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Publisher's Summary

This remarkable book follows the lives of three friends, Solomon Freund, a Jew, Erich Wiesser, his Catholic neighbor and "brother in blood", and Miriam Rathenau, whom both boys love, and who happens to be niece of Germany's foreign minister Walther Rathenau. From their youth helping at their parents' co-owned tobacco shop, the boys find their relationship strained, as was all of Germany, by the growth of the National Socialist party and the descent of Germany into a Nazi hell.
©1995 Janet Berliner (P)2010 CrossRoad Press

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Three Friends in Berlin 1918 to 1936

A big fan of historical fiction, I looked forward to listening to this tale about young Solomon Freund, a Jew, his friend, Erich Weisser, a Catholic, and beautiful Miriam Rathenau, also a Jew, a few years older than the two boys, whom both boys secretly loved since they’d first met her. Solomon Freund’s father, Jacob had long owned a tobacco shop in Berlin, and had hired Erich’s father so he could work in the shop on Saturdays, the Sabbath. Prior to that time, the man had been a peddler, barely making ends meet. Yet as tensions in Germany and Berlin grew, Erich’s father, Freidrich became increasingly volatile and demeaning towards the Freund family and other Jews. He was a demanding and hateful man, even to his own son. The kind and soft spoken, Jacob Freund seldom reminded Freidrich that he was only a 30% owner in the shop, which was a generosity afforded him by his friend, Jacob. I listened throughout the entire book, waiting for some redeeming qualities to emerge for the Weisser family. They didn’t come. Even the young Erich, best friends with Solomon (who had aided and helped Erich against his own father’s cruelty) became increasingly like his father. He joined the Communist Party, and followed the Hitler’s orders. There were numerous conflicting statements, leading the listener to believe that at some point, perhaps Erich would turn his loyalty toward his childhood friend . . . but we were left hanging. It was clear that he was greatly attracted to Miriam (who was Jewish). The ending was unsettling, leaving the listener to wonder what happened next. The story takes us from when the boys are nine years old to age twenty-seven, plenty of time for their true characters to be revealed. I felt like I knew Sol and Miriam . . . but I still did not trust Erich in the least.

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