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Summary

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. Who was he? What had his life been - and how had it ended?

Lee reveals the strange life of a man whose ambition propelled him to become part of the Nazi machinery of terror. He discovers his unexpected ancestral roots, untold stories of SS life and family fragmentation. As Lee delves deeper, Griesinger’s responsibility as an active participant in Nazi crimes becomes clearer. 

Dr Robert Griesinger’s name is not infamous. But to understand the inner workings of the Third Reich, we need to know not just its leaders, but the ordinary Nazis who made up its ranks. Revealing how Griesinger’s choices reverberate into present-day Germany and among descendants of perpetrators, Lee raises potent questions about blame, manipulation and responsibility. 

A historical detective story and a gripping account of one historian’s hunt for answers, The SS Officer’s Armchair is at once a unique addition to our understanding of Nazi Germany and a chilling reminder of how such regimes are made not by monsters, but by ordinary people.

©2020 Daniel Lee (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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Great Story, Weird Narration

I was very much excited for this book and it’s a great story, but I couldn’t get over the weird voice the narrator puts on when he does the parts of the women in the story. I couldn’t help but think of Alan Partridge and then that’s all I could hear from then on.

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  • Diane Isaacs
  • 17-10-20

Such a beautifully researched and constructed read

This story gave a whole new aspect to all the books I have read about the war since it finished. It was most engrossing.. Especially as I had friends whose families had managed to hide for the duration and enmigrate to my country after the war I enjoyed the measured pace of the reader. Thankyou to the author.⁰