Before the Storm: A Thrilling His­tor­i­cal Nov­el of Real Life Nazi Hunters

  • Review
By – June 13, 2023

This work of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion is ded­i­cat­ed to renowned Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klars­feld, who were respon­si­ble for track­ing down and con­vict­ing the infa­mous Klaus Bar­bie, the Butch­er of Lyon.” The sto­ry takes place in Berlin in 1948, three years after the end of WWII. Three fic­tion­al Nazi hunters — Jew­ish broth­ers Max and Karl Port­noy and Ger­man Sara Sturm — meet when an anti­se­mit­ic act brings them togeth­er. They col­lab­o­rate on a mis­sion to find Heinz Hoff­man, a sci­en­tist who is respon­si­ble for the mur­der of many Jews, includ­ing Max’s and Karl’s par­ents and sis­ter. Sara has much inter­est in this ven­ture, since she trag­i­cal­ly lost her fam­i­ly dur­ing the war. 

Some ter­ri­fy­ing dan­gers stand in the way of these three Nazi hunters as they make a some­what hope­less jour­ney through Ger­many to the Russ­ian bor­der. The top-secret, Nazi-pro­tect­ing orga­ni­za­tion Odessa is chas­ing after them. All the while, top-rank­ing Nazis are find­ing ways to escape to South Amer­i­ca; Max, Karl, and Sara are run­ning out of time to bring them to justice. 

With its many wild twists and turns, Before the Storm may be an improb­a­ble sto­ry, but it is also an excit­ing and fast-paced read that dis­cuss­es sur­vival, trust, betray­al, and ret­ri­bu­tion. Read­ers of Issa Harel’s The House on Garibal­di Street, Fred­er­ick Forsyth’s The Odessa File, and A.J. Sidransky’s The Inter­preter will be famil­iar with Odessa’s efforts to pro­tect, hide, and whisk Nazis away. 

Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams is a Cuban-born, Brook­lyn-raised, Long Island-resid­ing mom. She is Hadas­sah Nas­sau’s One Region One Book chair­la­dy, a free­lance essay­ist, and a cer­ti­fied yoga instruc­tor who has loved review­ing books for the JBC for the past ten years.

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