THE TWELFTH POWER OF EVIL by Jerrold Morgulas

THE TWELFTH POWER OF EVIL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Why didn't the US bomb the death-machinery at Auschwitz? According to Morgulas (Scorpion East, etc.) it was because of industrial greed: this quasi-authentic, semi-documented novel tells of dealings between a US oil company called ""Criterion"" and Germany's I. G. Farben--a plan for a postwar synthetic-rubber monopoly based on the German Buna process . . . with prototype equipment now being made at Auschwitz. Thus, Criterion's chairman Marcus Trilling and his slimy legal aide Eisner have bribed US officialdom into a hands-off posture; they also manage to keep reports of the death-camp operations from higher-ups in the government. But working against them is Dr. Miklos Baranyi, a Hungarian Jew who operates Vaadah, a rescue organization in Zurich. Baranyi's attempts to enlighten US officials in Switzerland about Auschwitz are futile, however--so Eichmann's exterminations continue. And it's only when the Americans realize that Russia will soon be invading and arriving at Auschwitz, thus taking possession of the crucial Buna equipment, that bombing raids are planned. There's much cross-plotting here--Baranyi's attempts to get Farben to move the Buna equipment (which would leave the US free to bomb without fear of lousing up Criterion's plans), assorted international motives--but eventually Baranyi is arrested and the Russians get the Buna plant . . . while Criterion manages to get the even-more-important Buna formula. Unfortunately, however, after this intriguing (if less than completely convincing) pseudo-history, Morgulas flashes forward to 1976 for a fairly routine vengeance melodrama: Baranyi and a revenge team assassinate Criterion's Trilling, then Eisner--as well as some others involved in the vile machinations that kept Auschwitz open. Without the richer consistency of some of Morgulas' previous fact/fiction assemblages, then, but intermittently gripping, solidly written, and obviously provocative.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1981
Publisher: Seaview--dist. by Harper & Row