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I am Germany

by Michael Witt

It was the first holocaust, the one that nobody hears about. It stole the lives of thousands of children three years before the Holocaust. I am Germany spotlights a real castle, a covert Nazi euthanasia site. In 1989, in her flat in East Germany, Anna Himmel is prodded into telling Henry Schultz, a German-American widower, a story about trying to save a disabled little girl at the castle in 1940, only a year after World War II began. Before the war, Anna had been Henry’s secret first love and a child-prodigy violinist—a metaphor for German high art and culture. What she witnessed at the castle was so ghastly that it destroyed her will to play violin, and now, she can’t bear to tell Henry the end of the story. Feeling her pain, Henry is compelled to go to the castle alone and find the ending. Is the ending so ghastly that it was all in Henry’s imagination? The answer, suddenly revealed on the day of the official reunification of the two Germany nine months later, will settle not only whether he truly understands the lowest depths of evil but also whether Anna is able to reunify with what she had been before the war.

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