This extraordinary novel is based on a true story; it is the story of the love between Rudi and Marga. Rudi Friemel fights for the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. When the Republican Front collapses, he is interned in the Gurs camp in France. In 1941, the German prisoners are offered the choice of repatriation. Rudi agrees to return to Germany. He and Marga are briefly re-united, before he is taken to a Gestapo prison in Vienna, and then onto Auschwitz. Marga and Edi (their son) are dumped in a small town in southern Germany. In Auschwitz Rudi Friemel is privileged. He's a car mechanic and services the vehicles of the SS. He petitions to be allowed to marry Marga and make his son legitimate. Eventually his petition is granted. No one knows why. Friemel's wife and child are brought to Auschwitz, his father and brother come from Vienna. The officials who normally spend all their time registering the deaths now register a marriage. The camp band plays.
May 2009 : UK Paperback