The Uni­form

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2021

How does David Kor­da, a lone Jew­ish labor camp pris­on­er, a man utter­ly with­out resources, dare to take on offi­cials in the Nazi war against Jews?

One at a time. One Gestapo art thief at a time. One bru­tal SS offi­cer at a time. And one Nazi informer at a time. With courage. And with his wits. 

After his expul­sion from med­ical school, David is forced into build­ing roads, min­ing salt, and har­vest­ing grain. On occa­sion he’s com­pelled to make his med­ical skills avail­able to his SS cap­tors; in so doing, he’s brought into their pro­fes­sion­al and pri­vate lives where they use him to safe­guard their posi­tions in the Nazi peck­ing order.

Her­man, a Rab­bi and fel­low labor camp pris­on­er, before his death, bequeaths his tal­is to David, not for Jew­ish rit­u­al but to keep him­self warm in the harsh Aus­tri­an win­ter. Lat­er, the prayer shawl becomes an instru­ment for David’s deliverance.

What drew G. Gru­en to this sto­ry world? Like his pro­tag­o­nist, David Kor­da, Gru­en’s father, on the verge of his med­ical school grad­u­a­tion, was forced out and turned into a ragged labor camp work­er. More than occa­sion­al­ly, he slept in a zoo. Tak­ing his father’s expe­ri­ence and super­im­pos­ing the dan­ger of an escape plan dialed up the drama’s inten­si­ty and stakes.

The risk in The Uni­form involves David’s dis­cov­ery of a mur­dered Gestapo officer’s body. Repair­ing the dead man’s gashed and blood­ied tunic puts David inside a caper tale where he can fash­ion a dis­guise and car­ry out an escape plan. In so doing, he dis­cov­ers a unique­ly Jew­ish sto­ry of deliverance.

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