Theo Richmond

When peace is a hawk not a dove

Researching the history of a destroyed Polish shtetl, I met some of its survivors, among them Julius, an assimilated Jew, a fearless horse-rider, who had served in the army. He went home to Konin in 1945, alone and hungry, his sole possession a torn blanket. A council official told him, ‘The Jews wanted the war

Trading on a famous name

Was Hitler’s favourite actress a Russian spy? asks the publisher’s ‘shout line’ on the book-jacket, positioned to look like the author’s subtitle, suggesting that we are to be plunged into the world of a latterday Mata Hari. Readers hoping to have the curtain lifted on boudoir vamping, messages in invisible ink, or le Carré intrigue

Growing up the hard way

You don’t have to be Jewish to find this book rewarding, but you do need to be interested in humanity: every page seethes with it. There are no gruesome Holocaust testimonies: the youthful authors of these autobiographies, written in Poland in the years leading up to the second world war, had no premonition of the