The Hollow Bones @leahkaminsky @PenguinRandomHouse #nazi #occult #aryanroots @absltmom

It is always shocking and amazing how many people escaped punishment for their vile and heinous crimes during World War 2. In both the Nazi movement and that of the Japanese empire, there were many allowed to go unpunished, some with just a slight slap on their wrist who then went out and were able to lead normal lives. Sometimes, it was luck, a clandestine escape, but on most occasions sadly, there were political motivations. The bottom line was these people were able to lead their lives while those they exterminated, harmed, and persecuted did not.

The Hollow Bones
‘I remember you once told me about mockingbirds and their special talents for mimicry. They steal the songs from others, you said. I want to ask you this: how were our own songs stolen from us, the notes dispersed, while our faces were turned away?’

In the book The Hollow Bones, Leah Kaminsky introduces the reader to Ernst Schaefer, a zoologist, whose main point of study was birds. Ernst caught the attention of Heinrich Himmler. Thrilled with the recognition and being a zealous man, Ernst gladly joins the SS and is soon scheduled to lead an expedition to Tibet. It is fairly well know that the Nazi leaders particularly Himmler, were fixated on the occult and the origins of the Aryan race, convinced that their roots might have been in Tibet. Leaving the rising tensions at home, as well as a new wife, Herta, Ernst and company head out on their mission. The world was due to explode shortly, and as Ernst and his cohorts try to find a way into Tibet, tensions around the world become incensed and war is started.

In the story, the author tells of Ernst and his cruelty and lack of a moral code The story is cleverly told through the eyes of the animals he has killed. Even in his youth, in his zeal for research, we see what many would consider psychopathic behavior in Ernst. His wife, Herta, also gives us a portrait of a man who was self centered and narcissistic. He certainly possessed all the attributes that one needed to be a successful member of Himmler’s SS.

Chilling and shocking, this book alerts us to the fact that Ernst was not the only man who managed to escape justice. He went on to to live his life, while those he destroyed were denied theirs.

Thank you to Leah Kaminsky, Penguin Random House and Elyse Walthers for bringing this book to my attention.

and here’s the author:

Leah Kaminsky is a physician and award-winning writer. Her debut novel, The Waiting Room, won the prestigious Voss Literary Prize. She conceived and edited Writer MD, a collection of prominent physician-writers, which starred on Booklist and is co-author of Cracking the Code, with the Damiani family. She holds an MFA in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts. (

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