* 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


  • 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 


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
    • 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


  • 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, 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


  • 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


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* 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

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* 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

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* 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


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* 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



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.

Posted in *** Lew's reviews - general reading | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

* 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!



at amazon, in softcover and kindle

The Heretic - new cover


Pope's Conspiracy - cover for blog



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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 …



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




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.


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* 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 … 


purchase for $5.99 (in English) at …



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.


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 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



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.



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



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.


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

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 30, 2014


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.


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* 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





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 …



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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



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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) …


… 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


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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.


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* 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



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


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




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.




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


A Good Conviction … $3.99


Cased Closed … $2.99



Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* my review of ANGRY DAYS is published in the Key West Citizen

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 23, 2013

angry days 1


angry days 2

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* great prices on all kindle editions until Dec 31

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 16, 2013

4 novels - no problem - author blog


Thank you, Goodreads and Facebook friends

To express my appreciation for all the pleasure I get from interacting with you on Goodreads and Facebook, I have instituted special kindle pricing for my Goodreads and Facebook friends, from now (as soon as amazon processes my pricing updates) 


Special kindle pricing will end 12/31/13 …

if my books are on your “to read” list, now is the time to buy


The Heretic and the sequel The Pope’s Conspiracy …

available together as a single kindle edition

The Catalan Family Saga … $3.99


A Good Conviction … $3.99


Cased Closed … $2.99


Read what others say about my novels …


The Heretic 

the secretly Jewish Catalan family seeking to avoid the persecution of the Church

Elie Wiesel …  

The Heretic is deeply absorbing … it helps Jews and Christians better understand their complex and often painful relationship.”

Alan M. Dershowitz … 

“The historical novel that is both true to the past and relevant to the present is rare indeed. The Heretic humanizes the tragic history of religious persecution.”

Laura (on Goodreads) … “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.”


The Pope’s Conspiracy

 the surviving Catalan family in the Florence of Lorenzo de Medici  

Sherril Rhoades  … “The Pope’s Conspiracy brings the Renaissance alive. The story focuses on a young Jewish printer and his wife who become caught up in the political machinations of the Vatican

Carol (on amazon) … This is a powerful sequel to the Heretic. Another well researched, informative story with characters you care about and a story that keeps the reader engaged.


A Good Conviction

convicted of a murder he did not commit by a prosecutor who knew he was innocent

*This is a “page turner” and I loved every minute of it.

* What’s scary about Josh’s situation is that it’s entirely plausible.

* The courtroom scene moved quickly in a compelling manner.

* My heart is breaking for this kid


Case Closed

what might really have happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks … not what the FBI says

Rawy … The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history. But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agency involved. The books is a must read for anyone who wondered what really happened? Who did it? and why? … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth.

Sherril Rhoades  … This scary scenario is as close to truth as fiction can come. Lew Weinstein is a meticulous researcher and a determined storyteller. This book will keep you up at night — reading, then worrying.





Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* Joe Stamber’s review of CASE CLOSED on Goodreads … authentic … fascinating … a novel which could easily be mistaken for a factual account (of what actually happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed 5 people and paralyzed the nation) … $2.99 on kindle until Dec 31

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 15, 2013



special pricing until Dec 31, 2013

Kindle edition on amazon … $2.99

to purchase, click >>>

Case Closed: … why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax case 


Joe Stamber’s review of CASE CLOSED … 

I have only vague recollections of the anthrax attacks that took place in 2001 and little knowledge of the subsequent FBI investigation, but I didn’t have to look far to catch up. It isn’t essential to know the details before reading Case Closed as the author gives a brief introduction explaining his reasons for writing the novel, although reading up on the “facts” elsewhere may lead to a greater understanding.

The FBI investigation into the anthrax attacks was long winded and controversial. Case Closed is a fictional scenario where some officials are angry enough at the outcome of the investigation to do something about out it. Due to Lew Weinstein’s style (in this particular book) and attention to detail, Case Closed has a very authentic feel. It doesn’t read like a novel, more like an account of events which despite being fictional sound credible.

The word that most comes to mind after finishing Case Closed is “fascinating”. If presented to a reader unaware of its fictional status, it could easily be mistaken for a factual account of events. That what makes it stand out. A well thought out, well written and intriguing read for those seeking something a little different.


Ivins & FBI logo

This man, Dr. Bruce Ivins, was accused by the FBI … after he had committed suicide … there is no credible evidence to support the FBI’s case

Lew’s comment …

The FBI has never told the true story of the anthrax attacks or its own investigation. The FBI assertion that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator does not stand up. Every element of the FBI case has been thoroughly demolished on  my CASE CLOSED blog.

… http://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/  

… over 1,300 posts, 17,000 comments, 300,000 clicks … so far

the search for the truth goes on


A well-respected source in the U.S. Intelligence Community says … 

Lew’s novel is a plausible explanation of what might have happened 


4 novels + author

Posted in * CASE CLOSED | Leave a Comment »

* THE HERETIC & THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY … special ebook price of $3.99 (for a combined edition of both books) … until Dec 31 … a thank you for my Facebook and Goodreads friends

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 13, 2013

$3.99 for both novels

purchase at amazon.com

The Catalan Family Saga – The Heretic & The Pope’s Conspiracy


special pricing until Dec 31 …

a thank you for all the pleasure I get

interacting with my



learn more about THE HERETIC at …



learn more about THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY at …



4 novels + author

Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* two book signings in Key West on the same day

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 12, 2013

Somebody said there are more authors per square foot in Key West than any place else on the planet. Here is some evidence to support that assertion.

Last Saturday morning The Studios of Key West (TSKW) had a combined craft and local author festival. Also on display were fantastic rooster creations by Key West artists.

TSKW - Dec 2013

Later that afternoon, Sherril Rhoades’ Absolutely Amazing E-books …  (http://www.absolutelyamazingebooks.com/) … sponsored a book signing for 35 authors at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon. Photos by Carol Tedesco.

Author event at Smokin' Tuna

Just a normal day in Key West. Oh, yes, there was also the Holiday Parade that night, featuring dozens of floats that took over two hours to ride down Truman and across Duval. I carried the ACLU banner and Pat gave out candy to the kids lining the route. Here was our “official” car driven (and owned) by Michael Shields.

Michael & Mary Sheerin

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* A GOOD CONVICTION … special ebook price of $3.99 until Dec 31 … a thank you for my Facebook and Goodreads friends

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 10, 2013

Good Con viction - cover for blog


Joshua Blake went to New York expecting to enter law school. Instead, he has been arrested and convicted of a murder he did not commit. He wakes up in Sing SIng prison with a cellmate name Spider and desperately seeks to regain his once promising life.

Purchase ebook edition for $3.99 until Dec 31 …


Wrongful prosecution of a young man for a murder he did not commit is at the core of A Good Conviction. Joshua Blake has been sent to Sing Sing by a prosecutor who may have known he was innocent. Josh struggles to survive in an environment completely alien to anything he has ever known or even imagined. He befriends some inmates, and has brutal exchanges with others, as he is inescapably corrupted by prison life. All the while he tries to understand how this could have happened to him, and what he can now do to restore his once promising future. Josh is aided in his quest by his cellmate Spider, by the NYPD detective who arrested him, by two defense attorneys and a New York Daily News reporter who are infuriated by the miscarriage of justice perpetrated against him, and by Darlene, a hooker he meets on his first day in New York. He is forcefully opposed by Manhattan ADA Roger Claiborne, and by an uncaring criminal justice system that is loathe to admit a mistake. A Good Conviction is set in Manhattan, Rikers Island and Sing Sing.


Wrongful prosecution could happen to anyone.

It could happen to you.

Most Americans are comfortable in the belief that if they don’t commit a crime, they have no risk of going to jail. Unfortunately, that’s not always the way things are.

In addition to writing a compelling novel, Mr. Weinstein has put forth a wakeup call about a problem which plagues the American criminal justice system. While most prosecutors are honest and try to afford all defendants the fair trial to which they are entitled, far too many prosecutors fail to uphold this sacred obligation.

Most often, those prosecutors who cheat to get a conviction do so by suppressing evidence that goes against their case, evidence that would produce `reasonable doubt’ in a juror’s mind. Sometimes, they even conspire to make up evidence which alleges guilt, for instance by planting a “stoolie” who will then testify about admissions by the defendant which never happened.

Don’t believe it? Think it can’t happen in America, the land of justice for all?

Consider these damning reports by very credible organizations …

* The Chicago Tribune reported that 381 murder convictions were reversed because of police or prosecutorial misconduct. * Columbia Law School documented “chronic prosecutorial suppression of evidence of innocence.” * Barry Scheck et al (in Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right ) report numerous cases of prosecutorial misconduct, usually by suppression of evidence that would have proven innocence. * The book In Spite Of Innocence: Erroneous Convictions in Capital Cases , published by Northeastern University Press, cites 400 wrongful convictions. * The heart-wrenching play The Exonerated presents the true stories, in their own words, of seven persons who were wrongfully convicted

How likely is it there are many more such cases that have never come to significant public attention? Is it possible that what we do know is but the tip of the iceberg?

When you have read A Good Conviction, you will know that wrongful prosecution could happen to anyone. It could happen to you.



* This gripping story demonstrates how one’s life can take a 180 degree turn in a moment. Innocent actions can be misinterpreted and unfortunate consequences result. Weinstein is a great story teller and this is a very well crafted story.

* The characters and their emotions were so vividly portrayed that I still think about them as if I knew them. Lovers of New York City will walk the streets of the city and visualize “A Good Conviction” happening. You will walk past a certain news-stand and wonder if the owner remembers Josh. When you read a book that you don’t want to end….that is a good book. “A Good Conviction” is a good book.

* This is a “page turner” and I loved every minute of it. This author avoids the common fault I find with many mysteries: not having a good ending that leaves you satisfied. The main character is entirely believable and his circumstances are chilling: something that could happen to any one of us. The research behind this book and the author’s familiarity with legal procedures (which are not hard to follow in the book) are evident.

* Once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down until it was finished – and that was in the wee hours of the morning! Weinstein allows the reader to feel the same anger, scare and frustration that Josh experiences, as we watch him become a victim of a corrupt DA. At the same time that we root for Josh to get justice, we are brought into the world of incarcerated criminals who fill their days with ways to survive. It’s a wild ride, and a story that I highly recommend.

* Having spent two years of a twenty year career with the NYPD transporting prisoners to and from Manhattan Central Booking, I read much of Mr. Weinstein’s book holding my breath. During those long 24 months I never got used to the sound of the cell doors sliding closed with a loud CLANG! Even knowing full well I would be leaving, it induced instant claustrophobia. Well, the scenes in this novel that take part on Riker’s Island brought that sound and more back to me with amazing clarity. If you want a glimpse into the hell that is American prison life, read this book.

* I am amazed at the research that Weinstein has done for both of his books. A Good Conviction, like The Heretic, is a real page turner with a lot of suspense. However, the book is more than just suspenseful. Weinstein illuminates an issue that is very serious and through a fictional account he sensitizes the reader to the plight of the many people who are incarcerated for crimes that they did not commit. I recommend the book highly and cannot wait for his next book.

* What a ride! A scary, yet thoroughly believable, journey through the police and court systems of New York City. Lewis Weinstein captures the tensions and fears of prison life so well, it’s hard to believe he hasn’t done hard time himself. It certainly makes you wonder how many innocent people are behind bars. Highly recommended!

* this is one of the few books that I could not put down and always looked forward to the next chapter! So many books have the tendency to be drawn out in the middle, but this one kept you on the edge throughout and you really did get to know every character. I love a book that when I read it I feel like I am living it and that can only be done by a talented writer. Thank You for the experience!


Posted in * A GOOD CONVICTION, *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* great special KINDLE pricing on amazon.com for my Goodreads and Facebook friends … until 12/31/13

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 8, 2013

4 novels + author


Thank you, Goodreads and Facebook friends

To express my appreciation for all the pleasure I get from interacting with you on Goodreads and Facebook, I have instituted special kindle pricing for my Goodreads and Facebook friends, from now (as soon as amazon processes my pricing updates) 


Special kindle pricing will end 12/31/13 …

if my books are on your “to read” list, now is the time to buy


The Heretic and the sequel The Pope’s Conspiracy

available together as a single kindle edition

The Catalan Family Saga … $3.99


A Good Conviction … $3.99


Cased Closed … $2.99


Read what others say about my novels …


The Heretic 

the secretly Jewish Catalan family seeking to avoid the persecution of the Church 

Elie Wiesel …  The Heretic is deeply absorbing … it helps Jews and Christians better understand their complex and often painful relationship.”

Alan M. Dershowitz … “The historical novel that is both true to the past and relevant to the present is rare indeed. The Heretic humanizes the tragic history of religious persecution.”

Laura (on Goodreads) … “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.”


The Pope’s Conspiracy

 the surviving Catalan family in the Florence of Lorenzo de Medici  

Sherril Rhoades  … “The Pope’s Conspiracy brings the Renaissance alive. The story focuses on a young Jewish printer and his wife who become caught up in the political machinations of the Vatican

Carol (on amazon) … This is a powerful sequel to the Heretic. Another well researched, informative story with characters you care about and a story that keeps the reader engaged.


A Good Conviction

convicted of a murder he did not commit by a prosecutor who knew he was innocent 

*This is a “page turner” and I loved every minute of it.

* What’s scary about Josh’s situation is that it’s entirely plausible.

* The courtroom scene moved quickly in a compelling manner.

* My heart is breaking for this kid


Case Closed

what might really have happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks … not what the FBI says

Rawy … The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history. But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agency involved. The books is a must read for anyone who wondered what really happened? Who did it? and why? … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth.

Sherril Rhoades  … This scary scenario is as close to truth as fiction can come. Lew Weinstein is a meticulous researcher and a determined storyteller. This book will keep you up at night — reading, then worrying.






Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* Lew’s review of BYSTANDERS – Conscience and Complicity During the Holocaust

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 6, 2013




Bystanders - cover

BYSTANDERS – Conscience and Complicity During the Holocaust … by Victoria Barnett


This is probably the most thought-provoking book I have yet read in my research for my new novel. By examining the motivation and behavior of bystanders, and including the Catholic and Protestant churches as bystanders, Barnett clearly demonstrates how and why these bystanders were not neutral observers, but were instead complicit in furthering the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis. I will return to this book many times as I write scenes for my German and Polish characters related to these issues.

a few quotes (among so many that could be chosen) …

… The Christian community not only failed to stop the Holocaust … to a horrifying degree it had passively watched and even participated … it had consistently emphasized obedience to the Nazi state, not resistance on behalf of of its victims

… Elie Wiesel: If Christianity hadn’t taught anti-Semitism and hatred of the Jews, the Holocaust would not have happened

… For the victims, indifference and silence of bystanders had the same consequences has the active hatred of perpetrators

… many people thought that even if Jews shouldn’t be killed, they weren’t worth saving

… Christian teachings predisposed Germans to view Jewish suffering with indifference

… In 1941, the International Committee of the Red Cross began to receive reports that Nazi concentration camps were in fact killing factories for hundreds of thousands of European Jews … Red Cross leaders decided that the importance of their organization’s humanitarian role outweighed any possible benefits of taking a public position against Nazi authorities

… The churches supported state policies and carried out state orders … Such cooperation with the Nazi regime encouraged complicity and blocked effective resistance … no opposing voices were heard

… By not protesting Nazi measures against Jews and by allowing church records to be used as proof of racial purity the churches tacitly authorized state violence against the Jews … laying the foundation for death lists and gas chambers to follow






4 novels + author

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

* Laura’s (5*****) review of THE HERETIC by Lew Weinstein

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 3, 2013

The Heretic - for blog




Laura rated THE HERETIC 5 of 5 stars (on Goodreads) …

“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.”



for links my 4 published novels

and my new novel in progress, CLICK >>>  



4 novels + author

Posted in * THE HERETIC, *** Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

* Ellis Katz’s (5*****) review of A GOOD CONVICTION by Lew Weinstein (on Goodreads)

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 1, 2013

Good Con viction - cover for blog
Ellis’ review …
Poor Josh Blake. He just moved to NYC from Baltimore to begin law school at NYU. Before he has a chance to settle in, he is arrested for the Central Park murder of an elderly woman.
He is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in Sing Sing.
Needless to say, he is completely innocent, but no one seems to care and it looks like he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
However, a detective, a reporter, a lawyer and a prostitute take his pleas of innocence seriously and set out to overturn his conviction. It is no easy task because the judges, the prosecutors and the police consider the case closed and just want to move onto the next case.
What happens to Josh? Read the book and find out, and learn something about the American criminal justice system at the same time. The book is face-paced and well-researched. It is a good read in every sense of the term.


for links my 4 published novels and my new novel in progress, CLICK >>>  


4 novels + author

Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* Mike’s (5*****) review of THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 1, 2013

Pope's Conspiracy - cover for blog


excerpts from Mike’s review …

… The Pope’s Conspiracy is a great read which tightly binds the intrigue of a thriller with the lightness of a narrative history.

… the characters are extremely well depicted, both real and fictitious.

… Fans of historical fiction should read it as a thrilling introduction to a very interesting period in time

… fans of Renaissance history should read it as an accurate walking tour of Europe’s most important city of the day

… The book is set in 1478 in Florence, which was at that time approaching the zenith of its powers as an unrivaled artistic, scientific and financial centre. Rarely can an city on earth have laid a claim to have been so important in the development of the modern world.

… Into this world of political chess and creative mastery come the characters of Benjamin and Esther Catalan, whose story began with Lew Weinstein’s previous book, The Heretic.

The Heretic - for blog … https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/727093.The_Heretic

… the couple are immediately likable, faults and all, and that this leads the reader to hope that they avoid the perils of European Jewry of that age, which surround them from the very first page.

… this reader was left hungry to find a copy of The Heretic and find out more fully how Benjamin and Esther came to be in Florence.

… the story is captivating – clearly very thoroughly researched, balanced, and with a development and definition of character that sticks closely to known historical fact as much as possible while leaving room for enough to be changed to suit the direction of the plot without ruining the realism.

… There was also enough information on the every day lives of Jews five hundred years ago to open my interests in a new subject altogether, and the book certainly has a wealth to offer in that respect.


for links my 4 published novels and my new novel in progress, CLICK >>>  


4 novels + author

Posted in *** Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

* excerpts from Judie’s (5 *****) review of THE HERETIC on Goodreads

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 21, 2013

The Heretic - for blog


excerpts from Judie’s review 

… THE HERETIC provides an intriguing story of life in Spain during the 15th Century.

… It grabbed and held my interest, making me want to learn more about the characters, both the good and bad ones.

… The book presents well-told explanations of the political situation at the time between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. It tells why and how Spain introduced the Inquisition and what it meant to the people involved.

… I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in … the Inquisition … the history of printing … the history of Christianity … the relationships between (Christianity) and other religions.

… Weinstein tells how Christianity developed as Jews rejected the message of the original Christians. He suggests a major reason for anti-Semitism was the fear that if the Jews were right in their beliefs, then Christians must be wrong.

… “What if the Jews are still God’s Chosen People? What if Christ is not the Jewish Messiah? What if the Old Law of Moses is not invalid? If the Jews are right, then what is left to Christianity?”

… Weinstein provides information about the lives of the rulers of Spain at that time beginning with King Enrique, a rather inept monarch and brother to the future Queen Isabella. He also provides a theory of why Isabella, who had good relationships with Jews, became a supporter of the Inquisition.


The end of the book includes references for further reading. A study guide is also available at the author’s blog … https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/2013/04/22/discussion-questions-for-the-heretic/


for more posts about THE HERETIC, click >>> 



also in praise of THE HERETIC …


wiesel & dershowitz.

Elie Wiesel & Alan Dershowitz have lauded THE HERETIC


for links my 4 published novels and my new novel in progress, CLICK >>>  


4 novels + author

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* writing in a Paris cafe … a scene in my new novel … tentatively titled NO EXIT

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 27, 2013

La favorite (1)

Here I am at one of our favorite cafes, called La Favorite, a few steps from our apartment, having morning coffee and croissant, working on my novel. What I’m doing is watching the 1930 movie “All Quiet on the Western Front,” while taking notes for the scene I’m working on.


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

* new tentative title for my novel on progress … NO EXIT

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 21, 2013





I’m writing a historical novel about events in Germany and Poland in the Nazi years. The major characters are a German boy who becomes a Nazi and a Polish girl who becomes a victim. Their story, and their relationship, unfolds against a background neither can escape.

The title is taken from a powerful play by Jean Paul Sartre written in 1944.


What do you think?


Posted in * A FLOOD OF EVIL ... Lew's novel-in-progress | 3 Comments »

* the article reproduced below describes incomprehensible acts of murder against innocent civilians committed by the German people. The question I am addressing in my new novel-in-progress is why they were capable of such behavior.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 7, 2013

glorification of Hitler (2)


Inside the Nazi Mind at the Nuremberg Trials



At Nuremberg, 24 of the highest-ranking Nazis were put on trial, but behind the scenes they were also being analyzed by leading American psychologists to figure out the root of their evil. Thomas Harding on what they discovered.

by Thomas Harding  | September 7, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

Why do men commit evil? Were the kommandants who ran the Nazi death camps psychopaths? Did they have subnormal intelligence? Were they just ordinary men who made appalling decisions?

I have been thinking about these questions ever since I found out that my great-uncle, Hanns Alexander, a German Jew, was a Nazi Hunter. At the end of the Second World War he tracked down and caught one of the worst mass murderers of all time, Rudolf Höss, the Kommandant of Auschwitz.

These were also the questions that a team of American psychologists and psychiatrists were directed to answer during the Nuremberg Trials that opened on November 20, 1945, six months after the war’s end.

Charges of crimes against humanity were read out against 24 of the highest-ranking Nazis then in captivity, including Ernst Kaltenbrunner, chief of the Reich Security Main Office and the highest-ranking SS officer after Himmler’s death.

With so many senior Nazis held in one place at the same time, the Americans instructed a panel of psychologists to conduct exten­sive interviews and tests with the defendants. Such horrific crimes were committed surely by damaged men, men different in some fundamental way from the rest of humanity.

Among the defendants examined was Rudolf Höss, the Kommandant of Auschwitz. Unlike the others held in Nuremberg, Höss had been intimately involved in the design and day-to-day operations of the extermination camps.

First he was visited by Gustave Gilbert, a New Yorker born to Jewish-Austrian immigrants. Gilbert later wrote about his meeting with the Kommandant in his 1947 book Nuremberg Diary.

Gilbert asked for a brief career summary, and was surprised when Höss admitted in an unemotional tone that he had been responsible for the deaths of more than two and a half million Jews.

The American asked how it was possible to kill so many people. “Technically,” answered Höss, “that wasn’t so hard—it would not have been hard to exterminate even greater numbers.” Gilbert then pressed him for an emotional response, but Höss continued in a similar tone: “At the time there were no consequences to consider. It didn’t occur to me that I would be held responsible. You see, in Germany it was understood that if something went wrong, then the man who gave the orders was responsible.” Gilbert started to ask, “But what about the human—” before Höss interrupted, “That just didn’t enter into it.” After a few more questions, Höss said, “I suppose you want to know in this way if my thought and habits are normal.” “Well, what do you think?” Gilbert asked. “I am entirely normal,” said Höss. “Even while I was doing the extermination work, I led a normal family life.”

Relying on the often-discredited Rorschach ink-blot test, Gilbert concluded that “one gets the general impres­sion of a man who is intellectually normal but with a schizoid apathy, insensitivity, and lack of empathy that could hardly be more extreme in a frank psychotic.”

Two days later, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, Major Leon Goldensohn, came to visit Rudolf Höss. Thirty-five years old, Goldensohn was, like Gilbert, a Jew who had been born and raised in New York. Goldensohn had arrived recently in Nuremberg to replace Douglas Kelley, another American psychiatrist who had conducted interviews with many of the prisoners (and would later publish his findings in a 1947 book Twenty-two Cells in Nuremberg.)

Goldensohn made detailed notes of his encounter with the kommandant, which were posthumously published in 2005 in the volume The Nuremberg Interviews.

When he arrived in the cell, sucking at a pipe dangling from his mouth, Goldensohn found the prisoner sitting on the edge of his cot with his trousers rolled up, bathing his feet in a tub of warm water.

Through an interpreter, Goldensohn asked him how he felt mentally. Rudolf Höss replied: “I feel less nervous now than I did.” He was then asked if he felt upset over what he had done in Auschwitz. “I thought I was doing the right thing,” said Höss. “I was obeying orders, and now, of course, I see that it was unnecessary and wrong. But I don’t know what you mean by being upset about these things because I didn’t personally murder anybody. I was just the director of the extermination program at Auschwitz. It was Hitler who ordered it through Himmler and it was Eichmann who gave me the orders regarding transports.”

When Goldensohn asked if he was haunted by nightmares—by images of the executions, gas chambers, or burning corpses—Höss replied: “No, I have no such fantasies.”

Overseeing the murder of over a million people had left him unhaunted by “fantasies.”

In a letter, written on 20 May 1946, Goldensohn gave his assess­ment: “His character is that of the amoral psychopath, which in itself, and correlated with his personal development history, indicates a dearth of parental love and unconscious hostility toward the father.”

On 15 April 1946, Rudolf Höss provided his testimony at Nuremberg. In its candor and detail regarding the mechanics of the Final Solution it changed the course of the trial.

Rudolf Höss’ testimony was reported around the world. The New York Times described it as the “crushing climax to the case.” In Britain, The Times of London went further. They said of Höss’ signed testimony: “its dreadful implications must surpass any document ever penned.”

A few days later, Rudolf Höss was handed to the Polish authorities to face his own trial. In April 1947, the former kommandant was hung on the gallows next to the old crematorium in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The conclusion of the psychologists and psychiatrists at Nuremberg was clear: they both decided that though Rudolf Höss was intelligent, he was mentally ill: a psychopath, psychotic, amoral, lacking empathy.

But Rudolf flatly denied this to be the case. He declared himself to be normal.  He regretted, at most, doing something unnecessary.  Overseeing the murder of over a million people had left him unhaunted by “fantasies.”

The impression of the mental health professionals was also contradicted by two of the intelligence officers who interrogated Rudolf Höss.

First, there was the British war crimes investigator, Captain Hanns Alexander, my great-uncle Hanns, the German Jew turned British soldier, who had arrested the kommandant. Alexander had expected Höss to be a monster and was surprised to find him to appear “normal.”

Then there was Whitney Harris, the American prosecutor (and member of the OSS) who took Höss’s affidavit in Nuremberg. Harris said that Höss appeared like a “grocery clerk,” someone you would pay no attention to if you met him on the street.

This view that Höss was “normal,” no different essentially from other human beings, is supported by the kommandant’s own daughter, Brigitte, who said in a recent interview that her father was “kind” to her as a child, indeed he was “the nicest father in the world.” Brigitte even recalled that he looked “sad when he came back from work.” Brigitte was also clear that, as far as an 11-year-old would be able to tell, her father was sane.

An alternative theory of what underlies the character of the men and women who executed the Final Solution is put forward by Hannah Arendt. She argued that these men and women were typically not psychopaths or two-dimensional monsters. Rather they were ordinary men, who made a series of terrible decisions with horrific consequences.

To paraphrase Hannah Arendt—as portrayed in the recently released movie of the same name—the Nazi war criminal’s actions stemmed from her well-known phrase “banality of evil,” not as a result of mental illness but as a result of a lack of thinking. Their greatest error was delegating the process of thinking and decision-making to their higher ups. In Rudolf Höss’s case, this would have been his superiors, particularly Heinrich Himmler.

To many this conclusion is troubling, for it suggests that if everyday, “normal,” sane men and women are capable of evil, then the atrocities perpetrated during the Holocaust and other genocides could be repeated today and into the future.

Yet, this is exactly the lesson we must learn from the war criminals at Nuremberg. We must be ever wary of those who do not take responsibility for their actions. And we ourselves must be extra vigilant, particularly in this day of accelerated technological power, heightened state surveillance, and global corporate reach, that we do not delegate our thinking to others.

© 2013 The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC

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* Lew’s review of The International Jew by Henry Ford … research for my 5th novel

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 1, 2013


Henry Ford … bigot

I’m only about 20% into this disgusting series of tirades published in a paper Ford owned. Probably the rest is more of the same. It seems to me that Ford’s loathing and fear of Jews matches that of Hitler, who had a life-size portrait of Ford in his Munich office.


Henry Ford was a very successful man.

What drove him to write this? What was he afraid of?

Where in his background or education did this fear come from?


Ford wrote 91 articles bashing the Jews in the 1920s, received much criticism at the time, and never changed his position or apologized then. He also got an award from Hitler, I think in 1937.


Henry Ford was a disgusting bigot who spread his views widely,

and surely contributed to America’s shameful failure to lift a single finger

to save Jews on their way to the ovens.

He spread the same message in the U.S.

as Hitler did in Germany.


Here are some excerpts from what I have read so far.

• (the) International Jew and his satellites (are) the conscious enemies of all that Anglo-Saxons mean by civilization
• The Jew is the world’s enigma. Poor in his masses, he yet controls the world’s finances.
• there are ancient prophecies to the effect that the Jew will return to his own land and from that center rule the world
• The Jews’ enemies were always stripping them of their last ounce of wealth, yet strangely, the Jews recovered very quickly and were soon rich again.
• This distribution of the Jews over Europe and the world, each Jewish community linked in a fellowship of blood, faith and suffering with every other group, made it possible for the Jew to be international in the sense that no other race or group of merchants could be at that time.
• The main source of the sickness of the German national body is charged to be the influence of the Jews
• the German people that the collapse which has come since the armistice, and the revolution from which they are being prevented a recovery, are the result of Jewish intrigue
• The principal Jewish influences which are charged with bringing about the downfall of German order may be named under three heads: (a) the spirit of Bolshevism which masqueraded under the name of German Socialism; (b) Jewish ownership and control of the Press; (c) Jewish control of the food supply and the industrial machinery of the country
• the German people knew that war meant sacrifice and suffering, and like other people they were willing to share the common lot. But they found themselves preyed upon by a class of Jews who had prepared everything to make profit out of the common distress
• Judaism is the most closely organized power on earth, even more than the British Empire. It forms a State whose citizens are unconditionally loyal wherever they may be … Its fleet is the British fleet, which guards from hindrance the progress of all-Jewish world
• we are not talking about merely rich men who have, many of them, gained their riches by serving a System, we are talking about those who Control
• the world will go on thinking of the Jew as a member of a race, a race whose persistence has defeated the utmost efforts made for its extermination

… More to follow if I can force myself to read more.

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* Lew’s review of … The Myth of the Twentieth Century by Alfred Rosenberg

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 30, 2013

Rosenberg & Hitler

This is Rosenberg’s incomprehensible, unreadable and I think mostly unsuccessful attempt to cast Hitler’s hatred in more scholarly form. He ranges pretentiously over a wide variety of topics with no regard for connection, consistency or truth. UTTER GARBAGE. Some examples …

• Greedy for the goods of this world, the Jew moves from city to city, from land to land, and remains where he finds the least resistance to his parasitical business.
• The Jew sought domination and, until 1933, seemed stronger than us.
• Where any kind of wound is torn open in the body of a nation, the Jewish demon always eats itself into the infected part and, as a parasite, it exploits the weak hours of the great nations of this world.
• The emancipation of the Jews followed from the preaching of the insane idea of human equality.
• Every German and non German living in Germany who through word, writing and action makes himself guilty of insulting the German people will, depending upon the gravity of the case, be punished with imprisonment, jail, or death.
• the so called old testament must be abolished once and for all as a book of religion.
• England had conquered south Africa for the Jewish diamond dealers … It had handed over control of all financial transactions to Jewish bankers … It had allowed the opium trade to fall increasingly into Jewish hands.

Rosenberg reveals a fundamental fear of Jews,

based on what I read as a clear sense of his own inferiority,

much like Hitler’s.

In the eyes of Rosenberg (and Hitler), all Jewish accomplishments must be viewed as the result of an evil worldwide conspiracy to take advantage of the good German (Christian) people.

Only by exterminating the Jews like plague bacilli

can the German people flourish.

• The law of the coming Reich will sweep here with an iron broom. It will fulfill the words of Lagarde concerning Jews. He said that one cannot convert plague bacilli, but must render them harmless as quickly as possible.


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* Lew’s review of “Those Angry Days” by Lynne Olson … research for my novel-in-progress (tentatively titled … Choosing Hitler: a novel)

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 7, 2013

those angry days-cover

An absolutely fantastic read. Olson writes history with the pace and intensity of a novel. Characters (real characters) are exposed bit by bit through their actions to have their strengths (Wendell Willkie) and weaknesses (FDR and Lindbergh) picked open to view.


I have always liked FDR but now like him much less.

I have never liked Lindbergh and now dislike him much more.

I never knew about Willkie and now think he was a real political hero,

the likes of which we have rarely seen.


Always extremely tentative, FDR refused to lead, to try to convince the American people and thus Congress. He did invent Lend-Lease, but then did nothing to assure any substantial flow of material to the Brits. Without Pearl Harbor, he would likely have allowed Hitler to conquer Britain and where would we be now if that had happened? Even after Pearl Harbor, we were lucky Hitler made a mistake and declared war on us.

FDR’s inability to make a decision is portrayed in a way I have never read before. It makes you want to give him a swift kick. In addition to being a ditherer, he is shown as a mean nasty man. Such disillusionment.

Lindbergh never learned from his experiences, which were many and varied. He never grew beyond the super-hero status he achieved early in his life. He comes across as a thoroughly immature and unlikable man who thought during the 1930s that Hitler and the Nazis were “not so bad,” and who, even after the Holocaust, never recanted. He seems to have been completely indifferent to the plight of the Jews in Germany.


Lindbergh equated the Nazis’ wholesale murder of Jews with other war crimes.  

This is absurd. The murder of Jews was not a war crime.

It had nothing to do with the war, in fact, it hurt the German war effort.

For Lindbergh to equate brutal fanatical racist murder with war crimes

shows his ignorance and insensitivity, as well as his antisemitism.


He did know how to fly an airplane, but apparently nothing else, including an appreciation of his own limits. If he had emotions, they were never seen. He reminds me of some of our over-paid athletes today, celebrities with nothing to offer when off the field.

Wendell Willkie, FDR’s opponent in the 1940 Presidential election, agreed with FDR to not make certain information into a campaign issue, due to national security considerations. Later, after he had lost the election, he urged all Americans to support the President’s foreign agenda, and later he travelled abroad for FDR during the war to interact with our allies. And he didn’t even like Roosevelt! He died too early, in 1944, at the age of 52.


There are many striking parallels between the political events of 1939-41

and our own recent history.


The Republican obstructionism then was as bad as it is now. Had it succeeded, the U.S. would have left Hitler to conquer both Britain (likely) and Russia (possible), and maybe even us.

It is clear from Olson’s writing that there was little concern in the U.S. for what Hitler was doing to the Jews, even after Kristallnacht in 1938. Antisemites like Henry Ford, the America First group, and Father Coughlin put out their message of hate virtually unopposed. American Jews were reluctant to push harder than they did, fearing backlash antisemitism here. So Hitler was free to go ahead and murder six million Jews.

In sum, highly recommended. A great pick for our book club opener in December.


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* My novel CASE CLOSED may yet make the news … a long-delayed GAO report, evaluating the FBI’s investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks, promised for September 2013, may be issued “some time next year”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 30, 2013

GAO, Mueller & Ivins

There’s a story about Amerithrax in today’s Frederick News-Post with mention that GAO may issue its report sometime next year.

“Scientists who worked with Ivins still question government’s methods,” July 29, 2013 … http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/crime_and_justice/article_f791e81b-1735-54a7-9258-922edc1dcbdc.html

It is abundantly clear from thousands of posts on my CASE CLOSED blog …  (http://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/) … that the FBI has not presented evidence that Dr. Bruce Ivins was even involved in the anthrax mailings, let alone, as they claim, the “sole perpetrator.”

What is the real story?

Why does the FBI continue to stick with its discredited assertions?

I see three possible reasons …

1. The FBI has more evidence against Ivins but won’t release it … HIGHLY UNLIKELY

2. The FBI has not solved the case, doesn’t know who prepared the anthrax and mailed the letters, but won’t admit its failure … POSSIBLE

3. The FBI knows who perpetrated the anthrax attacks (possibly Al Qaeda related) but will not say it … MOST LIKELY

I wrote a novel about this matter titled “CASE CLOSED.”  Many, including one highly placed in the U.S. Intelligence Community,  say my fictional scenario is more plausible than the FBI’s story.


You can purchase CASE CLOSED ($5.00 in kindle format, $9.45 in paper) at …

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* meeting a Goodreads friend in Villefranche

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 29, 2013

DSCN1328-lunch at harbor-Trevor & Julia

I have been a member of Goodreads for several years, and have many GR friends with whom I share comments and opinions about books. But this is the first time Pat and I have had the pleasure of actually meeting one of my GR friends who we did not know before.

Trevor and Julia live near Villefranche/Nice. We had a delightful 3 hour lunch along the Villefranche harbor yesterday and will perhaps get together again before we leave Nice at the end of August.

If there are others among my GR friends who live in Nice (Aug) or Paris (Sep) and would like to get together, please contact me.

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* Lew’s first international book signing

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 25, 2013

What do you do when in Madrid? Go to the bookstore and see if your book is on the shelf. It was! Hereje (The Heretic in Spanish) was published a year ago. What a thrill! So I did my first international book signing.

book signing in Madrid

Purchase The Heretic at …


Posted in * THE HERETIC, *** appearances & news | 6 Comments »

* It’s time to write more chapters of “Choosing Hitler”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 20, 2013

Read the draft prologue of “Choosing Hitler” at …



Lewis M. Weinstein

Lewis M. Weinstein


For the past several months I have not written a single word on my new novel, tentatively titled “Choosing Hitler.”

What I have done is read and take thousands of notes from varied sources leading to January 30, 1933, that crucial day when Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. I will now carry forward the lives and relationship of my two major characters, Berthold Becker in Munich and Anna Gorska in Warsaw, from the earlier chapters already written into the tumult of the early 1930s.

When these new chapters are completed, so will the first section of my novel. My intent, as those of you who have read the Prologue know, is to take Berthold and Anna’s story through the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1946. 

Many of you have been following my research-related reviews on Goodreads. I thank you very much for your encouragement and for many helpful comments and suggestions. For those of you who served as “early readers,” my special thanks for your thoughtful assistance. I look forward to calling on you again when there is more to read.

If you would like to know more about the premise of  “Choosing Hitler,”

you can read the Prologue at …



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* Prologue to Lew’s novel-in-progress … tentatively titled “Choosing Hitler”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 20, 2013


Defendants at War Crimes Trials in Nuremberg


NOTE: The prologue has been modified so I deleted the earlier version.

Posted in * A FLOOD OF EVIL ... Lew's novel-in-progress | 6 Comments »

* Lew’s review of “Hitler – the Missing Years” by Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 18, 2013


Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl was often in Hitler’s company from the early 1920s to the mid 1930s. Harvard educated and a friend (so he says) of FDR, Putzi was Hitler’s link to the foreign press corp. He has much to say about personal moments and matters (eg, Hitler was impotent) but all of this was written after he had escaped what he describes as Hitler’s plan to kill him in 1937. A fascinating but not necessarily reliable witness.

For example, here are Putzi’s observations on the infamous and tragic Geli Raubal … Hitler had moved into a handsome 9 room apartment at 16 Prinz Regentenplatz in one of the most expensive parts of the city … Geli was by then a buxom young woman of 21 … she had made some pretense of starting some course of study at Munich University … She was soon having an affair with Hitler’s driver … And others … Hitler found out about her and she was given a room in his house … She went round went very well dressed at his expense (the Party’s expense) … Much resentment was expressed about these expenditures … Hitler hovered near her looking like an infatuated adolescent … She was an empty headed little slut without either brains or character … She took singing lessons … Hitler had some idea she might develop into a Wagner heroine … She was not an apt pupil … on 9/18/31 she shot herself with Hitler’s revolver … Hitler was in a state of hysteria … Within a few days all the opposition papers carried the news.

For my novel-writing purposes, gossip may be as useful as facts.

Several scenes suggested themselves as I read through Putzi’s memoir.

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” Lew’s review of “My First Seventy-six Years” by Hjalmar Schacht

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 17, 2013


Hjalmar Schacht was perhaps the most competent person ever in the employ of the Nazis. He was President of the Reichsbank and Economic Minister. In 1938, he fell out with Hitler and was dismissed. Later, he participated in the 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, for which he was arrested and sent to a concentration camp.

When the war ended, Schacht was charged at the War Crimes Trials in Nuremberg, at which he was acquitted.

Schacht’s views on a variety of subjects are of great interest, and his descriptions of conditions at Nuremberg will be of great value to me when I get to that section of my novel-in-progress. I am looking forward to inventing conversations between Schacht and my fictional character Berthold Becker, also a defendant at the same trial, in which Berthold will challenge some of Schacht’s actions and particularly what he says he knew (or didn’t know) about the holocaust.

Schacht’s knowledge of the holocaust …

  • when I received the Bill of Indictment at Nuremberg in 1945 … I learnt for the first time of the monstrous crimes committed against humanity, above all the Jews, by Hitler himself and by his orders.


Schacht on the Jews …

  • Hitler promised that the laws relating to foreigners should apply to the Jews … that is that Jews should enjoy the same protection accorded to foreigners … (instead) he caused the Jews to be deprived of all rights and treated as outlaws …

  • One of the most insidiously disruptive statements ever made is that religion is a private matter … religion cannot be a private matter … as exemplified in the church it is the foundation of every state and of every national community … a Christian country cannot permit non-Christians to exercise an influence which would admit of their directly the spiritual and moral life of the community along other than Christian lines … Religion is no private affair … It is the foundation stone of the State

  • It seems to me that anti-Semitism is not based on religious factors even on the assertion that Jews crucified the Saviour … rather it is the fact that, owing to his ability … whenever he resides in a non-Jewish community that the Jew endeavors to insinuate himself into the intellectual and cultural leadership of that community … When, as a result, the legal and medical professions show an unusually high percentage of Jews … When most of the theaters, the press, the concerts were under Jewish management … Then this constitutes the incursion of a foreign element into the spirit of the hostess nation … All of the above-mentioned professions exercise a civilizing influence … a nation whose civilization is rooted in Christianity will therefore always be at pains to preserve Christianity as the basis of the civilization … and to discourage foreign elements in its cultural life … So long as the Jews fail to appreciate this fact they will come up against difficulties, as a history of many nations reveals

  • I have always declared myself in favor of limiting Jewish activity to a certain extent in governmental, legal and cultural matters … based on a certain percentage

  • At the 1938 Reichsbank Christmas party for the office boys … I referred to the events of November 9 (Krystallnacht) … the deliberate burning of Jewish synagogues … the destruction and looting of Jewish businesses … and the ill treatment of Jewish citizens … was such a wanton and outrageous undertaking as to make every decent German blush for shame … I hope none among you had any share in these goings on … If any of you did take part I advise you to get out of the Reischbank as quickly as possible … We have no room in the Reichsbank for people who do not respect the life property and convictions of others … Several party “pundits” were present during the speech

Schacht’s dismissal by Hitler followed soon thereafter …

  • I received a message letting me to come to the chancellery punctually at 9 o’clock the following morning (Jan 20) … scarcely had I entered the big drawing room looking out onto the garden of the old Chancellory … when the Fuhrer came in and the following conversation took place … Hitler: I sent for you, Herr Schacht, to hand you the written notice of dismissal from the office of president of the Reichsbank … You don’t fit in to the general National-Socialist scheme of things … You have refused to allow your staff to submit to political scrutiny by the Party … You have criticized and condemned the events of the 9th November to your employees … Finally Hitler said he was too upset to continue this conversation … I replied I can always come back when you have grown calmer …

Why did Schacht advocate for Hitler to be part of the government, and why did Schacht later join that government?

  • I had met Hitler at Goring’s house … subsequently I went to see Bruning … I urged him to include the NS in his cabinet because I believe that only in this way could one capture and chain the tremendous propagandist force that I had observed in Hitler … the NS must be gradually initiated into the practical duties of government … they must not be allowed to remain in opposition … Bruning would have none of my suggestion

  • the Nazi’s “political economists” (Gottfried Feder and Karl Rower) would spell ruin for German economic policy … I felt it my duty to prevent such a disaster … I therefore gave Hitler to understand that if he came into power I would not refuse to collaborate with him

Repression of the German people under the Nazis

  • Once Hitler took power … any possibility of political propaganda among the German people could be completely ruled out … there was no freedom of assembly, no freedom of speech, no freedom of authorship … it was not even possible to engage in conversation and small intimate circles … Every word uttered in the presence of more than one other person was liable to endanger one’s life


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

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 15, 2013

30 dyas cover

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.


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* Lew’s review of “Socialist, Anti-Semite, and Jew: German Social Democracy Confronts the Problem of Anti-Semitism, 1918-1933” by Donald L. Niewyk

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 10, 2013

This is an outstanding compilation of the way the German Socialist Party (SPD) defended Jews, many of whom were members of the party, against Nazi attacks. There is a mind-numbing list of particulars, all of which have the ring of truth.

The problem was that this defense was all verbal,

mainly consisting of articles in Socialist newspapers

that nobody but socialists would read.

The SPD was sincere, and they recognized the problem, and their counter-arguments were to the point, but I suspect they convinced nobody who wasn’t already convinced.

What form might action have taken, as opposed to speech?

Perhaps an outreach to voters outside the SPD perimeter? Perhaps an outreach to the Catholic and Lutheran churches who continued to teach their Christian antisemitic message throughout the Hitler years? Perhaps an international appeal, or at least an effort to create greater awareness, in France, England, or the US?

Of course this is all with hindsight, and nobody at that time anticipated the ovens, and as Donna Harsch so clearly articulated in German Social Democracy And The Rise Of Nazism (the last book I read and reviewed here), those kinds of political initiatives were well beyond the capability or even the inclination of anyone in the SPD.


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* Lew’s review of “German Social Democracy and the Rise of Nazism” by Donna Harsch

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 10, 2013



The failure of SPD to effectively oppose the Nazis is even more heart-wrenching

in light of Harsch’ conclusion that …

the Nazi dictatorship in 1933 was only one of several possible outcomes

of the Weimar crisis.

Excellent insights, clearly written … tells a powerful story of opportunities missed … how difficult it is for serious, reasonable people to merge their multiple views to confront a focused and brilliantly opportunistic maniac who consults with no one and murders those who disagree with him.

One strange omission … there is no mention of Jews, who I believe were very active in SPD, and no mention of SPD’s concern (if they had any) for Hitler’s attitude and promises regarding Jews, should he come to power. On this topic, I am next reading Donald Niewyk’s “Socialist, Anti-Semite, and Jew.”

Consider … in 1928 … SPD was at its peak, with 30% of the vote while the Nazis received less than 3% … SPD, with 937,000 party members, held power in the state of Prussia, with 2/3 of the German population. Five years later, Hitler was Chancellor and the SPD had been totally demolished and made illegal.

How did this happen?

Harsch focuses on the inability and unwillingness of SPD

to recognize what was happening

and adjust to prevent it.

Among her conclusions …

… ideological blinders hampered the ability of SPD to comprehend NS … they thus failed to exploit their political leverage when they had it

… the fragmentation of German society and political parties facilitated the rise of the NS “one people, one Reich, one leader” ideology

… SPD never produced a charismatic leader who could have broken the fetters that bound SPD

… SPD struggled to change but could never bring itself to make reasonable compromises with other non-radical parties who also opposed Hitler.

… like a protagonist in a tragedy … SPD was thus unable to save itself, Germany or Europe from disaster


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* Lew’s review of “Mission to Paris” by Alan Furst

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 4, 2013


mission to paris - furst - cover_


Another excellent story by Alan Furst, one of my favorite novelists, set mostly in 1938 Paris, with some scenes in Berlin and a few in a Hungarian palace. Furst describes vicious and thorough Nazi political espionage efforts to demoralize France and convince them of the futility of fighting. Needless to say, it worked. When the Nazis invaded, France gave up after 5 weeks.

The story is told around the making of a movie, a plot device Furst has used before, and one which works well here. My only complaint is the wrap-up at the end, which I thought was done too quickly and was not totally convincing.

There was one historical issue I want to read more about. Furst presents the French as knowing the Maginot line was incomplete and that the Germans could easily go around it through Belgium, which they later did. I had read that the French thinking was the forest would stop the German advance in that area. Maybe that was just the public excuse.


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* Lew’s review of “Gregor Strasser and the Rise of Nazism” by Peter D. Stachura … research for CHOOSING HITLER, Lew’s novel-in-progress

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2013


Gregor Strasser


Had Gregor Strasser carried through on what he started,

there may have been no Hitler Chancellorship and thus no Holocaust.

Strasser was a loyal follower of Hitler for over a decade, and was responsible for the impressive organizing of the Nazi party structure in Germany’s 35 election districts. In late 1932, the Nazis had suffered reversals in the polls; members were quitting; internal dissension was beginning to boil, especially in the SA; the party was deep in debt. In the face of all this, Strasser grew disillusioned with Hitler’s refusal to enter the government in cooperation with other political parties. Hitler of course wanted total control or nothing.

During negotiations Strasser was carrying out on behalf of the Nazis, he was offered the Deputy Chancellorship on the assumption he would bring enough Nazi Reichstag members with him to be a part of a majority-backed government. Strasser was tempted, but Hitler told him to remove himself from the negotiations.

Strasser, who was not sure how much of the Nazi party he could take with him if he challenged Hitler, chose to resign from his party positions rather than take the chance. Hitler, knowing he had been pushed to the wall, by election results and by internal party issues, gambled and won; 30 days later, he was Chancellor.

Stachura has presented a clear depiction of these events including a reasonable guess of Strasser’s motivations and understanding of his own options. In the end, Stachura suggests, Strasser was too loyal to Hitler, too enamored with the “Fuhrer mystique,” to challenge him.

Strasser’s loyalty did him no good. Eighteen months later Hitler had him murdered, among others, in what became known as the “night of the long knives.”


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* Lew’s review of “The Coming of the Third Reich” by Richard Evans … research for CHOOSING HITLER, Lew’s novel-in-progress

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 15, 2013

evans - coming of 3rd reich - cover

A brilliantly clear and comprehensive exposition of the complex events of 1930-32 which led to the appointment of Hitler as Reich Chancellor on January 30, 1933, corresponding exactly to the next chapter(s) I will be writing in my novel-in-progress CHOOSING HITLER.

Evans paints a heartbreaking scenario of the many opportunities

(albeit with hindsight)

whereby Hitler could have been stopped.

These include …

… Nov 1932 vote was a disappointment to NS leaders … they had gathered splinter party votes but had not made inroads into Social Democrat or Centre Party voters … a feeling (among NS leaders) that NS vote may have peaked … Goebbels: “we won’t get to an absolute majority this way … something must happen … the time for (electoral) opposition is over … now deeds!” … Goebbels and Hitler agreed that, if they stuck to a parliamentary route to power, the stagnation of their vote suggested that the situation might start to slip out of their grasp … Hitler’s only open route to power was to get appointed Chancellor

… the unwillingness of the Centre Party (Catholic) and the Social Democrats (socialist) to work together … NS now (Nov 1932) had less seats (196) than the combined two Marxist parties – Communists (100) + Social Democrats (121) = 221 … Centre Party had 70 seats … the Nazis were jubilant at the failure of the Social Democrats and trade unions to respond to the Papen coup … Goebbels wrote in his diary … “They have missed their big chance. It’s never going to come again.”

… the arrogant assumptions by the military and some industrialists that Hitler could be used but also controlled … Schleicher: if Hitler establishes a dictatorship in Germany, the army will be the dictatorship within the dictatorship … Papen: within two months we will have pushed Hitler so far into a corner that he’ll squeak

… the evident peaking of the Nazi electorate … the NS vote (Nov 1932) fell from 13.7 million to 11.7 … seats fell from 230 to 196 … in local elections held in Thuringia (in Dec 1932) the NS vote plummeted by 40% from the previous July … NS was virtually bankrupt

This is where the Nazis stood on Jan 1 1933.

Yet just 30 days later, Hitler was Chancellor.

What made this turnaround possible was the fact that parliamentary government no longer functioned in Germany. The country was run by Presidential decree, exercised through an appointed Chancellor. Hindenburg, in his 80s and after 7 years as President, was tired and declining. He never considered democratic alternatives. There was no effective leadership from the more moderate parties.

… after 1930 election, Reichstag virtually unmanageable … 107 brown-shirted, uniformed Nazis joined 77 well-organized Communists … raising incessant points of order, chanting, shouting, interrupting, demonstrating their total contempt for the legislature at every juncture … power drained from the Reichstag … every session ended in an uproar … soon came to seem pointless to meet at all … after Sept 1930 only negative majorities were possible .. in Feb 1931, Reichstag adjourned itself for 6 months – did not return until Oct … from July 1932 to Feb 1933, Reichstag convened for 3 days in 6 months

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* Lew’s review of “The Churches and the Third Reich Volume One: 1918-1934” by Klaus Scholder

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 9, 2013


Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII


An extraordinary study, published in 1977, presenting the response of the German churches – Catholic and Protestant – to the challenges posed by the rise of Hitler and his National Socialist Party. It is Scholder’s well documented conclusion that words like “blindness, lies, arrogance, stupidity, and opportunism” are appropriate to describe the behavior of both Catholic and Protestant churches in their interactions with Hitler.

The Protestant Churches – there were 28 regional organizations in Germany – talked and talked and talked, without ever taking a stand, while Hitler acted relentlessly in ways that, day by day, restricted the opportunities to oppose him.

By contrast, German Catholicism initially presented an almost united front against Hitler. The Diocesan offices in Mainz proclaimed this position (in 1930) as follows … “no Catholic may be a card-carrying member of the Hitler party … no member of the Nazi party may participate in funerals or any other Catholic events … so long as a Catholic is a card-carrying member of the Hitler party he may not be admitted to the sacraments … Racial hatred is fundamentally un-Christian and un-Catholic.”

In 1931-32, Catholic writers continued the attack … “The Nazis are a brutal party that would do away with all rights of the people … Hitler’s message does not proclaim peace and justice but rather violence and hate … National Socialism means enmity with neighboring countries, despotism in internal affairs, civil war, international war … National Socialism means lies, hatred, fratricide, and unbounded misery.”

What changed and totally undercut this Catholic opposition to Hitler were the workings of Pope Pius XI and Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) from Rome. Focused to the exclusion of all other considerations on the threat of Communism and the desire for a Reich Concordat, the Vatican began by disapproving the Mainz proclamation and then increasingly compelled the Catholic Centre Party to consider how it was to collaborate with Hitler.

The Catholic Centre Party in 1931-32 was the only power in Germany still capable of mediating between the different political parties to forge a moderate alternative to Hitler, but it failed to even make an effort to do so because of pressure from the Pope and Pacelli. German Catholicism’s previous open opposition to Hitler was thus undercut by pressure from Rome. The Catholic Centre party ended up fully capitulating to Hitler (in passing the infamous Enabling Act which made Hitler an unrestricted dictator) before voting itself out of existence.


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* Lew’s review of “Hitler and the Collapse of Weimar Germany” … research for CHOOSING HITLER, my novel-in-progress

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 8, 2013

Broszat-Hitler & Weimar

A clear, crisp and perhaps the most complete account of the last days of the Weimar Republic. Covers all of the intrigues between Hitler and the leaders of Weimar – Hindenburg, Bruning, Schleicher, and Papen. Shows clearly both the slippery slope that led to totalitarian dictatorship and the series of opportunities to prevent it, lost one by one due to a lack of imagination, an inability to compromise, and an absence of political energy. When opposed to Hitler’s relentless and, it must be admitted, brilliant political propaganda, organization, and maneuvering, the more moderate forces just gave up. Perhaps they under-estimated Hitler’s ability and his evil, or perhaps they just didn’t have it in them to keep fighting, or both.

There are other lessons for us today …

… Chancellor Bruning was convinced Germany’s public finances could only be put in order again if the country went through a long period of utmost parsimony and public expenditure cuts … these programs were not successful … There were demands heard from the German public to address the financial crisis with the help of public works programs and deficit spending policy … these demands were ignored by Weimar, but were later implemented by the Nazis.

LMW: sound familiar? The policies of austerity during economic downturn are just as futile and counter-productive today as they were in 1930s Germany.

… local elections in Thuringia on Dec 4 1932 were catastrophic for the Nazis … lost 15% from previous election … membership cards were being returned … intra-party criticism was mounting … party finances were in a precarious state … there was mounting tension within the Nazi movement.

LMW: the Nazi electoral support may well have peaked. Had Weimar hung on a little longer, it might have survived. But less than two months after that disastrous election loss, Hitler was Chancellor.


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* Lew’s review and extracts from “Why Hitler Came Into Power” … research for my novel-in-progress tentatively titled CHOOSING HITLER

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 5, 2013

why hitler came into power - cover

This is a fascinating report, drawn from essays written by Nazi members in 1934, in response to a contest organized by a Columbia University professor. The timing is just after Hitler took power and well before his intentions to murder the Jews of Europe were as clear as they later became.

As I enter the phase of my new book where my main German character is “drawn” into the Nazi world, these statements by others who decided to become Nazis are invaluable sources of understanding. One of the challenging aspects of my novel-in-progress [“Choosing Hitler”] is to write in a manner that accurately and honestly shows the enthusiasm of those who were drawn to Hitler when I myself am filled with repulsion and hatred for every aspect of Hitler and those who supported him.

Here are some of the hundreds of notes I have taken from this excellent but little known book …

… the racial doctrine advocated by the NS was equally important to the principle of leadership in underpinning the ideology of the movement … there were three main tenets … one was the belief in the biological superiority of the “Germanic” race … Second was the opinion of that racial purity is the basis of national health and that intermixture of races is the source of all social decay … Third is the claim that the Jews are an inferior race and that their influence on the economic, political, and cultural life of Germany, past and present, is responsible for everything that was and is evil

… The tendency to interpret personal experiences in a fashion that made Jews the culprit … the prevalence of anti-Semitic literature in Germany … the acts of violence perpetrated against Jews … have for their background a tradition which is at least 1000 years old

… The spread of the NS movement depended largely upon adequate promotion … modern advertising psychology was utilized to produce mass effect … the sheer bulk of the propaganda effort was remarkable … the party propaganda covered Germany with a thoroughness that made its doctrines known in almost every home in every city and throughout the countryside

… People who supported Hitler were primarily influenced by the belief that they were backing a winning contender … this confidence was supported by the superiority of the NS organization over that of all other parties … it was better coordinated and disciplined and show greater vitality and driving power … its military aggressive nature appealed to many …

Hitler had a twofold function … he was the chief executive, the planner, and organizer … he also played the role of prophet of the movement … he commanded unquestioned allegiance to his person and through this personal allegiance inspire members with loyalty and devotion to the movement

Hitler’s followers submitted themselves to him willingly and unquestionably … to them he was a prophet whose pronouncements were taken as oracles … he was a hero whom they naïvely trusted to perform the impossible if it were necessary … he was seen as a man of superhuman power with a special star guiding his destiny

… If we won Germany was saved … if we were defeated a gate would open in the East and Moscow’s Red hordes would swarm in and plunge Europe into night and misery


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* Discussion questions for The Heretic … a novel of Jewish history in the 15th c.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 22, 2013

The Heretic - new cover

I was recently asked to prepare discussion questions for a book club that is reading The Heretic. Here’s my list …

NOTE: I can do book club appearances via SKYPE anywhere in the world.


Discussion questions for The Heretic, a novel by Lewis M. Weinstein

1. Did you know about the Church’s persecution of Jews in 15th c. Spain? Did you find it surprising?

2. What do you think prompted the Church’s actions?

3.Was the description of the earliest printing interesting to you?

4. What did you know about Queen Isabel before reading The Heretic? Were you surprised by her portrayal in the book?

5. How would you compare the relationships between …

… Gabriel & Pilar

… Tomas & Esther

… Isabel & Fernando

… Tomas & Isabel

6. Why did the attempts to convert the Jews of Spain not work out as anticipated?

7. What did you think of Prince Hasan, and his friendship with Benjamin and Esther?

8. Did Prince Hasan conform to your image of a Moorish leader?

9. Why do you think the author selected 15th c. Spain for exploring the issues of hatred of Jews?

10. Do you see a connection between the Church’s attitude toward Jews in 15th c. Spain and the Church’s behavior in Germany before and during the Holocaust?

11. What did you learn about Judaism, and the connections between Judaism and Christianity?

12. What did you think of Tomas’s discussion with the rabbi in Seville regarding the plausibility of the virgin birth of Christ?

13. Did you think Friar Perez believed in the mission he had been assigned or did he have doubts?

14. Who do you think was the ultimate victor in the battle between Friar Perez and Gabriel Catalan?

15. What were the most emotional scenes for you? Did you cry?

16. Which do you remember as the most memorable scenes?

17. Were there scenes that made you cringe? Do you think those scenes were necessary to the story?

18. Was there anything in the story you found not quite believable?

19. How true do you think the story was to the actual history?

20. Were you surprised at the positive reaction of Catholic leaders to this book which is surely not a flattering portrayal of the Church?

21. Were you curious how the author got blurbs from Elie Wiesel and Alan Dershowitz … (those are, by the way, two fascinating stories)

wiesel & dershowitz.

Elie Wiesel & Alan Dershowitz


purchase The Heretic at amazon …

$5.99 in Kindle (also available for Nook) … $14.95 in paper

The Heretic

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* a great book club appearance in the Florida Keys

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2013

DSCN0467-Weston Book Club group-cropped

Pat and I had the great pleasure of meeting with the Weston (FL) Book Club to discuss my novel “The Pope’s Conspiracy.” We met in the glorious surroundings of Hawk’s Cay resort in the Florida Keys.

It was very exciting for me since all of the ladies proved to be extremely intelligent and perceptive readers. Their questions, about the book and the writing/publishing process, made for a terrific two hour discussion.

I want to thank especially Kelly Tepper, who found my book in a Google search (novels-Jewish-Florence) in preparation for her recent trip to Italy and who graciously hosted the event.



I really enjoy meeting with book clubs, and would love to meet with yours,

either in person or via SKYPE.

You can contact me at authorlewweinstein@gmail.com.

Lew's 5 novels Apr 2013-centered

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* research for my novel-in-progress tentatively titled “CHOOSING HITLER”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 12, 2013


Several friends have expressed an interest in the research I am doing for my novel-in-progress, tentatively titled CHOOSING HITLER.

I organize my books on Goodreads.

  • The books I have read or plan to read are listed in my book category “ch-research.” …


  • Those I have reviewed are listed in the category “ch-reviews.” … 


I welcome additional suggestions.

Here are some of the books I have so far found particularly useful in my research …

  • Warsaw: The Cabaret Years (Nowicki)
  • Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth (Shandler)
  • The Shame of Survival: Working Through a Nazi Childhood (Mahlendorf)
  • Antisemitism and Its Opponents in Modern Poland (Blobaum)
  • Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy (Weitz)
  • Justice Imperiled: The Anti-Nazi Lawyer Max Hirschberg in Weimar Germany (Morris)
  • State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda (Bachrach)
  • The Catholic Church And Nazi Germany (Lewy)
  • Rome’s Most Faithful Daughter: The Catholic Church and Independent Poland, 1914-1939 (Pease)
  • Life is With People: The Culture of the Shtetl (Zborowski)
  • Stranger in Our Midst: Images of the Jew in Polish Literature (Segel)
  • Munich 1923: The Story of Hitler’s First Grab for Power (Dornberg)
  • When Money Dies: The Nightmare Of The Weimar Hyper Inflation (Ferguson)
  • Bitter Glory: Poland and Its Fate, 1918-1939 (Watt)
  • Address Unknown (Taylor)
  • There Once Was a World: A 900-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok (Eliach)
  • Poland’s Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present (Michlic)
  • Hitler (Kershaw)
  • Shtetl: The Life and Death of a Small Town and the World of Polish Jews (Hoffman)
  • The Catholic Church and Antisemitism … Poland 1933-39 (Modras)
  • On The Edge Of Destruction: Jews Of Poland Between The Two World Wars (Heller)
  • Why Hitler Came Into Power (Abel)
  • The Coming of the Third Reich (Evans)
  • The Face Of The Third Reich: Portraits Of The Nazi Leadership (Fest)
  • The Anguish Of The Jews: Twenty Three Centuries Of Antisemitism (Flannery)
  • Hitler And The Beer Hall Putsch (Gordon)
  • Mein Kampf (Hitler)
  • Hitler, Vol 1: 1889-1936 Hubris (Kershaw)
  • Where Ghosts Walked: Munich’s Road to the Third Reich (Large)
  • Adolf Hitler (Toland)
  • Justice at Nuremberg (Conot)

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* a new review of THE HERETIC on Goodreads

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 28, 2013

Heretic & Hereje

Laura Uplinger‘s review of The Heretic
… Mar 23, 2013
… 5 of 5 stars


“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.”
The Heretic is available on amazon in print ($14.95) or kindle ($5.99).
Click below …

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* reviews of Hereje … translated from the Spanish

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 20, 2013

Heretic & Hereje


*** This is a story that combines history and feelings in a masterful way, where the adventures of a family saga follows the evolution of the history of Spain, in its most gruesome, a book that shows the social ascent, servility, betrayal , love, righteousness in ideas, obsession and hope.

***  A well-documented historical novel in which the author, brings to each of his characters, to a different reality, reflecting the difficult lives of those who chose another religion in a state dominated by intolerant Catholic church of the time.

*** Gabriel Catalan has seen the death of his father, a Jewish convert, beaten in the streets of Seville, and make the decision to continue practicing the faith of their elders. But times are tough for the Spanish Jews, and Torquemada just sent to Seville the Dominican Ricardo Perez with the mission of exposing the converts that still practiced Judaism in secret.

 *** Heretic is a great recreation of the life of the Jews in Spain in the fifteenth century, caught between political intrigues and religious persecution.


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* Hereje (The Heretic) Spanish sales results for 2012

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 19, 2013

HEREJE-Spanish cover


Just received from my Spanish publisher algaida editores …

an accounting of sales  for Hereje for 2012 …

1134 copies sold.

Hereje is the Spanish edition of The Heretic, published in 2000.

It tells the story of a family of secret Jews struggling to survive

the persecution of the Catholic Church in 15th century Spain

on the eve of the Spanish Inquisition.


purchase Hereje at amazon …



purchase The Heretic at amazon …


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* a review of Melita Maschmann’s memoir … “Account Rendered: a Dossier on my Former Self”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 14, 2013

hitler youth


FROM THE FLY-LEAF … Melita Maschmann’s memoir (publ 1964) … without self-exculpation or self-pity … she changed from an ordinary 15 year old schoolgirl in 1933 into a high-ranking member of the Nazi elite … blindly dedicated … she remained loyal to National Socialism against all protests of truth and justice … imbued with the latent antisemitism of her parents’ generation … when she saw Jews, Poles and others suffer she switched off her feelings … because to think for oneself or to make moral judgments was immoral in the time of Germany’s need.

BEFORE READING THE BOOK … I am going to hate this woman … but will certainly understand more about the sickness that so many ordinary Germans welcomed and allowed to control their lives.

NOW I HAVE READ THE BOOK … My conclusion is that, despite her protestations to the contrary, Maschmann’s memoir is a self-justifying lie! So must be many (most?) of the claims of Germans that they never knew. Perhaps they didn’t want to know and looked the other way, but that is a very different thing. Nevertheless, Maschmann’s writings provide significant insight into what a young Nazi was thinking, and perhaps why. Here are a few of her reflections …

… we thought the Nazi’s violent antisemitism was a passing phase, a propaganda stunt 

… the fact that I was involved in something greater than myself relieved me of any sense of guilt … I wanted to attach myself to something that was great and fundamental

… Maschmann’s mantra … I would repeat these same verses 10 or 15 times over … “You must believe in Germany as firmly, clearly and truly as you believe in the sun, the moon and the starlight. You must believe in Germany, as if Germany were yourself; and as you believe your soul strives towrd eternity. You must believe in Germany – or your life is but death. And you must fight for Germany until the new dawn comes.” 

… I never allowed any of my experiences to prompt me to come to grips with the so-called “Jewish Question” for myself … my antisemitic attitude seemed to me to be a natural part of my National Socialist outlook … basically the problem did not interest me … LMW: it is thus vital to understand why antisemitism was so natural for Germans. My own view is that it was largely the centuries-long persecution and denigration of Jews by the Catholic and Lutheran churches.

… on Kristallnacht … I forced the memory of it out of my consciousness as quickly as possible … on the night of the broken glass our feelings were not yet hardened to the sight of human suffering as they were later in the war

… as the years went by I grew better at switching off quickly … it was the only way to avoid the onset of doubts about the rightness of what had happened … and serious doubts would have torn away the basis of my existence from under me 

… on the invasion of Poland … I was utterly convinced of our superior moral position

… on the news of ‘Bloody Sunday’ at Bromberg … the German press reported that 60,000 German nationals had been murdered in an appallingly savage manner … my clear recollection was that we had invaded Poland after the news of Bloody Sunday had reached Berlin … in point of fact the events happened in reverse order … but my version, which I held until a few months ago, was much better for easing our political conscience.

… our noble, refined and intellectual German qualities were in danger of being suppressed by the brutality of the primitive Poles

… England had conquered a world empire … France had acquired colony after colony … now at last Germany’s historic hour had come … the dream of her greatness would become a reality in the Reich of our Fuhrer

… there was an irresistible fascination with the words ‘Reich’ and ‘Fuhrer’

… we had no idea there was evidence at Nuremberg that Hitler really had murdered millions of people … and (in 1946) we never thought to ask: what if the American allegations about the concentration camps are true after all?

… many former Nazis still say … how much better it was in Hitler’s day … in those days, they believed in something that roused them from their humble existence

Posted in ** RESEARCH for A FLOOD OF EVIL | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

* a review of A GREAT DELIVERANCE by Elizabeth George

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 14, 2013

A Great Deliverance


This is the first of the Lynley-Havers stories, and also the first that I am re-reading. I hope I don’t remember too much of the plot (it’s been 10 years at least) but my real purpose in re-reading is to study George’s writing techniques. Her use of setting, development of character, and plot surprises, among other elements, are superb. For fans of Elizabeth George who are also writers, I recommend Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life..

George unfolds the layers of a complicated story in a way that builds the emotion and tension but never leaves the reader confused. There are many characters whose roles keep evolving, but George always gives the reader the 2-3 words that assure you always know the connection of the character to previous points in the story. (NOTE: This contrasts so vividly with books like Wolf Hall and The Casual Vacancy (first half) where the authors make no such effort and the reader is often left adrift.)

Much of the emotion in “A Great Deliverance” comes from the tense and evolving and ultimately caring relationship between Lynley and Havers, as each helps the other deal with debilitating attitudes that threaten their personal and professional futures.

I didn’t realize until very recently that this was George’s first novel. Wow!

Posted in *** Lew's reviews - general reading | Leave a Comment »

* Lew’s 4 published novels

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 19, 2013

Lew's 4 novels rev Feb 2013

* The Heretic    * A Good Conviction    * Case Closed    * The Pope’s Conspiracy



* Lew’s (not so favorable) review of Wolf Hall

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 19, 2013

wolf Hall

I just started Wolf Hall, and I find the relentless use of “he” to be extremely irritating. In the first several chapters, there are dozens of instances where it is not clear who is speaking. Every once in a while, as if recognizing the problem she has created, Mantel uses the phrase “he, Cromwell.” Why not just say Cromwell?

Unless there is some good reason which I can’t imagine, this sort of obfuscation is just lazy writing which disrespects the reader. May I re-think that, based on a comment by another reader. It’s not lazy writing. It’s very purposeful. And very distracting.

… later … 

I just read some of the amazon reviews. There are actually quite a few readers who found the “he” business as disconcerting as I did, and who expressed their displeasure in rather strong terms, along with many *-star ratings. However, many others really liked the book, as do many Goodreads readers, so it must not bother them as it does me. 

Another Goodreads reader suggested that the use of “he” all the time created a closer intimacy with Cromwell. Perhaps, but I see it differently. If you want to create intimacy, use the first person. Then it is clear that everything is seen and felt by the single protagonist, and the reader can share that character’s viewpoint, thoughts and feelings. What Mantel has done is not to bring us close to Cromwell, but to inject herself, the author, between the reader and the prime character. She does this on practically every page and I find it jarring every time it happens.

Before my final negative notes, let me say that Mantel clearly has an exquisite command of the language. Even in the few chapters I read, her elegant choice of words often made me reflect and smile. She can paint a picture when describing a character or a setting that is truly wonderful. And, when she chooses to do so, she writes a vivid scene that has power and emotion.

Such continuity of story, however, is the exception rather than the rule. The constant switching of time and place, often without the merest hint of transition, made the reading much more difficult than it had to be. Just a word here or there would have made a huge difference.

Finally, the breezy style in which much of the book is written is entertaining, as many have noted and I agree, but it had the effect of making me wonder if Mantel was as true to the history as I think a historical fiction should be. Of course the dialogue and many of the personal incidents are made up, but does the author, when portraying actual events, present them accurately? I think such concern for the truth is an obligation of an author when writing about historical characters and events. Mantel left me unsure.

I think I’ve had enough of Wolf Hall, and perhaps other Goodreads readers have had enough of my criticism of what is surely a popular book. I don’t usually write negative opinions, but this book just seemed to drag them out of me. I hope I have not offended anyone.

Posted in *** Lew's reviews - general reading | Leave a Comment »

* Lew’s reviews … research reading for my new novel CHOOSING HITLER

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 17, 2013

Reviews on this site

(Click to read my review)


Weimar Germany by Eric D. Weitz

Good Germans by Hal Marienthal

A History of the German National Railway Volume 2, 1933-1945

Justice Imperiled: The Anti-Nazi Lawyer Max Hirschberg in Weimar Germany

Backing Hitler by Robert Gellately


reviews on Goodreads

(click to read my review and others)


The Jews and Their Lies    by Martin Luther

The Catholic Church And Nazi Germany

A Thread of Grace 

Rabbis and Wives

Rome’s Most Faithful Daughter: The Catholic Church and Independent Poland, 1914-1939

The Family Moskat: A Novel

In the Garden of Beasts

The Good German

The Fox in the Attic

Jean-Christophe: Dawn, Morning, Youth, Revolt  by Romain Rolland

Shadow and Light (Berlin Trilogy, #2)

The Sorrows of Young Werther

Love and War in the Pyrenees: A Story of Courage, Fear and Hope, 1939 – 1944

Shtetl: The Life and Death of a Small Town and the World of Polish Jews

Everyday Jews: Scenes from a Vanished Life

When Nationalism Began to Hate: Imagining Modern Politics in Nineteenth-Century Poland

State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda

Night  by Elie Wiesel

The Persecution of the Catholic Church in the Third Reich

Difficult Heritage: Negotiating the Nazi Past in Nuremberg and Beyond

The Jews of East Central Europe Between the World Wars

Poland’s Threatening Other

 Jodendom, Christendom, Germanendom    sermons by Cardinal Faulhaber

 Jews in Independent Poland 1918-1939

The Papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust

The Catholic Church and Antisemitism … Poland 1933-39

Bitter Glory: Poland and Its Fate, 1918-1939

Mila 18  by Leon Uris

Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust

Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power

The Lost Wife

The Earth Is the Lord’s: The Inner World of the Jew in Eastern Europe

Poland, 1918-1945: An Interpretive and Documentary History of the Second Republic

The Third Reich: A New History

The Kings Depart: The Tragedy of Germany: Versailles and the German Revolution

Pilsudski: A Life for Poland


A Suitable Husband

Wallenberg: Missing Hero

Eye of the Needle

Pilsudski’s Coup d’Etat

The Brothers Ashkenazi

The Jews Of Poland Between Two World Wars

Rosa Luxemburg: A Revolutionary for Our Times

Wolf Among Wolves  by Hans Fallada

Munich 1923: The Story of Hitler’s First Grab for Power

All Quiet on the Western Front

Storm of Steel

When Money Dies: The Nightmare Of The Weimar Hyper Inflation

The Statement  by Brian Moore 

The History Of An Obsession: German Judeophobia And The Holocaust

There Once Was a World: A 900-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok 

From Shtetl To Socialism: Studies From Polin

The Clash of Moral Nations: Cultural Politics in Pilsudski’s Poland, 1926-1935 

Rosa (Berlin Trilogy, #1)

Address Unknown

Germans and Jews

The Manor

Life is With People: The Culture of the Shtetl 

Children of a Vanished World

Straight into Darkness



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* Lew’s Reviews … fiction, history, science, politics, …

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 17, 2013

reviews posted on this site

(click to read my review)


THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy

Eric Kandel’s “In Search of Memory

All Our Yesterdays by Robert Parker

Mapping the Mind by Rita Carter

Hawk Channel Chase by Tom Corcoran

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Silence in Hanover Close by Anne Perry

The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

Write Away by Elizabeth George

Coming Apart by Charles Murray

A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin

Hemingway’s Boat by Paul Hendrickson


reviews posted on Goodreads

(click to read my review and many others)


Reading Like a Writer

Broken Harbor

The Triumph of the Sun  by Wilbur Smith

Wolf Hall(Thomas Cromwell, #1)

Stalin’s Ghost(Arkady Renko, #6)

Paris: A Love Story

Hope of Israel

The Casual Vacancy


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Silent Witness(Witness Series, #2)

Hostile Witness(Witness Series, #1)

Remote Control(Nick Stone, #1)

Lieutenant Hornblower

Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light

The Conspiracy Club

Blood Moon(Inspector Challis, #5)

The Final Reckoning

A Fatal Grace(Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2)

Faceless Killers(Wallander, #1)

Murder in Montmartre (Aimee Leduc Investigations, #6)

All the King’s Men

A Matter Of Justice(Inspector Ian Rutledge, #11)

Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1)

Lost Lake

Has God Only One Blessing?  by Sister Mary Boys

Careless in Red(Inspector Lynley #15)  by Elizabeth George

The Long Fall

Only Time Will Tell

Sacred and Profane (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #2)

Running Blind(Jack Reacher, #4)  by Lee Child

Fatal Justice: Reinvestigating the MacDonald Murders

The Double Helix  by James Watson

The Sound of Blue: A Novel

The Master Sniper

Père Goriot

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)

Brunelleschi’s Dome


A Short History of the Printed Word

 The Child in Time

The Joke

The Last Heroes(Men At War, #1)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

 The Ghost Writer

The Turnaround  by William Bratton

 Portrait of a Spy(Gabriel Allon, #11)

The Cave Painters: Probing the Mysteries of the World’s First Artists

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd

The Geneva Deception (Tom Kirk, #4)

Mockery of Justice: The True Story of the Sam Sheppard Murder Case

I, Mona Lisa

The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth, #1)

In the Belly of the Beast: Letters From Prison

The Count of Monte Cristo

Winter in Madrid

The Eight

The Family

Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution

The Innocent

My Name is Red

Convivencia: Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Medieval Spain

In the Presence of the Enemy

Tug of War (Joe Sandilands, #6)

Rashi’s Daughters, Book I: Joheved

The Dogs of Riga(Wallander #2)

The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory

The Day of the Jackal

The Thieves Of Faith (Michael St. Pierre, #2)

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right

Burglars Can’t Be Choosers(Rhodenbarr, #1)

You Can’t Go Home Again

Comanche Moon(Lonesome Dove, #4)

No Good Deeds

Liberation: A Novel

Night Soldiers(Night Soldiers, #1)

Washington’s Crossing

Skinner’s Mission

Sharpe’s Tiger(Sharpe, #1)

Genghis: Birth of an Empire(Conqueror, #1)

The Exonerated

The Deep Blue Good-By

Aristotle’s Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages

The Salzburg Connection

Captain Blood

Trent 1475: Stories of a Ritual Murder Trial

A Prisoner of Birth

Island Of Bones(Louis Kincaid, #5)

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

The Forbidden Zone: A Novel

Welcome to Paradise

We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media

A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories

Bone Island Mambo: An Alex Rutledge Mystery  by Tom Corcoran

Trinity  by Leon Uris


Death of a Red Heroine

The Bourne Identity (Jason Bourne, #1)

Primal Fear

Saving Faith

Walking Shadow

36 Yalta Boulevard

The Crossing

Exit Music(Inspector Rebus, #17)

World Without End (The Pillars of the Earth, #2)  by Ken Follett

 You Got Nothing Coming

Joshua, Son Of None

The Spy Who Came In from the Cold(George Smiley #3)  by John Lecarre

 A Test Of Wills(Inspector Ian Rutledge, #1)

The Birth of Venus

Strange Images of Death (Joe Sandilands, #8)

Joan of Arc  by Mark Twian

18 Seconds

Killing Floor(Jack Reacher, #1)  by Lee Child

Ratking(Aurelio Zen, #1)


Black and Blue(Inspector Rebus, #8)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo(Millennium, #1)

Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing

Death at La Fenice(Commissario Brunetti, #1)

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy(George Smiley, #5)

 The New Rules of Marketing and PR

A Farewell to Arms

Tapestry Of Spies

The Plague Tales (The Plague Tales, #1)

The Naked Sun(Robot, #3)

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories

A Star Called Henry


Posted in *** Lew's reviews - general reading | Leave a Comment »