Reviewed by Nancy Eaton
Gerhardt Stark’s father was killed in the war. His mother remarried and everything seemed to go downhill for Gerhardt. He and his stepfather did not get along. Gerhardt’s aunt and uncle offered to let him stay with them. They knew there was conflict between the two and made the suggestion that their residence would be closer to Gerhardt’s school. Even though this family was nice to Gerhardt and made him feel welcome, he experienced many mixed emotions.
When Gerhardt got older, he attended school at the university and fell in love with Frieda. Frieda was involved with the University National Democratic Socialist Party. Until now, he was not interested in political parties. Gerhardt moved in with Rolf, Frieda’s brother. From this point, he is introduced to an emerging political party, National Socialism.
Rolf recognized Gerhardt as the ideal candidate for the Nazi party. Gerhardt got more involved and attended many meetings. Rolf kept instilling in Gerhardt that his father died because of the Jews—they were more interested in money than morality.
As time went on, Gerhardt was introduced to many of the top people in the Nazi party. He worked his way up and got what he considered to be important jobs. Gerhardt did not have to think twice about these important jobs because he considered them payback for his father’s death. He now had no conscience, even when it came to his own family members.
What happened to Gerhardt after the war was over?
The Architect of Auschwitz is an engrossing read. I could not stop turning the pages. Even though this book is fiction, it reads like non-fiction. The book is very well written. S.J. Tagliareni did a tremendous amount of research and spent a great deal of time with Victor Frankl, his mentor, who shared many of his memories with him.
The author does an excellent job of portraying the characters, especially Gerhardt. By the time I finished this book, I despised Gerhardt Stark. The Architect of Auschwitz will leave you with some haunting thoughts long after you have finished reading this book.
Any book about Auschwitz is difficult to read but The Architect of Auschwitz really tells the story from someone on the inside of the Nazi party, and it completely captures the reader’s attention.
I have read a few of S.J. Tagliareni’s books and The Architect of Auschwitz is the best yet. Do yourself a favor and read this book.