Ralph Rowland Posts First Review of Unspeakable Prayers!
Unspeakable Prayers is the seventh book in the Thaddeus Murfee series by this author. I have read and reported on all the previous books.
This book, whether as a standalone, or as continuing in the series warrants a five star rating. Unspeakable Prayers is a serious study, in my view, of the interaction between two men, one a Jew, the other an SS Officer in Hitler’s Third Reich. The backdrop of their interaction is the Holocaust, specifically the Treblinka extermination camp.
Lodzi Ashstein, a Polish Jew, was sentenced to Treblinka in 1942. He was 19. While there he encountered Janich Heiss, a member of Hitler’s elite SS, a commandant level officer, authorized by dint of his grade to kill Jews at will. Again, Treblinka, not to be confused, for example with Auschwitz, was an extermination camp which was the reason why Jews were sent there. Auschwitz was a concentration camp peopled by Jews used to labor in the service of the Reich during WWII. As a side note, Tuesday, January 27, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Russians.
I don’t re-tell story lines in my reviews. Suffice it to say, this book is not an apologetic for what occurred at Treblinka. It is, both a serious study of Hitler’s intention to carry out the ultimate solution and, in part, a serious study of the horrors, at times grisly, while never gratuitous, of the treatment that those sent there from among the overall 6 million Jews exterminated during WWII suffered and died at the hands of the German High Command.
While dark, the book is truly a masterful accounting and thought provoking study of how these two individuals behaved in the manner in which they found themselves, either to survive, or eradicate. Both protagonists bring strong character development to the plot which is laid out such that causes one to gasp at times enough to want to put the book down and take a breath, yet doing so raises the risk of losing the moment and thus the momentum of the story.
Make no mistake, Unspeakable Prayers is gripping. It pulls no punches in providing a thorough going analysis of the Holocaust, whose victims suffered inhuman treatment at the hands of the Nazis. Yet, at the same time, Unspeakable Prayers offers up a beacon to the will of the human spirit to survive. To say any more would detract from the point of this review.
Simply put, John Ellsworth has presented a work that is timeless in its importance, which cannot be denied or simply sloughed over. Unspeakable Prayers, is both Man’s unspeakable moment, yet is it also his Prayer in its message for the human spirit.