Published to international awards and acclaim, this is journalist Gâeraldine Schwarz's account of her German and French grandparents' lives during World War II, an in-depth history of Europe's post-war reckoning with fascism, and an urgent appeal to remember as a defense against today's rise of far-right nationalism.
... [a] riveting exploration of Germany’s post-World War II reckoning with guilt and responsibility ... Ms. Schwarz makes a strong case that without the support of Nazis like her paternal grandparents, 'Germany could not have descended so far into chaos and crime.' She is equally persuasive in her thesis that it is only through the hard work of remembering the past, with equal parts historical accuracy and personal courage, that we can begin to heal from the hurt and residual distrust we lean on to rationalize prejudice and hatred of others. With eloquence and passion she demonstrates that we can never be reminded too often to never forget.
In this exceptionally timely and well-reasoned debut, the author makes a powerful case that seeds of the recent resurgence of far-right nationalism in Europe were sown first by the denial and rationalizations of millions of people like her grandparents and then by postwar mythmaking that preempted the 'memory work' needed to correct faulty recollections of Nazism ... History doesn’t repeat itself, but 'sociological and psychological mechanisms do,' and this book, a deserving winner of the European Book Prize, shows clearly how a willful amnesia can poison nations that have sworn never to forget the Holocaust ... The granddaughter of a Nazi Party member makes a powerful, convincing moral case for resisting toxic nationalism.
In this astute debut, German-French journalist Schwarz, granddaughter of a Nazi Party member, examines how the denials and excuses of people like her German grandparents helped create the current revival of alt-right nationalism ... This timely memoir also serves as a perceptive look at the current rise of far-right nationalism throughout Europe and the U.S.