Elliot Rosenzwieg is a rich, respected public figure in Chicago until Ben Solomon, a Holocaust survivor, accuses him of being the Nazi who stole his family money during the war. Despite Rosenzweig's denials, Solomon is convinced that he has found the man he once knew as Otto Piatek. Adopted by Solomon's family before the Holocaust, Piatek had eventually betrayed his adoptive parents and siblings. Solomon is determined that Otto Piatek face his day in court, and convinces attorney Catherine Lockhart to argue his case. Together, they search for hard evidence regarding Rosenzweig's true identity, and work towards bringing closure to Solomon's wartime struggles.
Once We Were Brothers was a fast, intriguing read that combines a legal thriller with a Holocaust story. Ben Solomon's heart-wrenching recount of his family's experiences in Poland during World War II was emotional, and provided depth to the many relatable characters. The betrayal of the Solomon family by their adopted son provided a new angle on Holocaust time-period stories.
My biggest problem with this story was the ending. The conclusion lacked emotion, and there was no forgiveness or significant changes in the characters. The story built up to a huge twist ending, but failed to deliver anything that really surprised me.
This book is great for fans of John Grisham and legal thrillers, and for those who enjoy historical fiction revolving around the Holocaust.