I am a big fan of well-done historical fiction stories where the historical greatly outweighs the fiction. I have found that in the book The Girl In The Striped Dress written by Ellie Midward.
The Denazification Court has convened and a different case is being presented, that of a young SS officer stationed at Auschwitz who fell in love with a Jewish girl, Helena. We all are aware that to care about Jews is a crime according to the Nazi way of thinking, so when Dr Hoffman and American psychiatrist, is called in to render his opinion about the case, he is entranced by the very thought of it.
Franz Dahler, the SS officer is brought to trial bearing with him a most unusual witness his wife, Helena. As the trial proceeds we learn of how Franz first met Helen as she was pulled from the gas chambers. Listening to her signing at his birthday celebration, he feels drawn to her, and then embarks on a way to keep her safe. That way is to place her in the Kanada area where women and men separate clothes and baggage collected from the many victims who are brought to Auschwitz. It’s a prized position where people are permitted to wear regular clothes, women’s hair was not shorn, but life was still hard and hazardous with evil and vile men and women in control.
All of this adds up to much danger for any burgeoning romance, although both Franz and Helena are drawn to one another. Their love seems to be their fate.
By the time of the trial with a Nazi Hunter looking for revenge, it seems like Franz might find a prison cell awaiting him.
This book, based on real people, was intense with many graphic scenes of what hatred does. If people are indoctrinated to hate and believe others are terrorists, deplorables, and vermin they will eventually believe. If newspapers, radio, and speeches are inflammatory placing all of life’s ills on a particular group of people, what else can we expect when instead of understanding and respect for others, we are taught animosity and hatred?
Interestingly, there might be a term for what Helena experienced called the Stockholm Syndrome when a captive falls in love with a captor. However in Helena’s case, it just might have been that Franz became the rock on which she built her life upon.
Franz, through Helena, learned a most important lesson for love will always win against hate.
Thank you to Ellie Midwood, Bookouture, and NetGalley for this most powerful story. It has already published.