The Jewish Nazi by John Vocale
Benjamin Bauman, a contemporary Jewish Orthopedic Surgeon, is blinded by a flash of light while driving his car. When the light subsides, he gathers himself and discovers he is now driving another car in another time period. He panics and crashes the vehicle into a light pole.
After quickly diagnosing his injuries and reestablishing his unbelievable plight, Ben blacks out.When he awakens he finds himself in a Berlin hospital in Nazi Germany.
It is Christmas Day, 1937.
To the people around him Ben is Karl Schroder, a high-ranking Generalarzt and Chief Surgeon of that same hospital. Ben knows nothing of Karl’s past but, among many other surprises, he now speaks fluent German and discovers that Karl had been very close to an empathetic nurse, Elsa Hirsh, who is tending to his wounds.
Still in panic mode, Ben finds a mirror and discovers that his journey has not physically altered his appearance. Yes, he is a Jew in Nazi Germany, but nobody seems to realize this but Ben. His “memory loss” and sudden knowledge of a new language is “scientifically” attributed to the blow in the head he received during the accident.
From the German perspective Ben’s new language is American English, the language he retained during his trip into the past—a language Karl did not speak.
This miraculous infusion of a new language after a traffic accident intrigues members of Hitler's inner circle and brings the reluctant Ben face to face with the likes of Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler and, with a stroke of luck, the famed American broadcaster and author, William L. Shirer.
Ben’s obvious goal is to try return to the present, but as time goes by he feels he was propelled into the past for a yet to be determined mission. If so, what will his mission be? Is he there to kill Hitler––warn England and America of a looming world war––warn the Jews of the impending holocaust––or is it something more benign, like simply trying to stay alive?
Benjamin, a doctor and family man, is living comfortably in the present day. However, he has a series of strange experiences that all relate to Germany in the 1930s. He is baffled by them and confides in his wife. Of course, she listens but isn’t able to help him. It is clear from this point that Benjamin is on his own, and whatever it is he has to face, he has to face it alone. As a reader I found this technique, along with the author’s skillful character development, interesting because I was drawn into Benjamin’s world, sharing his trials and tribulations on a personal level. As a result, this novel offers an experience unlike any other.
Waking up in the past with a new identity and purpose initially throws our hero, but he is smart and determined. He manages to survive and do some remarkably intriguing things. He is confronted by difficult choices and has to make important decisions not only about his own life, but that of many others. Should he change history and events or allow thousands of innocent people to suffer? What will happen if he does interfere? Will the gains made be more beneficial than those lost?
The subject of time travel is a mesmerizing one, and author John Vocale’s use of it in The Jewish Nazi is utterly original, thought-provoking and convincing. I found myself being completely enthralled by the shocking and profound events Benjamin experienced. Traveling back in time is an interesting topic, which in many books result in more amusing adventures. Not so with The Jewish Nazi. Imagine being taken back in time against your will and into a world of unimaginable horror?
The Jewish Nazi by John Vocale is a cleverly woven story that will hook you from the first page. Whether you are a fan of time travel or World War II history this novel will keep you captivated from start to finish. It is attention-grabbing and well-crafted and certainly gives the reader many things to think about and imagine. It’s the sort of novel that readers will want to read more than once and talk about with their friends and family. The Jewish Nazi by John Vocale is highly recommended by Artisan Book Reviews.