The Kindly Ones: A Novel
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“Simply astounding. . . . The Kindly Ones is unmistakably the work of a profoundly gifted writer.” — Time
A literary prize-winner that has been an explosive bestseller all over the world, Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones has been called “a brilliant Holocaust novel… a world-class masterpiece of astonishing brutality, originality, and force,” and “relentlessly fascinating, ambitious beyond scope,” by Michael Korda (Ike, With Wings Like Eagles). Destined to join the pantheon of classic epics of war such as Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, The Kindly Ones offers a profound and gripping experience of the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust.
into Hans, who had made up his mind to come in. “August, go find a doctor,” Callsen said to Häfner. Blobel was bawling: “It’s not possible, it’s not possible, they’re sick, I’m going to kill them.” The two officers from the Wehrmacht hovered in the hallway, rigid, pale. “Meine Herren…,” I began. Häfner pushed me aside and ran down the stairs. The Hauptmann squeaked: “Your Kommandant has gone mad! He wanted to shoot at us.” I didn’t know what to say. Hans went out behind me: “Meine Herren, I hope
“you must know that in Latin ‘to besiege’ is obsidere. Stalingrad is an obsessed city.”—“Yes. Let’s go to bed. The morning wake-up is a little brutal.” Hohenegg had a mattress and a sleeping bag; he found two blankets for me and I rolled up in my fleece-lined coat. “You should see my quarters in Gumrak,” he said as he lay down. “I have a bunker with wooden walls, heated, and clean sheets. Luxury.” Clean sheets: that, I said to myself, was something to dream about. A hot bath and clean sheets. Was
could receive me. Finally a Hauptsturmführer came to my rescue: “You came here from Lutsk? We’ve already been filled in, the Brigadeführer spoke on the phone with Obergruppenführer Jeckeln. But I’m sure your report will interest him.”—“Good. I’ll wait, then.”—“No need, he’ll be tied up for at least two hours. You should just go visit the city. The old city especially is worth seeing.”—“The people seem excited,” I remarked.—“That’s certainly true. The NKVD massacred three thousand people in the
Yugoslavia, what was he doing, in your opinion? In the Waffen-SS? Fighting the partisans? You know what that is, fighting the partisans? We hardly ever see any partisans, so we destroy the environment where they survive. You understand what that means? Can you imagine your Hans killing women, killing their children in front of them, burning their houses with their corpses inside?” For the first time she reacted: “Be quiet! You don’t have the right!”—“And why don’t I have the right?” I jeered.
The iron key that Käthe had given me was large and heavy, but the lock, well oiled, opened easily. The hinges must also have been well oiled, for the door didn’t creak. I pushed open a few shutters to light the entry hall, then examined the handsome, intricately carved wooden staircase, the long bookcases, the parquet floor polished by time, the little sculptures and moldings where one could still make out traces of chipped gold leaf. I turned the switch: a chandelier in the middle of the room