Dreidel to the Grave

By Yoel Bereket

I got a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Nine years after WWII the Israeli Gal, a self-declared Nazi-hunter, has one huge aim in his life and that is finding and killing Hitler.

Disregarding the backstory, it’s a fast-paced action thriller. It tells the story in the third person – mostly from Gal’s perspective. Emotions or feelings are not described. They somehow emerge from the plot and you can guess what they are, but you never read about them. If it weren’t for the horrible times in the background, on which this thriller is based, the story probably wouldn’t have really gotten to me either. I would have just enjoyed another action thriller from a guy who experienced something tragic in childhood and that would have been it.

But living in Austria and having grandparents and great uncles and aunts who still have experienced that time made it really difficult for me reading through the lines and enjoying the plot. Those times were simply horrible and killing all those people who did those horrible things isn’t the solution. So the question which was on my mind all the way through the book was: “What makes Gal any better than the Nazis?” And what is accomplished by continuing the killing? People shall receive their justified punishment for their deeds. But what makes the actual good people any better if they do it the same way the bad people did it? What makes Gal the better (as in less sinful) serial killer?

I find the story of Gal’s childhood, which is no doubt horrific, a bit cliché. Yes, there were some Jewish people who wanted to defend their businesses and were murdered for it, but many were murdered or taken to concentration camps simply for their beliefs.

Perhaps, or even probably, I am the wrong person to review this book, as I cannot view it disregarding its historical context. If the thriller took place in modern times, I would certainly give it 4 stars, but as it is, the highest I can give it is 3 stars. It’s just too close a reference to one of the most horrific times in history for me.

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