This is the sequel to Nathan Shaham’s successful novel, The Rosendorf Quartet. Its main protagonist is Arnon Rosen, son of the famous violinist, Kurt Rosendorf. Historian and amateur violinist, Arnon is engaged both in the study of Nazi Germany and in the exposure of secrets belonging to his father and other members of his generation.
The plot takes the form of a fascinating suspense story, spanning the years 1973-1975, and opens with the death of Kurt Rosendorf. Arnon, who is writing his doctoral dissertation on the status of women in Nazi Germany, learns about an exchange of letters dating from 1939 between a member of the Gestapo and a German-Jewish writer living in Tel Aviv. Arnon suspects that the writer is none other than Egon Loewenthal, his father`s dear old friend, who escaped from Germany to Eretz Israel. Unable to settle there, he returns to Germany after the war. Arnon is surprised to meet Lowenthal in his mother`s home following his father’s funeral, and soon discovers that an Israeli publishing house is about to publish one of his books in Hebrew translation. Did Lowenthal collaborate with the Gestapo? During their meeting, Lowenthal tells Arnon that his twin brother had been imprisoned in Dachau; had managed to escape to the Soviet Union before the onset of World War II; and had disappeared without a trace. Arnon suspects that Lowenthal effected his brother`s liberation in exchange for information he supplied to the Nazis, but his conversation with Lowenthal leads to the discovery of a secret of far greater personal significance: his half-sister, Anna, his father`s daughter from a previous marriage to a German woman, is a musician living in Frankfurt.
Arnon becomes the prose editor of the Israeli publishing house that published Lowenthal`s book and goes to the Frankfurt Book Fair, where he meets Anna who, until then, had avoided any contact with her father`s family or with any other Jews or Israelis. A special bond forms between Arnon and Anna, and the secrets of the past gradually emerge. Lowenthal in fact never had a twin brother; he was the man held in Dachau and later released. The discovery of this "stain" on Lowenthal`s past causes him to commit suicide, an act that creates a rift between Arnon and Anna. The residues and grudges of the past challenge the ideal relationship that flourished briefly between brother and sister.
English translation available (for publishers only)