The Watchmaker of Dachau by Carly Schabowski

The Watchmaker of Dachau by Carly Schabowski

Carly Schabowski comes to the blog with an emotional and often horrifying story detailing the final years of the war, where hope and tragedy meet and conflict regularly with  

The Watchmaker of Dachau 

Told in multiple perspectives including a child, two Jewish prisoners of the camp, a series of “found letters’ in the floorboards of an old shed, and the surprising moments when families and people are able to share information in the present day – the story has moments of hope, futility, horror and memories of happier and better times.  

With Anna and Isaac, both occupants of the concentration camp, we see a gentle unfurling of both stories: from Anna who learns of Isaac, flourishes under the kindness of the cook she is meant to assist in the household of the Camp’s commander. With a young son just returned to the house, Anna is forced to manage the outbursts of the woman of the house, her fear of the master, and the apparently ever-present and curious young Fredrich.  With a gardener and the new arrival in the shed of Isaac, a watchmaker who was deemed “useful’ her moments to ‘be’ just accepted and able to speak of ‘before’ have increased.  

Isaac is elderly and still grieving the loss of his wife some years earlier. When he meets the gardener as he’s put in the garden shed to repair items that Becher, the officer who manages Dachau has deemed needed for him, his men or his own greed.  Making things work is Isaac’s special talent, He’s able to repair, and honestly if gently answer the multitude of questions that young Fredrich poses, and is given a bit of a reprieve from the ‘harshness’ of the camp simply in the form of warm food, blankets and the kindness of the cook, directing Anna to provide him with ‘extra”.  

What emerges from the story is the contrast between blind adherence and allegiance to policies that empower one group at the expense of another, and the simple questions of right versus wrong, the questions of children, particularly one who feels unwanted and unloved, as he sees that others can (and will) offer him friendship, diversion, and answers to the many questions and concerns he has. Starting and ending with a funeral in Cornwall during a snowy winter, the story is able to bring us full circle as memories, people and the bonds that were created nurtured and provided moments of.  

 hope and brightness in the darkest of times.  A lovely and emotional read that brings moments and people to the forefront, rather than the ‘overall horrors”, and allows an entrée into the moments that should never be forgotten – no matter the circumstance.  

The Watchmaker of Dachau by Carly Schabowski

Title: The Watchmaker of Dachau
Author: Carly Schabowski
Genre: Dark-theme, European History, Friendship, Grief, Historic Elements, Historic Woman's Fiction, Historical Fiction, Multi-Cultural, Political commentary, Setting: Europe, Sociological Relevancy, Suspense Elements, World War II
Published by: Bookouture
ISBN: 1838886419
Published on: 17 January, 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 249
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 23 minutes
Rated: five-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo IndieBound Book Depository GoogleAudible
See this Title on Goodreads

An unforgettable novel of human kindness, inspired by an incredible true story.

Snow falls and a woman prepares for a funeral she has long expected, yet hoped would never come. As she pats her hair and straightens her skirt, she tells herself this isn’t the first time she’s lost someone. Lifting a delicate, battered wristwatch from a little box on her dresser, she presses it to her cheek. Suddenly, she’s lost in memory…

January 1945. Dachau, Germany. As the train rattles through the bright, snowy Bavarian countryside, the still beauty outside the window hides the terrible scenes inside the train, where men and women are packed together, cold and terrified. Jewish watchmaker Isaac Schüller can’t understand how he came to be here, and is certain he won’t be leaving alive.

When the prisoners arrive at Dachau concentration camp, Isaac is unexpectedly pulled from the crowd and installed in the nearby household of Senior Officer Becher and his young, pretty, spoiled wife. With his talent for watchmaking, Isaac can be of use to Becher, but he knows his life is only worth something here as long as Becher needs his skills.

Anna Reznick waits table and washes linens for the Bechers, who dine and socialise and carry on as if they don’t constantly have death all around them. When she meets Isaac she knows she’s found a true friend, and maybe more. But Dachau is a dangerous place where you can never take love for granted, and when Isaac discovers a heartbreaking secret hidden in the depths of Becher’s workshop, it will put Anna and Issac in terrible danger…

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

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