Moving away from Munich isn’t nearly as wrenching an experience for Frau Greta Hahn as she had feared. Their new home is even lovelier than the one they left behind, and best of all – right on their doorstep – are some of the finest craftsmen from all over Europe, prepared to make for her and the other officers’ wives living in this small community anything they could possibly desire: new curtains from the finest silks, furniture designed to the most exacting specifications, execute a fresco or a mural even. The looming presence of the nearby prison camp – lying just beyond a patch of forest – is the only blot to mar what is otherwise an idyllic life in Buchenwald. Frau Hahn’s husband, SS Sturmbannfuhrer Dietrich Hahn, has taken up a powerful new position as camp administrator. The job is all consuming as he wrestles with corruption that is rife at every level, inadequate supplies, and a sewerage system under ever-growing strain as the prison population continues to rise. Frau Hahn’s obliviousness is challenged when she is forced into an unlikely alliance with one of Buchenwald’s prisoners, Dr Lenard Weber. A decade earlier he invented a machine – the Sympathetic Vitaliser – that at the time he believed could cure cancer. Does the machine work? Whether it does or not, it might yet save a life.
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