, what she learns as the trials commence will serve to change everything she ever knew, including within the confines of her own family.
This story did a great job of finding drama within the history, helping to not only retell the story of the Frankfurt trials, but also get into the uncertainties prevalent throughout the sixties, as traditional roles and attitudes found themselves challenged and in many ways radically redefined. I really appreciated the ways in which the author treated Eva making her transition from beginning to end one that felt both accurate and real in the telling. There are many difficult truths handled throughout that were treated not just with quick condemnation but given sufficient room for the reader to see just how complicated the issues brought up from these trials were on the psyches of the German people and how varied those attitudes were.
A powerful reason for the need to examine and come to terms on a shared past, “The German House” is essential reading not only for those interested in post-war German History, but also to demonstrate how important it is to come to grips with yourself, no matter how painful that journey may be.