The University of Wisconsin Press
Fiction / Holocaust Studies / Gay & Lesbian Interest / European Studies / Judaica / HIstory
The German Officer's Boy
“Did a young Polish Jew’s murder of his Nazi diplomat boyfriend in Paris in 1938 start the Holocaust? Harlan Greene examines the sexual revenge story in the provocative historical novel The German Officer’s Boy.”
What really happened that afternoon in November 1938, when a young Polish Jew walked into the German embassy in Paris and shots rang out? The immediate consequence was concrete: Nazis retaliated with Kristallnacht—“Night of Broken Glass”—the beginning of the Holocaust. Lost in the aftermath is the story of Herschel Grynszpan, the confused teenager whose murder of Ernst vom Rath was used to justify Kristallnacht.
In this historical novel, award-winning writer Harlan Greene takes Grynszpan at his word. Historians have tried to explain away the claim that he was involved in a love affair with vom Rath; Greene, instead, depicts the lives of the underprivileged and persecuted Grynszpan and the wealthy German diplomat vom Rath as they move inevitably toward their ill-fated affair.
“Herschel Grynszpan’s life was enigmatic, elusive and tragic. The traces he left on the historical record are just sufficient to tantalize and baffle historians. Harlan Greene has woven from these threads a riveting novel, erotic, haunting, and profoundly moving.”—Janette Turner Hospital, author of Orpheus Lost
“The story line oscillates between provocative historical speculation and provocative homosexual erotica. An ambitious fusion for a sensitive moment in Holocaust history.”—Booklist
Harlan Greene, the son of Holocaust survivors, is author of Why We Never Danced the Charleston and the Lambda Literary Award winner What the Dead Remember. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina.
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FIRST PAPERBACK EDITION
LC: 91-026346 PS
216 pp. 5 x 8 1/2
Cloth $26.95 t
Paper $21.95 t
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“Prose so tender and seductive your heart aches for the actors in this tragedy.”
—Chuck Curtis, The Historical Novels Review
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