Prodigal Sons by Sheldon Greene

sonsReviewed by Cy Hilterman

Horst Vogle seemed like an innocent quiet man in a bar as another person approached him now and then. Just an innocent conversation—or was it? Doesn’t seem innocent when they just sat and quietly talked or adjourned from the bar to a table and quietly had a personal discussion. This took place in Munich, West Germany in 1950. After leaving the bar, Horst walked through the dark streets seemingly innocent but avoiding any police in that area. He came up beside a man who seemed very drunk and asked him a light for his cigarette. Then with no warning Horst slipped a wire around the man and strangled him. Horst then moved swiftly to the train tracks to catch the last train of the night.

The same year he was out roaming and came upon a young woman that seemed upset because she had dropped her ring in the stream. After a few friendly words Horst retrieved her ring. Her name was Greta, a woman who was to become a huge part of Horst’s life through the rest of the story. Horst had instructions from the Jewish death squad that was in constant search of Nazi’s who had stolen the artwork and gold from the Jewish prisoners during the war. These instructions were to cleverly find these villains, retain any found items from them, then-in most situations-kill them. Horst was good at what he did because he was actually a museum curator in search of lost artifacts for the museum.

His search led him to many former Nazi’s and he obtained many clues as to where his search would lead him and reacquire the artifacts to be sent back to Israel. His life got very complicated with his growing love for Greta. Greta only knew Horst as the curator of the museum, not his many quests for Israel. Greta was quite a good pianist and played for the major orchestra and chorus rehearsals. She improved so much that the music director wanted her for the actual performances. Horst attended when he could but had to work his way around his “hunting Nazi villains and recovering artifacts!”

The true historical facts of “Prodigal Sons” will allow the reader to go back to those days, both in the 50’s and also during the war when the atrocities occurred. The treatment of the Jews and anyone thought Jewish was so harsh. When Horst’s family was taken from their apartment Horst was torn as he watched from a distance as the Nazi soldiers took them. In his mind he wanted to go back to try to save them but inside, he knew he could do nothing if he tried. He knew he could do a lot more on his own but losing his family was so tear jerking.

If you have any interest in factual WWII history and some of the horrific acts performed by the Nazi’s to get work from these prisoners, followed usually by killing them, you must read this book. The methods used by the Jewish death squad were so clever and in most situations, they were carried out with nothing suspected. Sheldon Greene held me spellbound to the last page.

A review copy of this book was supplied to the reviewer by the author.

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