Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book Review: The Collini Case by Ferdinand Von Schirach

Well, this is quite a book.

Ferdinand Von Schirach is a lawyer in Germany, mostly focused on criminal cases.  His American great grandmother was descended from two signatories to the Declaration of Independent.  His grandfather was a prominent member of the Hitler Youth during WW2.  And The Collini Case book was cited as a source when the Federal Minister of Justice decided to look into how leniently the Ministry of Justice (during the Nazi era)  was treated after the war.

My mother's family was in Poland during WW2 and my grandfather was a hunted member of the Polish underground.  My great grandmother was killed by the Nazis for working against them.  I feel Von Schirach's conflicts in that none of us was there then…we can only look back.

The Collini Affair is lean and atmospheric.  A young lawyer takes his first case, defending a man who admits to killing an elderly industrialist.  Complicating all is that the murder victim was like family to the defense lawyer, who is in love with his granddaughter and was best friends with his dead grandson.

Short and to the point, we walk through Von Schirach's world in awe at how he can keep all cliches out of such a story.  By sticking to the facts.

This is quite a book, short and a quick read and totally worth your time.  How do we judge people and life itself?

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