A country in denial

Jessica Shattuck’s latest novel evokes what women endured under Hitler, and how Germans had to bury their past.

April 20, 2017 19:55
3 minute read.
World War II

A Bavarian castle after World War II hosts three German women bound together by Nazi horrors. (photo credit: ILLUSTRATIVE PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Late in Jessica Shattuck’s The Women in the Castle, the daughter of a German soldier who’d once loaded Jews into Treblinka- bound trucks, walks the Bavarian castle grounds where much of this novel unfolds. It’s 1991, but her thoughts travel back a half century.

“As a German,” she thinks, one “knows that if you start poking through a shoebox of photographs, you’ll find Nazi uniforms and swastikas and children with their arms raised in ‘Heil Hitler’ salutes.”


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