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BBB - Bronwyn's Book Blog

Compiled thoughts on the books I read.

Currently reading

Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism Year One
Kevin Jackson
The Inimitable Jeeves
P.G. Wodehouse
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot
For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts' Advice to Women
Barbara Ehrenreich, Deirdre English
North and South
Elizabeth Gaskell, Patricia Ingham
The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris - Jonathan Kirsch Won through goodreads.

I knew very little about Herschel Grynszpan going into reading this book. I volunteered for a little while at the Holocaust Memorial Center here in Michigan and at the end of their hall leading up to the war and the Holocaust they have a display and video about Kristallnacht that briefly discusses Herschel as well. That's about all I knew about him, his motives, and what happened to him - that is, very little at all.

This book was really interesting. It gave background to why Herschel went to the German Embassy in Paris and shot a man. The family dynamics involved in his being in Paris and why he ultimately went to the Embassy are amazing. How this and his background were used by the Nazis to justify Kristallnacht and how his trial progressed are just fascinating to read about; some of it is so ridiculous it would be funny if it weren't so serious. No one really knows what happened to Herschel and so the book does stall a bit at the end when discussing all the theories about what happened to him. However, the last chapter dealing with why Herschel isn't remembered like other Jews who stood up to the Nazis is really interesting and has a lot of things to consider from his conflicting reports of why he did what he did, to his changing stories, to how various people view his act.

I wasn't blown away by this book, it didn't have me needing to know what happened next, or it could've been five stars. It tells a very interesting story about someone who people know very little about and who ought to be better known. I highly recommend it.