I was expecting a very different book from the one I read, “The Mechanic” by Alan Gold. This book was difficult for me to read because of the subject matter. It begins as Theodore Broderick’s family comes together for his funeral. Justice Broderick had a very successful life as a judge and Supreme Court Justice. His granddaughter, Chasca finds a manuscript that was in her grandfather’s possession that seems to mitigate the death sentence of a Nazi sentenced during the Nuremberg Trials in 1946. Chasca is determined to find the family of William Deutch, share the manuscript, and find a way to honor this man, who by all accounts was not the depraved Nazi that he was tried and sentenced for. I found this difficult to read because of the graphic description of life as a prisoner of Auchwitz, Birkenau, Belsen and Sachenhausen concentration camps.
The manuscript found in Justice Broderick’s possessions after his death seems to exonerate William Deutch, known as “The Mechanic”. Deutch’s job at these camps was to see that the crematorium furnaces worked efficiently and continuously. The writings of Joachim Gutman describe Deutch as a decent German citizen caught up in the fanatic Nazi movement against the Jews. Gutman was a prisoner in the camps and was taken under Deutch’s wing and saved from starvation and death by his humanitarian actions. He was said to have saved many lives in this manner.
Lawyer Broderick was a defense lawyer during the Nuremberg Trials and believed that Deutch may not have been the monster he was purported to be. Follow this story as it leads us through the years and through the memories of Joachim Gutman and William Deutch.
Please do NOT read ahead. I promise you that the ending is worth waiting for.
A story of justice through the ages . . . and revenge.
Germany, 1945. The bloodiest war in history is at an end. Now the retribution and search for justice begins. In a series of Nuremberg trials, war criminals are hanged or commit suicide. Others are judged and sent to prison for their part in the most heinous crimes of all time.
But in the final trial, one in which ordinary Germans are forced to confront their complicity, a leading American defense counselor has to consider questions of good and evil when he defends a simple mechanic, a man who kept the gas chambers in working order.
As his trial progresses, Wilhelm Deutch, a Nazi mechanic within the concentration camps, is forced by a court to confront his past with nobody to speak on his behalf. Only one man, Joachim Gutman, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz?a living hell, the worst of all the concentration camps?knows the truth. Gutman knows that Deutch was a life-saving hero, not another sadistic villain that those who barely survived the camps claim him to be at the trial. To save Deutch from a certain-death sentence, Gutman must come forward to testify on his behalf, but he’s nowhere to be found.
And half a century later, it falls to the defense counselor’s granddaughter, a young and brilliant lawyer, to correct a grievous miscarriage of justice and ease the moral conscience of Germany. But has there been a miscarriage of justice? As she delves deeper into the evil Nazi past, she is faced with a conundrum that threatens her very sanity.