algeria_thegermanmujahid_boualemsansalReviewed by Erin N.

“’Tell me, imam, if you had power over the earth, where would you begin the genocide?’  ‘…you round the kaffirs all up into camps…you gas all the useless ones…the rest of them, you divide into groups based on their skills…and you work them till they drop.  Anyone who disobeys, you gas them…it’s been done before.’”

Malrich Schiller left Algeria when he was young to live with an uncle in an Islamic controlled ghetto in France.  Following his father’s death, Malrich is faced with a crisis of consciousness when he discovers that his German father was in fact a Nazi whose training led him to gas millions at Auschiwitz. Having escaped justice by fleeing to Algeria after WWII, he converted to Islam, married an Algerian woman, and eventually died at the hands of Islamic Fundamentalists in the Algerian civil war.

The journey of self discovery is further complicated by the suicide of Malrich’s brother, Rachel. Following the murder of their parents, Rachel returned to Algeria and was the first to discover their father’s deep, dark secret. Having decided to keep this information from his younger brother, Rachel is eaten up with guilt over what his father has done. His diary, bequeathed to Malrich on his death, details what Rachel has learned about their father’s history and why he feels he needs to atone for those sins. The diary starts Malrich on his own path, but with differing results.

The German Mujahid is the first novel to compare the Islamic jihad to the Holocaust during World War II. The protagonist, Malrich, is faced almost daily with requests that he join the jihad in his neighborhood, forcing him to draw correlations between his own experiences and the indoctrination his father faced in Nazi Germany. Fundamentalism is fundamentalism, no matter what the dogma, and the results are invariably the same. Boualem Sansal is himself an Algerian living in France, was inspired by Primo Levi and based this novel on a true story.

Erin fell in love with the written word as a small child and subsequently spent most of her life happily devouring literature. She works as a freelance news, marketing, and technical writer. Erin lives just outside of Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, children, and grandchildren.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Europa Editions. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.