MIAMI – Spanish author Mario Escobar delves once more into Nazi Germany in his new novel, “They Promised Us the Glory,” convinced that every generation needs to relearn that episode, because there is no vaccine that works against evil.
“We can’t take it for granted that the world is vaccinated against such excesses,” Escobar, who is currently in Miami to present this novel that highlights the value of friendship, told EFE.
“They Promised Us the Glory,” like his other works such as “Auschwitz Lullaby” and “The Children of the Yellow Star,” is based on a true story, this time about two Mexican brothers who were studying in Germany when Hitler began his rise to power, and whom they came to know.
Escobar learned the story of Mario and Eduardo Collignon from another member of that family of German descent that had settled in Jalisco, the journalist Alfonso Collignon, whom he interviewed at the 2016 Guadalajara Book Fair.
Around the experiences in Nazi Germany of the Collignon brothers Mario and Eduardo, this writer and historian has weaved a novel showing how Nazism was able to become so captivating, especially for young people like them, but also how friendship and loyalty are values far superior to ideologies.
In his opinion, a parallel exists between the disoriented, leaderless Germany that Hitler excited with his false promises, and the current state of the world, which is a “breeding ground for totalitarianisms,” and it doesn’t matter if they are of the left or right, he said.
Escobar added that in Italy the populists of both right and left have united, while both US President Donald Trump, who says he is a conservative, and Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, considered a leftist, are along the same line.
For the novel, Escobar visited Munich, Berlin and some Nazi extermination camps, in one of which the main characters in the book meet again at the end of World War II, one as a jailer and the other a prisoner.
One thing he wanted to show in “They Promised Us the Glory” is how anyone in certain circumstances can become an executioner.
“We think it can’t happen to us,” but the guards and murderers of the concentration camps were “ordinary, normal folks,” he said.
But above all what Escobar wants is “to touch the hearts of my readers, because people don’t change their behavior because of reasoning, it’s their emotions that change them.”