NIGHT OF THE BROKEN GLASS by Peter Broner

NIGHT OF THE BROKEN GLASS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An old-fashioned multiplot novel showing the attempts of three well-meaning Germans to resist the horrors of the Nazi regime. Paul Silver, hungry for acceptance by his anti-Semitic friends, leaps at the chance to join the Hitlerjugend when his Gentile mother reveals that he's really the illegitimate son of Baron von Hallenberg; but when the spineless, apolitical Baron--recently forced to join the Nazi Party in order to protect his lands--tries to adopt Paul and make him his heir, Paul takes off for America and enlists with the Allies following Pearl Harbor. Meanwhile, streetcar conductor Johann Stantke, unable to live in acquiescence with the Nazi oppressors, turns first to anti-Hitler graffiti--a futile gesture--and then has himself arrested and sent to Dachau to express solidarity with the oppressed. Finally, shoe manufacturer Martin Hammerschmidt rescues nearly four hundred Buchenwald inmates by requisitioning them to work in his factory, cautiously improving their lives while pretending to exploit them. The moral thrust of all these actions seems clear, but playwright Broner, who doesn't appear to trust his powers of dramatization, keeps explaining and explaining the message of each obligatory scene, turning his exploration of evil into a tidy moral allegory. Broner's Victorian plotting improbably rescues his three decent principals while consigning his villains to sundry bad ends--a depressingly happy ending.

Pub Date: Aug. 20th, 1991
ISBN: 0-88268-132-X
Page count: 316pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1991