Love And War In British Palestine by Gad Shimron is a fantastic love story that was originally written in Hebrew. I read the book in English translated by Uri Themal. This is a love story between a Jew and a German. The story takes place in the background of British Palestine, in Jerusalem, during the 1930s and 1940s. Tamar-Henrietta Landwehr is a Jewish refugee. She is from Vienna. Wolfgang Shwarte is a German who is born in German Colony in Jerusalem. Tamar falls in love with Wolfgang, a Jewish and a Christian. But this love was not at all acceptable to the conservative society. Wolfgang belonged to Templer community, hardcore Nazis followers and most of the community members, active Nazis.
Under a heavy pressure from society, Wolfgang leaves Jerusalem during his education and goes back to Germany to take his studies further. During 1939, as the Second World War starts he joins German forces as a commando paratrooper. In one of his missions, he lands up in Jericho, a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank. The city was controlled by British forces at that time. Tamar, on the other hand, is trying hard to forget Wolfgang to cope up with her broken heart.
The romantic novel Love And War In British Palestine by Gad Shimron is produced with exhaustive research and Gad has proved his complete command over the subject. The engrossing story engages you so well and you find yourself as part of it while feeling yourself existing there, during that era. Jerusalem was in a totally chaotic and disturbed condition during that time under British control. There are a lot of things that you find happening there among many communities – the Jews, Germans, Arabs, British, Englishmen, and Nazis. A lot of permutations and combinations were being worked out by everyone. That way, the story is far beyond a simple love story and hence keeps you engrossed throughout in many of the nail-biting sequences. This is a story where reality has been embedded well in fictional sequences and characters. The background of reality has another layer of a well-woven fiction story.
Besides the pains that Wolfgang and Tamar are undergoing while trying hard to forget each other during this war era, there is another revealing story of Jonathan and Alisa. There is a superb suspense that is revealed about a blood relation and that will definitely give the reader a big jolt. The book has a lot of words/ phrases from other languages – Arabic, German and Jewish that has been well taken care of to make understand so as to stay tuned and avoid any distractions. You will find Tamar, at times, introspective and lost in her own thoughts as if trying her life to adjust in Jerusalem and forget her good old days in Vienna. You will somewhere fall in love with Tamar’s character that is quite silent, calm but a lot of turbulence going on within.
Jonathan is Tamar’s grandson. Find out with Jonathan in 1995, soon after his grandmother's funeral, if his grandfather was not what he thought but Wolfgang.
Overall the story of Love And War In British Palestine by Gad Shimron is inspiring, engrossing and penned wonderfully. I wish if I had read it in original, in Hebrew.