A stunning account of the first Nuremberg Trial, Das Schloss der Schriftsteller takes an unusual approach to a subject already well covered in literature. Writer and literary agent Uwe Neumahr recounts the events of 1946 through the lens of journalists billeted in the Faber-Castell palace, from which they covered the historic trial for global news outlets.
A well-researched history written for a general audience, Das Schloss der Schriftseller is structured as a series of vignettes. Each centres on one famous figure from journalism or politics, some of whom – Rebecca West, Erika Mann, John dos Passos – will be better known than others. In the course of his research, Neumahr has unearthed a number of fascinating snippets, such as Rebecca West’s affair with one of the judges, and peppers his account with colourful anecdotes that bring the time and place to life. Each chapter holds a moment of tension for its protagonist, giving the individual vignettes their own pleasing story arcs.
As well as describing the events of Nuremberg, Neumahr situates his narrative within the broader political and historical context, showing how the trial forced many people to confront their personal relationship with Germany and its population. For some, such as Erika Mann and William L. Shirer, this was a challenging and painful experience. Neumahr also shows us the paths of well-known political figures (notably Willy Brandt and Markus Wolf) crossing in Nuremberg long before they assumed their central roles in post-war Germany.
Overall, the range of characters is fantastically diverse, with the opening section (an introductory account of the trials, which will be a particular boon for any readers unfamiliar with the history of Nuremberg) centring on an American officer who functioned as a go-between for the journalists and trial administrator, Ernest Cecil Deane.
With its original human angle on a much-covered period of history, meticulous research and keen eye for detail, Das Schloss der Schriftsteller is a highly engaging crowd biography that will appeal to readers of Philippe Sands and Harald Jähner.
Rights sold: Spain, Taurus/Penguin Random House; UK/English, Pushkin Press; Hungary, Corvina Kiadó, Holland, Querido; Italy, Marsilio.
Read more on the publisher’s website here: https://www.chbeck.de/neumahr-schloss-weltliteraten/product/33759464
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