East West Street

By Philippe Sands

Philippe Sands is a distinguished human rights lawyer, so you know this is going to be a very well-researched book but truly, it excels, page by page by page, in the gripping story of his Jewish grandparents’ experiences in the first world war. Dr Hans Frank was the brutal yet cultured Nazi Governor-General of Poland who assumed responsibility for the extermination of the Jewish population in Lviv, and therefore was accountable for the murder of Philippe’s relatives. He weaves a tapestry of threads that tie several stories together; tracing the lives and deaths of the residents of Lviv during the first world war, culminating in the trial of Frank at Nuremberg in November 1946-47. He also chronicles the rise of key members in the Nazi party and the impact of their actions on the towns in Poland. Sands did an incredible amount of detective, tracking and tracing people who were connected with the protagonists in this book. Methodical, poignant, scholarly and engrossing. Little wonder, John le Carré described it as ‘a monumental achievement: profoundly personal, told with love, anger and great precision.’

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