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East West

Part detective story, part memoir, part legal history - this is the story of four men.

The first is the author’s grandfather who survived despite being an Eastern European Jew who fled to Paris. The other three are lawyers - one coined the word genocide; the second the term crimes against humanity; the third was dubbed the Butcher of Poland and was tried for war crimes at Nuremberg. What links the quartet is the city of Lvov, now in Ukraine, but at that period in Poland.

When Philippe Sands was invited to give a lecture in the same city he began to investigate his family origins there.  What he discovered was a secret history.

Beginning with the flimsiest of clues in his grandfather’s papers: the photo of an unknown man in a bow tie; the address of a woman in Norwich. From these and interviews with those who knew the protagonists, he unravels a series of coincidences, reconstructing a story of heroism, tragedy and denial.


Review by Felicity.

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