Who would imagine that a novel about Germans and World War II could be artfully sympathetic? Sympathy, in this case, does not mean condoning. Seiffert is able to broach the subject of Germany’s psychic wound by honing forcefully on the willful blindness of “innocents” that made the Nazi terror possible.
The story is told in three parts. A handicapped boy is sheltered at home while his friends go off to fight. He photographs the growing exodus from Berlin, but he cannot see what is really happening. The oldest daughter of Nazi parents must take her siblings by foot across the country to her grandmother’s house after Germany surrenders.
The illegal journey through occupied territory is not simple or easy. The grandson of a deceased Waffen SS officer seeks to reconcile his love for his grandparent with the disturbing truth about his past — facts the rest of the family would rather not know.