The SS Officer's Armchair

The SS Officer's Armchair


It began with an armchair. It began with the surprise discovery of a stash of personal documents covered in swastikas sewn into its cushion. The SS Officer’s Armchair is the story of what happened next, as Daniel Lee follows the trail of cold calls, documents, coincidences and family secrets, to uncover the life of one Dr Robert Griesinger from Stuttgart. Who was he? What had his life been – and how had it ended?

Lee reveals the strange life of a man whose ambition propelled him to become part of the Nazi machinery of terror. He discovers his unexpected ancestral roots, untold stories of SS life and family fragmentation. As Lee delves deeper, Griesinger’s responsibility as an active participant in Nazi crimes becomes clearer.

Dr Robert Griesinger’s name is not infamous. But to understand the inner workings of the Third Reich, we need to know not just its leaders, but the ordinary Nazis who made up its ranks. Revealing how Griesinger’s choices reverberate into present-day Germany, and among descendants of perpetrators, Lee raises potent questions about blame, manipulation and responsibility.

A historical detective story and a gripping account of one historian’s hunt for answers, The SS Officer’s Armchair is at once a unique addition to our understanding of Nazi Germany and a chilling reminder of how such regimes are made not by monsters, but by ordinary people.

Our Review

The SS Officer’s Armchair: In Search of a Hidden Life was unlike any book of its kind I have read. Daniel Lee clearly knows his topic and has gone to great lengths to thoroughly research it.

Lee goes to great lengths to explain his research process at every step and whilst this sometimes makes the book a little dry, at other times it provides a wealth of interesting information.

When a stash of personal documents covered in swastikas is uncovered in a family heirloom the trail leads the author on a journey to discover more about the life of Robert Griesinger. How responsible was he for Nazi crimes and how did his life end?

There were times when it was clear how personally invested the author is in this subject and his assumptions probably weren’t very objective, but I found I didn’t mind because he was writing about a confirmed Nazi.

During the process of reading the book I discovered a lot of interesting facts about this time period that I had never heard before.

This historical detective story was gripping read.


Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 3.5/5

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