Being a Hungarian refugee, and the son of Holocaust survivors, with my father having spent time in a concentration camp during the Second World War, I had a natural interest in both the Holocaust and the War. Visiting Berlin in 2012 my wife and I came across small brass plaques embedded in the pavement in front of an apartment building. They memorialized Jewish families that had lived in that building in the 1930’s and 40’s and been taken away and sent to Auschwitz and their apartments taken over by Christian families. After Berlin we visited Mauthausen, a Nazi concentration camp in Upper Austria, where my Father was a prisoner during 1944/45. It was these two events that gave me the idea and inspired me to write “Between These Walls” a work of historical fiction with fictional characters, but real events and people as a background.
I will let the review by Book Life Reviews tell the story of the book and what it’s all about; Newman’s gripping debut novel draws on first-person accounts of people who survived imprisonment in concentration camps during WWII, creatively combining several plotlines into a compelling narrative. Parallel stories highlight Maj. Bruno Schmidt’s rise in the ranks of Hitler’s Nazi Party and attorney Arnold Weisz’s efforts to protect his family from Nazi persecution. Dr. Samuel Singer, a WWII U.S. Army surgeon, is stationed in Germany, where he adopts a baby, names him Daniel, and brings him home to New York. In 1973, when Daniel and his father travel to Israel to celebrate the 25th anniversary of independence, Daniel is recruited by the Israeli government to undertake a mission identifying high-ranking Nazis who escaped to Egypt after the war. Fifteen years later, Daniel, now an assistant museum curator, receives a mysterious package from Germany and must unravel its secrets.
Though Newman’s protagonists are fictional characters, he intertwines their stories with accounts of real historical figures. His extensive research focuses on the chilling rise of the Nazi Party and the horrors endured by Jewish residents of Germany as they were stripped of their rights and sent to concentration camps. He also examines the fight for Israel’s independence as people liberated from the camps travel to the Holy Land in search of safety.
Newman effortlessly uses flashbacks and other clever devices to tie the stories together. Each narrative is richly drawn, revealing the characters’ emotions and motivations while adding the perfect amount of historical background to make their experiences believable and real. The even pacing continues throughout the novel, conveying an undercurrent of suspense that develops to a stunning conclusion. This powerful novel will enthrall any reader of historical suspense fiction.
Takeaway: Fans of WWII fiction will not want to miss this gripping story, which brims with authenticity and suspense.
What I want readers to take away from this novel is to never let what happened during the Holocaust happen again. To not allow autocrats and demagogues hijack our politics again and to turn individuals against each other for theis own nefarious benefit. To protect those that are disadvantaged or different from us and not allow politicians with hidden agendas to use them for their own purposes. To always keep a watchful eye on our government and those in power to make certain that they act democratically and for the benefit of all of our citizens regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.
As a next step I’ve started writing a sequel to “Between These Walls” with the proposed title “Foggy Night in Tripoli-A Daughter’s Revenge”. I’ve also partnered up with a screenwriter to produce and hopefully sell to a network a six episode TV movie, based on “Between These Walls.”
This novel is my debut work, as I have spent most of my adult life in the business world, starting up and managing companies. I am married with five children and eleven grandchildren, and live on Toronto, Canada’s waterfront.