Quercus: eBook | Hardcover | Paperback
Georg Heuser was told by his father that no matter what he had to try and get a Beamter status with the government to secure his future. Taking this serious after seeing his family loose everything his biggest dream was to become a lawyer/detective. Assigned first to the murder squat in Berlin during a big serial murder case and after a success there being promoted in ranks in the SS ending up as an officer in Ostland involved in the murder of thousands of Jews.
Now standing trial for war crimes the question arises. Was Georg just doing his job or is an evil hidden in him?
This story is based on a real people and a real case but has been fictionalized.
In 1960 Paula Siebert who is an investigator for the Central Office of the State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes makes a case against Heuser and a few of his old staff members in one first trials Germany will hold against war criminals. She lost her father during the Second World War. Getting this group of people convicted feels like a retribution for her. I would have liked to know more about her investigation and less about her emotional turmoil. But her parts are small and her thoughts and discussions with other people about the situation do make for interesting discussion points.
The most interesting story is that of Georg Heuser though. Written more or less in diary idea he explains his motivations for wanting to be a Beamter and having a career. Up until his period with the murder squad in Berlin everything is fine but things start to get more difficult when he is send to Minsk in the Reichs Commisariat Ostland. Still wanting to make a career he has to make choices when certain orders are given. Further on he is the one giving orders. The descriptions of the situations Georg encountered are not leaving much to imagination.
There story is all about 'but it was an order', 'I was doing my job' which was the case for most people during the war. Is killing a spy in cold blood different than killing a Jew who just got off the train?
During the story your conscious is triggered every other page. Though it all feels wrong I still felt for Georg getting upset with myself for doing so.