The Commandant’s Daughter by Catherine Hokin

Kept Me Awake At Night

The Commandant’s Daughter by Catherine Hokin is a powerful and heart wrenching historical novel that is set in Berlin.

The story opens in 1933 with “the new hope of Hitler.” Even at that time there are those who can already see the dangerous character that lies within. The story then jumps to post war Berlin, continuing on to 1947.

Post war Berlin is a place of unrest. It is already divided into various sectors. The Jewish people are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. Whilst former SS are trying to blend in and carve out new identities for themselves. The commandant’s daughter has spent the war trying to document the horrors of her father’s life as she “learned that he [her father] was far worse than a liar.”

There are many hiding behind secrets. For some, it is to protect others, and for some it is self-preservation.

There is a moral conflict too – does one hide the truth and let vigilante justice prevail? Or work within the law to catch the perpetrator? This dilemma plays out in several minds.

During World War II there were terrible atrocities. Many blindly obeyed orders, just a few stood up for what was right, and suffered the consequences. Terrible things were seen that could not be unseen as black hearts ruled. “She was a little girl, but they didn’t see that – they saw a Jew… They saw… not people but vermin.” People were brain-washed. And just as bad were “people who knew and did nothing.”

The Commandant’s Daughter is a powerful read. It is a thought-provoking read. And it is a read that kept me awake at night as I could not unsee the horrors of Catherine Hokin’s powerful descriptions.

Catherine Hokin has produced a brilliant novel that must be read in memory of the six million innocents who perished.

I received a free copy via Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.

JULIA WILSON

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