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The German House

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,890 ratings  ·  407 reviews
Set against the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials of 1963, Annette Hess’s international bestseller is a harrowing yet ultimately uplifting coming-of-age story about a young female translator—caught between societal and familial expectations and her unique ability to speak truth to power—as she fights to expose the dark truths of her nation’s past.

If everything your family told
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 3rd 2019 by HarperVia (first published September 21st 2018)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you @harperviabooks for the gifted copy.

The German House is a thoughtful post World War II/post Holocaust novel, set during the Auschwitz Trials of 1963. Eva Bruhns is a young translator who learns about her country, and her family’s, role in the horrors of the Holocaust through her assistance in the trials.

It’s a fascinating and eye-opening glimpse into this time period and how a country can attempt to rebuild itself and its reputation in the world after something like the Holocaust. The
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frankfurt in 1963 has been rebuilt and optimism is prevalent throughout German society. When a young woman, with only vague memories of the war, takes on a job as translator for the Auschwitz trials she is appalled to learn that the average German in uninterested in dredging up the past. Those uninterested include her parents and wealthy boyfriend who are against her involvement in the trials. What she learns throughout the process changes her life forever. Without the complicity and support of ...more
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an historical fiction book which explores the Frankfurt trials, the controversial trails held in Frankfurt two decades after the holocaust which set out to convict the SS men who held senior positions at Auschwitz. This book is written by a german lady, I read the translation in english.

As with many translations this book is dry but very quickly I was drawn into the streets of Frankfurt surrounded by germans who didn't want to even acknowledge the trials that were taking place to hearing
Eva is navigating life as young adult while trying to balance newfound independence. Accepting a new job translating at a trial, she is torn between her career and her boyfriend, Jurgen, who wants her to be a stay at home wife. Eva then learns that her own family does not agree with her involvement as a translator in the trial either. Translating for the Polish victims of the Holocaust, Eva is met with stories of horror and bravery. But as the trial progresses, she can’t help but feel there are ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ew
3.75 stars

The German House is a novel about an important topic. I think I liked the topic a bit more than the execution. The story is set in Germany in the 1960s, and focuses on the the war criminal trials of some Nazis as seen through a handful of fictional characters. The primary focus is Eva, who is in her early 20s and works as a translator during the trials. Despite having grown up in Germany right after the war, she learns about what the Nazis did and her own family’s role during the war
Katie B
4.5 stars

When I first saw this historical fiction book was about the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials of 1963 I knew I had to read it. Even though I have read many historical fiction and nonfiction books about World War 2, I don't often read books that explore the postwar years. The aftermath of the war is something I'm thankful the author deemed worthy of writing about as this was a fascinating read for me.

It's 1963 and Eva Bruhns is twenty-four years old and living with her family in Frankfurt.
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have a new-found appreciation of world war II era books but what attracted me to reading this story, in particular, was that it is based after the war is over when most are based on the lead up to it or during. It also is unique in that it merges war crimes with a family drama and caught my interest right from the beginning. Almost two decades after the Nuremberg trials the Frankfurt trials are in full swing exploring the Nazi Holocaust and holding to account former SS concentration camp ...more
Kerrin Parris
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kerrin by: Bookish First
Vergangenheitsbewältigung is a German term describing the “struggle to overcome the negatives of the past” or “working through the past”. The word has become key in the study of post-1945 German literature, society, and culture. In true German form, vergangenheitsbewältigung has 25 letters. But perhaps its extreme length shows the importance of the processes needed for a society to move forward from it’s criminal, violent past. Vergangenheitsbewältigung is based upon philosopher George Santayana ...more
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set around the Auschwitz trials of 1963 in Frankfurt, our main character is Eva, a young translator. Eva lives above The German House – a restaurant run by her parents, Ludwig and Edith Bruhns, her sister, Annegret and young brother, Stefan. Eva is hoping to marry Jurgen Schoormann, whose wealthy father runs a famous mail order catalogue.

Eva finds herself involved in a war crimes trial, which will have implications for her life, her family and the way she sees both herself and her country.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The German House is a five star read. It is a powerful and impressive novel, well written and meticulously researched.
The story takes place in Frankfurt, Germany in 1963 at the onset of the first Frankfurt Auschwitz trial which charged 22 defendants under German law for crimes committed as SS officials in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Eva is a young and naive woman whose main goal in life is to get her wealthy beau Jurgen to ask her father for her hand in marriage. She lives with her
Anne/ Roebbes_reads_and_treats
Wow! This was a recommendation from my favorite bookseller and it did not disappoint. What I found a bit tricky is that the book is divided into four parts but not into chapters. It was very difficult to put down because the story was very gripping and there were no natural breaks.
The book treats one of the difficult times in German history: It takes place in Frankfurt a.M. in 1963 and the protagonist (a German interpreter for the Polish language) gets sucked into a lawsuit against a bunch
Melissa | Recreational Hobbyist
The German House takes place in 1960s Germany, where many are trying to forget about the war & it's tragedies. The story centers around Eva, a young woman in her 20s, helping out at her her family's restaurant, The German House, & working as a Polish translator. Eva is too young to have known what transpired during the war herself, & everyone she knows refuses to talk about it. As she is living her life of finding herself, as well as finding a husband, she is pulled into translating ...more
Roman Clodia
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book takes an interesting angle on the Holocaust and, especially, the complicity of 'ordinary' Germans but I found it a disappointing read. Focalised via a young translator called Eva in the 1960s, it seeks to engage with the question of past guilt - but I found the whole thing unsophisticated. Eva feels like a character in a YA book: she knows practically nothing about the war, she's not even a very good translator, and she's shocked and horrified when she learns about Auschwitz. This ...more
Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy in return for an open and honest review.

Enjoyed this book about the 1963 war crimes trial and the major character is Eva a naive girl who is involved in the trial did however feel the middle of the book fell away and became static but overall the book was an enjoyable read.
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, edelweissplus
The German House uses the story of a young translator to examine German responses to the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials, which ran from 1963 to 1965. These occurred almost twenty years after the better-known Nuremberg trials held at the end of World War II. Life has moved on for many Germans, and there is powerful public pressure to leave the past buried. The novel was originally published in German in Germany; this is the first U.S. edition.

The story of Eva, the translator, is contrived in terms of
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I started reading this story by reading an excerpt from Bookish First and knew that i had to keep reading. I have never read anything about the trials of nazi soldiers and the toll those trials took on so many who had done their best to move on with their lives, for better or worse.

There is a lot this author/translator did well in this story, but some moments were a little off. This story was fast-paced and i read the bulk of it in one sitting. However, it could have been plumped up to give
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

It is 1963 in Germany where the Frankfurt trials are ready to get underway.

We meet Eva who works there as a translator for the Polish witnesses who were testifying against the Germans.

Ms. Hess has a writing style that will pull you in and have you completely absorbed in the book. Her research is impeccable.

THE GERMAN HOUSE is a book that historical fiction fans will devour.

You do not want to miss reading this is an impressive, powerful,
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Novel set in 1960s FRANKFURT (the translation needs honing)

The German House has a very strong storyline about Nazi trials in Frankfurt in the 1960s. Eva Bruhns is the translator for some of the witnesses and victims of the atrocities, from Polish to German. Much of the book describes the trial and wider picture, which is harrowing not only for the reader but also those assembled in the courtroom

Eva still lives with her parents, sister Annegret and her younger brother Stefan. They own The German
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
“The German House” by Annette Hess is the story of Eva Bruhns who lived in Frankfurt during the war and who, in 1963, has been asked to be a translator during the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials. Her family will not talk about the war, nor acknowledge what truly took place during that time. What was their involvement at that time?

Now the city of Frankfurt has been reinvented. New buildings have been built the ravages of was and bombings have been erased and Eva’s parents expect her to marry her
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The German House by Annette Hess and translated by Elisabeth Lauffer is a complex, fascinating, thought-provoking historical fiction with a bit of mystery mixed in. This book is definitely not an easy read in regards to the heavy subject matter, but it was breathtaking, and I was able to devour it in 2 days.

This book mainly features Eva Bruhns, a 24 year old German living with her parents and siblings in a house/restaurant literally called The German House in Frankfurt, Germany. It mainly takes
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.75 rounded up
The German House takes place in 1963 in Frankfurt, Germany where wrecked buildings have been rebuilt from WWII and people are trying to move on. But can they really? The Auschwitz Trials are about to begin and Eva Bruhns is hired as a Polish translator. She is an independent woman in a time when most women work as a temporary stop before marriage. Her parents run a local restaurant, The German House. The trials were fascinating and heart-breaking as the horrors of the war bring up
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
The subject matter of this book is really fascinating. It tells, through a young translator during the Auschwitz trials, not only the atrocities of the war, but also the naivety of young Germans and the refusal of older Germans to talk about the war. I couldn't help but be reminded of Nora Krug's gorgeous book Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home which also told of the same dichotomy. What that book did, that this one didn't, was really portray the emotions that are carried with ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The German House is Annette Hess’s first novel and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It was translated from German and I feel that it must have been a difficult book to translate, but it was done excellently. The story takes place in Frankfort, Germany in 1963 during the Auschwitz trials. The main character Eva Bruhns is a Polish translator for the trials. I loved her character. She was sensitive and independent during a time when women were not very independent. She did not let her fiancé or ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The German House is Annette Hess’s first novel and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It was translated from German and I feel that it must have been a difficult book to translate, but it was done excellently. The story takes place in Frankfort, Germany in 1963 during the Auschwitz trials. The main character Eva Bruhns is a Polish translator for the trials. I loved her character. She was sensitive and independent during a time when women were not very independent. She did not let her fiancé or ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
I won this book through BookishFirst and I finished it before release date. Huzzah.

I wanted to read this book because the main character seemed to be someone who not only had a secret in her family, but also was someone who was trying to prove herself - that she can be needed for a very important case.

I must admit, the translation and the formatting of this book marred the story. Again, I am aware it is an ARC but if the book had this many issues with the format an the translation that it
Bruin Mccon
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
“We had no choice, child”

The German House is a novel about a young woman who is a professional translator in 1960s Germany. She is called in to translate for a trial for World War II war criminals.

“Because that’s where evil lurks.”

As the story opens, Eva Bruhns is waiting for her boyfriend to arrive at her parents’ restaurant for a first introduction. There’s a complicated backstory for her parents and Jurgen, her boyfriend. All goes well and they seem on the path to marriage. Then she gets a
Dec 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I cannot say I enjoyed it, it was a very difficult and sad novel, but the worst part of it was that it was based on true events. The German House is one of those books you need to read in order not to forget history and not to repeat it.
There was one sentence in the book I think I will never forget: They want us to console them . If you read the book, you will find it almost at the end and I'm sure it will give you food for thought as well.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What happened to people after the holocaust? Not the Jewish people. The Germans. Some denied . Some hid things. Some never recovered. Cities were rebuilt. Justice took a long time.
Eva becomes a translator for a Nazi trial. She begins to remember her childhood at Auschwitz living with her parents who worked as cooks for the Nazi commanders.
She also begins to question her fiance and future role as a wife and woman.
I liked how she stood up against what she did not agree with in her family. I
Linda Hepworth
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing

It is 1963, and in Frankfurt twenty-four-year-old Eva Bruhn is living at home with her parents, her elder sister Annegret, a paediatric nurse and her much younger brother, Stefan. Home is an apartment above The German House, a restaurant owned and run by her parents. Eva has few memories of WWII and her home city, which was left so badly bomb-damaged at the end of the war, is now prospering. Her dreams are focused on wishing for the day when her rich boyfriend, Jürgen Schoormann, will ask her
Jackie Law
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The German House, by Annette Hess (translated by Elisabeth Lauffer) is a story of ordinary people woven around the first Auschwitz trials that ran from 1963 to 1965 in Frankfurt. The protagonist is a young woman named Eva who lives with her parents and siblings above their thriving restaurant. She works as a translator and is drawn to offer her services to the specially created legal court when she realises the truth of what happened at the Auschwitz camp and how it has been swept under the ...more
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Bookish First Rea...: The German House by Annette Hess 2 11 Oct 25, 2019 07:08AM  

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Annette Hess grew up in Hanover and currently lives in Lower Saxony. She initially studied painting and interior design, and later scenic writing. She worked as a freelance journalist and assistant director, before launching a successful career as a screenwriter. Her critically-acclaimed and popular television series Weissensee, Ku'damm 56 and Ku'damm 59 are credited with revitalizing German TV. ...more