The Dead Man in the Bunker: Discovering My Father by Martin Pollack (Translated by William Hobson) - review by Carole Angier

Carole Angier

A Brutal Blankness

The Dead Man in the Bunker: Discovering My Father


Faber & Faber 216pp £15.99

Martin Pollack must be a very nice man. But nice men can’t write good books, especially about Nazism. To write a good book you must be prepared to lose everything – family, friends, even yourself – for the sake of your readers. The Dead Man in the Bunker sacrifices its readers for Pollack’s family instead. It doesn’t discover his father, as it promises, or anyone else either. It will tell us a few things we didn’t know about the historical background, for example what fertile ground for Hitler some of Austria was. But that’s about all.

Pollack’s paternal family were fierce pan-German nationalists, anti-democratic, anti-Slav and anti-Semitic for generations. His father belonged to Austria’s own fascist movement in the 1920s, then joined the Nazi party in 1931 and the SS in 1932 – ie, in their infancy – and the Gestapo and the SD (the Sicherheitsdienst,

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