The Pen­du­lum: A Grand­daugh­ter’s Search for Her Fam­i­ly’s For­bid­den Nazi Past

  • From the Publisher
May 17, 2013

This pow­er­ful mem­oir traces Brazil­ian-born Amer­i­can Julie Lindahl’s jour­ney to uncov­er her grand­par­ents’ roles in the Third Reich, as she is dri­ven to under­stand how and why they became mem­bers of Hitler’s elite the SS. Out of the unbear­able heart of the sto­ry — the unclaimed guilt that devours a fam­i­ly through the gen­er­a­tions — emerges an unflinch­ing will to learn the truth. In a remark­able, six-year jour­ney through Ger­many, Poland, Paraguay, and Brazil, Julie uncov­ers, among many oth­er dis­cov­er­ies, that her grand­fa­ther had been a fanat­ic mem­ber of the SS since 1934. Dur­ing World War II, he was respon­si­ble for enslave­ment and tor­ture, and was com­plic­it in the mur­der of the local pop­u­la­tion on the large estates he over­saw in occu­pied Poland. He even­tu­al­ly fled to South Amer­i­ca to evade a new wave of war-crimes tri­als. The pen­du­lum used by Julie’s grand­moth­er to divine good from bad and true from false becomes a sym­bol for the elu­sive­ness of truth and moral­i­ty but also for the false secu­ri­ties we cling to when we become unmoored.

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