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Book Review - The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth
What is 'Odessa'?
Odessa stands for a name of an organization. More specifically a German organization named, 'Organisation Der Ehemaligen Ss-Angehörigen'. In English it means the ' Organization of Former Members of the SS'...
What is this 'SS'?
'SS' or symbolized by two lightning strokes in the form of two Ss (as shown in the book cover) is the logo of the SS. The SS was a special task force in the Hitler's army which had the main objectives of providing protection for the ranking officials of Hitler's regime and also execution of people who were deemed 'unworthy to live' by Hitler. This lead to the execution of over 14 million people directly under the SS alone. This roughly includes 6 million Jews, 5 million Russians, 2 million Polish, 5 million gypsies and another 5 million of mixed ethnicities.
What is 'Odessa'?
During the latter part of the World War II, when Hitler was being gradually defeated by the Allied forces, Hitler's higher ranking officials tried to escape Germany and seek refuge in other countries. The members knew if they were caught alive, they would surely be brought to trial and indefinitely be sentenced to death for the war crimes committed. To facilitate this escape process and help such escapees, the Odessa was formed.
Also the Odessa helped the former SS members to infiltrate the governmental positions and power positions of the economies. The organization had a massive wealth stolen from the civilians and they used this wealth to get their members into higher ranks within governments, legal services and economic services. This way they were able to ensure their power and influence within those countries as well. Odessa also saved any former SS members put in courts for trials, using the wealth and power they had accumulated.
About the book…
‘The Odessa File’ by Frederick Forsyth speaks about a freelance journalist reporting a story about a lonely, ragged and a poor old man found dead in his apartment. Peter Miller, the journalist, finds an old, worn out diary amongst the possessions of the dead old man. And this diary has factual accounts of the torture and inhumane war crimes committed by the SS, under the orders of the SS Captain Eduard Roschman, also nicknamed ‘The Butcher of Riga’. The book gives us an insight into the contents of the diary and it is very disturbing and extremely cruel to even read the pages. After this horrific revelation, Peter Miller vows to bring Roschman to justice, who still lives a luxurious life under the protection of the Odessa. However he is not alone, Peter Miller hasn't the slightest idea that he is up against a much larger force than a single war criminal.
In Peter’s journey to bring Roschman to justice he faces endless threats and attempts to throw him off his path… or even end his path…
About the author...
Frederick Forsyth is the author of many intriguing novels and short stories similar to 'The Odessa File'. He has written 15 novels and a collection of short stories. He resides in England.
His famous other works include;
- The Day of the Jackal (acclaimed as one of his best works)
- The Dogs of War
- The Fourth Protocol
- The Fist of God
- No Comebacks
- The Shepherd
- The Afghan
- The Negotiator
and many more... Click here to view all of his works.
The contents of the diary, the mass murders, rapes, torture, etc, were all proven accurate by the information from the escapees from the torture camps and also from the confessions from the SS members brought into courts.
A simple Google search will provide you pictures of the torture camps of the SS, Wikipedia articles on Eduard Roschman and evidence of the existence of the SS.
In 1964 the law enforcement officials received an anonymous file with the names of some high profile SS members still alive and still flourishing. This document was named 'The Odessa File' thereafter.
About the movie...
Due to it's popularity the book was made into a movie which depicted the storyline of the book as it is.
The act of Peter Miller was done by Jon Voight and was directed by Ronald Neame.
The Movie was released in 1974.