Reviewed by Chris
The story commences with personal documents found in an old armchair. These documents concerned SS Obersturmfuhrer Dr Robert Griesinger, an official in the Ministry of Economics and Labour in Nazi occupied Prague. This book is a fascinating biography of Griesinger based on Daniel Lee’s research into his life.
Griesinger was a well-educated ordinary man who saw greater advancement working for the Nazis. It delves into how such an ordinary man became an active participant in the Nazi terror machinery, while believing he was doing his victims a favour. To the side of his Nazi activities, he lived an unexceptional life with his family. May 1945 marked the beginning of the Prague Uprising and Griesinger disappears as he realised the game was up. The book continues to investigate his post-war movement and his death.
A historical detective story and a gripping account of one historian's hunt for answers as he delves into the surprising life of an ordinary Nazi officer.
The gripping account of one historian's hunt for answers as he delves into the surprising life of an ordinary Nazi officer.
'Totally exhilarating' Philippe Sands
It began with an armchair. It began with the surprise discovery of a stash of personal documents covered in swastikas sewn into its cushion.
The SS Officer's Armchair is the story of what happened next, as Daniel Lee follows the trail of cold calls, documents, coincidences and family secrets, to uncover the life of one Dr Robert Griesinger from Stuttgart. As Lee delves deeper, Griesinger emerges as at once an ordinary man with a family and ambitions, and an active participant in the Nazi machinery of terror whose choices continue to reverberate today.
'Gripping, it unfolds like a detective story as an obscured past emerges into the light' Hadley Freeman, author of House of Glass
'An absorbing work of historical detection... Riveting' Evening Standard