The Gold­en Doves

  • Review
By – November 6, 2023

Ded­i­cat­ed to all the women who sur­vived Ravens­bruck” and those who nev­er came home,” this work of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion cen­ters two spe­cial women who risked their lives as the so-called Gold­en Doves.” 

The nov­el begins in Fort Bliss, Texas in 1952. Josie Ander­son ques­tions for­mer Nazi sci­en­tist Her­bert Krupp, who recent­ly arrived at the US mil­i­tary base from Ger­many. Mean­while, at a small, dingy cafe in Paris, which serves the ven­dors of the near­by flower mar­ket, Arlett LaRue works along­side fel­low sur­vivors of the war. 

The sto­ry alter­nates between the two women’s lives. Josie works on Oper­a­tion Paper­clip, keep­ing track of Nazi sci­en­tists who are being recruit­ed by the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment, as well as the rat­line,” the escape route for Nazis from Spain to South Amer­i­ca. The sci­en­tists are being brought to the US for their exper­tise in bio­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal muni­tions amid a race against Rus­sia to gain intelligence. 

Arlett des­per­ate­ly wants to find her son, who was tak­en by the Nazis dur­ing her time in Ravens­bruck. He was born in a Lebens­born home, where sin­gle, preg­nant, racial­ly pure” and healthy Ger­man women were cared for until their babies’ birth. The babies were then adopt­ed by racial­ly pure cou­ples — usu­al­ly SS offi­cers — as a means of increas­ing the supe­ri­or” Aryan population.

The nov­el flash­es back to Ger­man-occu­pied France in 1943. There, Josie and Arlett meet and become under­ground resis­tance agents. There are some hard-to-believe sto­ry lines, as when the two women attempt to find the noto­ri­ous Nazi sci­en­tist Snow, who con­duct­ed bru­tal exper­i­ments on women and girls in Ravensbruck. 

A mys­te­ri­ous man, Luc Minao, appears at the Paris cafe and offers to take Arlett to an orphan­age in French Guiana to search for her son. Run by his moth­er, the orphan­age hous­es chil­dren who sur­vived the war. Josie then gets a tip from a fel­low Ravens­bruck inmate that Snow is in French Guiana. She trav­els there under­cov­er as a jour­nal­ist — and the Gold­en Doves are reunited. 

Despite its move­ment back and forth in time, this book is easy to fol­low. It is a unique sto­ry about the Nazis’ pres­ence and impact long after the war. 

Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams, mom, grand­mom, avid read­er, some­time writer, born in Havana, raised in Brook­lyn, resid­ing in Long Beach on Long Island. Long­time for­mer One Region One Book chair and JBC liai­son for Nas­sau Hadas­sah, cur­rent­ly pre­sent­ing Inci­dent at San Miguel with author AJ Sidran­sky who wrote the his­tor­i­cal fic­tion based on her Cuban Jew­ish refugee family’s expe­ri­ences dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion. Flu­ent in Span­ish and Hebrew, cer­ti­fied hatha yoga instructor.

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