A Crime in the Family by Sacha Batthyany

A Crime in the Family by Sacha Batthyany is a fascinating book. I would recommend it because it shows the horrors of both communism and Nazis. Only proves how dangerous and deadly both far-left and far-right can be, and how inhumane people were treated. I wasn’t sure in which category I should put this book, as a memoir or a history book. Because his focus is mainly on what happens to his family and how he struggled to come to terms with that, I’ve marked it as a memoir.

A Crime in the Family by Sacha Batthyany

In the book he shows extensive passage from two diaries, one of his grandmother, Maritta Batthyany, and one of a Jewish girl who was a friend of Maritta’s, called Agnes Kupferminc. Those extracts are so revealing and interesting.

His writing style is quite unique, I did enjoy it, but it might not be to everybody’s taste. The book is a harrowing account of cruelty that happened in WW2, on both sides. He raises some important questions in the book, like the lack of memorials dedicated to people who were imprisoned in the Soviet gulags. Putin’s regime deters people from speaking out regarding this and a part of our global history is slowly but surely lost from future generations.

We all know what happened in the concentration camps in Poland, we all know about Auschwitz, but how many of us know about the prisons in Siberia, that kept foreign people in prison after the WW2 ended. The book might offer you an incentive to look further into this, I know it did that for me.

A Crime in the Family by Sacha Batthyany

Details about the picture: The feathers are shed by the birds I feed in my garden. I collect and keep them as props for pictures.
My rating: 5/5 Stars.
Would I recommend it: Yes
Published by: Quercus Editions
Year it was published: 2017
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History. Memoirs
Pages: 213

About the author: Sacha Batthyany is a Swiss journalist. He was born in 1973 to Hungarian aristocrats living in exile.
Website & Social Media Links: @SachaBatthyany on twitter

4 thoughts on “A Crime in the Family by Sacha Batthyany”

  • I haven’t read this book, but the author clearly doesn’t possess all the information, saying there is a lack of memorials dedicated to people who were imprisoned in the GULAG. I’m not a Putinist at all, but last year he unveiled the Wall of Grief, a monument dedicated to people killed in political repression under Stalin.
    My great grandfather was shot in 1937 in the Stalinist purges, and his family suffered greatly.
    There is a fabulous museum/archive called Memorial in Moscow, where we worked in the archives over 20 years ago, it has a vast collection of documents, including personal photos and memoirs. Those accounts are harrowing, and I still remember some stories which I read then.
    Then there is a Mask of Sorrow near Magadan, a monument to victims of Gulag.
    There is Perm-36 site which was a Soviet forced labor camp located not far from my home town Perm, which is now a Museum. These are just a few places which spring to mind, I’m sure there are more.

    • Sorry to hear about your great-grandfather. He said in the book about the museum in Moscow, but that is small and the lady managing it is reluctant to speak. He also said that a few decades ago the archives were open and could be consulted, not so much now.
      I think the main problem is that in the west is talked about the Holocaust, but not so much about the gulag. At least that is what I “feel”.

  • I usually don’t read many books about the war, but maybe I should try to broaden my horizon a little 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation!

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