Lew's AUTHOR BLOG

* a new Goodreads 5***** review of A FLOOD OF EVIL … thank you Lloyd

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 19, 2016

AFOE - kindle cover - 6-7-16

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Lloyd Liggett gave A FLOOD OF EVIL  5***** …

This is one of the best books I have ever read! … “historical fiction” of the highest order … a thoroughly engrossing story of the relationship between a young German man and a young Polish-Jewish woman against the backdrop of Hitler’s appearance and rise to power .

It also gives us an insight into why Hitler had such appeal to the German People … his horrific hatred of the Jews … the inability of The Church or of neighboring nations to take a more active approach to recognize, or deal with the growing menace Hitler’s Germany was becoming.

This is Book 1 of Mr Weinstein’s proposed 2 book series. I am eagerly awaiting Book 2.

A really wonderful read! … My comments can not do justice to it!

.

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A FLOOD OF EVIL (and all of Lew’s novels)

is available on amazon in both print and kindle format

(also available in NOOK format at B&N) …

https://www.amazon.com/Flood-Evil-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01GQUC9KQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471595978&sr=1-1&keywords=a+flood+of+evil

 

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* a new reader comment regarding the ending of A FLOOD OF EVIL … “the conclusion of your novel is just downright touching” … thank you Randy

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 19, 2016

AFOE Berthold & Anna

 

Randy Becker writes … 

” … the conclusion of your novel is just downright touching.  In the midst of all that intrigue and horror, we are reminded that love trumps hate.  Well done sir — very human.”

.

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A FLOOD OF EVIL (and all of Lew’s novels)

is available on amazon in both print and kindle format

(also available in NOOK format at B&N) …

https://www.amazon.com/Flood-Evil-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01GQUC9KQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471595978&sr=1-1&keywords=a+flood+of+evil

 

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* What I find scary is how some of the Nazi talk in A FLOOD OF EVIL resembles Donald Trump’s words.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 12, 2016

AFOE Berthold & Anna

from a reader who read an earlier draft …

I have been meaning to tell you I finished A FLOOD OF EVIL.  I loved how you tightened up the narrative. 

“What I find scary is how some of the Nazi talk resembles Donald Trump’s words.  You wrote your book and did your research long before Trump came on the scene.  The similarities are astonishing.  And he does appeal to the same type of people.  Horrifying.”

Trump & Hitler

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* a new review of A FLOOD OF EVIL … to be published in the Beth-El synagogue newsletter in September

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 2, 2016

by Amy Kaplan … 

Several outstanding new novels are set against the background of the Second World WarAFOE Berthold & Anna.

A Flood of Evil, Book One 1923-1933 by Beth El’s own Lewis M. Weinstein is the first of two novels Weinstein is writing about a German Catholic boy and a Polish Jewish girl.

Berthold is favored by Nazi party officials, yet is opposed to what the Nazis are doing. Anna wants a more modern life, and wishes to be the first girl from her village to attend the University of Warsaw. How these two meet and fall in love is one aspect of the story.

The real interest, for me, is in the details of daily life in the pre-War era and the close-ups Weinstein gives of the highest-ranking Nazis as they ascend to power.

The story is framed by a present-day narrative about the daughter of the man who ultimately prosecuted Berthold at Nuremberg; this young woman’s quest for more information leads her to interview the aged Berthold in Munich and Anna in Jerusalem.

This is an entertaining read that also educates the reader about a key period in history.

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* mystery writer Rick Ollerman praises A FLOOD OF EVIL … “so real you’ll forget it’s fiction”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 1, 2016

ollerman & AFOE copy

“Weinstein’s FLOOD OF EVIL takes a horrifying period of history and turns it into a page-turning novel. The characters are so well-drawn and the cast so real you’ll forget it’s fiction. Can’t wait for volume two….”

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A FLOOD OF EVIL IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

IN PRINT OR KINDLE FORMAT …

https://www.amazon.com/Flood-Evil-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01GQUC9KQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1470063042&sr=1-1&keywords=a+flood+of+evil#navbar

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SO IS RICK OLLERMAN’s LATEST THRILLER …

Ollerman's latest

https://www.amazon.com/Truth-Always-Kills-Rick-Ollerman/dp/1933586826/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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* acclaimed author Faye Kellerman praises A FLOOD OF EVIL … a riveting story

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 30, 2016

kellerman & AFOE copy

Faye Kellerman … “Author Lew Weinstein has written a riveting story set in a dark chapter of history filled with timeless truths and timeless love.”

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A FLOOD OF EVIL IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

IN PRINT OR KINDLE FORMAT …

https://www.amazon.com/Flood-Evil-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01GQUC9KQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1470063042&sr=1-1&keywords=a+flood+of+evil#navbar

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SO IS FAYE KELLERMAN’s LATEST MYSTERY THRILLER …

Kellerman novel

https://www.amazon.com/Truth-Always-Kills-Rick-Ollerman/dp/1933586826/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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* Donald Trump continues to follow the path of Adolf Hitler

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 28, 2016

Trump & Hitler

Every day another one of Hitler’s vile campaign approaches shows up in the Trump campaign.

Yesterday it was the SUPPRESSION OF A FREE PRESS as Trump’s muscle banned a Washington Post reporter from one of Trump’s recent events.

Jose DelReal is one of a small team of people who cover Donald Trump’s presidential campaign for The Washington Post. On Wednesday, he was in Milwaukee to cover an appearance by Trump running mate Mike Pence. DelReal was barred from covering the event as a reporter, in keeping with Trump’s six-week-old ban on The Washington Post. DelReal then tried to enter the event as a citizen. He was told he could not enter with a cell phone despite the fact that other people were not held to that same standard. He put his phone and computer in the car and again tried to enter. He was refused — again — and patted down. “I don’t want you here. You have to go,” the security official told him.

Today TRUMP EQUATED KILLING JOURNALISTS WITH RUNNING A COUNTRY

“He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country,” Trump said when asked by “Morning Joe” Republican host Joe Scarborough about Putin’s alleged killing of journalists and political opponents.

If you think I’m overstating the similarities between Trump and Hitler, I invite you to read my new historical novel A FLOOD OF EVIL …

AFOE - kindle cover - 6-7-16

A FLOOD OF EVIL highlights Hitler’s approach, which offered no details regarding solutions and repeated incessantly that only a strong Fuhrer could solve what was wrong with Germany. Right wing German conservatives were among those who brought Hitler to power. They thought they could control him, but it took Hitler only a few days in office to prove them wrong.

Hitler’s rise to power is told through the eyes of two young lovers, a German Catholic boy named Berthold Becker and a Polish Jewish girl named Anna Gorska, who struggle to convince those in power to stop Hitler before he becomes Chancellor.

Early readers of A FLOOD OF EVIL have urged American voters to read this story in order not to repeat in 2016 the mistakes made in Germany in 1933.

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Available in print and kindle formats on amazon …

https://www.amazon.com/Flood-Evil-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01GQUC9KQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1469728615&sr=8-1#navbar

 

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* several readers have told me that A FLOOD OF EVIL has given them important insights into Donald Trump’s campaign of anger and hate.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 23, 2016

Hitler’s core strategy was to use fear and hate to attract angry, uneducated voters while providing no details of what he would actually do to correct Germany’s problems.

Sound familiar?

Many people in Germany in the early 1930s understood what Hitler was saying. Many of them however, including leading conservative politicians, businessmen and the military, believed Hitler could be easily controlled once in power, and that they could use him to accomplish their own aims. It took but a few days to prove them horribly wrong, and their mistake proved to be irreversible.

In my opinion, many Republicans currently supporting Trump suffer from the same delusion.

If you are frightened by the possibility of a Trump Presidency, I encourage you to read A FLOOD OF EVIL, and then work hard to keep Trump out of the Oval Office.

 

readers say REV

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A FLOOD OF EVIL is available in print and ebook formats at amazon.com …

https://www.amazon.com/Flood-Evil-Book-1/dp/1494295784/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469286223&sr=8-1&keywords=a+flood+of+evil

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A FLOOD OF EVIL … a fascinating story … poignant … compelling … difficult to put down … a message for America in 2016

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 15, 2016

 

AFOE Berthold & Anna

a new review of A FLOOD OF EVIL … 5.0 out of 5 stars … A Most Important History Lesson … By Brenda Schiff on July 14, 2016

“A Flood of Evil” by Lewis Weinstein is a compelling read. It offers a thoroughly researched history of Nazi Germany in the years 1923-1933, describing Hitler’s rise to power. However, because it is set within such a fascinating story, it is difficult to put down.

“Weinstein’s creative and disciplined mind has enabled him to deliver a most important history lesson, that is now especially poignant, considering the politics of the day…..This book should be on every high school reading list!”

Trump & Hitler

Lew Weinstein adds …

My novel shows how Adolf Hitler seized power in Germany in 1933, in the face of statements by political leadership that they could control him, that he would never be able to implement the policies he had so clearly articulated. They were wrong and it took only two days in power for Hitler to make that clear.

Would you put faith in the pathetically weak Republican leadership to be able to control Trump? I believe a vote for Trump would be the most foolish and dangerous act any American could take.

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* from a reader: Anna and Berthold are great characters

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 16, 2016

 

AFOE Berthold & Anna

A reader’s reaction to A FLOOD OF EVIL

“I just finished your thoughtful book, and I enjoyed it very much.  Your research is outstanding and the words flow, allowing the story to easily slip into the readers’ mind. Great characters, Anna and Berthold, developed so you care about them and understand their dangerous and scary positions. And for young people who don’t know of the horror of the Nazis, an important history lesson, one that is relevant in today’s political world.” … Bill Lorraine

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* excerpts from the Prologue of A FLOOD OF EVIL

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 14, 2016

Berthold & Anna photo

The story of Berthold Becker, a German Catholic, and Anna Gorska, a Polish Jew, is also the story of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the years from 1923 to 1933. It is a story of particular importance for all of us in America to understand in 2016. Here are EXCERPTS from the Prologue of A FLOOD OF EVIL …

BERTHOLD BECKER IS ON TRIAL AT THE 1945 NUREMBERG WAR CRIMES TRIAL …

… Berthold Becker showed little emotion as his jailer unlocked his cell and escorted him along the dark corridor lined with soldiers. For several weeks he had sat quietly and watched as the trials of the other high-ranking Nazis had proceeded, and for the past two days he had paid somewhat greater attention as the evidence against him was presented, and what he regarded as a pathetic defense followed. It wasn’t his attorney’s fault. He was guilty. He had done horrible things. He couldn’t change what he had done and now he would pay the price. He expected to be hung.

ANNA GORSKA TESTIFIES AT BERTHOLD’S TRIAL …

… “Berthold Becker was a member of the Nazi Party, and in that capacity, he participated in the commission of at least some of the crimes he has been charged with by this Tribunal. I am sure he expects to be punished.” She paused. “But for reasons I will explain, he should not be put to death.

… “This defendant is not now and never was an evil man. He was dragged into a maelstrom not of his choosing and from which he was unable to escape. It is easy to say he should have done more to stop the Nazis and in hindsight perhaps he would agree.

… “Berthold Becker had a unique vantage point during the entire Nazi terror. He knows and will tell a truth that others deny.” Looking back to the justices, speaking slowly, she delivered each of her final words as if it were a dagger. “You have the power to allow the terrible story of German evil and guilt to be known. Do not take the life of this defendant. Let Berthold Becker live to tell his story.”

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Available at amazon in print & kindle formats

https://www.amazon.com/Flood-Evil-Book-1/dp/1494295784/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1465903448&sr=1-1

from an amazon review ….

“I was caught up in the book from the very beginning. It’s a powerful and complex story about love, fear and the corrosive abuse of political power. I would say a lesson we need to recall today. Enjoy it. I did.”

 

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* amazon offers temporary discount on paperback edition of A FLOOD OF EVIL … price is now $14.01

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 14, 2016

Amazon – on its own initiative – has decided to provide a temporary discount price of $14.01 for the paperback edition of A FLOOD OF EVIL. They will not tell me how long this discount will last, but it is definitely not permanent, so if you’re planning to purchase a paperback copy, this would be a good time to do it.

Thank you, amazon!

AFOE - kindle cover - 6-7-16

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* Thank you … exciting initial sales in both paper and ebook formats

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 13, 2016

AFOE - kindle cover - 6-7-16

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I want to thank my Facebook and Goodreads friends for your initial response to the publication of my new novel A FLOOD OF EVIL. Many of my Goodreads friends have also marked it “to read.” Now I hope those who read my book on kindle or in paper will enjoy it and write reviews. Thanking you in advance.

Here is the first amazon review …

“I was caught up in the book from the very beginning. It’s a powerful and complex story about love, fear and the corrosive abuse of political power. I would say a lesson we need to recall today. Enjoy it. I did.”

About A FLOOD OF EVIL … 

Berthold & Anna photo

A German Catholic boy and a Polish Jewish girl join forces to oppose Adolf Hitler as he makes his move to power.

The story opens in Nuremberg, where Berthold Becker is on trial with other major Nazi war criminals. He expects a death sentence, but Anna Gorska arrives and testifies on his behalf. Berthold is sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Forty-five years later, the daughter of Becker’s Nuremberg prosecutor asks her father to collaborate with her in a book about the characters in his Nuremberg trial. That book becomes the frame within which the story of Berthold and Anna is told. Book One covers the years from 1923 to 1933, from Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch to his appointment as Chancellor.

https://www.amazon.com/Flood-Evil-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01GQUC9KQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1465864776&sr=1-1&keywords=a+flood+of+evil

 

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* A FLOOD OF EVIL is now also available on NOOK

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 11, 2016

Lew & 6 books - AFOE available

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* Why did it take you 6 years to write A FLOOD OF EVIL?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 9, 2016

AFOE - kindle cover - 6-7-16

Several people have asked me why it took 6 years to research and write A FLOOD OF EVIL. Well, this is a historical novel, and I think it’s my obligation as an author to get the history correct.

There are no scenes in my novel which simply tell the history, but often a few words worked into the ongoing story of my characters can set the scene in a way that makes it more real to the reader.

How much research? Here is the SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY which is included at the end of A FLOOD OF EVIL. At least one research note from every one of these books informed at least one scene in my novel …

.

Abel, Theodore … Why Hitler Came into Power

Allen, William Sheridan … Nazi Seizure of Power

Baird, Jay … To Die for Germany: Heroes in the Nazi Pantheon

Bennett, Edward W … German Rearmament

Bitter, Alexander … Kurt Von Schleicher

Blobaum, Robert … Antisemitism In Modern Poland

Broszat, Martin … Hitler and the Collapse of Weimar Germany

Burleigh, Michael … The Third Reich: A New History

Conradi, Peter … Hitler’s Piano Player: Ernst Hanfstaengl

Coppa, Frank J. … The Papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust

Cornwell, John … Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII

Davies, Norman … The Past in Poland’s Present

Dederichs, Mario R. … Heydrich: The Face of Evil

Domarus, Max … Hitler – Speeches and Proclamations

Dornberg, John … Munich 1923

Dorpalen, Andreas … Hindenburg and the Weimar Republic

Eliach , Yaffa … The Shtetl of Eishyshok

Evans, Richard … The Coming of the Third Reich

Ferguson, Adam … When Money Dies

Fest, Joachim … Hitler

Fest, Joachim … The Face Of The Third Reich

Fischer, Klaus … The History of an Obsession

Godman, Peter … Hitler and the Vatican

Goebbels, Josef … My Part in Germany’s Fight

Gold, Ben-Zion … Jews in Poland before the Holocaust

Gordon, Harold J. … Hitler and the Beer Hall Putsch

Gutman, Yisrael … The Jews of Poland Between the Wars

Haffner, Sebastian … Defying Hitler

Hanfstaengl, Ernst … Hitler

Hanser, Richard … Putsch!

Harsch, Donna … German Social Democracy and Nazism

Hastings, Derek … Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism

Heller, Celia Stopnicka … Jews of Poland Between the Wars 

Herzl, Theodor … The Jewish State 

Heschel, Abraham Joshua … The Inner World of the Jew

Hetherington, Peter … Unvanquished: Joseph Pilsudski

Hitler, Adolf … Mein Kampf

Hoffman, Eva … Shtetl: The History of a Small Town

Jedrzejewicz, Waclaw … Pilsudski: A Life for Poland

Junger, Ernst … Storm of Steel

Kershaw, Ian … Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris

Krieg, Robert … The Vatican Concordat With Hitler’s Reich

Lewy, Guenter … The Catholic Church And Nazi Germany 

Manvell, Roger … Doctor Goebbels

Mendelsohn, Ezra … The Jews of East Central Europe

Mendelsohn, Ezra … Zionism in Poland

Michlic, Joanna Beata … Poland’s Threatening Other

Mierzejewski, Alfred C. … The German National Railway

Modras, Ronald E. … The Catholic Church & Antisemitism

Mommsen, Hans … The Rise and Fall of Weimar Democracy

Morris, Douglas G. … Justice Imperiled: Max Hirschberg

Mosse, George L. … Germans and Jews

Nagorski, Andrew … Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses

Niewyk, Donald L. … Social Democracy & Anti-Semitism

Nowicki, Ron … Warsaw: The Cabaret Years

Patch, William L. … Heinrich Bruning the Weimar Republic

Pease, Neal … The Catholic Church and Independent Poland

Peterson, Edward Norman … Hjalmar Schacht

Plach, Eva … Cultural Politics in Pilsudski’s Poland

Polonsky, Antony …. From Shtetl To Socialism

Polonsky, Antony … Jews in Independent Poland, 1918-1939

Remarque, Erich Maria … All Quiet on the Western Front

Remarque, Erich Maria … The Road Back

Reuth, Ralf … Goebbels 

Richarz, Monika … Jewish Life in Germany

Roth, Joseph … The Wandering Jews

Ryback, Timothy W. … Hitler’s First Victims

Schacht, Hjalmar … My first seventy-six years

Schatz, Jaff … The Jewish Communists of Poland

Scholder, Klaus … The Churches and the Third Reich

Sciolino, Anthony … Christian Anti-Judaism & Nazi Anti-Semitism

Segel, Binjamin … A History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Sinclair, Upton … Dragon’s Teeth 

Singer, Isaac Bashevis … The Manor

Smaldone, William … Rudolf Hilferding

Stachura, Peter D … Gregor Strasser and the Rise of Nazism

Stachura, Peter D … Poland Between the Wars, 1918-1939

Stehlin, Stewart A. … Weimar and the Vatican, 1919-1933

Time Life … Fists of Steel

Toland, John … Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography

Turner, Henry … Hitler’s Thirty Days To Power

Ventresca, Robert … The Life of Pope Pius XII

Wasserstein, Bernard … On the Eve: The Jews of Europe

Watt, Richard … Bitter Glory: Poland and Its Fate

Weitz, Eric D. … Weimar Germany

Whaley, Barton … Covert German Rearmament

Wolf, Hubert … Pope and Devil: The Vatican’s Archives

Yasni, A. Wolf…. Ciechanow Jewish Community

Zamoyski, Adam … The Polish Way: Poles and Their Culture

Zbrowski, Mark … Life is With People : The Culture of the Shtetl

 

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* A FLOOD OF EVIL is now available on amazon in paperback as well as ebook format

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 9, 2016

AFOE - kindle cover - 6-7-16

 

A FLOOD OF EVIL is now available on amazon in PAPERBACK as well as EBOOK form.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=weinstein+a+flood+of+evil

ABOUT PRICING

I have priced both the paperback and ebook versions below the current market. This is my way of saying thank you to all my GOODREADS and FACEBOOK friends who have been so encouraging to me as I have gone through the 6 year process of researching and writing this book. These introductory prices will be maintained for a short time, after which the prices will be raised.

ABOUT A FLOOD OF EVIL …

A FLOOD OF EVIL is a powerful story of two young people who are thrown by circumstances into a dangerous effort to try to stop Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. The way they carry out that effort, while also dealing with all the issues of their emerging love, makes for a tense and emotional story. At least that was my intent. When you read A FLOOD OF EVIL, you can make your own conclusion as to whether I succeeded.

Thank you again for your support.

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* Lew’s new novel – A FLOOD OF EVIL – has been published!

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 8, 2016

 

AFOE - kindle cover - 6-7-16

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A FLOOD OF EVIL has been published.

The ebook is now available on amazon and a paperback edition will be available in a few days.

A FLOOD OF EVIL introduces a German Catholic boy and a Polish Jewish girl who fall in love and join forces to oppose Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. They are young, vital, and more than a little frightened.

The book opens in a Nuremberg courtroom, where Berthold Becker is on trial with other major Nazi war criminals. His life is saved when Anna Gorska unexpectedly arrives and testifies on his behalf.

Forty-five years later, the daughter of Becker’s Nuremberg prosecutor asks her father to collaborate with her to tell the story of the people in his trial.

“We’ve read her testimony,” the prosecutor says.

“There must be more,” his daughter responds. “If they’re still alive, I want to find them and tell that story.”

Book One of A FLOOD OF EVIL covers the lives of Berthold and Anna from 1923 to 1933, from Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch to his appointment as German Chancellor. Research and writing of Book Two is ongoing.

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* Lew’s comments on “The Nazi Conscience” by Claudia Koonz

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 7, 2016

nazi conscience & AFOE

 

Claudia Koonz sets out to answer the question of why Germans were so willing to participate or at least stand aside for the murder of millions of innocent citizens. She puts forward the proposition that Christian Germans were prepared by the Nazis through a carefully executed program that included relentless denigration of Jews as subhuman enemies of the German “Volk,” coordinated with powerful enforcement against any who strayed from the Nazi line. Altogether she makes a sickeningly convincing case against both the Nazis and the Christian Germans, opposite sides of the same repulsive coin.

Koonz’ case is made even more powerful by the academic tone she almost always maintains. Surely there is anger simmering behind her words, but she rarely lets it filter through.

SELECTED EXCERPTS …

… The popular risers of anti-Semitism the planners of genocide followed a coherent set of severe ethical maximums derived from broad philosophical concepts … they denied the existence of universal moral values and instead promoted moral maxims which they saw as appropriate to their Aryan community … Asserting the superiority of their own communitarian values above all others

… Having fully absorbed knowledge of the “Jewish menace” … a Nazi was ready to accept deportation and murder as just … if he had a Jewish friend, he would say “what a misfortune that my friend is Jewish” rather than “how terrible it is at we are murdering Jews”

… The expulsion of Jews from Germans’ universe of moral obligations was carefully engineered

… The Nazi program sought to break ties between Jews and their surroundings … until Jews were totally isolated from the Christian German population

… The Nazis implemented an acceptance of “ethnic fundamentalism” which summoned its followers to seek vengeance for past wrongs and to forge a glorious future cleansed of ethnic aliens … Germans were enticed to participate in a moral universe accessible only to the favored

… Jews, who before 1933 were friends, neighbors, and colleagues … were now to be considered pariahs, a plague on Germany

… Hitler linked “Jewish” with despised values, such as urbanism, materialism, and greed … link the Jewish press with promoting decadence … blame moral degeneration on sexual intercourse between Jews and Christians

… Most Germans tacitly approved of persecution so long as they did not feel personally threatened or inconvenienced

… Heydrich: too many German citizens perceive Jews as harmless … they must be defined as a threat, loathsome as well as lethal

… Der Sturmer and Das Schwarze Korps both portrayed Jews as not only dangerous but also subhuman … words like “extinction” and “annihilation” he came routine … the intent was to create a German conscience that minimize the psychic stress they might experience when murdering Jews

… The final solution did not develop as evil incarnate but rather as the dark side of ethnic righteousness … to German Christians caught up what they perceived as a high moral purpose purification of racial aliens became a difficult but necessary duty

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* Lew’s comments on “Victims & Neighbors” by Frances Henry

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 1, 2016

victims & AFOE

 

This is an extraordinary book. The author, grand-daughter of Jews who escaped from a small German town, went back to that town, met with people who had known her grand-parents, and produced a thoughtful presentation of the feelings and pressures on both Jews and Christians as the Nazi regime increased its persecution of Jews.

Lifelong friendships were instantly terminated within days of Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor, even before the most oppressive laws and measures were implemented. Most Christians looked away as Jews endured an increasingly lonely and fearful existence. Some Christians exhibited kindness, for instance bringing food to Jews no longer allowed in Christian shops, but most, fearful of being denounced by their neighbors, simply ignored the Jews.

Ms. Henry also recorded attitudes of Christian Germans after Germany’s defeat. Mostly, they were angry at Allied bombing and other so-called “atrocities.” They acted like victims, of the Allies and of Hitler. Nobody felt their own actions were to blame.

What would I have done in their shoes? Could they have done anything meaningful? These are questions I am addressing as I write my novel A FLOOD OF EVIL, Volume One of which will soon be published.

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* Lew’s comments and excerpts from “Jewish Responses to Persecution”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 28, 2016

Jewish responses & AFOE

A historical novel, such as A FLOOD OF EVIL, must add the feelings, hopes, despairs, and occasional excitement of the characters to the historical world in which they live. Memoirs are one of the best sources and starting places for emotions which will be incorporated into the story.

JEWISH RESPONSES TO PERSECUTION is a collection of original source documents, with notes, expressing the views of Jews trying to survive the Nazi persecution from 1933 to 1938. Page after page is heartbreaking, depressing,infuriating …

SELECTED EXCERPTS …

… a growing feeling of powerlessness left many feeling isolated … unable even to comprehend the bewildering complexities and seeming inconsistencies of the Nazis’ actions

… What good does it do for her to work hard at school; she can’t achieve anything, can’t become anything; all paths are hopelessly closed for her

… As Jewish leaders tried to develop a strategy … individual Jews had difficulty asseessing what was happening and what was likely … individual experiences, plus stories told by relatives and friends, and even by the press, rarely added up to a consistent picture … sometimes brief periods of calm allowed cautious optimism

… Even a six-year-old recognizes the fear in the air … their faces become serious and anxious … a sense of their own inferiority becomes pervasive

… 10% of the Jewish deaths in Mannheim last year were suicides

… I was in Munich at the offices of the Bavarian Jewish communities concerning our move out of Germany … however they are completely powerless and cannot intervene to help me

… in Dachau … in the dark, a Jewish prisoner sings the prayer for lighting Sabbath candles … the men in the barracks hum along

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* Lew’s comments on “Facing the Dictators” by Anthony Eden

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 17, 2016

eden

Anthony Eden was urbane, witty, prescient, and a wonderful writer … reading his memoirs is like being in the room at the critical times when the diplomatic conversations of 1935-38 led to so many wrong decisions and ultimately to the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust.

Eden served three periods as Foreign Secretary and then a relatively brief term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

SELECTED EXCERPTS …

… It can be argued that no decision taken by Poland in 1935 would have prevented the German-Russian deal that destroyed Poland in 1939 … I am not so sure … I believe Polish leaders would have been wiser to throw in their weight wholeheartedly with the Western powers, including Russia … This might have changed Germany’s actions towards Czechoslovakia, might even have averted Munich

… The rearmament of the Rhineland (in 1936) was an example of Hitler’s brazen but skillful tactics … his illegal deed was combined with assurances for the present and promises for the future … the timing was perfect, including the usual choice of a weekend … his initiative was limited, and did not show evidence of any imminent intent to attack France or Belgium … designed to inhibit effective response … Hitler’s anticipation was that neither of the French nor the British would have any appetite for physical response … He had paid close attention to press reports from France and Britain … And also had spies in both countries

… in Jan 1938 … Roosevelt communicated secretly to Neville Chamberlain … his deep concern with the deterioration of the world situation … he wished to take action along the only lines open to him, given the state of American public opinion … he proposed calling the entire diplomatic corp of Washington to the White House … He would lay before the representatives of all countries the following suggestions: reduction of armaments; equal access to raw materials; laws of warfare … If the response were favorable, the United States government would begin working with selected governments on the details of tentative proposals which could then be submitted to other nations … Roosevelt was communicating with this proposal to the British only, and would proceed only if he received assurance from Chamberlain that the proposal met with the wholehearted support of his Majesty’s government

… Eden’s recommendation was to immediately accept Roosevelt’s proposal … and to make no destructive criticisms or reservations or attempts to define issues more clearly … even if nothing concrete comes from Roosevelt’s proposals in the short-term, they will bring us time and will bring the United States a little nearer to a divided Europe

… but Chamberlain dithered and Roosevelt’s initiative was never made … Eden resigned a month later

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* Lew’s comments on Bishop von Galen: German Catholicism and National Socialism by Beth A. Griech-Polelle

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 14, 2016

Galen & AFOE

 

Bishop Galen of Munster is renowned for his opposition to the Nazis, a distinction thoroughly demolished by this book. He did oppose Hitler’s euthanasia program, but as Griech-Polelle points out, this only serves to emphasize his lack of concern for Nazi terror and murder of Jews, when he was fully aware of what was happening.

Bishop Galen was not unlike most other German Bishops, and the Vatican, in his failure to speak out against the persecution, deportation and murder of Jews. What is infuriating was the post-war attempt of the Catholic Church to portray him as an ardent fighter against the Nazis, even to the point of proposing sainthood. Fortunately, Pope John Paul II decided in 1987 that Bishop Galen would not be canonized, and instead named Edith Stein for her courageous witness to the horror of Nazi brutality.

SELECTED EXCERPTS …

… Galen … renowned for his very public denunciation of euthanasia … was silent concerning the fate of the Jews, even when he had verifiable proof that deportation meant death … similarly, Galen did not protest the April 1933 boycott, the 1935 Nuremberg Laws, the 1938 pogrom, or any other act of violence perpetrated against Jews who had lived in his diocese of Munster since the 12th century

… Galen surely saw the signs outside Munster … Jews are Germany’s misfortune … trespassing of this community by Jews is unwanted

… Galen sermon … directly quoted Hitler’s words regarding the need to fight the “Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy”

… Galen, in a single sermon, combined the imagery of disorder, Russian terror, heresy, and Jewishness … thus immunizing Catholics against feeling the need to intervene on behalf of their Jewish neighbors

… the Jewish question was not an immediate concern of the Church, nor was it an immediate concern of the Bishop Galen

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* Lew’s comments on “Between Dignity and Despair” by Marion Kaplan

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 11, 2016

 

dignity & AFOE

 

So sad to read … a documentation of the Nazi web tightening around German Jews … their confusion and panic and efforts to leave … the changing roles of women forced to assume greater responsibilities.

SELECTED EXCERPTS …

… Jewish women were (compared to Jewish men) … more sensitive to discrimination … more eager to leave Germany … more willing to face uncertainty abroad

… many Jewish women experimented with new behaviors never before attempted by any German women … interceding with the authorities on behalf of their men … selling their homes on their own … seeking paid employment for the first time … deciding on countries of refuge on their own

… in their daily interactions, all Germans, from Nazi officials to ordinary Germans on the tram, had extraordinary power over Jews … this became normal

… The law became a source of persecution … perhaps the most frightening aspect was being deprived of the protection of law

… Many Germans used the vulnerable position of Jews for their own advantage … blackmail … demanding receipts for bills they had never paid … legal action against them was impossible … tenants refused to pay rent … landlords refused to honor rental contracts

… Dismissing Jewish teachers provided opportunities for the unemployed … likewise non-Jewish doctors profited from the removal of Jewish doctors … Government insurance agencies threatened patients who continued to go to Jewish doctors … Jewish doctors (male and female) lost their health insurance affiliation

… even when Jews gathered in private homes … they feared they were being watched by neighbors or by the Gestapo

… Confusing signals made the decision to leave difficult … Random kindnesses by German neighbors led Jews to conclude that Germany would never tolerate the most radical Nazi programs

… Jews faced requests for bribes and tributes at every step of the way … Gestapo agents, civil servants, packers and movers, even people in foreign consulates

… A Jewish woman is still thankful today that her mother save their lives by having sex the bureaucrat who then provided their exit papers

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* 2 reviews of AN EVENING WITH FRANK

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 10, 2016

sinatra composite

5.0 out of 5 stars … Sensational! … By kentland on May 8, 2016 …

For all those who loved Sinatra and his music, this book of photographs will evoke warm delightful memories. Lew Weinstein had a front row seat for one of Sinatra’s legendary performances and luckily, he had his good camera along. From the beginning of this concert to its end, these extraordinary and intimate photos capture Sinatra delivering each song with his magical way of singing the truth. Sinatra always sang from his heart, and the evidence is here, in this beautiful compilation of unique and truly ‘one of a kind’ photographs. I am not aware of any other photographic record of Sinatra in performance that matches these pictures. Thank you for this, Lew. They’re beautiful! Mike Mulligan, Key West FL

***
.

I was born too late to experience the Chairman of the Board in person. Of course I’ve seen the clips and heard the songs, but until this collection of images, I never really enjoyed the full essence of Frank Sinatra. 20 stunning black and white images that are raw, unembellished, candid images that by their presentation alone will set the mood and transport you to the edge of the stage. I find the honest portrayal of the images only serves to enhance the experience and I swear I can smell the smoke from the cigarette as the haze dances among the stage lights and adds an ethereal touch to the photos. A wonderful compilation of images that anyone who has ever enjoyed the magic of the master would cherish.

***

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* Lew’s comments on NO WAY OUT by Emanuel Melzer

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 9, 2016

No Way Out & AFOE.jpg

NOTE: As I await a decision on the publication of A FLOOD OF EVIL, I have been accumulating research which will be used in Volume Two of my novel, which I hope to begin drafting this summer.

NO WAY OUT …

This is a sad book, telling the story of the inexorable squeezing of the lives of 3 million Jews by the Polish Christian population after Marshal Pilsudski’s death in 1935. Fomented by right wing politicians and the Catholic Church, this accelerating Jew-hatred was much like what was taking place in Nazi Germany at the same time. There were some exceptions among Christian Poles, but not many. Most Poles wanted the Jews to leave but there was no place for them to go, particularly as the British lowered quotas for Polish Jews to emigrate to Palestine. The net result was a huge level of indifference when the Nazis conquered Poland, rounded up all the Jews, and murdered them at Auschwitz and other places.

Melzer’s book provides much detail on the economic and social persecution of Polish Jews, both through governmental actions and by unchecked violence.

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* Lew’s comments on “The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany” by Guenter Lewy

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 4, 2016

Lewy & AFOE

This is a very difficult book to read, both because of the material and also Lewy’s complicated style of writing, which sometimes seems as circuitous as the Catholic pronouncements he is presenting and explaining. Nevertheless, it is a treasure of information.

Lewy’s bottom line conclusion is damning …

Although a few priests and even fewer bishops tried to oppose Hitler and his annihilation of Jews, most did not. The Church as an institution did nothing. The fundamental reason for this was the Church’s centuries-long denunciation and persecution of Jews, which locked its own position and that of German Catholics into an attitude of indifference to the plight of Europe’s Jews.

In the final analysis, Pius XII did not disagree with Hitler that the Jews were a menace to be eliminated. There is no evidence that Pius XII condoned Hitler’s mass murder of Jews, but neither did he say a single word to condemn it. Lewy’s conclusion, and mine, is that this was a total and disgraceful abdication of the Church’s pretension to moral authority.

Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich, who is a character in my new historical novel, appears many times in Lewy’s book, and thus I have gained many opportunities to raise questions in my novel as to what Faulhaber thought as he dealt with his Church’s appropriate role and his own personal dilemma.

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* Lew’s review of “The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy 1933-1945” by Robert Gellately

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 25, 2016

gestapo & AFOE

***

A truly excellent and detailed portrayal of how the Gestapo enforced German anti-Jewish policies and how ordinary Germans played a crucial role by denouncing their friends and neighbors. Some excerpts … 

… Germans have been convincing themselves, in hindsight, that there was an extensive army of Gestapo agents and spies which allowed no opportunity for any real resistance or opposition to have crystallized … Gellately says that story is no longer convincing

… ordinary German citizens played a key role in their own policing and help make possible the murderous deeds of the Nazi regime

… the Gestapo’s reputation for brutality … and the knowledge that anyone could be sent to a concentration camp for an indefinite period … was central to the Gestapo’s effectiveness

… police now had the authority to arrest and detain any suspect deemed a threat to the state … with no judicial procedure or permission … this could amount to unlimited trial, indeed without even charges 

… Gestapo cases were organize into many categories … continuation of political parties … continuation of forbidden religious associations … forbidden youth groups … nonconforming verbal utterances … nonconforming work or leisure activities … acquiring or spreading of forbidden printed matter … listening to foreign radio … political passivity … conventional criminality … improper statements from the pulpit

… Jews were made to feel that they could expect little help from their neighbors … that anti-Jewish policies would increase in number … and enforced down to the smallest detail … any sympathy that might be shown by any other person for their plight or even regarding the efficacy of anti-Semitic policies could be treated by anyone who wished to as cause for a report to the local Gestapo authority

… there was a high incidence of false charges … but the Gestapo could use intimidation,, extortion and blackmail to force victims to sign confessions … Gestapo interrogation was often exhausting for the victims … days and weeks filled with terror and anxiety … some, when released temporarily, attempted suicide to escape the relentless cross examination by the tireless officials

… sexual intercourse between Jews and non-Jews was declared a crime by the Nuremberg laws of 1935 … even friendly or social relations with Jews constituted an area of potential criminality 

… a life-threatening incident could begin anywhere and at any time … a group was listening to dance music on the radio at a bar … the music was interrupted by a speech by Hitler … somebody turned off the radio … a woman immediately try to ascertain the name of the person who did that … the radio was turned back on but the lady was not satisfied and made a report to the Gestapo 

… an elderly couple, a Jewish merchant and a woman who lived across the street from him, we’re suspected of having a relationship which might be considered raise the file … although the advanced years of both parties suggest that they fear of race defilement through production of a child of next ancestry was out of the question … nevertheless remarkably dogged and sometimes ridiculous efforts were pursued until the man died suddenly of natural causes … or did he commit suicide?

… sometimes there were not enough cases of race defilement … Gestapo officials had to invent more cases … Jews were lured into compromising situations and then denounced … or so called evidence was simply invented … to local Gestapo officers it was a foregone conclusion that every Jewish person brought to their attention could be linked with some infringement of race regulation

 

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* a selection of photos from AN EVENING WITH FRANK

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 20, 2016

sinatra composite

20 never-before-published photos of Sinatra in concert

 

AN EVENING WITH FRANK is available at amazon … 

http://www.amazon.com/Evening-Frank-before-published-photos/dp/1522739203/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461160845&sr=1-1&keywords=an+evening+with+frank

 

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* Update: A FLOOD OF EVIL is now in the hands of 5 agents

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 16, 2016

AFOE - front cover - 4-15-16

***

A month or so ago, I was just about to publish A FLOOD OF EVIL as a POD book on amazon. But first I thought I would try to find an agent to represent me and sell the book to a real publisher. I sent out letters to agents who seemed interested in historical fiction and now 5 agents are reading my book. Doesn’t mean anyone will sign me up, but it is encouraging. For the moment, POD publishing is on hold.

Here is a synopsis of the book the agents are reading …

A FLOOD OF EVIL opens with a Nazi named Berthold Becker on trial at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials shortly after the end of WWII. He is saved from a certain death sentence by the unexpected testimony of a Polish Jewish woman named Anna Gorska.

Years later, the Nuremberg prosecutor and his daughter, now a history professor at Brandeis University, decide to work together on a book about the two people from his trial. They locate Berthold in Munich and Anna in Jerusalem and travel to them to learn their stories.

The reader meets Berthold, a Catholic, when he is thirteen years old and first exposed to the Nazis by his older brother. When the brother dies in Hitler’s failed beer hall putsch of 1923, Berthold is forever-after revered as the putsch martyr’s brother. As a result, even though he is repulsed by the Nazi violence and Jew-hatred, he is drawn into the Nazi orbit and gains unique access to the internal workings of the Nazi movement at the highest level.

Anna Gorska grows up in a Polish shtetl where her Orthodox Jewish family struggles against the forces of modernization. She leaves the shtetl to attend Warsaw University and, aided by her family’s connections with Polish strongman Josef Pilsudski, becomes a respected journalist with an international following.

Anna is sent to Munich to do a story on Jewish students in German universities. She meets Berthold and he offers to help with her student interviews. They fall in love and begin a lifetime of working together under severe duress to try to stop Hitler and the Nazis.

Through these characters, we meet many of the Nazi insiders, and also the people and institutions who could have stopped Hitler, but didn’t.

We learn Berthold and Anna’s stories not only from their recollections, but also by meeting them in “real time,” in the presence of the Brandeis professor and her father. Berthold and Anna, still sharp and intense in their 80s, thus provide the reader with a direct, first-person connection to supplement and comment on the story as they lived it.

A FLOOD OF EVIL is planned as a multi-volume historical novel. Book One, which is self-contained, begins in 1923 and ends shortly after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933.

 

 

 

 

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* new titles … Sinatra is here … Hitler’s evil is coming

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2016

LEW + 6 books - rev 4-15-16

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* Lew’s review of “In Hitler’s Germany” by Bernt Engelmann

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 6, 2016

in Hitler's Germany & AFOE

An excellent source for small details of how people reacted to the organized state terror of the Nazi regime. Some actually resisted, secretly to avoid being sent to concentration camps or killed. Others saw themselves as small cogs in a big machine, the overall objectives of which they supported. Still others denied knowing anything, although that was clearly impossible.

The sections dealing with Kristallknacht are particularly poignant, including the fate of one relatively low-ranking planner, who sent out orders to attack and destroy and murder Jews, and who, subsequent to a brief imprisonment by the Allies after the war, retired on a “fat pension” since he had been promoted to the rank of General in the Waffen-SS.

Six million dead; this Nazi pig retired on a fat pension!

 

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Lew’s review of “The Hidden Encyclical of Pius XI” by Georges Passelecq … and some thoughts regarding the bounds of historical fiction

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 2, 2016

hidden & AFOE

In June of 1938, Pope Pius XI asked an American Jesuit priest to prepare a draft of what the Holy Father expected to become a Papal Encyclical denouncing the racial policies and antisemitism of the Nazis. Father LaFarge went to Paris and prepared such a draft, which he brought to Rome in September 1938. What happened next to that draft is not known.

A few months later, in February 1939, Pius XI died and in March 1939 Cardinal Pacelli became Pius XII. The Encyclical was never promulgated and in fact disappeared for decades.

Passelecq managed to obtain the draft and much but not all of the record related to it. Many important facts are likely still buried in Vatican archives, or perhaps destroyed, but what Passelecq obtained is enough for a fascinating story and even more fascinating questions.

Did Pius XI ever see the draft? Was it kept from him, and if so, did Cardinal Pacelli have anything to do with that? Did Pacelli see the draft? Did Pacelli decide to bury it and if so why?

Questions like these can perhaps be answered some day if the Vatican provides all the archives it has. Other questions are more speculative.

Would the Encyclical, if published, have made any difference in the Nazi’s subsequent murder of 6 million Jews? Would the Encyclical have created an anti-Nazi climate where the US might have entered the fight with England sooner? Would the Encyclical have created pressure for Allied bombing of Auschwitz and other murder sites? Would the Encyclical have led to Nazi retaliation against Catholics living in Germany, Poland and elsewhere? Would the Encyclical have encouraged other countries to allow more Jews to get out of Germany before they were murdered?

For me, Passelecq’s book provides much material for one or more possible chapters in Book Two of A FLOOD OF EVIL which I hope to write later this year.

THOUGHTS REGARDING THE BOUNDS OF HISTORICAL FICTION

But what are the appropriate rules for writing historical fiction when some of the facts are known and others are not? My guidelines are these:

(1) if I state an historical fact, get it as right as possible;
(2) if responsible sources disagree on the facts, I am free to choose whichever version I want to portray;
(3) for the fictional parts which go beyond the known facts, they must be plausible with regard both to known events and to the reported personalities and inclinations of the historical characters;
(4) there must be no credible negative facts which make the fiction I am writing impossible to have happened.

Given those guidelines, I feel free to create a work of historical fiction which goes beyond the history and presents a plausible version of what might have happened. “The Hidden Encyclical of Pius XI” gives me a huge and powerful canvass on which to create important aspects of my novel.

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* Lew’s review of Days of Sorrow and Pain: Leo Baeck and the Berlin Jews by Leonard Baker

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 27, 2016

days of sorrow - baeck.jpg

Rabbi Leo Baeck was perhaps the most important leader of the Jews of Germany during the Hitler years. A scholar and spiritual leader before Hitler’s rise, Baeck turned down offers to leave Germany and took on the difficult and ultimately frustrating role of coordinating Jewish response to the closing Nazi net. Arrested several times, he survived Theresienstadt and lived his final years in England. Baker has written a marvelous account of Baeck’s long and remarkable life.

Baeck recognized that the scattered organizational structure of German Jewry was not adequate to stand against Nazi antisemitism. He helped create and was the chief spokesman for the Reichsverretung, an organization which supervised welfare problems of German Jews … education … emigration … raised funds … and sought help of Jews abroad. He was a major factor in the escape of many German Jews during the late 1930s when escape was still possible.

In 1935, on Yom Kippur shortly after the passage of the infamous Nuremberg Racial Laws, Baeck wrote a stirring sermon to be read in all synagogues in Germany. In this sermon, Baeck stated … that there was a moment of decision for each individual, the point beyond which he will not bend, the pressure to which he will not succumb, the sacrifice he will not make … that Judaism was the history of the grandeur of the human soul and the dignity of human life … that no matter how weak we are, how oppressed we might be, how abruptly our former friends turn away from us, we cannot be defeated.

Baeck was arrested by the Gestapo, but soon released after pressure from an article in the London Times and protest from a group of Christian ministers in the US. Baker points out that “no German Christian leaders protested the Baeck’s arrest.”

This event, and others in Baeck’s life, will likely play a role in Book Two of my novel A FLOOD OF EVIL.

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* Lew’s review of The Face of the Third Reich: Portraits of the Nazi Leadership by Joachim Fest (chapter on Reinhardt Heydrich)

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 27, 2016

Fest-Face & Heydrich

Joachim Fest has created fascinating, terrifying portraits of the major figures in the Nazi leadership.

I just read the chapter on Reinhardt Heydrich, described by Fest as … the architect and brain behind the SS state … a man free from humanitarian restraints … with an insatiable greed for power … and unencumbered by either ideologies or emotions.

Heydrich was the man who fashioned the Final Solution to murder all the Jews of Europe. Yet, according to Fest … Heydrich lived under the continual constraint of his own Jewish ancestors … he tried to destroy all the evidence … but was unable to prevent enemies and rivals from obtaining documentary evidence.

Fest states that Heydrich went so far as to change the headstone of his grandmother’s grave so that it said ‘S. Heydrich’ rather than ‘Sarah Heydrich.’

According to Fest … Himmler & Hitler were aware of Heydrich’s Jewish ‘problem’ … they regarded Heydrich as gifted but dangerous … and felt their knowledge of his ancestry would keep him in line … he will obey blindly.

It is important to note that Fest’s views on Heydrich’s Jewish ancestry are not universally accepted by other historians.

Heydrich is introduced briefly in Book One of my soon-to-be-published novel A FLOOD OF EVIL, and it is my intent that he will be a major character in Book Two, which I have begun to research and outline.

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* Lew’s review of JUST MERCY by Bryan Stevenson

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 20, 2016

just mercy + 2

***

JUST MERCY is a ringing denunciation of the way prosecutors, police officers and judges conspire to get convictions without having the evidence.

How do they do this? They cheat.

They make up evidence. They create and intimidate witnesses by threats and bribes. They hide exculpatory evidence they are required by law to give to the defense attorney.

These public officials are a disgrace to American law enforcement and they are almost never punished for their behavior, even when those they wrongly sent to prison are released 10, 20 or more years later, their lives ruined.

Bryan Stevenson writes as well as the top mystery novelists, except his stories are true. He is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. (http://www.eji.org/) which works to help correct the horrors of children sent to prison without possibility of parole, people on death row whose convictions are a travesty of justice, and minorities who do not get anything close to fair and equal treatment. The book presents examples of each of these kinds of cases. Stevenson’s cases take place in the south, but the problems he describes are found everywhere in America. Meeting these people will make you cry. It could happen to you.

I have studied and written about these matters in my novel A Good Conviction. John Grisham’s Rogue Lawyer covers much of the same territory. Our fiction is based on real cases, but Bryan Stevenson gives it to you straight, from real life, recent cases, still happening.

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* Coming soon … An Evening with Frank

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 18, 2016

frank - cover- 3-17-REV

On May 26, 1978, I attended Frank Sinatra’s last appearance at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill NJ. Seated near the stage, I shot one roll of ASA 400 black and white film. It took about 25 minutes from start to finish.Sometime that summer, my friend Susan Rose developed the film and printed the photographs.

For almost 38 years, these photos have been in file folders, in drawers, and for the past eight years, in my garage.

Remarkably they have survived.

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* Lew’s books at Books and Books

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 4, 2016

Great news! All of my titles are now available at Books and Books at 533 Eaton St in Key West. Even “Hereje,” which is “The Heretic” in Spanish. But not A FLOOD OF EVIL, which is not yet published (soon!).

LEW + 5 NOVELS - rev 3-4-16

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* Monsignor Tom Hartman

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 21, 2016

Heretic & Hartman

Monsignor Thomas Hartman – Father Tom – died this weekend. I first met Monsignor Hartman at the 92nd Street Y in NYC where he opened his talk by saying “The Church did horrible things to the Jews and we were wrong.” Subsequently, he wrote a very thoughtful foreword to my novel THE HERETIC. Father Tom was everything good that a priest can be, a model not just for Catholics, but for all human beings.

***

Foreword to The Heretic by Msgr. Tom Hartman

The Heretic reminds us of a history

that we should not forget.

Marc Gellman and I rarely disagree. We’re best friends. There are many best friends in the world, but the fact that he is a rabbi and I am a priest has caused some people to sit up and take notice. People see us on Good Morning America or Imus In The Morning or our own God Squad show. We try to look out at our world and find a reason for hope which cuts across our respective religious faiths and gets to the heart of spiritually responding to God and our neighbor. We’ve been at this for thirteen years and our disagreements and tense moments have been few.

Marc and I had it out one evening at a local television station. We were talking about the convent at Auschwitz. I was incensed. A Jewish rabbi – Avi Weiss – and a group of his followers had jumped over the convent wall to pray in protest. This startled and frightened the group of contemplative nuns who had built the convent at Auschwitz to pray for the victims of the Holocaust. “How,” I asked Marc “can you or any other Jew support such an action? If Jews knew anything about these sisters they would realize that they were selfless, holy, and prayerful. They were committed to redeeming the ugly face of mass murder and destruction.”

Marc listened. His face told me that he was searching for a way to share something painful with me in a caring way. He turned, looked me in the eye, and said, “Tom, you don’t realize what the Cross of Jesus means to us Jews. For you the Cross is a sign of hope and redemption. For us it’s a sign of despair and destruction. It was during the Inquisition and the Crusades that Christians led with the Cross as they murdered thousands of Jews. They killed Jews and Muslims in the name of the Cross. Pogroms raped and pillaged our people in the name of vengeance toward the Jews that killed Christ.” Marc’s own aunt had once been abused by people leaving a Holy Week service looking for a Jew to vent their anger toward for the death of Jesus.

I didn’t realize the depth of his feelings on the subject until we did that show. It took me aback. That which was a sign of hope and redemptive love for me – the Cross – was a sign of destruction for him. Recognizing this for the first time, I could see why a Jew would be offended at the sight of the Cross at the scene of one of the greatest massacres of Jewish people in human history. I turned and said, “Marc, if that’s what the Cross represents to Jews, maybe we ought to take it down.” “No,” said Marc, “maybe we ought to build a synagogue next to the convent and we could both pray together.”

The Heretic, a book by Lewis Weinstein, was where I turned in order to understand the Inquisition. I knew the outline of Christian atrocities but Lew’s book taught me about the painful positions many good people were put into in order to survive. It’s not a pretty picture. Their lives were all scarred in one way or another. But The Heretic reminds us of a history that we should not forget.

***

link to obituary in NYT …

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/21/nyregion/msgr-thomas-j-hartman-69-half-of-god-squad-dies.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fobituaries&action=click&contentCollection=obituaries&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

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* Lew’s Goodreads review of “The Twisted Road to Aushwitz” by Karl A. Schleunes

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 13, 2016

 

 

Twisted Road + AFOE

This is one of the first books (published in 1970) to put the persecution of Jews by the Nazis into a sequential narrative context, and it is still valuable today even after many other works have added information not available to Schleunes.

The Nazi efforts to achieve the Jew-free Germany demanded by Hitler are described as a series of vicious programs which failed, from 1933 to 1938, to accomplish Hitler’s goal. Boycotts, legislation, emigration and pogroms all caused incredible hardship but still failed to eliminate Jews from Germany or even from the German economy. Finally, after Kristallknacht in November 1938, Hitler turned the Jewish problem over to Goering, Heydrich and Eichmann, which led to Auschwitz.

Schleunes argues that Nazi policy until late 1938 was implemented by various underlings acting without consistent direction from Hitler. From what I have so far read, I think this was true but not a complete analysis. Hitler’s fanatical Jew-hatred never wavered, from the moment he came to public attention in the early 1920s until his last statement before he died in 1945. But Hitler was patient, and his career is marked by a willingness to wait for the right opportunity and to defer action on one priority – ridding Germany of Jews – while focusing on the then-higher priorities of economic recovery and rearmament. When those goals had been achieved, and Germany no longer needed to be concerned with international opinion, Hitler turned to the Jews.

One aspect of the Nazi Jew-hatred that Schleunes does not address is why Hitler hated and feared Jews as he did, and why so many (most?) Germans had no problem accepting that hatred as valid and acquiescing in Hitler’s policies, even to the point of mass murder. Why were Jews hated? Where did Hitler acquire that hatred? Why was persecution of Jews so acceptable to so many Germans? These are issues I am dealing with in the almost completed A FLOOD OF EVIL (1923-1933) and the sequel which is now taking focus.

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* A Flood of Evil … update

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 26, 2015

AFOE - cover

I have completed a major revision and tightening of the entire draft and it is currently in the hands of “early readers.”

Thanks so much to all of the early readers who have already read portions of my novel and provided valuable comments.

Here’s my first draft of a book jacket description. Your comments are welcome  …

A FLOOD OF EVIL

Do you believe it’s impossible for another Hitler-like menace to emerge in Europe or the United States? Actually, there are conditions today that provide frightening parallels to those in the Weimar Republic in the 1920s and early 1930s. It is important for all of us to understand how Hitler came to power, how his rise could have been stopped, and who chose not to oppose him.

Lewis Weinstein has written a bone-chilling novel that explores these issues through the eyes of two young people, one a German Catholic and the other a Polish Jew, who were extraordinarily positioned to understand what was happening as they worked with powerful people in both countries who sought to keep Hitler from power.

Berthold Becker was drawn into the Nazi orbit because his older brother was viewed as a martyr who had saved Hitler’s life in the 1923 Putsch attempt. He sees the leaders of the Nazi world from the inside.

Anna Gorska leaves her Polish shtetl and becomes an internationally respected journalist with access to the powerful.

Berthold and Anna fall in love and work together in a dangerous and ultimately futile quest to keep Hitler from power.

A FLOOD OF EVIL takes place in the years from 1923 to 1933, from the beginnings of the Nazi Party to Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor.

***

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* a new review of THE HERETIC

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 21, 2015

The Heretic - new cover

 

Linda’s review of THE HERETIC on GoodReads (Aug 2015) …

A well written story that will pull at your heartstrings because of the amount of loss and betrayal that occurs when the Catholic Church decides there can be no other religions to compete with them in Spain.

Gabriel Catalan and his family live in Seville where they are called Conversos because they converted to Catholicism to save their family from the torment they would get as Jews. However, Gabriel and a number of other Conversos are secret Jews. Many Catholics do not trust them yet the Conversos have been the ones to keep the country running smoothly. When the Spanish Inquisition begins Gabriel and his family as well as many friends are at risk of being caught in their secret lives and being put to death. This does not stop Gabriel and his son Tomas from hiding Gutenberg Printers so that they may print volumes of Jewish books for the future. There is hope among the Jewish population that things will one day be very different.

As I read this story I kept thinking about the present state of our world and how we seem to be becoming less tolerant again. We were supposed to have learned from the past but we seem to be ignoring it and in some cases pretending that it never happened. How sad for our future generations.

I believe that everyone should read this book as a reminder of what was and what should now be. When we think of intolerance, Hitler and the Nazis always come to mind but there is a whole lot more in our history than that. My hope for mankind is that someday everyone will “give peace a chance” and I believe this story is trying to lead us in that direction.

 

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* Lew’s comments on “Once We Were Brothers” by Ronald Balson

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 7, 2015

once we were brothers

A compelling read.

Several issues raised by Balson resonate sharply with me as I work through similar questions in my own new novel.

WARNING … POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW

,,, Ben hates his former friend and “brother” Otto for failing to save his parents and others from Nazi torture and murder but gives no credence to the enormous risks Otto did take to save Ben and his wife, the unsuccessful but still substantial efforts Otto made on behalf of others, and the numerous warnings he made for all of them to leave Poland while they still could. In the scenes where Otto was complicit in the murders, it seemed clear from Balson’s description that Otto’s only alternative was to try to save them and fail, and in the process commit suicide.

… What could Otto have done? What could any of the small cogs in the Nazi machine have done? Collectively, of course, tens of thousands of Germans could theoretically have refused to carry out Nazi orders, fomented or carried out revolution against Hitler, or fled Germany. Whether such actions were actually possible is highly questionable, but even if successful, they would likely have meant the deaths of the perpetrator’s families and neighbors.

… There should be a distinction, it seems to me, between patriotic actions in furtherance of national war aims and actions that were later termed, correctly in my view, war crimes. Should a patriotic German at a relatively low level in the army or even in the SS or Gestapo be held accountable for failing to distinguish the line between fighting for his country and committing acts against humanity (as later defined at the Nuremberg Trials)? I say yes, the line was clear enough, but the more difficult issue is whether you are obliged to risk not only your own life but also the lives of your own family, especially if you think your protest has no chance to succeed.

Balson raises all of these issues, and more, in stark dramatic form. A very good story.

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* reviews of THE HERETIC on Goodreads … I have to admit I love to read these reviews … thanks to everyone for your kind words

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 16, 2015

 Heretic & Hereje
LEW + 5 NOVELS - rev 6-12-15

Cathy DuPont

Cathy DuPont rated it 4 of 5 stars

Recommends it for: Everyone who enjoys a great story told well.

If I kept a GR shelf for family sagas, this book would be proudly placed there along withThe Pillars of the Earth, Gone With the Wind, and The Age Of Innocence. In my mind they are all historical novels which describe families and their trials and tribulations of living in troubling and/or interesting times.

This historical fiction was set during the Spanish Inquisition which I knew little about. During this inquisition under Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain in the late 1400’s and ear …more

Chuck

The author, Lewis Weinstein, is one of my Goodreads friends. Outstanding job, Lew. Historical fiction is my favorite genre and this is historical fiction of the first order. It is very well written, exhaustively researched and historically accurate. This book increased my knowledge of the religious conflict in 15th century Spain by one hundred fold. The folks writing positive acknowledgements about the book include Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz and Faye Kellerman. It tells the story from
the view
…more

Paul Fadoju

Paul Fadoju rated it 4 of 5 stars

Shelves: 2013, fiction
A touching well written book. Set during the Spanish Inquisition it shows the beautiful portrayal of a Jewish Family as they try to live in a culture that denies their humanity. I was touched with the tapestry of their lives, the length they went to live the lives that was true to themselves….and as you go through their struggles, you ask yourself a simple question what would I do in their situation. This ugly part of the Christian history is not well known to the modern church and it’s nice t …more

Pat K

An historic telling of the treatment, by the Catholic church, of the Jews in Spain, leading up to the period of the Spanish inquisition. I have read a number of books about the annihilation of the Cathars and other religious groups by the Catholic Church, and I had realized the Jews were also persecuted by the church, but this story explores not only the actions of the church, but also the tenacity and resourcefulness of the Jewish people. A slowish read but a thoroughly interesting story.

David Lowther

I approached The Heretic with a small amount of trepidation because, as a gentile, I wasn’t certain that I would follow the passages of the explanation of the Jewish faith which I knew to be contained in the book.
In the event I needn’t have been concerned at all. Yes there was much of what I expected but all of this was wrapped around a thrilling and superbly told story and added strength to what Lewis Weinstein was trying to achieve; to give readers a complete understanding of how and why the J
…more

Peggie Hart

I loved this book! Tells a part of European history I knew little about. “The Heretic” explains the rationale of the Catholic Church used to persecute the Jews of Spain. Lessons for our own time. I want to learn more about the Spanish Inquisition period so I am now reading the newly released book “Isabella The Warrior Queen” by Kirstin Downey. Looks to be another very interesting book.

Judie

I would assume that most people who consider reading THE HERETIC are familiar with the details of that tragic period of Jewish and Catholic history. While Lewis Weinstein’s scholarly novel does give the usual details about the predetermined trials, the tortures, and the burning of its victims, particularly at the end of the book, THE HERETIC goes much deeper into its causes.
Gabriel Catalan ’s Jewish father was forcibly converted to Catholicism,thus becoming a converso. While some Jews were abl
…more

Lisa

This historical novel is well-researched and the story is captivating, although difficult to read in places because of the terrible violence perpetrated against Jews and forcibly baptized Christians (and their descendants) suspected of “reverting” to Judaism in medieval Spain. The author captures well the dangers in the lives of these conversosand, for those who wish to live as Jews, the risks they ran to practice their faith and be true to their heritage. All of this is in the context of the l …more

Steve

What risks are your beliefs worth? During the Spanish Inquisition, this question permeates the lives of the Jews and conversos, those who had converted to Catholicism under duress. With noteworthy historical accuracy, Weinstein brings the fictional Catalan family and its nemesis Friar Perez, into the realistic world, one including Gutenberg, the father of the printing press, the infamously evil monk Torquemada, and various members of the royal families of the kingdoms of Spain that were not yet …more

Mike

I’m not sure where to start with my review of Lewis Weinstein’s ‘The Heretic’, so I’ll start by saying that it was a damn good read. I think that part of my problem here is that I read the sequel first, and while both books are very good works of fiction in their own right, there’s always a little less suspense when one knows, even in the broadest terms, what is going to happen down the line.

My misfortune aside, The Heretic is, like its sequel The Pope’s Conspiracy, a very well-written, historic …more

Fergie

The Heretic is a wonderfully written novel about the Spanish Inquisition and the impact it had on the Jewish population in the 15th century. In Lewis Weinstein’s able hands, the history of Jewish culture trying to survive the Anti-Semitic acts of that era survive. In fact, Weinstein describes with great deft, the roots of Anti-Semitic views in Europe.
I read this book in one day, finding it difficult to put down. History, action, and love all abound in this book. Also present is the notion of i
…more

Carol

A great read and strong reminders of how powerful fear can be in causing good people to hate each other. I also loved the deep loving marriages. The characters were very real, the dialogue honest, the descriptions vivit and the facts (historical and biblical) so well researched that I learned a great deal while enjoying a wonderful story. Thank you Lewis.

Diane

I found this book written about religious intolerance in Fifteenth-Century Spain interesting and informative and quite shocking. The descriptions of characters, costumes,scenery,landscapes and religious traditions made this book come alive for me.A Good read, this book really opened my mind about religious thought and dogma. I recommend this book to all.

Becky

I am Catholic. My entire life I have had friends that are Jewish. Until reading this compelling novel did I really understand their feelings towards Christianity. This book is a must read.

Patricia O'Sullivan

Gabriel Catalan’s father was stoned to death by a Christian mob despite converting to Christianity. As he nears middle age, Gabriel seeks to learn more about his father’s Jewish faith. Welcomed into a community of secret Jews, Gabriel is entrusted by them to learn the new art of printing from Herr Gutenberg himself so the Jews can preserve their sacred texts and encourage fledgling Jewish communities in Spain. As Gabriel’s fortunes rise, he hands over the printing operation to his son, Thomas, w …more

Thomas DeKooning

I finished The Heretic today. It is beautifully written and it is obviously carefully and thoroughly researched. The novel is a historical fictional account of the elimination of the Jewish population by the Catholic Church in Spain just before and during the reign of Queen Isabella. Moral questions are constantly put before the reader. Choices have to be made between religious commitment to the Jewish faith or to the safety and survival of the family. The wife and mother, Pilar, is much more in …more

Lena

Disturbing.

Stephen Embry

I would highly recommend Mr. Weistein’s story of Spain during the time of the reconquista and the inquisition. It captures the conflicts in a land populated by Christians, Jews and Musliims in a remarkably fresh way. At this time the the Christian princes and princesse were involved in a struggle to reconcile holy wars manifested by the crusades and jihad, in a way that is difficult to appreciate in modern terms, which are largely a response to the religious passions of the times.However, these …more

Ju

Wow. It took me awhile to actually read this book because when I first stumbled upon it, it wasn’t available on kindle. Then I waited because I needed fast moving books to keep interested with my busy life. Who says fast moving needs to be mindless? Couldn’t put the book down. Finished in two weeks and was sad when the story was over. Well written historical fiction. Reminds me why I love historical fiction. Characters are believable and so full of life and stories to tell. Helps bring clarity t …more

Madeleine Russo

Everyone, be you Christian, Catholic, Jewish….matters not this is a book which will open your eyes and broaden your knowledge of how religious persecution took place. You will be astonished at how religion was used to severly punish people – so times for no good reason. you owe it yo yourself to put this book as a must read..when you are done you will have a much better understanding of our human race. GREAT BOOK!

Laura Uplinger

Thank you Lewis Weinstein for this fabulous book!
It moved me so deeply… I admire your art and your research. “The Heretic” educated me, and the Catalan family now lives in my heart.

Barbara

Barbara rated it 4 of 5 stars

Shelves: five-stars
Excellent historical novel; don’t miss it!
Our reading group gave it 5 stars.

Stacey

Stacey rated it 4 of 5 stars

Recommends it for: Most
Compelling read about conversos surviving on the eve of the Spanish inquisition. This was in limited release and hard to track down, but it was worth it.

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* CASE CLOSED – Lew’s novel about the anthrax attacks and the failed FBI investigation – has been re-published. In this interview, Lew explains why perhaps his novel is closer to the truth than anything the FBI is asserting.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 24, 2015

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* The new edition of CASE CLOSED could not come at a more opportune time.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 4, 2015

case closed new cover

The new edition of CASE CLOSED could not come at a more opportune time.

Just a few days ago, on June 3, 2015, the Pentagon reported that 51 laboratories received shipments of live anthrax, across 17 states (plus D.C.) and three foreign countries over a period of at least ten years. The Defense Department admitted it didn’t know everywhere it had sent the toxic bacteria.

This is happening fourteen years AFTER the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed 5 Americans and paralyzed our country. What would you speculate about controls over anthrax BEFORE the attacks? Right, they were virtually non-existent.

Yet the FBI, in the face of no credible evidence of any kind, still insists that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of those attacks. The FBI’s case offers no physical evidence, no witnesses, no scientific evidence, and an impossible time line. Both the NAS and the GAO have conducted independent reviews which concluded the FBI’s claims to scientific evidence are not valid.

So we are left with two questions, both of which have important national security implications. Who really did carry out those attacks in 2001? Why does the FBI stick to its demonstrably false assertion?

CASE CLOSED offers a far more plausible scenario than anything the FBI says. The novel is told through the activities of a team of DIA investigators who re-trace the steps of the FBI, find many of the same flaws that have been exposed in real life, and then develop a scenario of why the FBI did not solve the case and who was responsible. This latter is of course fictional, but many informed readers, including one highly placed in the US Intelligence Community, have concluded that CASE CLOSED is more plausible than the story the FBI has concocted.

***

CASE CLOSED is available in paper ($14.95) and ebook ($3.99) at …

amazon … (http://www.amazon.com/Case-Closed-Lewis-M-Weinstein-ebook/dp/B00YIC331Y/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433425899&sr=1-2&keywords=weinstein+case+closed&pebp=1433438167533&perid=1M7V72CVS1R475C6A1CY),

Barnes and Noble … (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/case-closed-lewis-m-weinstein/1016943061?ean=9780692452653),

… Absolutely Amazing Ebooks … (http://www.absolutelyamazingebooks.com/bookpages/caseclosed.html).

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* Lew’s comments on I.J. Singer’s “The Family Carnovsky”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 9, 2015

Family Carnovsky & An Untitled Novel

I.J. Singer (the older brother of Isaac Bashevitz Singer) tells the story of three generations of a Jewish family, from Poland to Berlin to New York, from the early 1900s to the 1930s.

German Jews thought they were safe, with careers and sufficient wealth to live comfortably, to work, marry, have children and pray. They assimilated and they had become, as Singer puts it, “Jews in the house and Germans on the street.”

Then came the Nazis and everything was turned upside down.

The scenes describing the impact of the brutal, ignorant Nazi beasts are frightening and difficult to read, but impossible to put aside. In their minds in the German Jews of Singer’s novel were as good as any other German, but in public, in the “streets,” they were not Germans at all, but simply despicable Jews, to be robbed and beaten at will. They had done everything they thought was right and they had succeeded in building satisfying and productive lives, and now they were nothing, barely able to stay alive, with nowhere to turn for help.

I read this as a library copy, but immediately my purchased own, to read again as I write my still untitled story of how Hitler came to power, who supported his rise and why, who stood aside, and my young fictional characters who tried to resist.

***

Posted in * A FLOOD OF EVIL ... Lew's novel-in-progress, ** RESEARCH for A FLOOD OF EVIL | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

* Kristen Lamb’s post about structuring a novel

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 6, 2015

kristen lamb

Kristen Lamb

I have just read Kristen Lamb’s newsletter post entitled … Anatomy of a Best-Selling Story—Structure Part One. It is brilliant and it comes at the perfect time for me as I am now editing and revising the first draft of my new novel.

You can find Kristen’s post (and much more) at her blog at … https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/.

Kristen Lamb is the #1best selling author of “Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World”, “We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide

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* First draft complete. Still untitled.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 25, 2015

An Untitled Novel

Big day today. I finished the first draft of my still untitled novel. There’s much editing to do before I ask any “early readers” to give me feedback, but it was very satisfying to write the final scene. I think it may turn out to be a powerful and emotional story.

***

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* Lew’s novels

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 17, 2015

LEW + 5 NOVELS - rev 2-25-15

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* Lew’s comments on “The Jewish King Lear” by Jacob Gordin

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 8, 2015

Yiddish King Lear & Untitled Novel

This is a wonderful introduction to Yiddish theater in eastern Europe and New York, seen through the prism of the playwright Jacob Gordin and his play “The Jewish King Lear,” written in 1891 when it was not unusual to adapt plays from the European repertoire into Yiddish. The play was first performed on the New York stage in 1892, during the height of a massive emigration of 2.5 million Jews from eastern Europe to America.

Gordin’s setting is the celebration of Purim and the plot shows the shifting of fortune between the older and younger generation, between traditionalism and modernity, between religion and secularism. In Gordin’s view, the transition taking place on the stage is also taking place in the audience, as parents are suffering when their children no longer honor them.

Notes by Ruth Gay and Sophie Glazer convey Yiddish secular theater as a thrilling seductive experience, arousing passionate responses from audiences who saw portrayals of tension-filled situations presented in everyday language.

Also described is “Sappho,” another play by Gordin, which presents out-of-wedlock pregnancy and a proud statement by the heroine Sophia: “I made a mistake; it is nobody’s business; I take full responsibility; if I am to be a mother, I can care for my child by myself; I will be free and honorable in my actions, honorable the way I understand it, not Aunt Frade’s way and Uncle Melekh’s and all the rest.”

In my new novel, I’m hoping to show the impact of Gordin’s modern thinking and the spectacle of a riveting performance in the shtetl of Ciechanow, when a play written and first produced in America returns forty years later to its roots in eastern Europe.

***

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* a poem by Chaim Nahman Bialik

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 5, 2015

Chaim Nahman Bialik

I extracted several lines from one of C. N. Bialik’s poems, written in the early 1900s, that beautifully express the feelings of the young Polish girl who is one of the two major fictional characters in my novel-in-progress …

Distant islands, lofty worlds
of our dreams,
they made us into strangers
wherever we went.
They made our lives hell.

Golden islands we thirsted for
as for a homeland,
all the stars hinted
at them
with trembling light.

And on these islands we remain
friendless, like two flowers
in a desert, two lost souls searching
for an eternal loss
in a foreign land.

***

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Lew’s comments on David Vital’s “A People Apart”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 27, 2015

a people apart & an untitled novel

I have only read a small part of Vital’s book, those chapters dealing with Jewish life in the years between Versailles (1919) and the invasion of Poland (1939), but there were several important insights in those chapters that have great relevance for my novel-in-process. In particular, Vital describes a change in the way European Jews were viewed …

  • the norms of political behavior set by the (19th c) Enlightenment had dissolved
  • post-Versailles antisemitism had a great deal to do with what had been decided at Versailles
  • two related sets of conflicts spread across Europe
    • (1) between those who wished to preserve the Versailles settlement versus those who wished to destroy it
    • (2) between extreme nationalists who promoted the interests of their country to the status of a self-serving moral imperative and their more moderate opponents
  • very little was now heard of a need to bring the Jews into accord with other citizens … of ridding the Jews of their faults of superstition, dress and customs 
  • what was now wanted was
    • (1) removal of Jews from the societal, economic, academic and political structures into which Jews had already been admitted
    • (2) removal from society
    • (3) physical removal from the country altogether
  • for Jewish leaders … the problem was not (as had been expected) to build on the foundations established at by the Enlightenment and enhanced at Versailles … but how to keep these foundations from being completely washed away

I don’t think Vital says it exactly this way, but it seems to me that the changes he describes were very much a backlash against the progress Jews had made after gaining civil rights throughout Europe. Increased Jewish competition with the Christian population in all economic spheres was feared and resented.

This is precisely what happened in Spain after the forced conversion of Jews around 1400 unleashed Jewish competition and then a backlash that led to the Spanish Inquisition and the Expulsion. I have written about these times in Spain in my novel THE HERETIC

 The Heretic (Hereje)

***

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* Lew’s comments on “The King of Children” by Betty Jean Lifton

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 25, 2015

King of Children & An Untitled Novel

There are many tears to be shed for the way Janusz Korczak died, marching at the head of his final group of orphans off to a German death camp, but one cannot fail to be thrilled by the way he lived. For 30 years, he ran an orphanage in Warsaw, out of love for the children he was able to care for and as a means to study what worked and what didn’t in the interaction with children. His ideas – a court system run by the children, a newspaper written and largely managed by the children – are astonishingly on target, even today.

Betty Lifton did a superb job of capturing the emotion and the quality of Korczak’s work.

I have already written one scene in my novel-in-progress where Anna Gorska (my main fictional Polish character) shares a pre-Hanukah play session at the orphanage, and I have now outlined another 3-4 scenes involving Korczak and the children that I think will help me communicate the great richness of the world of Polish Jewry, the memory of which has survived even the German attempt to eradicate it.

Here are some of my notes …

… children’s court … not an instant success … children did not want to tattle … finally got going … counselors as prosecutor and defense attorney; three children as judges .. any child could bring a suit against another child … Korczak learning as he watched

… using the orphanage as a laboratory, Korczak wanted to work out an educational diagnostic system … children to run their own parliament, court and newspaper … a moral education based on respect for others as a prelude to self-respect

… Korczak launched an orphanage newspaper … each Saturday, he would read aloud his special column of the week … “do you remember, when you first came here, you didn’t have any friends, and you felt sad and lonely”

Korczak’s books, fiction and non-fiction, are all worth reading, especially these … King Matt the FirstKaytek the WizardLoving Every Child: Wisdom for Parents

***

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* Lew’s comments on “There Once Was a World” by Yaffa Eliach

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 23, 2015

There Once Was a World & An Untitled Novel

This is an absolutely marvelous compendium of detailed insights into Jewish life in Polish shtetls before the holocaust. Although focused on Eishyshok, much applies to other shtetls as well.

I am well along in my new novel set in Germany and Poland during the Nazi years. Recently, though, in re-reading some of what I had written, and comparing it with scenes from my earlier novel The Heretic, I began to feel that I was not adequately capturing the emotion that is my goal. I realized that I had been (necessarily) immersed in scenes about Hitler’s rise to the Chancellorship and I understood what I was feeling, which I can summarize as “too many Nazis, not enough Jews.” It is the Jews who bring the emotion to my story, as they watch from Poland, fearful, hopeful, uncertain and confused.

Yaffa Eliach’s book is my cure. Its 800+ pages captures the sense of the shtetl, facing the future that was never to be. Without a trace of hyperbole or any hint of the maudlin, Eliach paints a warm and enduring picture of people who did not live to paint it themselves. A vibrant culture for centuries, Polish Jewry struggled with the dilemmas of the 20th century, balancing Haskalah and Zionism, secular studies and Talmud, open lives and closed. So much potential, which we all know was never to be realized.

Eliach captures it all, the mind and the heart. Now my job is to weave aspects of the lives that created that emotion into my story

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* Lew’s comments on Andreas Dorpalen’s “Hindenburg and the Weimar Republic”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 19, 2015

German President Paul von Hindenburg

German President Paul von Hindenburg

Dorpalen provides excellent detail of the role played by President Hindenburg, especially in the months leading up to his appointment of Hitler as Chancellor in January 1933.

The resulting image is of an old and tired man, who never liked politics to begin with, who showed no initiative to understand the implications of the choices in front of him, who listened far too uncritically to the recommendations of his equally uniformed friends and son, and who, in the end, was confused and overwhelmed by a blizzard of information all pointing to Hitler as the one person who could lead Germany out of its peril.

After Hitler was appointed, Hindenburg further capitulated by signing everything Hitler put in front of him, including the Enabling Act which transferred all decision-making from the President to the Chancellor, giving Hitler total dictatorial power.

… Hindenburg was no longer capable of prolonged concentration … dozed off during lengthy conferences … could follow short concise reports … became ever more deeply entangled in an intricate web of intrigues that he did not follow … he was bewildered … yet still proud and patriotic

… Papen finally convinced Hindenburg that Hitler’s appointment was the only constitutional solution and that the safeguards he had designed would contain him

… it is doubtful that Hindenburg understood how weak the safeguards were in which Papen put so much trust … including his own ability and inclination to play the role Papen envisioned

… just as Hindenburg had let others take the blame for the defeat of 1918 … so he now disassociated himself from the failures of the Weimar Republic to which he had so greatly contributed … LMW: in effect Hindenburg said to Papen, you wanted Hitler, now you handle the problems

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* Hubert Wolf’s chapter on the Reich Concordat is more apologetics than history

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 15, 2015

Pope and Devil & Untitled Novel
Rarely have I been so angry about a book as I now am with this one. After earlier chapters with which I had no quarrel (praised in my earlier comments previously posted) I have now read the chapter dealing with the Concordat signed by the German Reich and the Vatican in 1933. The following sequence of events seems not to be in controversy.

  • The Vatican (Cardinal Pacelli) had been seeking a Reich Concordat for almost a decade before Hitler became Chancellor
  • Pacelli had concluded there was no chance of reaching an agreement with the democratic parliament (Reichstag); only a dictator like Hitler could offer such a deal
  • Hitler was appointed Chancellor on January 30, 1933
  • Hitler failed, in elections held on March 5, 1933, to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to pass an Enabling Act which would make him an absolute dictator
  • the Enabling Act thus required the votes of the Catholic Center Party to become law
  • the Center Party, and the German bishops, had adamantly opposed the Nazis for years, including in the March 5 elections
  • on March 23, 1933, the Enabling Act was passed, with all Center Party delegates voting for it, a stunningly sudden reversal of their earlier position
  • a few days later, the German bishops reversed their long-standing admonitions against the Nazi Party. A Party whose principles had been judged completely incompatible with Catholicism was now viewed quite differently … “Catholic Christians, for whom the opinion of their Church is sacred, need no particular admonition to be loyal to the legally constituted authorities, to fulfill their civic duties conscientiously, and to reject absolutely any illegal or revolutionary activity.” … in other words, it is now permissible for Catholics to be Nazis and to support the Nazi Party
  • shortly thereafter, a Concordat was entered into between Germany and Rome
  • a few months later, the Center Party was dissolved, leaving the Nazi Party the only legal political party in Germany

Wolf does not disagree with any of the above facts.

However, he asserts that Cardinal Pacelli was NOT involved in the Center Party’s consent to the Enabling Act, or in the declaration by the bishops, or even with the idea of a Concordat.

Wolf asserts that all initiative for those fateful decisions came from the Center Party delegates or the German bishops. He supports this assertion by stating that there is no evidence in Church archives that the initiative for any of these events came from Rome.

Wolf is correct that there is no documentation so far released by the Vatican to implicate Pacelli in the actions of the Center delegates or the bishops.

There is voluminous evidence from other sources, however, that Pacelli was continually negotiating with Hitler regarding the proposed Concordat, through Prelate Kaas for sure and perhaps directly with Goering.

There is also considerable evidence that the last minute votes by the Center delegates, and the recanting of the German bishops’ fierce admonitions against Nazism, were ordered by Pacelli and were carried out by obedient Catholics for whom the option to disobey Rome did not exist.

Wolf actually cites some of this evidence, before reaching his opposing and unsupported conclusion that Pacelli was not involved, which he bases solely on Pacelli’s later, self-serving statements to that effect, which statements I believe are blatant lies.

Wolf’s chapter is not history. It is apologetics, perhaps with the intent of trying to preserve a portion of the unsavory reputation of Pacelli, later Pius XII, who is even now being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church.

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* Lew’s talk at the Key West Library … 2/24/15

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 24, 2015

 speech #1

I’ll be speaking today about …

  • my novel-in-progress
  • the blending of history & fiction
  • the blending of historical & fictional characters
  • how I keep track of all the research

 TIME FRAME

  • my story begins in 1923 and ends in 1946
  • VOL I – today’s topic … begins with the Munich beer hall putsch in 1923 and ends when Hitler came to power in 1933       
  • VOL II – will cover the years from 1933 to 1946
  • there are going to be two volumes because …
    • after 3 years, I’m still in 1933
    • and already on page 491 

UNDERLYING THEME

Why did Germans – and others – promote, facilitate or simply stand aside and allow Hitler to come to power?

  • There were so many opportunities to stop Hitler before he gained power
  • everybody has an answer, and most are right … but not complete

this novel requires research in many different topics …

  • German & Polish history
  • history of Jews and antisemitism
  • the Catholic Church’s relationship to Hitler
  • the Nazi Party
  • World War II
  • resistance in Germany & Poland
  • the Holocaust
  • Nuremberg War Crimes Trial

and for me, it requires a lot of research

Hitler village

  • books on my research list … 2307
  • books read (in whole or part) … 365
  • # research notes … 15,875
  • for me, the history has to be correct

the major characters in my novel are Berthold Becker & Anna Gorska

  • Berthold Becker … is a German Catholic boy who becomes a Nazi
  • Anna Gorska … a Polish Jewish girl, born in the shtetl where my grandparents lived
  • Anna comes from Ciechanow, where my grandparents lived
    • Pat and I visited Ciechanow
    • the Jewish section no longer exists; all the homes have been demolished
    • all of my family who stayed there were murdered
  •  this monument was constructed from recovered gravestones; the pre-WWII cemetery was also demolished

DSCN8353-Ciechanow cemetery

  •  Anna Gorska’s great uncle in my story is Edel Evantash – who was my grandfather

 grandpop & me

  • Grandpop Evantash worked in a shoe shop in Ciechanow … which we “saw”
  • he left Poland … family legend says he “walked” to London … never mind the English Channel along the way
  • then to America … Camden NJ … sent for my grandmother … became a successful home builder
  • I was fortunate to know him and wish I had asked him many more questions
  • BTW … that’s me in my grandfather’s arms … Nov 1941

one of the major challenges in a historical novel is to link fiction & history

  • what is true? … what is fiction?
  • next are some examples of how truth and fiction are blended in my story

 Dietrich Becker & the beer hall putsch

putsch march - cropped

  • Dietrich Becker is a fictional character … Berthold’s brother
    • Dietrich returns from WWI a bitter man, angry, unemployed … a perfect candidate for Hitler’s rhetoric … he becomes a Nazi and then Hitler’s driver
    • Dietrich marches with Hitler in the ill-fated 1923 beer hall putsch
    • I imagine him in the second row, behind Goering and Hitler
  •  FACTS …
    • after roughly 15 minutes, Hitler & his rag-tag group are fired upon
    • someone falls on Hitler and saves his life
  •  FICTION …
    • I make Dietrich Becker the one who saves Hitler and thus becomes a Nazi martyr
  • IMPORTANCE TO THE STORY …
    • years later, Berthold, who finds Hitler despicable, becomes an unwilling Nazi hero radiating in his dead brother’s light

Marshal Josef Pilsudski 

pilsudski cover

  • Grandpop Evantash …
    • left Ciechanow in 1908 … apparently in a hurry 
    • So I made my grandfather a member of Pilsudski’s train robbing gang …
  • Josef Pilsudski …
    • was a Polish revolutionary in 1908
    • organizing guerrillas to fight the Russians
    • needing money to equip and train his men
    • he decides to rob a train carrying Russian tax money from Poland to Vilnius in Lithuania
  • The Pilsudski-Evantash connection
    • is a critical element in my story, as it many years later allows Anna to build a relationship with Pilsudski, who by then is the “de facto dictator” of Poland.
      • this relationship furthers Anna’s career as a journalist
      • and also allows me to have her learn many things not otherwise easily knowable

Ernst Franz Sedgwick Hanfstaengl … aka “Putzi”

putzi waving

  • Putzi was …
    • born in Munich
    • educated at Harvard, where he was friends with FDR
    • ran his family’s art store on 5th Avenue in NYC
    • returned to Munich and became enamored with Hitler
    • worked with Hitler for well over a decade
      • known as “Hitler’s piano player “
      • Hitler had Putzi install a piano on the train that ran between Berlin and Munich
    • when Hitler turned on him in 1937, Putzi escaped to Switzerland and then London
    • when war was declared, the British arrested him as an enemy alien
    • from prison, he convinced FDR he could be valuable to the American war effort
    • Putzi spent the war years in Washington DC listening to German broadcasts and providing his evaluations to Roosevelt
  • I created a fictional connection between Berthold & Putzi
    •  once Berthold becomes a Nazi hero, he comes to Putzi’s attention
    • for reasons that I won’t disclose today, Berthold works that relationship to get from Putzi an unending stream of information and delicious gossip

 Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber

Faulhaber

  • Putzi is comic relief … now it’s time to get serious
  • Michael von Faulhaber was …
    • the revered archbishop of Munich from 1917 until his death in 1952
    • he wielded enormous influence over the framing of Church politics and also the shaping of public opinion in Bavaria and throughout Germany

 here’s what Faulhaber said in 1932 & 1933 before Hitler became Chancellor…

  •  he forbade Catholic priests to take part in the Nazi movement
  • he spoke scathingly about Nazi methods, radicalism and vulgarity
  • he was so outspoken about Nazi persecution of Jews that he was labeled the “Jewish Cardinal” by Munich university students
  • he called National Socialism a “heresy” that “cannot be brought into harmony with the Christian worldview”
  • Cardinal Faulhaber’s views were shared by an overwhelming majority of German Catholic bishops and Catholic voters

here’s what Faulhaber said a few months later

  •  After the signing of the Concordat between the Nazi regime and the Roman Catholic Church in 1933 Faulhaber sent a note of congratulations to Hitler
    • “What the old parliament and parties did not accomplish in sixty years, your statesmanlike foresight has achieved in six months.”
    • He ended his letter: “May God preserve the Reich Chancellor for our people”

 What happened in between?

  •  Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli is what happened in between, as Faulhaber and the other German bishops were pressured to change their tune about Hitler

Pacelli

  •  Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII, has been fiercely criticized for his lack of resistance to Hitler during WWII and the Holocaust.
  • A decade earlier, he played a major role in bring power to Hitler.

Pacelli’s Concordat obsession

  • by January 1933, Cardinal Pacelli had been obsessed for a decade with the desire to negotiate a Concordat with the German state
    •  The Concordat was a treaty between the Vatican and the German Reich, spelling out the rules under which the Catholic Church would operate in Germany
  • Pacelli finally realized that the Catholic Center Party in the German parliament (Reichstag) could never assemble enough votes from the Socialist, Communist, Nazi and Nationalist delegates to pass a Concordat
  •  Hitler, however, if he achieved sufficient dictatorial power, would be able to deliver a Reich Concordat

significant events in 1933

  • on January 30, 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor by President Hindenburg
  • on March 23, 1933, an Enabling Act was passed in the Reichstag, eliminating civil rights in Germany and giving Hitler dictatorial powers
    •  the Catholic Center Party cast its votes for the Enabling Act, which would not have passed without those votes
  • on July 20, 1933, a Reich Concordat was signed between the Vatican and the Third Reich

WAS THERE A DEAL? 

  • did Cardinal Pacelli trade a Reich Concordat for the Enabling Act which gave Hitler dictatorial powers?
  • there is no known documentation to prove that
    • unless documents are still hidden in the Vatican archives
  • but most (not all) historians say … YES
  • I will write my answer over the next several months

 NEW TOPIC  … how do I use 15,875 lines of research notes?

  • remembering is clearly impossible
  • my system for finding what I need involves several large connected spreadsheets

 Research Sources

research sources for Jan 1933 scenes

  • these are the major sources for the scenes for 1 month – Jan 1933 – that I will begin writing tomorrow
    • some are broad histories … Evans, Kershaw, Fest
    • others are tightly focused … Turner’s history of Jan 1933
    • diaries & memoirs … Goebbels … Putzi … what can we believe?
    • archives … TIME, NYT, JTA

a few of the 15,875 lines from the RESEARCH spreadsheet

research notes by author & title-cropped

  • column headings … date … topic … notes … author, book, page
  •  having all this in one spreadsheet allows me to sort (say by date) and to search on any search term
  • so I can find anything I need in a matter of seconds

Scenes for Jan-Apr 1933 (not yet written)

scenes Jan-Apr 1933

  • column headings … Chapter # … Scene # … date … topic … location … characters
  •  the list changes frequently … scenes are added, dropped, and re-sequenced

 research & story line notes for 1 scene

research & S notes for a scene

  • research notes are assembled into scenes where they may provide relevant historical context …
    • sort/search items from RESEARCH spreadsheet
    • copy from RESEARCH spreadsheet to SCENES NOTES spreadsheet
    • story line notes (“S” notes) are my thoughts about what my characters might say and do

January 1933 was a strange and momentous month

 on Jan 1, Hitler’s rise to power was over

  • he had taken an “all or nothing” political gamble
  • and lost
  • the Nazis were fighting among themselves
  • they were broke
  • President Hindenburg had said he would never appoint that “Austrian corporal”
  • Hitler was not going to be Chancellor
  • he was talking about suicide

30 days later, Adolf Hitler was the Chancellor of Germany

I am ready to write the January 1933 scenes …

  •  the story unfolds mainly with Berthold in Germany, which is where the events take place
  •  but also with Anna in Poland where Marshal Pilsudski is the only European leader who seems to understand and fear the threat of Hitler and a rearmed Germany
  •  my challenge is to bring the reader inside these events

the first Jan 1933 scene begins with Putzi taking to Berthold

Putzi had the look on his face he always got when he was about to say something he knew he shouldn’t. But he was bursting to tell someone.

“I was with the Fuhrer at the opera the other day,” he began.

  •  and you are right there, inside the action as it happens

 Now we have a few minutes for Q & A

  • NOTE: feel free to ask your questions here on my author blog

***

Posted in * A FLOOD OF EVIL ... Lew's novel-in-progress, ** RESEARCH for A FLOOD OF EVIL | Leave a Comment »

* Lew’s comments on “Willi Münzenberg: A Political Biography” by Babette Gross

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 8, 2015

Willi Munzenberg

Willi Munzenberg

***
Willi Munzenberg was a German Communist who tried to organize resistance to Hitler from outside Germany, after he fled in the face of arrest or execution. He succeeded in offsetting Goebbels’ propaganda regarding who caused the Reichstag fire in Feb 1933 (Goebbels said it was the Communists; Munzenberg said it was the Nazis) and subsequently managed to initiate a number of anti-Nazi events and publications, which unfortunately were not heeded to the extent they should have been. Munzenberg was found dead in a French forest in 1940, presumably (but not proven) a suicide.
 .
Munzenberg’s history provides many potential story lines for the second part of my novel-in-progress. Anna Gorska (my fictional Polish character) is a journalist who might well have interacted with Munzenberg, while Berthold Becker (my fictional German character) might well have been the source for information published under Munzenberg’s auspices.
.
My thanks again to the wonderful Key West Library which, through its Interlibrary Loan program foound me a copy of this book which is not even listed on amazon, and also not on GoodReads until I put it there.
.
One fascinating (for me at least) personal coincidence. When Munzenberg fled to Paris in 1933, he first stayed in the Hotel Quai Voltaire, along the Seine opposite the Louvre, which is where my wife and I stayed on our first trip to Paris many years ago.
***

 

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Lew’s comments on “Burning the Reichstag” by Benjamin Hett … research for Lew’s novel-in-progress

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 25, 2015

burning the Reichstag + Anna's Challenge

This is a well-documented report of the facts as known and the still officially unresolved question of who lit the fire.

It does seem clear that the man who was found guilty and guillotined was guilty of something, but also that he could not have been the sole perpetrator. Either it was the Nazis who set the fire to justify accelerated violence against the Communists and other political enemies or it was the Communists who set it as the first step in a planned revolution. Since there never was a planned revolution, and since the Nazis did in fact begin arresting people the night of the fire using a list they had prepared before the fire, it seems clear to me the Nazis were culpable.

For my purposes in my novel-in-progress, there are numerous fascinating details that might be incorporated into my story. Here are a few of them …

… the Berlin correspondent for the British Daily Express … one of the first reporters on the scene … tipped off by a source

… Goering & Hitler arrive at the fire while it is still burning … Goering: “This is the beginning of the Communist revolt; they will start their attack now! Not a moment must be lost!” … Hitler: “There will be no mercy now. Anyone who stands in our way will be cut down. Every Communist official will be shot where he is found. The Communist deputies must be hanged this very night. Everybody in league with the Communists must be arrested. There will no longer be any leniency for Social Democrats either.”

… on the morning after the fire … Hitler secured Hindenburg’s approval for what became known as the Reichstag Fire Decree … put an end to constitutional rights and the rule of law … the “Reichstag Fire Decree” … FIRST PARAGRAPH: suspended civil liberties contained in the Weimar Constitution … legalized imprisonment without trial for anyone the regime deemed a political threat … effectively abolished freedom of speech, of assembly and association, confidentiality of the post and telegraphic communication, and security form warrantless searches … SECOND PARAGRAPH: gave the Reich government the power to remove any state government from office

the fire took place on the night of Feb 27 … on Feb 18 … orders had gone out (from Goering) to all Prussian police … compile lists of leaders of the Communist Party and all related communist organizations … also union leaders … include home addresses and likely hiding places … submit no later than Feb 26

***

Posted in ** RESEARCH for A FLOOD OF EVIL | Leave a Comment »

* Lew’s comments on “Fists of Steel”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 18, 2015

fists of steel + Anna's Challenge

An excellent source book on illegal German rearmament, begun immediately after their defeat in WWI and clearly aimed at rebuilding an offensive war-making capability.

Consider this chilling description of a protocol for panzer attacks, developed in 1932 before Germany had the tanks to carry it out.

“Guderian envisioned a panzer thrust … led by reconnaissance troops on motorcycles probing for weak spots in the enemy line … reporting by radio to a command post … tanks would roll up for the breakthrough … once they penetrated they would keep going, plunging deep into enemy territory to strike at command, communication and supply centers … infantry would follow in trucks to secure the flanks as the tanks forged ahead … a sharp surgical strike at the foe’s central nervous system, designed to paralyze.”

Guderian led the panzer assault on Poland in 1939.

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* Lew’s comments on COVERT GERMAN REARMAMENT 1919-1939

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 5, 2015

Covert rearmament + Anna's Challenge

***

A 1984 CIA research publication presents one of the great deceptions of modern times: the interwar German evasion of the disarmament provisions of the Versailles settlement. With intriguing detail the author shows how the military, political and industrial leaders of Germany cleverly, systematically, and effectively evaded armament restrictions and clandestinely rearmed Germany, transforming it in 20 years from the ashes of World War I to a first-rate military power.

Of particular note is that this rearmament began immediately after the German defeat in WWI, long before Hitler became Chancellor in 1933. Part of Hitler’s appeal to the military and major arms producers was his support for what they were already doing. The book is very well footnoted with a superb bibliography.

This opens up a whole new plot line for my German character in my novel-in-progress.

Here are a few excerpts …

… German rearmament was an extraordinary story of evasion, inspection, espionage and counterespionage

… Allied leaders engaged in self-deception … accepted statements that Germany had disarmed … (and later) that Hitler did not seek war

… from 1920 to 1926 … Germans evaded arms inspections by Inter-Allied Control Commission inspectors … demonstrated that successful arms evasion was possible … indicated a failure of will of the Allies to prevent German rearmament

… a strong Germany was seen by some as a European, Christian, capitalistic shield against a barbaric, atheistic and Bolshevik Russia

… businessmen saw opportunities for profit in German rearmament

… Allied leaders engaged in self-deception … accepted statements that Germany had disarmed … that Hitler did not seek war

… (after WWI) … Krupp’s teams of arms designers, engineers and craftsmen were kept together by moving them outside Germany … to Sweden & Netherlands … Fokker Aircraft Works … relocated to the Netherlands … inventories relocated by train (350 carloads, 220 airplanes, 400 engines) … Fokker operated in Holland to evade Versailles controls

… after the Inter-Allied Control Commission left Germany at the beginning of 1927 … Allies were limited to their small intelligence and espionage services

… by early 1934 the secret German air force was operating 44 units from 42 airfields each unit had a civilian cover name

… (in 1934) … naval architects and craftsmen who had been squirreled away in Dutch shipyards returned to Germany … Germany began producing 1 sub per month as well as great guns for battleships

… Hitler placed an order with Krupp for the first 100 tanks to be delivered by March 1934 … 650 more to follow a year later … by Oct 1935 three Panzer divisions had come into existence

… deception now switched from concealing secret rearmament to concelaing weakness … Goering used Ward Price and the London Daily Mail … which published all the disinformation Goering provided to overstate German military preparedness

… (by assisting Franco in the Spanish Civil War) the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht gained nearly 14,000 combat-experienced pilots, air crewmwn, tank men and antiaircraft crew men in 32 months of battle … tested new weapons systems – Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighter, Junkers Ju-87 dive-bomber, 88-mm antitank-antiaircraft gun … also new tactics – air-ground support, carpet bombing (Guernica)

… Munich bluff (1938) … 6 hours before the scheduled invasion of Czeckoslovakia … Hitler panicked Chamberlain and Daladier by threatening further mobilization when in fact he had already fully mobilized … the bloodless victory in Czechoslovakia led Hitler’s generals to shelve their secret plan to oust him by coup

Posted in ** RESEARCH for A FLOOD OF EVIL | Leave a Comment »

* Lew’s comments on Mommsen’s WEIMAR DEMOCRACY … research for Lew’s novel in progress

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 5, 2015

Mommsen + Anna's Challenge

***

Mommsen provides outstanding detail, especially about the undermining of the Weimar Republic by those who could have made it work and thus kept Hitler from power.

Democracy is always difficult, and conditions in Germany after WWI made it particularly hard to sustain the compromise and cooperation needed for a democracy to be governed well. The details and the situations are very different, but still there are many frightening parallels to the US today. Consider these excerpts from Mommsen …

… neither (President) Hindenburg nor (Chancellor) Bruning was ever prepared to invite the SPD (Socialists) to join the government … thus precluding a return to parliamentary government

… Strasser failed to recognize that Hitler was determined to avoid clear political positions and sought instead to commit the party (and Germany) to a messianic faith in his own leadership abilities

… those social groups that supported the Nazis were those who felt threatened with a loss of social status … they were not succeeding in middle class careers and were insecure

… Goebbels was intent on portraying Hitler as “our last best hope” … decisive for party cohesion … pounded into public consciousness at every opportunity … Nazi election campaigns were conducted with energy and professionalism

… (by mid 1932) the Nazi Party had exhausted its voter potential … the lack of visible achievements was causing an erosion of support … a growing number of resignations form the party … reduced financial contributions … mounting internal criticism of Hitler’s political course

… Fritz Gerlich and Ingbert Naab, editors of Der gerade Weg, criticized the confusion of the Catholic parties … which failed to take Hitler’s “absolute will to evil” seriously … the Catholic Center Party made it clear that it would not support a presidential cabinet led by Papen

… Hindenburg met with all party leaders except SPD, since Papen categorically refused to deal with SPD

Posted in ** RESEARCH for A FLOOD OF EVIL, *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* Lew’s review of “Hjalmar Schacht: For and Against Hitler” by Edward N. Peterson … research for Lew’s novel-in-progress

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 14, 2014

Schacht + Anna's Challenge

***

A well-researched study of a Nazi who was tried at Nuremberg and acquitted.

Schacht first gained prominence as the banker who solved the hyper-inflation problem in Germany in 1923, for which he was appointed President of the Reischbank. He was an important supporter of Hitler in the 1930-32 period before Hitler became Chancellor and was rewarded by an appointment as Minister of Economics after Hitler took power. A clear case can be made that Schacht’s association with Hitler was calculated for the purpose of advancing his own career, power and fame.

Schacht was instrumental in providing the funds for Germany’s rearmament program, including the invention of the notorious MEFO bills (promissory notes based on nothing used to hide the extent of Germany’s rearmament). He fought with Goering over economic policy and lost when Goering’s Four Year Plan – totally devoted to war production at the expense of consumer-friendly policies – was adopted by Hitler.

Schacht became a major participant in several anti-Hitler plots, including the pre-Munich plot in 1938. Subsequently, Schacht publicly antagonized Hitler and was removed from all positions, later to be arrested and sent to a succession of concentration camps.

Liberated from Dachau by the Allies in 1945, Schacht was immediately arrested and brought to trial at Nuremberg, where it was judged that his anti-Hitler activities outweighed his role in preparing the German armed forces for war. The judges apparently believed Schacht when he insisted he thought Hitler was rearming for defensive purposes only.

***

Here is Peterson’s report of a fascinating “might have been”  …

… in 1938, Allen Dulles led the American effort with the German underground (including Schacht) whereby civilians attempted to push the military into anti-Hitler action. *** Was that the policy of the US government at the time? What was FDR’s role in Dulles’ efforts? ***

… Schacht & Gisevius met with General von Witzleben … who commanded troops in the Berlin area …Witzleben had enough power to seize the centralized government and Hitler, and to neutralize Nazi opposition … could have accomplished a coup d’etat … Witzleben formulated the plans after Schacht convinced him of the need for violence to rid Germany of Hitler

… as this planning was ongoing, Hitler’s success with Chamberlain at Munich undermined the planned coup … amidst public rejoicing that territory (Czechoslovakia) had been added without war, both the generals and the nation as a whole came to believe that Hitler knew best how to handle international problems … Hitler had been right and Schacht wrong regarding what the English would do … Schacht lost prestige among the generals.

… the night after the Munich Agreement was signed … Witzleben, Schacht and Gisevius “tossed their plans into the fire” … *** literally? ***

***

After his acquittal at Nuremberg, Schacht founded a private banking house in Düsseldorf. He also advised developing countries on economic development. He died in 1970 at the age of 93.

***

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* Lew’s review of UNVANQUISHED, the biography of Polish leader Josef Pilsudski

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 4, 2014

 

pilsudski + Anna's Challenge

***

A magnificent biography of one of the great, unknown men of the 20th century.

Josef Pilsudski was a legitimate hero from the early 1900s until his death in 1935. He fought the Russians and Germans in the early 1900s, was instrumental in creating the reformed Polish state in 1919, and ran the Polish government from 1926-35.

He became a dictator when the Polish experiment with parliamentary democracy proved as ineffective as the Weimar Republic in neighboring Germany; Hetherington pulls no punches in describing how Pilsudski dealt with his opponents; he arrested some and later released them, executing none.

The finest part of the book for me was the description of how Pilsudski recognized the dangers of Hitler and tried, unlike the rest of Europe, to do something to stop him. He stood up to Hitler over the issue of Danzig, and Hitler blinked. Pilsudski believed that a preemptive strike against Germany in 1933 could prevent what he clearly saw as Hitler’s plans to rearm and attack. Pilsudski was thwarted in his plan by the timidity of the French and the appeasement policy of the British.

Many of the events of 1932-35 will be described in my new novel, involving both my Polish and German characters. I think these events are unknown to most readers and will provide fascinating perspective on those years.

A few notes from the book …

… Pilsudski’s view: France & Britain have different objectives. France wants to contain Germany and expand its own land and power in Europe. Britain wants peace and is willing to appease Germany to gain it.

… in 1933, the Polish Army possessed over 250,000 highly trained and well-equipped soldiers … Germany was limited to the 100,000 allowed by Versailles and had no modern weapons

… Pilsudski dispatched Jerzy Potocki to Paris as an unofficial envoy … spoke with French PM Paul-Boncour to explore the possibility of a Franco-Polish preventive war against Germany … given a suitable pretext … Poland would seize Danzig and key German territories in the east, while France would invade Germany from the west … a disgraced Hitler would be forced to resign … but the French did not respond to this initiative … and Germany did not react to Poland’s Danzig initiatives

… Pilsudski informed French PM Daladier in Feb 1933 … that Germany was rearming and needed to be confronted now rather than after 2-3 years of consolidation of the Hitler regime and intense rearming … in late March, Pilsudski sent a message to Daladier outlining hiw to justify an attack on Germany … stating that the German decree of Feb 22, setting up an auxiliary police force of 50,000 men, was a violation of the Versailles Treaty which the League of Nations had every right to investigate … any inspection would sure to confirm that Germany was rearming beyond the agreed upon limits … thus justifying armed intervention

… the best time to attack Germany was 1933 … Poland’s military capabilities exceeded Germany’s … only 3 of Germany’s 10 divisions were positioned along the polish border, and they were under-supplied … the Polish Army had re-positioned 15 divisions (half of their force) to oppose them, giving the Poles a 5:1 advantage

… Pilsudski knew the Polish Army’s 1933 advantage would not last … he knew the Germans were rapidly rearming (illegally) and had vast industrial capabilities … were sure to re-emerge as a great military power

***

Posted in ** RESEARCH for A FLOOD OF EVIL | Leave a Comment »

* this wonderful Princeton Alumni Weekly article about John McPhee captures many of the feelings that make writing such a satisfying pleasure for me

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 26, 2014

https://paw.princeton.edu/issues/2014/11/12/pages/3295/index.xml

McPhee-lede

John McPhee

***

Writing with the Master

By Joel Achenbach ’82 … Published in the November 12, 2014, issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly

***

For Princeton journalists, praise from John McPhee was — and is — the ultimate reward

John McPhee ’53 has many moves as a writer, one of which he calls a “gossip ladder” — nothing more than a stack of quotations, each its own paragraph, unencumbered by attribution or context. You are eavesdropping in a crowd. You take these scraps of conversation and put them in a pile. Like this:

“A piece of writing needs to start somewhere, go somewhere, and sit down when it gets there.”

“Taking things from one source is plagiarism; taking things from several sources is research.”

“A thousand details add up to one impression.”

“You cannot interview the dead.” 

“Readers are not supposed to see structure. It should be as invisible as living bones. It shouldn’t be imposed; structure arises within the story.”

“Don’t start off with the most intense, scary part, or it will all be anticlimactic from there.”

“You can get away with things in fact that would be tacky in fiction — and stuck on TV at 3 o’clock in the morning. Sometimes the scene is carried by the binding force of fact.”

The speaker in every instance is John McPhee. I assembled this particular ladder from the class notes of Amanda Wood Kingsley ’84, an illustrator and writer who, like me, took McPhee’s nonfiction writing class, “The Literature of Fact,” in the spring of 1982. In February, McPhee will mark 40 years as a Princeton professor, which he has pulled off in the midst of an extraordinarily productive career as a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of more than two dozen books.

When the editor of this magazine asked me to write something about McPhee’s class, I knew it would be the easiest assignment ever, though a little nerve-wracking. It was, because most of McPhee’s former students have saved their class notes and marked-up papers (Marc Fisher ’80: “I’ve never lived anywhere without knowing where my notes from his class are”).

When I meet Rick Klein ’98 at a coffee shop down the block, we examine forensically Rick’s class papers and the McPhee marginalia, the admonitions and praise from a teacher who keeps his pencils sharp. McPhee never overlooked a typo, and when Rick (now the hotshot political director at ABC News) wrote “fowl” instead of “foul,” the professor’s pencil produced a devastating noose.

McPhee’s greatest passion was for structure, and he required that students explain, in a few sentences at the end of every assignment, how they structured the piece.

(McPhee noted on a piece Rick wrote about his father: “This is a perfect structure — simple, like a small office building, as you suggest. The relationship of time to paragraphing is an example of what building a piece of writing is all about.”)

Rick reminds me that the class was pass/fail.

“You were competing not for a grade, but for his approval. You were so scared to turn in a piece of writing that John McPhee would realize was dirt. We were just trying to impress a legend,” he says.

Which is the nerve-wracking part, still. He is likely to read this article and will notice the infelicities, the stray words, the unnecessary punctuation, the galumphing syntax, the desperate metaphors, and the sentences that wander into the woods. “They’re paying you by the comma?” McPhee might write in the margin after reading the foregoing sentence. My own student work tended toward the self-conscious, the cute, and the undisciplined, and McPhee sometimes would simply write: “Sober up.”

He favors simplicity in general, and believes a metaphor needs room to breathe.

“Don’t slather one verbal flourish on top of another lest you smother them all,” he’d tell his students. On one of Amanda’s papers, he numbered the images, metaphors, and similes from 1 to 11, and then declared, “They all work well, to a greater or lesser degree. In 1,300 words, however, there may be too many of them — as in a fruitcake that is mostly fruit.”

When Amanda produced a verbose, mushy description of the “Oval with Points” sculpture on campus, McPhee drew brackets around one passage and wrote, “Pea soup.”

That one was a famously difficult assignment: You had to describe a piece of abstract art on campus. It was an invitation to overwriting. As McPhee put it, “Most writers do a wild skid, leave the road, and plunge into the dirty river.”

Novice writers believe they will improve a piece of writing by adding things to it; mature writers know they will improve it by taking things out.

Another standard McPhee assignment came on Day One of the class: Pair up and interview each other, then write a profile. It was both an early test of our nonfiction writing skills and a clever way for McPhee to get to know his students at the beginning of the semester.

McPhee’s dedication to his students was, and is, remarkable, given the other demands on his time. One never got the sense that he wished he could be off writing a magazine story for The New Yorker rather than annotating, and discussing face-to-face, a clumsy, ill-conceived, syntactically mangled piece of writing by a 20-year-old.

He met with each of his 16 students for half an hour every other week. Many of his students became professional writers, and he lined up their books on his office shelf, but McPhee never has suggested that the point of writing is to make money, or that the merit of your writing is determined by its market value. A great paragraph is a great paragraph wherever it resides, he’d say. It could be in your diary.

“I think he loves it when students run off and become field biologists in Africa or elementary school teachers,” Jenny Price ’85 tells me. She’s now a writer, artist, and visiting Princeton professor.

McPhee taught us to revere language, to care about every word, and to abjure the loose synonym. He told us that words have subtle and distinct meanings, textures, implications, intonations, flavors. (McPhee might say: “Nuances” alone could have done the trick there.)

Use a dictionary, he implored. He proselytized on behalf of the gigantic, unabridged Webster’s Second Edition, a tank of a dictionary that not only would give a definition, but also would explore the possible synonyms and describe how each is slightly different in meaning. If you treat these words interchangeably, it’s like taping together adjacent keys on a piano, he said.

Robert Wright ’79, an acclaimed author and these days a frequent cycling companion of McPhee, tells me by email, “I’d be surprised if there have been many or even any Ferris professors who care about words as much as John — I don’t mean their proper use so much as their creative, deft use, sometimes in a way that exploits their multiple meanings; he also pays attention to the rhythm of words. All this explains why some of his prose reads kind of like poetry.”

Just to write a simple description clearly can take you days, he taught us (once again I’m citing Amanda’s class notes): “If you do it right, it’ll slide by unnoticed. If you blow it, it’s obvious.”

We had to learn to read. One of his assignments is called “greening.” You pretend you are in the composing room slinging hot type and need to remove a certain amount of the text block to get it to fit into an available space. You must search the text for words that can be removed surgically.

“It’s as if you were removing freight cars here and there in order to shorten a train — or pruning bits and pieces of a plant for aesthetic and pathological reasons, not to mention length,” McPhee commanded. “Do not do violence to the author’s tone, manner, style, nature, thumbprint.”

He made us green a couple of lines from the famously lean Gettysburg Address, an assignment bordering on sadism. A favorite paragraph designated for greening was the one in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness that begins, “Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine.” (McPhee, in assigning this, wrote: “Caution: You are approaching what may be my favorite paragraph in a lifetime of sporadic reading.”)

One time the young Bob Wright used the word “minced” in an assignment. In their bi-weekly office conference, McPhee challenged Bob to justify the word. Bob offered his reasoning. McPhee looked up “minced” in the hulking Webster’s. “You found the perfect word,” McPhee declared.

McPhee’s career coincided with the rise of “New Journalism,” but he never was really part of that movement and the liberties it took with the material. A college student often feels that rules are suffocating, that old-school verities need to be obliterated, and so some of us were tempted, naturally, to enhance our nonfiction — to add details from the imagination and produce a work of literature that’s better than “true” and existed on a more exalted plane of meaning. We’d make things up. McPhee wouldn’t stand for it.

Amanda remembers being called into his office one day: “I could tell something was wrong because he wasn’t his usual smiling self. He had me sit down and glared at me a moment. Then he asked me very sternly whether I had made up the character I had allegedly interviewed for my paper that week about animal traps and snares — I’d talked to an elderly African American friend of my grandparents, whose snare-building skills helped him survive the Depression. Once I convinced him that Oscar was a real person, McPhee sat quietly a moment, then smiled and said it was one of the best papers he had received. Those were some of the finest words I’ll ever hear.”

Perhaps there are writers out there who make it look easy, but that is not the example set by McPhee. He is of the school of thought that says a writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than for other people.

Some people joke about lashing themselves to the chair to get a piece of writing done, but McPhee actually has done it, with the belt of his bathrobe.

Here’s David Remnick ’81, the McPhee student who is now McPhee’s editor atThe New Yorker: “You were working with a practicing creative artist, a writer of ‘primary texts,’ as the scholars say, but one who was eloquent, detailed, unfancy, and clear in the way he talked about essential things: description, reporting, structure, sentences, punctuation, rhythm, to say nothing of the emotional aspects of writing — anxiety, lostness, frustration. He didn’t sugarcoat the difficulty of writing well. If anything, he highlighted the bitter-tasting terrors, he cherished them, rolled them around on his tongue. But behind all that was an immensely revealing, and rewarding, glimpse of the writing life. Not the glamour or the readings or the reviews. No, he allowed you to glimpse the process, what it meant to write alone in a room.”

Marc Fisher, my Washington Post colleague, points out that part of McPhee’s magic was getting students to slow down. “He catches adolescents at exactly the moment when we’ve been racing to get somewhere in life, and he corrals our ambition and raw skills and somehow persuades us that the wisdom, the power, and the mystery of telling people’s stories comes in good part from pressing down on the brakes, taking it all in, and putting it down on paper — yes, paper — in a way that is true to the people we meet and the lives they lead.”

I doubt many of us ever took a class that resonated so profoundly over the years. Part of it was that McPhee felt invested in our later success, regardless of our vocations. You could knock on his door years later and confer with him about your writing, your personal issues, your hopes and dreams. How many teachers are willing to be Professor For Life?

These are tough times in my business, which the people in suits now refer to as “content creation.” Revolutionary changes in how we consume information have created challenges for anyone who is committed to serious, time-consuming writing, the kind that involves revision and the search for that perfect word.

But I don’t think anyone can obliterate the beauty of a deftly constructed piece of writing. This is particularly the case if you’ve written it yourself. It’s like hitting a great golf shot; you forget the shanks and slices and remember the one exquisite 3-iron.

One day in McPhee’s class, he praised a sentence I’d written about the Louise Nevelson sculpture “Atmosphere and Environment X,” near Firestone Library. He had me read it aloud. The hook was set. I don’t always think about it consciously, but that’s pretty much what I’ve been trying to do for more than three decades — write another sentence that might win the approval of John McPhee.

***

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* Lew’s review of “The Good News Club” … scary people doing reprehensible things

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 24, 2014

 

good news club

***

This book describes the activities of scary people, engaged in an activity I personally find reprehensible. Their goal is to take over the minds of the young children of America and inject their version of a Jesus-based religion. Anyone not part of their group, including most Christians who are not Christian enough, will go to hell. The really frightening thing is that they’re good at what they’re doing, and the U.S. Supreme Court has said it’s legal.

The Good News Club, a function of the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), already operates in over 3,500 public elementary schools in the U.S. They function ostensibly as an after-school club, hence the legality, but in fact they are ferociously peddling their message in a way that poses a threat to our system of public education and indeed to our concept of America as a secular democracy.

CEF maintains that America was founded as a Christian nation and that it is the right and obligation of Christians (some Christians) to take it back, including conversion of public schools into church schools. Their work is intended to create an “us” and “them” mentality among all Americans, totally opposed to the spirit of inclusion and tolerance that I believe most of us support. The rest of us are out there as a harvest to be converted.

Now I don’t care what people do in their own churches. Catholics, for instance, including former Pope Ratzinger, have clearly stated that it is the mission of the Catholic Church to convert all the Jews. But it is when these purveyors of a particular faith take aim on our young children in public schools that this becomes a menace that calls out for public attention and aggressive response.

One young girl arguing with her Jewish classmate … Jesus is the best, don’t you want to be with Jesus … If not, you’ll go to hell … You’re a bad person if you don’t believe in Jesus. This is not supposed to happen in our public secular schools. Most of us think this kind of proselytizing is forbidden by our Constitution. But the Supreme Court has held otherwise, as regards after-school religious clubs.

If a Good News Club exists in your child’s elementary school, it is not a local effort arising spontaneously from the community. It is part of a national organization, with Plan Books, manuals, procedures, lawyers, and a substantial budget, and with goals that most of us find about as un-American as it can get. They believe in the literal word of the Bible and they won’t be satisfied until all the rest of us accept their extreme religious beliefs. They could never reach that goal by honestly stating it and trying to argue its merits as they see them. Instead, they have deviously focused on the most impressionable – young children aged 4-14 – in the place where they can most easily be influenced, our public elementary schools.

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* Lew’s review of a biography of German socialist Rudolf Hilferding

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 22, 2014

Hilferding & Anna's Challenge

***

In the course of an excellent biography of an obscure German socialist, Smaldone offers a clear analysis of the failure of the Social Democrats to counteract Hitler’s rise to power. Fighting with each other over Marxist theory, unable to find practical means to implement their principles, without anything approaching a charismatic leader, and afraid to provoke a civil war, the SPD essentially rolled over and gave in. To be fair, the combination of forces against them was, at least from Hilferding’s perspective, overwhelming.

One of the fictional characters in my new novel becomes an SPD delegate to the Reichstag who tries to provoke the SPD into more aggressive action to save German democracy in late 1932.

I may also be able to make use of Hilferding’s exile years in Prague when he wrote many articles trying to alert the world to what Hitler was doing in the years 1934-38 to prepare for war.

The story of Hilferding’s life and eventual suicide in a German cell adds to the sad picture of many basically decent Germans who saw what was happening but were unable to counteract through parliamentary democracy the brutality by which Hitler advanced to power.

This is a story often repeated, and one which perhaps offers a cautionary tale to us in America today as we face the nihilistic behavior of right wing politicians who seem more intent on destroying government than in governing, precisely replicating the objective of Hitler and the Nazis.

***

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* a 5 ***** review of THE HERETIC on Goodreads by Peggie Hart

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 12, 2014

2 historical novels

Peggy Hart says …

“I loved this book! Tells a part of European history I knew little about. “The Heretic” explains the rationale of the Catholic Church used to persecute the Jews of Spain. Lessons for our own time.”

Lew says …

Thank you, Peggy. Now, on to the sequel … THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY!

***

You can purchase THE HERETIC and THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY

at amazon, in softcover and kindle

The Heretic - new cover

http://www.amazon.com/Heretic-Lewis-M-Weinstein-ebook/dp/B0032UY4MA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415801167&sr=1-1&keywords=weinstein+heretic

Pope's Conspiracy - cover for blog

http://www.amazon.com/Popes-Conspiracy-Lewis-M-Weinstein-ebook/dp/B007N7JLAI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415801209&sr=1-1&keywords=weinstein+pope%27s+conspiracy

***

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* Lew’s review of “Pierre and Luce” by Romain Rolland

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 3, 2014

pierre and luce

***

This is a beautiful story about first love. Not a word is overdone. Feelings are allowed to reach the reader in the most delicate and precious way. Rolland’s words …

  • “Through the portals of his eyes into his heart she entered, she entered all complete; and the door closed. Noises from without fell to nothing. Silence. Peace. She was there.”

  • “She did not look at him. In fact she did not even know as yet of his existence. And yet she was there inside him. He held her image there, speechless, crushed in his arms, and he dared not breathe for fear that his breath might ruffle her.”

  • “both of them were in accord as to a mute resolve not to look into the future”

Rolland’s works held a special place in the hearts of young people in the 1920s and 1930s wanting to love and survive in the midst of the constant threat of war and evil worse than war.

I am planning to have the young German man in my novel-in-progress read “Pierre and Luce” at a time when he is separated from the girl he loves, maybe forever, is confused and conflicted by his life, and is looking for a way to understand and come to peace with his feelings. He won’t find peace but I believe he will find the effort worthwhile.

***

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* Lew’s review of “POPE AND DEVIL – The Vatican’s Archives and the Third Reich” by Professor Hubert Wolf

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 10, 2014

to see more of Lew’s research for his new novel, click …

 ** RESEARCH for Lew’s NEXT NOVEL

***

Pope and Devil & Untitled Novel

.

POPE AND DEVIL is, of course, research for the novel I am currently writing, set in Germany and Poland during the Nazi years. The role of the Catholic Church in facilitating the rise of Hitler is an important theme in my book. My comments are at the bottom of this post.

Prof. Wolf has done a sterling job of assembling details of the Catholic Church’s attitudes and actions before and during the Nazi era. So far I have focused on the chapter regarding a group called Amici Israel (Friends of Israel), formed in 1926 and disbanded in a humiliating way by Pius XI in 1928.

Amici Israel was initiated by Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich (and others) and grew in two years to include 1800 cardinals, bishops and priests. In 1928, they produced a document called Pax super Israel (Peace over Israel) which, among other things, recommended eliminating the pejorative word “perfidious” from the Good Friday liturgy. The Vatican’s most respected liturgical scholar reviewed the recommendations contained in Pax super Israel and gave all of them his approval.

Then … a Cardinal named Merry del Val, the head of the Holy Office of Inquisition, reviewed the document at the request of Pius XI and rendered an excoriating judgment.

Cardinal Merry del Val

Cardinal Merry del Val

 

Cardinal Merry del Val wrote …

*** The entire attitude of this little book is decidedly positive toward the Jews with rather adverse imputations about the Church and its servants. It is as if the bride of Christ stood accused of negligence, or even worse of unjustified aversion toward the people which is called the Chosen.

*** the activities of the “so-called Friends of Israel” must be stopped once and for all

*** the reform of the Good Friday prayer is completely unacceptable and nonsensical, not even a matter for discussion

*** the liturgy aptly (and correctly) expresses “the abhorrence for the rebellion and treachery of the chosen, disloyal and deicidal Jewish people”

*** the Good Friday prayers are not about individual Jews; they are about stiff-necked jewish people burdened with the curse that they as a people (properly) bear for having spilled the blood of the holiest of the holy

Cardinal Merry del Val’s recommendations were adopted …

The Holy Office of the Inquisition then rejected the reform of the Good Friday prayer and all the other Amici Israel recommendations with very little discussion, repeating Merry del Val’s demand that Amici Israel be disbanded.

Pius XI very quietly issued a decree incorporating Merry del Val’s recommendations and dissolving Amici Israel. He later asked his close associate Enrico Rosa, publisher of the more or less official journal of the Catholic Church called Civilta Cattolica, to write a public defense of his actions.

Enrico Rosa wrote …

*** the Church must protect against the appearance of friendship with the Jews, to which Amici Israel has fallen prey

*** the danger emanating from the Jews should never be underestimated

*** Jews have become presumptuous and powerful since their emancipation at the turn of the 19th c

*** Jews have come to dominate large portions of the world’s economic life and to build up their hegemony in many sectors of public life

*** Jews have manipulated all revolutionary activity from the French Revolution of 1789 up to the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution

*** Jews are forging plans for world hegemony

.

LMW COMMENT:

THESE WORDS OF CARDINAL MERRY DEL VAL AND ENRICO ROSA, ENDORSED BY POPE PIUS XI, ARE OF COURSE PRECISELY THE SAME JEW-HATING MESSAGE OF HITLER AND THE NAZIS, ADOPTED WITH ENTHUSIASM BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN 1928.

Amici Israel was a huge opportunity for the Catholic Church, upon the recommendation of high-ranking Cardinals and approval by its own foremost liturgical experts, to change the whole tone of antisemitism that had pervaded Catholic liturgy and sermons for centuries. This change, if adopted in 1928, would have sent a message to Germans and others that Hitler’s hysterical Jew-hatred was unacceptable to the Church, and perhaps there is every reason to speculate that Hitler would not have come to power in 1933.

The bishops of Germany, led by Cardinal Faulhaber, were pleading for support in their efforts to hold back the Nazi surge. The Vatican in Rome sent exactly the opposite message: Hitler’s Jew-hatred was fine with them.

In my view, Pius XI deserves to be condemned for this clear act of antisemitism and its awful consequences.

AFTER NOTE … The elimination of the word “perfidious” and all of the other changes recommended by Amici Israel, which had been rejected in 1928, were adopted by the Catholic Church in 1965  in the conclave known as Vatican II.

 

Posted in * A FLOOD OF EVIL ... Lew's novel-in-progress, ** RESEARCH for A FLOOD OF EVIL | 2 Comments »

* I just learned that my novel Hereje (The Heretic in Spanish) is available on kindle at amazon-spain

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 20, 2014

 

The Heretic and Hereje (Spanish edition published in 2012)

The Heretic and Hereje (Spanish edition published in 2012)

 

purchase for EUR 9,02 at … 

http://www.amazon.es/Hereje-Algaida-Literaria-Lewis-Weinstein-ebook/dp/B0089LOIEG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1408546725&sr=8-3&keywords=hereje  

purchase for $5.99 (in English) at …

http://www.amazon.com/Heretic-Lewis-M-Weinstein-ebook/dp/B0032UY4MA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408548262&sr=1-1&keywords=heretic+weinstein

 .

Here are some reviews from the Spanish site  (my apologies for the automated translations) … 

.

5 *****

Emocionante y bien documentada, como dice el escritor, nadie le ha escrito para rebatir lo aportado en su novela, novela que quizás aportara, de forma novelada, para algunos que desean saber su posible origen, el 20% de la población española es de origen judío según muestreo de ADN reciente, algo así como 8 millones de personas, espero que Torquemada siga revolviéndose en su tumba eternamente.

Exciting and well documented, as the writer says, no one has written to refute the amount contributed in his novel, a novel that might furnish, in fictionalized form, for some who want to know their possible origin, 20% of the Spanish population of origin Jew according to recent DNA sampling, something like 8 million people, I hope Torquemada continue turning in his grave forever.

5 *****

De lectura obligada para comprender la cultura judía ademas de conocer las vicisitudes por las que ha pasado este pueblo.

A must for understanding Jewish culture in addition to knowledge the vicissitudes through which it has passed these people reading.

 4 ****

Obra de interés histórico que refleja una época dificil de la convivencia y tolerancia en nuestro pais. la recomiendo a los amantes del género

Work of historical interest reflecting a difficult period of coexistence and tolerance in our country. I recommend it to fans of the genre

***

Posted in * THE HERETIC | 1 Comment »

* Lew’s review of Dragon’s Teeth (part I) by Upton Sinclair … research for “An Untitled Novel”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 24, 2014

 

Dragon's Teeth & Untitled Novel

I have read only that part of Dragon’s Teeth which carries the story to the spring of 1933, which corresponds with the time frame I am currently researching for my new novel. It is a spectacular book, showing through a very involved fictional family the horrors of Hitler achieving power.

I was less interested in Dragon’s Teeth as a novel – although it is a very well and powerfully told story – than I was in the observations the novel’s characters make about Hitler and the Nazis. Since the novel was published in 1942, these come close to being contemporaneous. Here are some of those observations …

… It was an atrocious thing that anybody should be permitted to organize a private army as Hitler had done

… One must admit that Hitler is sincere … so are most lunatics

… If you let the German Republic fall and you get Hitler … how will that help you? … (LMW: yet that is exactly what the other political parties and the Catholic Church did)

… after he became Chancellor, Hitler had total control of propaganda … every statement he made was on the front page of every newspaper … Goering was Prussian Minister of the interior I could say what he wanted over the radio … Goebbels was Minister of Propaganda and Popular enlightenment … Nazi propaganda covered Germany like an explosion … Goebbels could say anything he pleased about his enemies and suppress their replies

… The head of the Berlin fire department had observed gasoline on the floors of the Reichstag … immediately after the fire and announced that the police had carted away a truckload of unburned incendiary materials … immediately after making this announcement he was dismissed from his post

… Hitler wanted two things … to get complete mastery of Germany … to be let alone by the outside world while he was doing it … (LMW: The Catholic Church, in passing the Enabling Act and signing the Concordat) were of inestimable help to Hitler in achieving both objectives)

***

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* Lew’s review of “Hitler’s Thirty Days to Power” by Henry Turner

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 9, 2014

30 days & untitled novel

***

This is probably the last major research I will do before beginning to organize and write Part Two of my new novel. It is a superb place to finish. Turner has done a magnificent job reporting the events and capturing the feelings of so many of the participants in the momentous events of January 1933. 

It is a fascinating, day-to-day, person-by-person review of the 30 days that ended with Hitler being appointed Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933.

Turner’s conclusions in the final chapter pull no punches. He assigns culpability and guilt, making it clear that it was the ignorance, ineptitude, personal grudges, mendacity, and ambition of the characters in power (mainly Hindenburg, Schleicher and Papen) who gave Germany to Hitler and thus Hitler to the world. Those who supported democratic government in Germany simply gave it up without much of a fight, often because they were fighting with each other. It is true, Turner asserts, that Hitler played the weaknesses of the others brilliantly, but he was only playing the cards he was dealt.

***

Here are a few extracts from Turner’s work …

… at the beginning of January, Hitler was judged to be finished … Frankfurter Zeitung – Jan 1, 1933: The mighty Nazi assault of the democratic state has been repulsed. The republic has been rescued.

… There was widespread disillusionment in the Nazi ranks. Many who had joined in expectation of sharing quickly in the spoils of victory were beginning to despair: resignations occurred daily; dues arrived irregularly.

… If the Nazis had to face the voters again, they would have no resources to do so. Goebbels: “it must not come to another election”

… Then the ambitions of former-Chancellor Papen and current Chancellor Schleicher, and the gross incompetence of President Hindenburg, re-opened the door for Hitler. Papen convinced Hindenburg that Hitler was ready to join with conservative forces in a coalition cabinet [this was not true!]. Hindenburg concluded that Hitler’s involvement precluded Schleicher, which made Hindenburg part of a conspiracy to depose the chancellor (Schleicher) he had just appointed.

… Hitler maintained his composure in 2nd half of January; he betrayed no loss of nerve, retaining his unshakable belief in his calling to lead Germany.

… on Jan 30, after a dizzying series of events well reported by Turner … Papen led the assembled group up the stairs to Hindenburg’s office. At about 11:30, Hindenburg administered the oath of office to Hitler.

… Hitler had not seized power or won it at the polls. It had been handed to him.

… Turner’s sad conclusion … Those who favored republican government failed to realize that an unconstitutional interlude under a general like Schleicher would be a far lesser evil than the constitutional installation of a dictatorial fanatic like Hitler. It was one of the greatest political blunders of all time

***

 

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* Lew’s review of SOLDIER OF CHRIST in which Robert Ventresca presents Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII), in part knowingly and in part naively, playing a major role in Hitler’s coming to power.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 12, 2014

soldier of christ & untitled novel

***

NOTE: This review deals only with the first 86 pages of Ventresca’s biography including the events of 1932-33 which are the background to the next section of my novel-in-progress which I hope to write this summer.

***

In his Prologue, Ventresca states “Pius XII has become an intensely polarizing figure … to some he is a venerable saint … to others he is a damnable silent witness to unimaginable atrocities.” Ventresca chooses to focus on what Pacelli/Pius XII did or did not do, and why, rather than what he could have or should have done. This is a very useful focus.

As the quotes below indicate, there was much to damn in Pacelli’s behavior long before the Holocaust became a reality.

Ventresca presents Pacelli’s underlying FEELINGS ABOUT JEWS in his own words, beginning with Pacelli’s time in Munich during the communist uprisings of 1918-19 … *** in his reports to the Vatican … Pacelli often referred to the Jewish origins of the revolutionary leaders … many in Munich viewed Bolsheviks and Jews as indistinguishable … described Max Levien, leader of the Munich communists, as Russian and Jewish, pale, dirty, repugnant, yet intelligent and sly … the new government’s offices are overrun by young women of dubious character – Jews with provocative airs and shady smiles … the leader was Levien’s lover, a young divorced Russian Jewess (Roza) who acts like the boss … Pacelli had clearly adopted the cultural biases of his Munich circles who saw the revolutionary period as a scourge brought on by foreign Jews.

Ventresca clearly reports Pacelli’s DECISION TO SUPPORT HITLER and the Nazis rather than the democratic process favored by the German Catholic Center Party and the German bishops *** Pacelli had reservations about the Center Party’s propensity to collaborate with the moderate parties of the left … even when the resulting coalition government was headed by a Catholic (Bruning) *** Pacelli realized he and the Vatican needed to come to terms with the newfound prominence of Hitler’s National Socialists *** Pacelli started to talk about the possibility (previously unthinkable) of a coalition government between the Catholic parties and the Nazis *** correspondence between papal representatives in Munich and Berlin with Pacelli in Rome reflect these thoughts *** Pacelli’s expectations were hopelessly naive *** Pacelli: Hitler is the first statesman to speak publicly against the Bolsheviks. Up until now, the pope has been alone in this *** former Chancellor Bruning, a Catholic, accused Pacelli of betraying the German Catholic political tradition at a decisive point in the life of the fragile Weimar system *** Bruning (in his memoirs): Pacelli and Kaas were so eager to finalize a treaty (Concordat) that they muted what should have been a moral caution to German Catholics about the true nature of Hitler and the Nazis *** Bruning: Pacelli would sacrifice everything for the sake of a Concordat *** Bruning: Pacelli and the pope despise democracy and the parliamentary system

Ventresca reports HITLER’S GLOATING REACTION TO PACELLI and the Concordat which Pacelli forced through at the expense of the German Catholic Center Party *** Papen’s communication to Hitler on the Vatican concession (regarding political activity of the clergy) … suggests that Hitler had exceeded his expectations *** Hitler urged his cabinet to see the great success the Concordat would give the Reich … an area of confidence … particularly significant in the urgent fight against international Jews

Ventresca also clearly presents PACELLI’S UNTRUTHFUL RESPONSE TO CRITICISM after the Enabling Act had been passed and the Concordat had been signed … *** Pacelli reacted defensively [LMW: and lied!] when word spread in Catholic circles in Holland that the Vatican had sacrificed the German Catholic parties for the sake of reaching a deal with the Nazi state *** Pacelli wrote to the papal nuncio at The Hague: “the Center party and the Bavarian People’s Party dissolved themselves “entirely of their own accord and completely independently of the Holy See” *** Pacelli rejected the charge that the parties were dissolved at the Vatican’s instigation as a precondition for successful ratification of the Reichsconcordat *** Pacelli added that the Vatican had taken its lead from the German bishops [LMW: another lie], who agreed that the Concordat was the “last hope” for the church in Germany

Ventresca reports what I regard as PACELLI’S SELF-CONDEMNATION *** Pacelli knew exactly what he was dealing with in Hitler *** in the weeks immediately after concluding the Concordat, he told British representative Robert Clive that he “deplored the antisemitism of the German government, their treatment of political opponents, and the reign of terror to which they have subjected the whole nation” *** “the Vatican,” Pacelli said, “had agreed to the treaty as a lesser evil to the virtual elimination of the Catholic Church in the Reich”

***

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* Germany’s Pursuit of Death Camp Guards

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 10, 2014

auschwitz - train tracks

Germany’s Pursuit of Death Camp Guards

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* Lew’s review of “The Rise and Fall of Communism” by Archie Brown … the relevance of this communist history to Lew’s new novel

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 9, 2014

rise of communism - my novel

 

***

I only read the first few chapters, dealing with the origins of communism (surprise: read Acts of the Apostles 4:32) and its history in the 1920s and early 1930s.

I am trying to understand the oft-stated argument that the Catholic Church’s support and tolerance of Hitler and his agenda was primarily driven by a fear of international communism and the positioning of Hitler as an ally of the Church in the fight against it.

Here are Brown’s points relevant to my question …

*** the post-war period from 1917 to 1920 was indeed fraught with the threat and reality of communist-led insurrection throughout large swaths of Europe and Russia

*** in Germany, the radical communists (led by Karl Liebknecht & Roza Luxemburg) split from the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) … revolutionary uprisings took place in different parts of Germany in November 1918 … these were brutally suppressed by the socialist-led government, supported by paramilitary groups … Liebknecht & Luxemburg were murdered on Jan 15, 1919 … unrest continued through April 1919, when a Soviet republic was established in Bavaria

*** the Bavarian Soviet Republic was soon suppressed and by 1923 it was evident that Communists were not about to come to power in any European country apart from the Soviet Union.

RELEVANCE TO MY NOVEL …

So why was the threat of Communism so overwhelming that it drove the Vatican into Hitler’s hands? The facts about the actual Communist threat don’t seem to support it.

It could be argued that the Church’s perception of the communist threat in 1932-33 was related to Pacelli’s experience in Munich in 1917-1920, when as the newly appointed Papal Nuncio he saw first-hand the terror in the streets and had no idea where it might stop. But … Pacelli stayed in Germany through 1929 and he knew full well that the German Communist Party had no chance of ever coming to power. This reason has no resonance with me.

So what was the real reason? Consider the following POSSIBLE SCENARIO …

1. Hitler of course knew that the Communist party in Germany was a paper tiger, but he exaggerated its strength so he would have targets for his SA thugs to attack and for Goebbels to direct propaganda against. In other words, Hitler was using the over-stated threat of the Communists to frighten people into seeing the Nazis as the lesser of two evils. This tactic succeeded very well.

2. One of the Church’s main goals in the 1920s and early 1930s was the execution of a Reich Concordat, but Pacelli had come to understand that this could never happen so long as Germany remained a democracy. An agreement between Germany and the Vatican just did not have the votes in the Reichstag.

3. To get the Concordat, the Church needed Hitler to be Chancellor with dictatorial powers, thus eliminating the representative Reichstag as a factor.

4. The Church’s series of actions in 1932-33 helped Hitler become Chancellor and then, by means of the Enabling Act, become an absolute dictator. For this to happen, the Vatican pressured the Center Party, over the objections of the German bishops who understood the implications of a Hitler regime and who communicated their fears to the Vatican.

5. Under this pressure from the Vatican, the Catholic Center Party (a) refused to make a collaborative relationship with the Socialist Party and others that could have denied Hitler the Chancellorship, and then (b) cast its votes in favor of the Enabling Act which made him a dictator, an act which could not have passed without those votes.

The Church thus accomplished both of the prerequisites to a Reich Concordat … while paying no attention whatever to the consequences of Nazi violence and terror which it had been fully advised would ensue. The dissolution of the Center Party and the establishment of one-party rule in Germany soon followed.

Where do the Communists fit in all this?

The Church repeatedly articulated a fear of Communism and positioned Hitler as the Vatican’s ally in the struggle to keep communism from taking over in Germany (something that probably had no chance to happen with or without Hitler). By exaggerating the threat of Communism, the Church thus justified an alliance with Hitler which it traded to achieve the elusive Reich Concordat. In other words, the Church, like Hitler, was using the threat of the Communists to frighten people into seeing the Nazis as the lesser of two evils. (Why did the Vatican so desperately want the Reich Concordat? A topic for another review.)

Did this scenario actually happen? Is there sufficient evidence to support it?

There is some, but the complete answer, to prove the scenario or refute it, to unequivocally explain why the Church helped bring Hitler to power, may never be known. It’s a good bet, however, that some of the relevant materials are still locked in Vatican vaults.

***

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* Lew’s review of David Kertzer’s “The Popes Against the Jews”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 7, 2014

kertzer

Kertzer presents a comprehensive, methodical, unemotional, fact-based examination that utterly destroys the assertions of the Catholic Church during and after the Nazi years regarding the links between the antisemitism of the Catholic Church and the indifference of many Germans and others to the extermination of Jews in the Holocaust.

NOTE:  Kertzer does not set out to prove that had the Church done differently, Hitler would not have murdered the Jews. It might have been more difficult. It might have been less complete. It might not have happened at all. But that is all speculation. Proving any of that, or even asserting it, is not part of Kertzer’s thesis.

Kertzer begins his case with the 1998 report of a Vatican Commission titled “We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah.” Pope John Paul II had asked the Commission to determine what responsibility – if any – the Church bore for the Holocaust. The Vatican report predictably denied any link between the attitudes of Christians toward the Jews promulgated through many centuries and the subsequent destruction of Europe’s Jews by the Nazis.

Kertzer says NOT SO. 

He asserts that the Church’s version is what many in the Church may have wished had happened, but it is not what actually did happen. Then he proves his damning assertion with the record of the Church’s own statements, in Papal and other high-level communications and in the Catholic press. He cites repeated Catholic denunciation of the the Jews as evil conspirators against the public good, Catholic lamentation of the baleful effects of the emancipation of the Jews, and Catholic warnings of the harm done by giving the Jews equal rights.

*** in 1880 Civilta cattolica published a series of 36 fiercely antisemitic articles … over 40 months … claimed that Jews were obligated to hate all non-Jews … that Christian societies had to protect themselves from the Jews … we told you to keep Jews in their ghettoes … you ignored our warnings and look what has happened! … Christian religion is everywhere threatened by the Jews and social disorder spreads … if the Jewish race is left free, it becomes the persecutor, oppressor, tyrant, thief and devastator of the countries in which it lives.

*** more from Civilta cattolica in the 1890s … the Jews thirst for world domination … Jews are always a foreign nation, a sworn enemy of their hosts’ well-being … Jewish civil equality (the emancipation of the 19th c) must be immediately revoked 

*** countering the Church’s assertion that it put forward a religious antisemitism that was not the same as the racial antisemitism preached by Hitler, Kertzer again cites from Civilta cattolica … the notion that Jews belonged to a separate race was introduced in the first article (of the 1880 series) … it is a grave error to believe that Jews are just a religion … they are Jews especially because of their race … because they are born Jews, they must remain Jews.

Civilta cattolica

All of these Catholic denunciations of the Jews were printed in a Jesuit biweekly called Civilta cattolica, founded at the request of Pius IX and supervised by a series of Popes and their Secretaries of State. According to Kertzer, it was, during the relevant years, the most influential Catholic periodical in the world, widely regarded as the unofficial voice of the Pope himself. Before publication of the cited articles, proofs were sent to the pope and his secretary of state for approval.

Friends of Israel (1926-28)

Kertzer’s history of the short-lived Catholic association called Friends of Israel is particularly illustrative. [NOTE by “Israel” is meant the people of Israel, the Jews, not the State of Israel which did not yet exist.]

*** Founded in Rome in 1926, its aim was the conversion of Jews. But Friends of Israel believed that – before conversion – changes had to be made in how the Church treated the Jews. They summarized their views in a booklet titled Pax super Israel (Peace Upon Israel), stating …

  • Jews should no longer be stigmatized as the “deicide people,” with all Jews for all time held guilty of the murder of Christ

  • stories of Jewish ritual murder should be dismissed as old wives’ tales

  • the Church should not support antisemitic movements (ie, Hitler’s Nazi movement)

  • the words “perfidious Jews” should be removed from the Easter liturgy

It is more than interesting that all of these Friends of Israel suggestions were later adopted by Vatican Council II in 1965 and are now consistent with Catholic doctrine.

How different might things have been if this tolerant view of Jews had been allowed to stand in 1928 and thus inform subsequent Vatican actions vis-a-vis Hitler?

But that was not to be.

*** The Holy Office of Inquisition (of which Archbishop Pacelli, later Pius XII, was a member) had apoplexy at the Friends of Israel’s suggestions, dissolved the group in 1928 after just two years of existence, and specifically forbade any further writing on the subject.

Kertzer has none of the bombast of Goldhagen’s A Moral Reckoning, but he makes many of the same points by carefully documenting the record of Catholic antisemitism and showing how this provided the foundation for actions later taken by the Nazis. It is very hard to deny your own words, endlessly repeated.

*** Kertzer shows how the Nazi’s 1935 Nuremberg Laws restricting Jewish behavior were modeled on measures the Church itself had enforced when it was in a position to do so

The Church claims of lack of responsibility for the antisemitism that made the extermination of Jews in the Holocaust possible by claiming that the Church never called for, or sanctioned, the mass murder of Jews

*** Kertzer grants that this assertion is true (if you ignore the Spanish Inquisition and the events leading up to it) but shows conclusively (to me at least) how the teachings of the Church, specifically including those of the Popes themselves, helped make the Holocaust possible. He calls this a sad truth the Vatican Commission fails to admit. 

*** Kertzer asserts, based on the more than ample evidence he has assembled, that “the transition from medieval antisemitism to the modern racial antisemitism of Hitler found in the Church one of its important architects.”

***

Untitled Novel - cover

***

RELEVANCE FOR MY NOVEL

One of the important themes of my novel is to show how the Church’s policies, positions and actions, well documented by Kertzer and others, influence my novel’s characters into first supporting or at least accepting Hitler’s rise to power and allowing his program of persecution of the Jews to go forward. Of course the Catholic Church was surely not alone in this. The Protestant churches, the French, British and US governments, the German political parties, and even US Jewish organizations can all stand in line to take their share of responsibility.

All of those who might have opposed Hitler more effectively were facing a foe whose capacity for evil was beyond their imagination. Even when he said what he was going to do, in those instances when he did not lie, it did not seem believable.

… and all of us, myself included, need to try to imagine what we would have done were we in the shoes of those who had to decide what risks to take and what consequences to be willing to accept for themselves and others they cared about.

It is my goal to put my readers in those shoes.

***

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* James McPherson and Russell Banks on the role of history in a historical novel

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 6, 2014

novel history & cloudsplitter

 

NOVEL HISTORY is a book about writing concerned with the proper place of historical truth in a historical novel. Historians critique a series of novels regarding their historical accuracy, and the novelists get to answer.

I just read the pages dealing with Russell Bank’s CLOUDSPLITTER, comprising first a short essay by the esteemed historian James McPherson and then Banks’ rejoinder.

McPherson, who probably knows every single place where Banks has strayed from the consensus of history, quotes Banks’ Author Notes where he explicitly states that he has altered and rearranged historical events and characters to suit the purposes of his storytelling.

McPherson does not argue with what Banks has done, accepting that the work is a fiction, not an interpretation of history, although he suggests that some of his historian colleagues might not be so forgiving. McPherson says he is quite willing to learn from the “novelist’s license to reconstruct the past in the interests of a reality deeper than literal fact.”.

Banks responds indirectly by first establishing that the “voice” of the story defines the history that will be heard. “If there is history in a historical novel … it can only exist in the voice that we hear when we read the story.” Then he asserts that the questions the author has in his mind, the questions arising from the history that drove him to write the story, dictate his choice of the “voice” he will use to tell it.

The combination of the author’s questions and the “voice” who answers them will be the “voice of history in the fiction,” in McPherson’s wonderfully generous formulation, the “reality deeper than literal fact.”

What a privilege to read and learn from this dialogue.

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* Lew’s review of Nerin Gun’s “The Day of the Americans” … plus relevance for my new novel

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 5, 2014

Nerin Gun & An Untitled Novel

Nerin Gun was a Turkish reporter who ended up imprisoned at Dachau. His book, published in 1966, offers stunning first-hand images of the day Dachau was liberated by American forces

*** three SS men are still on their turret … they have pivoted their machine guns in the other direction, away from us, and they are peering into the distance … a single man emerges from behind a cement mixer parked at the edge of the camp … wearing a helmut embellished with leaves and branches … he moves cautiously forward, submachine gun in one hand, grenade in the other … he is still far away but I imagine I see him chewing gum … he comes cautiously, but upright, stalwart, unafraid …I almost expect him to be followed by a pure white charger … we knew America only by its films … this first image of the liberation was truly out of an American western … this soldier of the 3rd Battalion, 45th Combat Division was the very incarnation of the American hero … we will never forget those first few seconds … the memory of the unique, magnificent moment of your arrival … you had come at the risk of your life, into an unknown country, for the sake of an unknown people, bringing us the most precious thing in the world, the gift of freedom …

Gun is also quite critical of Pope Pius XII’s silence and inaction …

*** it is said that Pius XII saved a great many Jews who lived in Rome … no one denies this … but did not the Jews of Poland and other countries have the same right to stay alive?

Gun cites a legend of Saint Peter and applies it to Pope Pacelli …

*** Peter was fleeing Rome when he met Christ going in the opposite direction … Peter: Where are you going? Christ: I am going to Rome to be crucified in your stead … Peter turned back … I have wondered if Our Lord had ever appeared to Pius XII and said: I am going to Dachau to be crucified in your stead … but perhaps Pope Emilio Pacelli was no Saint Peter.

***

RELEVANCE FOR MY NEW NOVEL …

My main German and Polish (fictional) characters will end the war in a concentration camp, which I had intended to make Ohrdruf. Now I am thinking of changing this to Dachau. Having learned that Gun had earlier written about the Warsaw Ghetto, I am also going to see if I can create plausible fictional interactions between Gun and Anna in the Warsaw Ghetto and then again at the Dachau concentration camp. There is also the possibility of Anna, shortly after the war, reading what Gun wrote about Dachau. I could include the quote above and give appropriate credit.

***

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* Lew’s review (and quotes from) HITLER’S POPE … and the relevance to my novel-in-progress

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 30, 2014

 

Hitler's Pope & An Untitled Novel

Cornwell has written a devastating condemnation of Cardinal Pacelli (later Pius XII). So far, I have read the chapters describing Pacelli’s role in bringing Hitler to a position of dictatorial power by passage of the Enabling Act in 1933.

To summarize Cornwell’s argument …

Pacelli was fixated on reaching a Concordat with Hitler that would implement the 1917 Code of Canon Law he had been instrumental in drafting … He was totally unconcerned with Hitler’s destruction of human rights, social ethics and Jews … He was determined to destroy the power of the Catholic Center Party and the German bishops, who had vehemently opposed Hitler … His primary objective seems to have been to establish conditions under which he could rule imperiously from Rome without opposition … and to have Hitler in power in Germany as a bulwark against Communist expansion

Hitler knew exactly what he was gaining from Pacelli’s ambition *** nearing completion of the Concordat, Hitler wrote: the treaty shows the whole world that the assertion the NS is hostile to religion is a lie *** and then Hitler reported to his cabinet: a sphere of confidence has been created that will be especially significant in the urgent struggle against international Jewry

This is Pacelli’s record until 1933. Then, of course, there was his reprehensible silence during the Holocaust.

Here are a few more of the many points Cornwell makes to support his conclusions …

*** Hitler was wary of Catholic resistance to National Socialism … in Mein Kampf he wrote that a confrontation with the Catholic Church in Germany would be disastrous

*** Catholic criticism of National Socialism was vehement and sustained … open warfare … a parish priest at Kirschhausen gave guidance to his parishioners: no Catholic may be a Nazi, no Nazi may participate in parish activities, no Nazi may receive sacraments … promptly confirmed by the vicar-general of Mainz that the priest was speaking in accordance with diocesan thinking

*** the Bavarian bishops (Faulhaber) directed their clergy to warn against National Socialism … incompatible with Catholicism

*** a Catholic Reichstag representative – Karl Trossman … published “Hitler and Rome” … described Nazis as a “brutal party that would do away with the rights of the people” … would drag Germany into a new war which would end even more disastrously than the last 

*** Catholic author Alfons Wild: Hitler’s view of the world is not Christianity but a message of race that proclaims violence and hate … Catholic journalists: NS means hatred, fratricide and unbounded misery … Hitler preaches the law of lies

*** Pacelli was not inclined to take the least notice of advice from German Catholic leaders … maintained that satisfactory relations between Germany and the Church (by which he meant the Vatican) could only be achieved with a new concordat

*** as 1932 proceeded … decisions about the fate of the Catholic Church in Germany were being made entirely by Pacelli in the Vatican

*** in order to achieve the Reich Concordat … Pacelli needed the German bishops to reverse their denunciations of NS … and have the Center Party give legal force to the passage of the Enabling Act to grant Hitler dictatorial powers

***

RELEVANCE TO MY NEW NOVEL  …

The role of the Catholic Church (among and in conjunction with other actors) in enabling Hitler’s rise to power and his later annihilation of the Jews is a central element in my novel-in-progress, set in Germany and Poland in the Nazi years.

Although this is only a thought for now, I have in mind contrasting Pacelli/Pius XII with Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich …

  • Faulhaber was one of the leaders of a Catholic organization called Friends of Israel, devoted to better relations between Catholics and Jews, until the group was ordered to dissolve in 1928 by the Vatican Holy Order of which Pacelli was an important member. The group was dissolved because it had recommended eliminating the phrase “perfidious Jews” from the Easter liturgy.

  • Faulhaber was among the many German bishops and lay Catholics who were vehemently and vocally opposed to Hitler before 1933 until Pacelli effectively squashed all opposition by demanding in the Reich Concordat he negotiated with Hitler that German Catholics must support their Fuhrer.

Pacelli and Faulhaber both came to Munich in 1917. Pacelli of course moved on, but Faulhaber remained in Munich through the war and after. I am picking up hints that they did not like each other, personally or professionally.

I am also thinking about possible scenes where Berthold Becker, my main fictional German character, could interact with Faulhaber.

Cornwell’s is one of many sources that will guide this part of my writing.

***

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* Lew’s review (and thoughts for new novel) after reading Legacies of Dachau

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 30, 2014

 

Legacies of Dachau & An Untitled Novel

Marcuse provides an excellent detailed study of Dachau when it was a concentration camp from 1933-45, and its continuing role as a reminder of the German depravity. 

There were several points regarding the postwar use that fit well with the observations my wife and I made at the “Terror and Fascination” exhibit in Nuremberg, which to our eyes was in many ways a glorification of Hitler. I am still frustrated that I have not been able to induce any reputable historian or journalist to visit the exhibit and see if they agree with the serious deficiencies I summarized on my author blog at … https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/201…

One quote from Marcuse regarding Dachau is almost identical to a video we saw in Nuremberg … one housewife exonerated Hitler … most Germans weren’t involved … Der Fuhrer couldn’t have know about it … he would not have permitted such suffering.

Marcuse also reports how the 1979 TV documentary HOLOCAUST brought challenges and changes to the three German myths of IGNORANCE, VICTIMIZATION & RESISTANCE … making possible a change in West German’s recollection of their Nazi past … the impact of HOLOCAUST reflected changes that had been building for several years as younger Germans increasingly questioned their parents and doubted their rationalizations.

RELEVANCE to my new novel …

Thoughts provoked by Marcuse’s book have turned into potential scenes and conflicts involving the characters in my novel-in-progress. Although the “story” of my book takes place between 1923 and 1945, the main characters are also involved in 1990 through what I am calling “interludes.” These interludes allow knowledge beyond the story and reflection by the characters on what they, Germany and the world learned from the Nazi experience.

***

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* Nancy Petralia’s review of THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY … thank you, Nancy

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 24, 2014

 

Pope's Conspiracy - cover for blog

Nancy’s review …

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The story of the plot to assassinate the Medici brothers is right in the sweet spot of Italian history that fascinates me. The author interweaves this historical account with the tale of a Jewish printer and his family who come to in Florence fleeing Spanish persecution. The details of that storyline were new to me.

The arrival of Benjamin and Ester Catalan with their Gutenberg press causes a shift in both Florentine bookmaking and politics. Befriended by the powerful Medici family, they quickly discover that this is not the only alliance they need to make to survive. I found the parts about their Jewish heritage and religious practices nicely balanced the murder plot. Knowing the outcome, I found my attraction to the characters quite poignant. Even so, the pacing kept me wanting to see how things would turn out.

Mr. Weinstein has done his homework and he pulls in all of the real people who were involved in the plot, bringing them alive for the reader. I was especially pleased with the final section of the book that explains the liberties he took with their stories as well as the basis for his fictional characters. 

If you’re interested in Italian Renaissance history, or a good murder plot, this is well worth reading. Bravo!

***

Thank you, Nancy

Pope's Conspiracy - cover for blog

  purchase at amazon

The Pope’s Conspiracy

kindle $5.99 … paperback $13.46

***

The Heretic - new cover

The Pope’s Conspiracy is the sequel to THE HERETIC

purchase at amazon

The Heretic (Hereje)

kindle $5.99 … paperback $13.46

***

Nancy and her husband John are the authors of NOT IN A TUSCAN VILLA


tuscan villa

Nancy and John were in Key West this week, and Pat and I had the chance to share a drink and conversation. Their experiences reflect a willingness to seek adventure, and their telling of it is quite personal and entertaining.

Here is the review I posted on amazon and Goodreads …

This is a delightful book for many reasons.

For one, it is well written, every page taking the reader deep into the experience of two people who had the courage to take a year and do something totally different from their previous experience. There is a deep sense of adventure, a willingness and a sense of humor to accept that everything will not be as you planned, and the ability to change focus (and houses) when reality proves to be below expectations.

We go along with John and Nancy every step of the way, riding a bike, shopping, eating, volunteering at a food festival and a senior center, absorbing the culture and joy of Italy. There are great descriptions of many places you have heard of, and others not on the normal tourist radar.

***

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* Cathy’s review of THE HERETIC on Goodreads

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 19, 2014

Heretic & Hereje

English & Spanish editions

 

If I kept a GR shelf for family sagas, this book would be proudly placed there along withThe Pillars of the Earth, Gone With the Wind, and The Age Of Innocence. In my mind they are all historical novels which describe families and their trials and tribulations of living in troubling and/or interesting times. 

This historical fiction was set during the Spanish Inquisition which I knew little about. During this inquisition under Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain in the late 1400’s and early 1500’s, the Catalan family tries to live a peaceful life with their own beliefs. In public the family professes to be Catholic but behind closed doors, some family members still practiced Judaism. (It was a stigma to be anything other than Catholic.) 

Each and every character is fully described and so well-drawn that the reader is totally immersed in the storyline. I was vested in this family, wanting them to succeed. Reading the book I had an urgent need to know what happens next to each one. I cared about them and that’s always rewarding to me as a reader. 

Lewis Weinstein does what he does best and does it well. He researches before he writes and it’s obvious he’s aware of the world he’s in when he’s writing. And good for him that his writing is not complicated. I hate useless words and there are none in this book. 

Weinstein’s writing fulfills the need to know at that particular moment of the story and moves the reader gently around each corner with just enough to urge the reader to flip to the next page sometimes more quickly than others. 

I enjoyed reading this book so much. The ending, well the ending in my estimation was incredible. Just amazing. I re-read the ending because it was surprising and so beautifully written. 

This book is a winner and is the first Weinstein I’ve read but I assure you it won’t be my last.

***

Thank you, Cathy

***

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* Chuck’s Goodreads review of THE HERETIC

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 3, 2014

Heretic & Hereje

THE HERETIC … English & Spanish editions

Chuck’s review …

The author, Lewis Weinstein, is one of my Goodreads friends. Outstanding job, Lew.

Historical fiction is my favorite genre and this is historical fiction of the first order. It is very well written, exhaustively researched and historically accurate. This book increased my knowledge of the religious conflict in 15th century Spain by one hundred fold.

The folks writing positive acknowledgements about the book include Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz and Faye Kellerman.

 The Heretic tells the story from the viewpoint of Gabrel Catalan, a Jewish goldsmith whose ancestors were forced to convert to Christianity under threat of death and, as a result, were known as Conversos. The story lays out the events leading to the infamous Spanish Inquisition.

Mr. Weinstein does a great job of introducing his characters and making them into real people. I heartily recommend it.

THANK YOU, CHUCK!

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* Lew’s comments on “The Holocaust and the Church” … and Cardinal Faulhaber

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 30, 2014

Scolino-cover

Sciolino provides a useful overview of a truly despicable history. In particular, he shows how the Catholic Church supported the Enabling Act of 1933 which gave Hitler dictatorial powers, and that the Church never objected to the deportation and murder of Jews in the 1940s, of which they were well aware.

For my purposes, there were several references to Cardinal Michael Faulhaber of Munich which will be helpful to me in my novel-in-progress.

Cardinal Faulhaber

Cardinal Faulhaber … is a fascinating character. In the 1920s he appears to have been openly supportive of Jews, tolerant and opposing Nazi street violence and other forms of persecution. He was a member of a group called “Friends of Israel” until it was disbanded by the Vatican. In the 1930s, however, Faulhaber and other German bishops were forced by the Vatican to collude with Hitler, both before and during the Holocaust, so long as Church property and other assets were not taken.

It is of course the height of hypocrisy to claim to be a moral force in the world and yet to sit by without saying a word while millions were murdered simply for being Jews. For this the Catholic Church has never, in my opinion, sufficiently atoned. After the Holocaust, the main action of the Church was to ferociously keep hidden Vatican archives which described what it did and did not do. Even today, much of this record remains secret.

In my new novel … 

I look forward to exploring how Cardinal Faulhaber, who I believe was actually a quite decent person, might have felt about the Vatican-generated facade in which he participated. He lived through it all, as Archbishop of Munich from 1917 to his death in 1952. Little is written by or about Faulhaber. Who, if anyone, was his confidant?

To show Faulhaber’s thoughts in the context of my story, I am creating a fictional young priest (Fr. Johannes) who will, through his discussions with Faulhaber, recognize the Church’s hypocrisy and the consequences of Church inaction for the Jews and the world. Fr. Johannes’ interactions with my main German character (Berthold Becker), if I can write those scenes the way I hope to, will be heartbreaking and damning.

Ah … the power of historical fiction.

***

Posted in * A FLOOD OF EVIL ... Lew's novel-in-progress | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

* Lisa’s 5 ***** review of THE HERETIC on Goodreads

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 20, 2014

The Heretic and Hereje (Spanish edition published in 2012)

The Heretic and Hereje (Spanish edition published in 2012)

Lisa wrote …

This historical novel is well-researched and the story is captivating, although difficult to read in places because of the terrible violence perpetrated against Jews and forcibly baptized Christians (and their descendants) suspected of “reverting” to Judaism in medieval Spain.

The author captures well the dangers in the lives of these conversos and, for those who wish to live as Jews, the risks they ran to practice their faith and be true to their heritage. All of this is in the context of the lives of the Catalan family and their associates, for whom I came to care. How tragic that so many people were persecuted for their beliefs based on false and perverted doctrines, when the value of every human being as a child of God and the importance of agency and freedom of conscience are fundamental to God’s true plan of salvation.

The author waxes didactic in places (as I just did), trying to get the details of the various points of view into the record, but that did not mar the book for me–it was fascinating, if deeply disappointing at times, to learn the positions of those who, as Milton wrote in Areopagitica, use the means of “a false and bloody superstition” to protect what is supposed to be a loving and agency-respecting truth.

The book ended too soon for me–I would have liked to see what happened to later generations of the Catalan family–so this is perhaps a call for a sequel. [NOTE: There is a sequel: THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY]

For readers who wish to know more about the position of Jews in medieval Spain and get good mystery stories into the bargain, I also recommend Caroline Roe’s “Isaac of Girona” series. Congratulations to Lewis Weinstein on a job well done, and some truly impressive support for The Heretic from notable people such as Elie Wiesel and Cardinal O’Connor, among others.

Thank you, Lisa

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* “Case Closed” Author Discusses FBI Anthrax Cover-up and Possible Al-Qaeda Involvement

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 6, 2014

Here is an interview I did in 2010 regarding

the FBI’s failed case against Bruce Ivins

and the need for the American people to know the truth.

Author Photo 2012

 

***

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zI69unuq6A

***

My novel CASE CLOSED, a fictional scenario I invented in 2008

with no research and no special knowledge, seems each day

to move closer to the truth than the FBI’s unprovable assertions.

CC - front cover for Create Space

purchase CASE CLOSED at …

http://www.amazon.com/Case-Closed-Lewis-M-Weinstein/dp/1595943188/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394155296&sr=8-1&keywords=weinstein+case+closed

***

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* Father Edward Flannery: Christians must come to full recognition of the huge crime committed by Christianity against the Jews (research for Lew’s novel-in-progress)

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 25, 2014

anguish of the jews

***

Father Edward Flannery, who died in 1998, was a Catholic priest who was the first director of Catholic-Jewish Relations for the U.S. Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, a position he held from 1967 to 1976. His book was published in 1965.

Flannery’s famous statement … “it is little exaggeration to state that those pages of history Jews have committed to memory are the very ones that have been torn from Christian history books” … was quoted by Dr. Eugene J. Fisher, his successor at the U.S. Bishops’ Committee, in Dr. Fisher’s comments praising my novel THE HERETIC for bringing those pages back to Christian view.

***

Father Flannery pulls no punches in his denunciation of the Catholic Church for its role in promulgating antisemitism and providing the foundation for Hitler’s Holocaust …

*** Pope Pius XII’s silence during the Holocaust rested on the acquiescence of the German episcopacy, which in turn rested on the still wider apathy or collusion with Nazism of German Catholics, themselves so ill prepared for any better response by accustomed antisemitic attitudes so often aided and abetted in the past by the Church itself … the Pope’s “subjects” in Germany were little prepared to heed any denunciations of Hitler and Nazism

*** Judaism lived on as a theological challenge to the Christian claim to be a new and true Israel … the threat of that challenge can hardly be overestimated

*** in the minds of the Church Fathers the only solution to the appeal of the old Israel was to discredit the Jew theologically … to depict the Jew as rejected, even cursed, by God … diabolical, the slayer of God Himself … antisemitism based on theological rivalry

*** modern racial antisemitism – as exemplified by the Nazi regime – would not have been possible without centuries of anti-Judaic and antisemitic precedents … from the beginning, Hitler had his target, the Jews, already set up, defenseless, and discredited

***

Flannery’s conclusion sets a monumental challenge

for contemporary Christians …

*** Christians must come to full recognition of the preponderant role played by the Christian churches in the development of antisemitism … and the huge crime committed by Christianity against the Jews … deplorable … should stain the souls of all Christians … antisemitism is a denial of Christian faith, a failure of Christian hope, a malady of Christian love.

***

The Heretic - for blog

http://www.amazon.com/Heretic-Lewis-M-Weinstein/dp/1475082843/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393338540&sr=1-1&keywords=weinstein+heretic

***

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* the questions in this 4 year old video remained unanswered … the scenario of the 2001 anthrax attacks presented in my novel is still “more plausible” than the one asserted by the FBI … why do we still not know who perpetrated the 2001 anthrax attacks?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 13, 2014

I first posted these questions to YouTube 4 years ago. The questions have not been answered. Meanwhile, the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins has been totally demolished on my Case Closed blog (over 323,000 clicks so far) …

http://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/  

… but the FBI has never responded to any of these issues, continuing to assert an impossible set of allegations. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says it is conducting a review of the FBI’s investigation, but they are years behind their initially communicated completion date. Nobody seems to care.

My novel CASE CLOSED presents a scenario which many, including a highly placed member of our Intelligence Community, say is “more plausible” than the one still put forward by the FBI.

CC - front cover for Create Space

I can imagine three reasons for the FBI’s failure to adjust its views

in the face of overwhelming refutation of its position …

  1. The FBI has more evidence against Dr. Ivins but is, for some undisclosed reason, withholding that evidence … POSSIBLE BUT NOT SO LIKELY
  2. The FBI, despite the most expensive and extensive investigation in its history, has not solved the case and has no idea who prepared and mailed the anthrax letters that killed 5 Americans in 2001 … EVEN LESS LIKELY
  3. The FBI knows who did it (not Dr. Ivins) but is covering up the actual perpetrators, for undisclosed reasons … THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO

This case is definitely not closed!

***

purchase CASE CLOSED at amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Case-Closed-failed-solve-anthrax/dp/1475131801/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392300941&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=cse+closed+weinstein

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* Lew’s review of EUROPE’S LAST SUMMER by David Fromkin

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 10, 2014

Europe's Last Summer

***

Q: Who Started World War I? … A: Germany!

One of the main props of Hitler’s vitriolic propaganda was to condemn the Allies’ position at Versailles that Germany should be the only nation to pay reparations since it was solely responsible for starting the First World War. Putting aside the problems caused by the reparations, which were substantial and in hindsight bad policy, there remains the issue of who started the war.

Fromkin puts that responsibility squarely on Germany, which encouraged and manipulated the Austrian declaration of war against Serbia into its own war against Russia and France.

*** the internationl conflict in the summer of 1914 consisted of two wars, not one … both were started deliberately, one by the Hapsburg Empire and the other by the German Empire … the decision to launch war – in both cases – was made by a few individuals at the top … both wars were about power, about the relative ranking among the great European powers … both Germany and Austria believed themselves on the way down … each started a war in order to stay where it was

*** it was (Chief of the German General Staff) Helmuth Moltke who wanted war against Russia and France … he artfully substituted his war for support of the Austrian-Serbian war … Moltke represented the Prussian Junker officer caste whose militarization of German life led to the war.

***

Untitled Novel - cover

in my new novel-in-progress … 

I plan to incorporate Fromkin’s controversial but well-documented conclusion (published in 2004) into a discussion one of my fictional characters will have with Marshal Josef Pilsudski of Poland. Pilsudski was involved in the WWI fighting, would probably have known the German generals and staff personnel, and was a brilliant strategist who could well have perceived events as Fromkin later reconstructed. Such is the opportunity offered to the writer of historical fiction to fill in the blanks of history – as long as the known (???) truth allows that it could have happened that way.

***

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* talking about books at DUVAL lunch

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 7, 2014

Lew at DUVAL

***

I had the privilege today of addressing the DUVAL lunch group, of which I am a member, as part of our ongoing authors’ series. Out of 16 members of DUVAL, 8 are published authors, so this group always presents a humbling challenge. I talked briefly about my 4 published novels and then about my work in process. Our venue today was the deck at the Pier House, a longtime Key West locale for authors and drinkers.

5 novels - covers & praise

Posted in *** Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

* The Heretic … a beautiful portrayal of a Jewish family as they try to live in a culture that denies their humanity

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 4, 2014

The Heretic - for blog

***

 excerpts from Paul Fadoju’s Dec 10, 2013 review of

“The Heretic” on Goodreads.com

A touching well written book. Set during the Spanish Inquisition it shows the beautiful portrayal of a Jewish Family as they try to live in a culture that denies their humanity. I was touched with the tapestry of their lives, the length they went to live the lives that was true to themselves….and as you go through their struggles, you ask yourself a simple question … what would I do in their situation? This ugly part of the Christian history is not well known to the modern church and it’s nice to know that society is moving to an enlighten era where we are tolerant to others who are not like us and long may it continue where we can all celebrate the Humanity that we all share together.

Thanks Lewis, your work is over a decade old

but speaks volume to the new generation.

***

Posted in * THE HERETIC | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

* The Key West Literary Seminar … a spectacular experience

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 24, 2014

Gerritsen, Connelly, Burke, Koryta

Tess Gerritsen, Michael Connelly, Alafair Burke, Michael Koryta

The 32nd annual Key West Literary Seminar, called THE DARK SIDE, focused on mystery and crime. The roster of authors included (1st weekend): Gillian Flynn, Sara Parestky, Joseph Kanon, Carl Hiaasen, Laura Lippman, Scott Turow and (2nd weekend): Elizabeth George, Lisa Unger, Lee Child, Malla Nunn, John Banville/Benjamin Black, Thomas Cook, Percival Everett, Kent Krueger, Michael Connelly, Michael Koryta, Tess Gerritsen and James Hall. There were individual presentations and panel discussions, and the chance to meet the authors. Pat and I attended the 2nd week.

***

Elizabeth George gave a brilliant keynote address titled “Writing in the Dark, from the Dark, about the Dark.” Later in the week, we had the opportunity to listen to Elizabeth, take her to lunch, and then have her at our home for pizza and to watch the Seattle Seahawks win their way into the Super Bowl. And, by the way, I think her latest – Just One Evil Act – is the best in a great series. I had her autograph her book – Write Away – which is the best book on writing I have ever read.

EG composite

***

One of the great things about the KWLS is that the authors are easily accessible and very personable. Here is Pat with several of the many authors we chatted up.

Pat with Unger, Banville, Collins, Child, Hiaasen

Pat with Unger, Banville, Collins, Hiaasen and Child

***

On Friday afternoon, we were walking along Duval Street when Michael Connelly – yes, that Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch, Lincoln Lawyer) – came walking towards us. He came over to me and said, “Lew, I have something to show you.” Taking out his cell phone, he thumbed through his photos and showed me a photo of my book The Heretic.

“I found this in my room,” he said. Pat and I had spoken briefly with Michael at a cocktail party the previous night, but I am just dumfounded that he made the connection and then was kind enough to show me what he had found. He is not only a great author, but a very nice man.

Lew & Connelly, Heretic

***

With all the well-known names, one of the pleasures of the KWLS is to meet new authors, like Malla Nunn, who writes crime stories set in South Africa. I have started to read Malla’s Let The Dead Lie and it is terrific. So is she. Pat and I spoke with her several times, including lunch together at the seminar’s concluding Conch Chowder Lunch.

Malla Nunn

Malla Nunn

***

Added to the excitement of meeting so many great authors were the significant insights I received – from every session – into aspects of my own writing: how the slow building of dread can work even if you know the ending … people want to know the secrets behind the events … seeking out time-specific sensibilities … the private thoughts of historical characters, expressed in historical fiction permits a more illuminating portrayal than the history itself … characters lie (especially if they are the Nazis in the novel I am currently writing) … use, and choose when to reveal, the character’s misconceptions and purposeful lies. Thinking about writing is, for me, the main benefit of the sessions.

***

Posted in * THE HERETIC, *** about writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

* proposed OP-ED regarding … The “Fascination and Terror” exhibit in Nuremberg needs to be reviewed and re-designed

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 14, 2014

glorification of Hitler (2)

***

My wife and I visited the Nazi Documentation Center in Nuremberg on June 28, 2012, as part of a research trip related to a novel I am currently working on, a novel that will focus on the reasons why German citizens came to support Hitler’s programs of unprovoked war and murder of the Jews.

We walked through the exhibit called “Fascination and Terror” independently, each of us listening to the audio guide and viewing the panels. When we were about two-thirds through the exhibit, my wife asked me if I was receiving the same impression as she was. After a short discussion, we agreed that, to our eyes, the exhibit was very much a glorification of the rise and accomplishments of Adolf Hitler, almost always presented without comment or criticism.

We were horrified.

Our feeling was amplified by the remaining panels in the exhibit and then we were truly shaken by the concluding video, where a German woman says she was told by a friend who worked in a hospital about a patient who had a mental breakdown. She went on (paraphrase) … “He said he was the driver of a truck where Jews were gassed in the back of the truck. He said he couldn’t stand it anymore. But I don’t think this could be true. Our Fuhrer would never allow that to happen.”

It is my hope that historians and others who have seen the “Fascination and Terror” exhibit will offer their opinion of the impression received by my wife and myself. I think it would also be useful to make some effort to measure the response of the numerous viewers of the exhibit, particularly young German students, to learn what message they received.

Director Täubrich’s comments … I have reviewed my comments with the Director of the exhibit, Dr. Hans-Christian Täubrich, and I applaud Dr. Täubrich for his willingness to engage in dialogue with me. In several instances, he pointed out errors that I had made or parts of the exhibit I had not seen or remembered. There were many other objections by Dr. Täubrich which I did not find convincing.

After adjusting for those of Dr. Täubrich’s comments which I felt were valid, I am left with the following 14 specific examples of commission and omission …

1. The Heroic Putsch march … The audio describing Hitler’s failed 1923 putsch in Munich uses the word “heroic” to characterize the march into the center of Munich, an event which every other source I have read describes as incompetent, calamitous, and certainly treasonous. The exhibit book says (p.26) … “In the fall of 1923 Hitler decided that the time was ripe to topple the Reich government. On November 9, in a “heroic” action, he marched into the Munich government district …” The exhibit presents this distorted view of the 1923 putsch without interpretive comment.

2. How Hitler built his power … In the exhibit book, there are many pages presenting a positive panorama of the manner in which Hitler built his power:  the Fuhrer’s idea of national community … the idea of a superior people who would eradicate their opponents, including Jews … the cleverly constructed Fuhrer myth … Hitler’s absolute authority.

3. Forced labor camps … The pages describing forced labor in the later 1930s and during the war (p. 50-53) do express the horror of the work camps … “forced labour camps for Jews, where prisoners were exterminated by workowing to the inhuman conditions the death rate was extremely high” … but again fail to criticize Hitler directly for his role in establishing such camps. Hitler’s name, so prominent elsewhere, is never mentioned in these pages.

4. The Nuremberg Laws … There is but passing mention of the 1935 Nuremberg Laws and no emphasis on their clear purpose of disenfranchising German Jewish citizens of civil rights previously guaranteed by the German Constitution. In the catalog (72-75) we read: “in a perpetual struggle for survival, the weak elements would be eradicated by the strongthis body of thought held the Jews to be a parasitic people, seeking to destroy from within the peoples of the greatest valueBolshevism was an instrument of the Jews in their struggle to dominate the world.” … Does the exhibit offer any protest of these vicious Nazi slogans? Does it present moral objections to the legitimacy of a policy of eradicating the weak? Does it mention that Jewish Germans were actually loyal German citizens who had made numerous significant contributions, including army service in WWI? Not a word! The Nazi condemnations of Jews are left unchallenged, and thus seem to be endorsed by the exhibit.

5. Kristallnacht … Consider this direct quote dealing with Kristallnacht (p.77) … “The reason for this pogrom … was the assassination by a young Jew of the German diplomat Ernst von Rath in Paris.” Really? One killing, far away in Paris no less, was enough to set loose an immediate Germany-wide coordinated attack on Jews and Jewish property, which the exhibit allows to be called “spontaneous riots.” That outrageous lie should have been corrected in the same panel. It is unfortunately typical of the exhibit that the Nazi version of Kristallnacht (“spontaneous riots”) was left unchallenged.

6. Media campaigns against Jews … There is inadequate mention of the newspaper campaigns against German Jewish citizens in Der Sturmer and other Nazi publications. In the catalog there is one paragraph and one photo related to the Nazi propaganda against the Jews (p.75). The issue is proportion, in the catalog as well as in the museum. Why are there 39 pages on the rally grounds and just one paragraph on the unrelenting, untrue and often pornographic campaign against Jews ordered by Hitler (who is not mentioned on page 75), a campaign that set the stage for the systematic murder of 6,000,000 Jews?

7. Impact on Christian Germans … The exhibit here misses the opportunity to discuss the impact of this propaganda on Christian Germans. Did they believe what they were being told? Were they pleased to see the Jews demeaned and ultimately murdered? Were they “proud” of the way Hitler was purifying their country? Whatever the answers, these questions are critical for today’s Germans seeking to understand how their grandparents committed or allowed such atrocities. They are not raised by the exhibit. Hitler is not criticized for propagating lies about the Jews.

8. Complicity of Catholic and Protestant churches … There is no mention of the complicit role of the hierarchies of the Catholic and Protestant churches in supporting Hitler’s rise to power. The role of the German churches in allowing Hitler to seize and exercise power is an essential element of the Hitler years that needs to be dealt with honestly today. The churches represented, or should have represented, the moral fiber of the German people, and yet the highest church leaders stood by and never objected, going out of their way in some instances to instruct their flocks to support Hitler. It is troubling that an exhibit which purports to show the rise of Hitler makes no mention of the complicity of the Catholic and Protestant hierarchies in permitting that rise, including their role in passing the Enabling Act.

9. Centuries of church-sponsored antisemitism … The exhibit also fails to mention the extent to which centuries of church-sponsored antisemitism laid the groundwork for hatred of the Jews without which many historians believe Hitler could not have succeeded. This is important for young Germans to understand, and the exhibit has again missed an opportunity to educate them.

10. Positive portrayal of Hitler’s unprovoked attacks … Catalogue pages (p.78 and after) … “the Wehrmacht marched into Austria … the German territories of Czechoslavakia were taken over … German nationalism appeared in 1938 on the way to fulfillment (of the old dream of) a common Reich for all Germans … powerful German units marched into Poland … with rapid mobile armoured formations and fighter bombers, the Army advanced … the Germans occupied Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium and France in a series of rapid campaigns … In only three months they ruled over almost all of Western Europe … Only Great Britain continued the war against the German Reich … Hitler hastened to the aid of his ally Italy … the Wehrmacht occupied Yugoslavia and Greece.”  One glorious triumph after another, unprovoked, over-reaching, and ultimately unsustainable (i.e., stupid). The exhibit fails to mention these results and consequences of Hitler’s actions, leaving to him the moments of triumph.

11. Hitler’s popularity … The exhibit presents Hitler’s military triumphs as if intending to quicken the heart of any patriotic German! Germany, under Hitler’s guidance, marched on, conquering everyone. The word “unprovoked” is not to be found. The words “ultimate failure” are missing. The exhibit presents the Nazi view, without critical interpretive comment, and thus seems to endorse it. On (p.79): “Hitler’s popularity with the Germans rose to unparalleled levels.” Are Germans supposed to be proud of what the Nazis accomplished on the battlefield? Is that the bottom line of the exhibit’s glorification of Hitler’s conquests?

12. Death camps … Hitler’s wartime accomplishments are portrayed in the glowing terms quoted above, but the fact that Hitler directly ordered the death camps is not mentioned. Instead, the exhibit states: “Plans for the systematic murder of all European Jews were being hatched … the SS set up three single-purpose extermination camps.” No mention of Hitler. Why does the exhibit refrain, again and again, from directly criticizing Hitler and calling him the monster he was? There is also no mention of what Germans knew or did not know about the death camps, a topic of vital importance to Germany’s current generation struggling to make judgments about the actions of their parents and grandparents.

13. Final exhibit (1)we thought it would be nice for the Jews … At the end of the exhibit, there is a video showing interviews with Germans who lived through the Nazi years. One woman says (paraphrase), “We had no idea what was happening to the Jews. We thought they were being taken away to Israel (sic), where it would be nice for them since they would all be together. They would have everything they needed, all the doctors, tailors, etc. But I guess if there were only Jews, some of them would have to be street cleaners.” 

14. Final exhibit (2)Our Fuhrer would never allow that to happen … Another woman says she was told by a friend who worked in a hospital about a patient who had a mental breakdown. She said (paraphrase) … “He said he was the driver of a truck where Jews were gassed in the back of the truck. He said he couldn’t stand it anymore. I don’t think this could be true. Our Fuhrer would never allow that to happen.”  

***

 Author Photo 2012

Mr. Weinstein is a graduate of Princeton University and the Harvard Business School. His management career included the direction of for-profit, government, and not-for-profit entities. More recently, he is the author of four published novels, and is currently working on a novel set in Germany and Poland during the Nazi years.

***

Posted in ** NAZI CENTER - Nuremberg | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

* Thank you early readers … the first comments on the draft of part one of my new novel are just spectacular … and much appreciated

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 13, 2014

nuremberg-war-crimes-trial

***

Thank you early readers!

I have so far received “early reader”comments form three readers. The depth of their observations is truly impressive.

I asked specifically for “dead spots” that might be eliminated to improve the pace of the novel, and several of those have been identified. However, it is far more the case that early readers have asked for more, not less, most often with respect to deeper understanding of characters’ motivations.

This gives me much to consider as I work on revising my draft, which I will do after I have received feedback from the other early readers.

***

Posted in * A FLOOD OF EVIL ... Lew's novel-in-progress | Leave a Comment »

* Fergie’s review of “The Heretic” on Goodreads

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 8, 2014

The Heretic - for blog

Fergie’s review

The Heretic is a wonderfully written novel about the Spanish Inquisition and the impact it had on the Jewish population in the 15th century. In Lewis Weinstein’s able hands, the history of Jewish culture trying to survive the Anti-Semitic acts of that era survive. In fact, Weinstein describes with great deft, the roots of Anti-Semitic views in Europe.

I read this book in one day, finding it difficult to put down. History, action, and love all abound in this book. Also present is the notion of ignorance and the discrimination that extends from it.

The Catholic Church’s sins are outlined historically and accurately in the book. To understand history is to make an effort not to repeat it. Had the world taken greater note of the issues described so well by Mr. Weinstein, perhaps the world, and most notably, the Jewish population, may not have been forced to suffer through the Holocaust.

Students of history should read this book. People of the Catholic and Jewish faiths should read this book. It may sound like an over-reaching statement, but I believe that all humanity would be well-served reading this book. Once you read the foreward, you’ll be compellingly hooked.

***

Thank you, Fergie.

***

Posted in * THE HERETIC | Leave a Comment »

* a new 5 ***** review of The Pope’s Conspiracy” on Goodreads

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 7, 2014

Pope's Conspiracy - cover for blog

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Laura Uplinger‘s 5 ***** review 

In this inspiring book, Lewis Weinstein takes us to the heart of the Medici family and the fledgling Renaissance. He masterfully weaves love, religion, politics and friendship in his writer’s loom and it all becomes so palpable, so discernible… Much of what we experience today in our XXI Century world was germinating in those times of heroic pioneering… Thank you Lewis Weinstein for gifting your readers with a warm peek in the intimacy of the minds of men and women of that epoch.
***

Posted in * THE POPE'S CONSPIRACY | Leave a Comment »

* early readers take on Part One of “An Untitled Novel”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 7, 2014

nuremberg-war-crimes-trial

***

THANK YOU, EARLY READERS.

I have completed a draft of Part One of my novel set in Germany and Poland during the Nazi years. The first early reviewer was my wife, who is an excellent reader and who I encouraged to be critical, although such encouragement was not really necessary since Pat often describes herself as my “harshest critic.” After that, I did my own re-edit of the roughly 200 pages of Part One, then sent the latest revised draft to friends who have agreed to be “early readers.”

Some of these early readers are Goodreads and Facebook friends, others are people I met in Germany while doing research, some are friends from Key West, others are people who have been early readers on my previous novels.

Here’s what I’ve asked early readers to pay particular attention to …

1. First of all is your sense of the flow of the book. Does it pull you along? Are there dead spots where your interest flags? Are there scenes or parts of scenes which you don’t think are necessary?

2. This is harder. Are there things missing? For instance, do you feel you need a transition link between scenes or to set the scene? Or do you need a prior foundation for something you are reading and don’t fully understand?

3. Reaction to major characters … What is your view of Berthold and Anna? Do you think you have gotten to know them as young people? Are you interested in finding out what happens to bring them to Nuremberg?

4. Prologue and Interludes. Do you like the opening, with the Nuremberg charges and sentences? Do you like the way Marissa and Abraham frame the story at the beginning and then re-appear in the interludes? Do you like meeting Anna and Berthold in “real time” in the interludes?

Within two days, I have already received some really perceptive comments, enough to make the whole process worthwhile, and I am sure there will be many more.

***

THANK YOU, EARLY READERS.

***

Posted in * A FLOOD OF EVIL ... Lew's novel-in-progress | Leave a Comment »

* Thank you Goodreads & Facebook friends … one more week for special ebook prices

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 24, 2013

one week left - author blog

***

The Heretic and the sequel The Pope’s Conspiracy …

available together as a single kindle edition

The Catalan Family Saga … $3.99

http://www.amazon.com/The-Catalan-Family-Saga-Conspiracy-ebook/dp/B0081TIHD4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387889585&sr=8-1&keywords=weinstein+catalan

A Good Conviction … $3.99

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Conviction-Lewis-M-Weinstein/dp/1595941622/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387889659&sr=8-1&keywords=weinstein+good+conviction

Cased Closed … $2.99

http://www.amazon.com/Case-Closed-failed-solve-anthrax/dp/1475131801/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387889721&sr=8-1&keywords=weinstein+case+closed

***

Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

 
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