Book Review – The Draughtsman

by Robert Lautner (The Borough Press) ISBN 9780008126728

Germany 1944. Ernest Beck is an unemployed University graduate living in meagre rooms with his wife, Etta who waits tables to keep the roof over their heads. A job opportunity at the prestigious engineering company Topf and Sons seems to be the answer to his prayers. Ernest is hired for his draughtsman skills. It is his job to annotate plans for new crematoria.

His employer suggests that he visits some of the prison camps to see the older ovens in operation. One such camp is Auschwitz. It is here that he witnesses something that makes him start to doubt the true intention of the new ovens.

Ernest learns that his wife was born Jewish and he shares his concerns with his friend, Paul who convinces him to move Etta to safety. Things start to go horribly wrong. Bombs hit Erfurt and Weimar. Getting Etta to safety becomes a nightmare.

Ernest goes on a mission to hand a copy of the new ovens to the Americans. The world must know what is happening in the camps. His journey takes him through war-torn Germany.

This is a gripping story of bravery, love and determination.

Maria Vosloo

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Posted on: 22nd June 2017