THE STRONGHOLD by Meyer Levin

THE STRONGHOLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Stronghold is a half-serious, half spurios novel whose central character is presumably patterned after Adolf Eichmann. During the closing days of the war a German armored truck arrives at a baronial castle behind the German lines. The vehicle is commanded by Lt. Col. Kraus who is fleeing from the advancing American forces with a strongbox of booty taken from the extermination camps and his prize prisoner, the Jewish ex-Premier of a nameless overrun country, Paul Vered, poet, pacifist and symbol of a dispirited humanitarianism. Imprisoned within the castle are nine ex-leaders of the defeated country, and the mistress of one of them, who are awaiting liberation and in the meantime Attempting to resolve the political squabbles which once, in a more relevant context, divided them. The fact that Vered has come to symbolize the crucifixion of the Jews is in itself an irony, for his connections with his heritage have always been of the most tenuous kind. But his presence forces the others to attempt to resolve their own acquiescence to the ""Final Solution of the Jewish question."" Various shades of political belief are represented--from the royalist to the communist, from the aristocratic .decadence of the German Baron to the personal agonizing of the worker-priest whose conscience forces him to reappraise the historical position of the Church towards the Jews. ""The Stronghold ""might have been a provocative novel (though it lacks the competence of another ""human spectrum"" treatment, Arthur Miller's ""Incidental Vichy"") save for the intrusion of the sexual detail Supposedly intended to portray Kraus' total moral depravity. Finally, the book silly lacks the profundity suitable for its subject.

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 1965
Publisher: Simon & Schuster