Friday, September 25, 2015

Everyone Has Their Reasons - Joseph Matthews

Everyone Has Their Reasons
Joseph Matthews
PM Press, Oct 1 2015, $24.95
ISBN: 9781629630946

In 1936, fifteen years old Polish-German Jew Herschel Grynszpan flees his homeland.  Though the trek was perilous, he makes it to Paris.  In 1938, Grynszpan calmly walks into the German embassy in Paris and assassinates a German consular official, Ernst von Rath.  The Nazi regime appears irate in public while condoning the mass slaughter of Jews in Germany in the infamous Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass response.  As the teen stands “trial” for murder; the Nazi propaganda machine blames Grynszpan and his abomination race for starting the European hostilities.  However, Grynszpan proves much cleverer than thought; forcing the Fuhrer to personally delay the trial until other means of extermination can be executed.

Combining the agreed upon (by historiographers) known facts with the protagonist’s fictional “letters” written to his appointed lawyer from his prison cell, this is a powerful historical drama mindful of Harlan Greene’s equally excellent “The German Officer’s Boy” (same lead).  This is a timely tale with immigration and intolerance issues, and wall solutions (reminiscent of the “successes” by the Maginot Line and the Great Wall of China) still in the forefront today.  Aptly titled Everyone Has Their Reasons is a tremendous pre WWII fictional account of a real incident used by propagandists to justify murder, torture, looting and destruction.

Harriet Klausner

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