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Norwegian author Jens Bj rneboe's chilling novel follows the ethical quandaries--or not--of Germans involved in Nazi concentration camps and human medical experiments in World War II. Dr. Reynhardt rejects Nazi ideology, while compartmentalizing his life as a loving family man and his work on horrific medical experiments performed on prisoners of war. Head of camp Heidenbrand is more self-aware of his Nazi complicity and his reasons for doing so--his own drive for power and wealth. The situation is complicated by the arrival at the camp of Samuel, a Jewish prisoner and childhood friend of both Reynhardt and Heidenbrand. Themes of man's inhumanity to man, the ethics of modern science, and the responsibilities inherent in free will are explored, presaging concerns that continue throughout Bj rneboe's body of work.
Originally written as a play but eventually published as a novel, this first English-language edition includes a re-creation of the original play by the translator.