The gripping account of one historian's hunt for answers as he delves into the surprising life of an ordinary Nazi officer.
'Totally exhilarating' Philippe Sands
It began with an armchair. It began with the surprise discovery of a stash of personal documents covered in swastikas sewn into its cushion.
The SS Officer's Armchair is the story of what happened next, as Daniel Lee follows the trail of cold calls, documents, coincidences and family secrets, to uncover the life of one Dr Robert Griesinger from Stuttgart. As Lee delves deeper, Griesinger emerges as at once an ordinary man with a family and ambitions, and an active participant in the Nazi machinery of terror whose choices continue to reverberate today.
'Gripping, it unfolds like a detective story as an obscured past emerges into the light' Hadley Freeman, author of House of Glass
'An absorbing work of historical detection... Riveting' Evening Standard
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Daniel Lee was at a dinner party when one of the guests asked him to look into the surprising discovery of Nazi papers sewn inside a vintage armchair in Amsterdam. The files belonged to Dr Robert Griesinger, a fairly low-ranking Nazi official and lawyer from Stuttgart. But who was he and how did this man’s most important documentation end up inside the chair? At the time, the historian didn’t know this particular query would turn into a full-blown investigation into how ordinary German men made their way up the Nazi Party’s ranks of terror, becoming enablers to the famous fanatics and murderers. Lee tracks down Griesinger’s surviving relatives, travels all around Europe and America to find archives about his unexpected family ancestry and intriguing upbringing as a young man. The author contextualises the SS officer’s life within the morally complex history of Nazi Germany. What will the historian uncover in this addictive read?