Remote Sympathy

Catherine Chidgey

Moving away from their lovely apartment in Munich isn’t nearly as wrenching an experience for Frau Greta Hahn as she had feared. Their new home is even lovelier than the one they left behind and life in Buchenwald would appear to be idyllic. Lying just beyond the forest that surrounds them is the looming presence of a work camp. Frau Hahn’s husband, SS Sturmbannfuhrer Dietrich Hahn, has been assigned as the camp’s administrator.

When Frau Hahn’s poor health leads her into an unlikely and poignant friendship with one of Buchenwald’s prisoners, Dr Lenard Weber, her naive ignorance about what is going on so nearby is challenged. A decade earlier, Dr Weber had invented a machine believed that its subtle resonances might cure cancer. But does it really work? One way or another, it might save a life.

A tour de force about the evils of obliviousness, Remote Sympathy compels us to question our continuing and wilful ability to look the other way in a world that is in thrall to the idea that everything-even facts and morals-is relative.

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