Tuesday, June 21, 2005

wise's bitter road to dachau

Christian Reger was one of the founding members of the Confessing Church, a church that protested against Adolf Hitler and National Socialism. He was imprisoned three times before being sentenced to the Dachau concentration camp, where he was forced to live in the Pastor’s Barracks with hundreds of other men of the cloth. There, all boundaries are erased amongst the different religious sects as each man struggles to live his faith and trust in God. It’s been estimated that at least 10 percent of the inmates at Dachau were clergy. Although a fictional account of Reger’s imprisonment, the novel reads much like a biography; each chapter recounts one year of his imprisonment. Reger, as a Christian, not only survived the Nazis’ dehumanization tactics, but he also had to accept that his imprisonment was God’s will. His struggle to endure under such harsh conditions forces readers to ask themselves the same tough questions about God, suffering, and life itself. The epilogue fills in the gaps that time has given us in what we know and don’t know about the concentration camps. Wise’s account of Reger’s imprisonment would make an excellent addition to classrooms wishing to expand their knowledge of the Holocaust. The book can be read as a standalone novel or excerpted chapters; either way, students will gain a better understanding of the horrors that awaited any enemy of the Nazi party.


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