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The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive

Philippe Sands

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Weidenfeld & Nicolson
01 May 2020
History; The Holocaust; Second World War; Fascism & Nazism; Espionage & secret services
As Governor of Galicia, SS Brigadefuhrer Otto Freiherr von Wachter presided over an authority on whose territory hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles were killed, including the family of the author's grandfather. By the time the war ended in May 1945, he was indicted for 'mass murder'. Hunted by the Soviets, the Americans, the Poles and the British, as well as groups of Jews, Wachter went on the run. He spent three years hiding in the Austrian Alps, assisted by his wife Charlotte, before making his way to Rome where he was helped by a Vatican bishop. He remained there for three months. While preparing to travel to Argentina on the 'ratline' he died unexpectedly, in July 1949, a few days after spending a weekend with an 'old comrade'.

In The Ratline Philippe Sands offers a unique account of the daily life of a senior Nazi and fugitive, and of his wife. Drawing on a remarkable archive of family letters and diaries, he unveils a fascinating insight into life before and during the war, on the run, in Rome, and into the Cold War. Eventually the door is unlocked to a mystery that haunts Wachter's youngest son, who continues to believe his father was a good man - what happened to Otto Wachter, and how did he die?
By:   Philippe Sands
Imprint:   Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 34mm
Weight:   520g
ISBN:   9781474608138
ISBN 10:   1474608132
Pages:   432
Publication Date:   01 May 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Philippe Sands is Professor of Law at University College London and a practising barrister at Matrix Chambers. He frequently appears before international courts, and has been involved in many of the most important cases of recent years, including Pinochet, Congo, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Iraq, Guantanamo and the Rohingya of Myanmar. He is the author of LAWLESS WORLD, TORTURE TEAM and the Sunday Times bestselling EAST WEST STREET, which also won the Baillie Gifford Prize and was named Non-fiction Book of the Year at the British Book Awards.

Reviews for The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive

Diaries, encrypted letters and secret documents are dissected by a mastermind . . . a great achievement. -- CEES NOOTEBOOM A book of twists and intrigues as complex as any le Carre thriller . . . like its predecessor, [it] is replete with vivid descriptions and Sands brings to it the same relentless narrative momentum * LITERARY REVIEW * This is a burningly necessary book. Sands makes a gently unsparing dissection of deception, love, delusion and ineradicable evil. Elegant, painstaking, passionate and quietly enraging Remarkable . . . Sands's untangling of the mysteries surrounding Otto von Wachter is masterfully done * THE SUNDAY TIMES * A triumph of research and brilliant storytelling Breathtaking, gripping, and ultimately, shattering. Philippe Sands has done the unimaginable: look a butcher in the eye and tell his story without flinching Hypnotic, shocking and unputdownable A gripping adventure, an astounding journey of discovery and a terrifying and timely portrait of evil in all its complexity, banality, self-justification and madness. A stunning achievement


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