Friday Morning Bookclub

January 16, 2013

Once We Were Brothers: A Review By Barbara


In the book “Once We Were Brothers”, Ben Solomon, a retired Polish immigrant, accuses Elliot Rosenzweig, a wealthy Chicago philanthropist, of being a former SS office, Otto Piatek.  Ben and Otto were raised in the same house, but ended up on different sides of the Nazi occupation.  Ben pursues his accusations with the help of a young attorney, Catherine Lockhart.

Discussion of the book was lively.  Some loved the book while others liked it, but thought it was not exceptionally well written.  Aspects of the book were thought to be unbelievable, particularly Catherine quitting her job to devote her time to Ben’s cause.  Although the book interwove the story of Ben’s pursuit of Otto, with Catherine’s developing relationship with the investigator, Liam, there was not much discussion of the latter aspect of the book.

One interesting part of the discussion focused on Otto’s character as he became more ingrained in the SS. Although Otto may have initially moved more toward the Nazis because he was encouraged to do so by Ben’s father in order to be in a better position to help Ben’s family, some felt that there was no excuse for his involvement with the Nazis at any level.   There was also discussion of whether his philanthropy as Elliot Rosenzweig was partly out of guilt, or whether it was totally out of ego and wanting recognition.  Some questioned why he would become such a public figure without fear of being recognized.

Overall, there was agreement that the book  raised a lot of food for thought, and was certainly well worth reading.



  1. My book club is reading Once We Were Brothers next month. It sounds like a superb discussion book.

    Comment by Jill — January 16, 2013 @ 9:46 am | Reply

  2. Barbara,
    Thanks for writing this month’s review. Well done!!!

    Comment by audrey — January 16, 2013 @ 9:50 am | Reply

  3. Thank you Barbara. I must say…faults and all I loved this book. I felt that the dialog was a little stilted and yes,there were parts that may have been somewhat far fetched…..but I could not put it down!. I highly recommend it!

    Comment by Susanbright — January 16, 2013 @ 7:36 pm | Reply

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