The web from Victor’s family starts to spread wider and introduce new characters and locations and there is a comment from Grossman about the treatment of the Jews at the hands of the Germans in the Second World War. The comments are understandably strong but you sense that the criticism of anti-Semitic Nazi behaviour could equally be applied to Stalin who was quite happy to stand by and let it happen on his own turf.
Bullet points between pages 146 – 200
* Victor’s wife has mentioned that her son’s father is somewhere in the camps and the story catches up with him and reveals the suffering of the life of a political prisoner in one of Stalin’s camps
* Surrounded by criminals that are quite happy to murder politicals and intimidate them it is a miserable life that seems to go against everything that being a member of the party seemed to be about
* Things then move to describe the world in 1942 with the Nazi’s at the peak of their power making the decision to rid the world of Jews and start the final solution
* A woman in a train being sent to her death in one of the camps is surrounded by Jews that are all trying to cope with what has happened and Grossman dips into their various stories to reveal the horror of mass graves, abuse and the destruction of families
It is easy to forget that for those Jews living in Russian owned areas that were then taken over by the Germans, the Ukraine for instance, it was a double blow because they lost their liberty but then faced a brutal regime that was determined to destroy them. Grossman makes the point that fascism was able to hypnotise entire populations into carrying out mass murder but also points the finger at the community of victims arguing that they went in some cases too willingly to their deaths and failed to organise resistance.