Friday, March 12, 2010

The Real Odessa

Frederick Forsyth wrote a bestselling book titles The Odessa File.Its a about the Nazi's of WWII Germany escaping justice from the allies to Argentina.  I like FF because his books teach me something about the world. Sure he tells a good story but you have to conclude that the source of ideas for his books are not just his imagination.
It seems that FF inspired another book titled The Real Odessa which examines historical details of the Nazi escape route to Argentina. In turn The Real Odessa  inspired one of my favorite authors Philip Kerr to write a novel based on The Real Odessa titled A Quiet Flame.
Now a good story might be nothing more than just a good story. In this instance it is much more than that.
The idea that there was concentration camps in Argentina for Jewish immigrants is frightening enough. What Philip Kerr suggests in his novel is that these concentration camps were also extermination camps built and operated in the same way as those of Auschwitz/Birkenau is a chilling thought.

Here's a question posed by Uki Goñi the author of The Real Odessa. Who was the more evil of the two, those who extorted money from the Jews in exchange for visas to leave Germany or those who followed strict orders and didn't grant visas to Jews? At least those who sold visa's and helped the Jews leave Germany saved lives...

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Jeannie said...

I don't think you could call it extortion to expect payment for taking a serious risk to help someone. Those who aided Jews and got caught would suffer the same fate as those they tried to help. They may not have cared so much for the Jews as they did for the money, but they didn't hate enough to leave them doomed.

Following orders is an extension of fear rather than evil. Evil would be enjoying that you could deny freedom knowing the fate that awaits those you deny. I'll bet the fear and guilt tormented many and likely turned them heartless and dead inside as a means of keeping it together.

Lexcen said...

Jeannie, I did skim over the details of the book and obviously created the wrong impression. I was hoping to create an interest in readers to pick up the book. Believe me it was extortion!