I am part of the Reedsy Discovery community. Reedsy is a platform that encourages unpublished and new authors to share their work with interested readers from around the world. The aim is to provide writers an opportunity to showcase their work and I am all for that kind of encouragement!
It’s not like I haven’t read enough books on WWII atrocities; over the years I’ve come across some fantastic and iconic reads on this subject (Leon Uris’ Mila 18 still tops the list for me). However, a few years ago, having exhausted my reading capacity for Holocaust, I had decided to not entertain such books. For this reason, I let go my desire to read The Tattoo Artist of Auschwitz.
But The Seventh Circle by Thomas Bauer struck a chord with me.
Holocaust has been a dark mark on the history of humanity and it is important as readers and writers that we continue the narrative. I was immediately taken in by the foreword where Bauer succinctly appeals to the humaneness in each one of us; he reminds us that with the current political climate, let history not repeat itself.
What made The Seventh Circle stand out from the other WW2 books?
The Seventh Circle is about Europe’s homosexuals who were condemned under Paragraph 175 of Germany’s penal code. In my ignorance I always related the concentration camps with jews and the yellow star. All the horrific acts carried out under the garb of labour camps were equally administered to the homosexuals who were identified by a pink triangle. If jews were considered the scum, prisoners under paragraph 175 were not too far behind.
Even britannica.com summarises Holocaust as “the systematic state-sponsored killing of six million Jewish men, women, and children and millions of others by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II.” The millions of others included political prisoners (such as Communists, Socialists and trade unionists), Common criminals, Gypsies and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I loved this book for so many reasons.
- The main character, Karl, was extremely relatable and genuine. His quick thinking and adaptability helped him survive 6 long years in the concentration camps.
- The capos and the SS commanders were shown as masters of evil who were playing out a role. Once the stage lights were off, the prison guards were just regular people, leading regular lives.
- The attitude of the local gentry reflected fear, ignorance, shame and guilt. If faced with a similar situation, the present day population will go through the same inner battle, but would perhaps again turn a blind eye.
The seventh circle took me back to the time when I first read a book on Holocaust, and left me wanting answers to questions long forgotten. The title of the book refers to Dante’s seventh circle highlighted in Inferno. Once you read the book you will know why it is so aptly named.
I would highly recommend this book to all. Fair warning on the explicit content, but don’t let that be a reason to not read this book.
Link to buy your copy from Amazon.