REDEEMING FACTOR by Lewis Adler is a full-length, thought-provoking thriller with a mysterious New Age twist in the tale, and one of the most unexpected and heart-warming conclusions you could ever wish to read in a work of fiction.
The Redeeming Factor plot opens in December 1943 at the Majdanek Nazi Extermination Camp on the outskirts of the Polish city of Lublin. Carl Meissner is a middle-ranking SS NCO and he has been given permission by the camp’s commandant to organise a mid-winter celebration for his colleagues. Among them is female camp guard Leyna Strobl with whom Carl has struck-up a close friendship.
Carl is an SS battleground veteran who was badly wounded in the left arm during Germany’s invasion of Poland. His injuries forced him out of frontline roles but, rather than leave the military, he opted for non-combatant duties. However, since being posted to Majdanek, he has become increasingly brutalised by what he has witnessed, and it has begun to play on his mind. Luckily for him, Leyna understands, because she too feels alienated by the horrors that surround them.
They long to escape the nightmare of Majdanek, and hope to do so by volunteering to escort a transfer of internees to a forced labour camp in Germany. A chance meeting on that assignment results in the escape they’d been longing for. Posted to Ulm in southern Germany, they begin working for a tough but kind-hearted SS officer, Erich Wendler.
As World War II draws to a close, Wendler relieves Carl and Leyna from their duties and encourages them to disappear into the community. Settling in Partenkirchen near the Austrian border, the young couple begin a new life together under assumed names.
Their happiness, however, doesn’t last long. Carl is captured by a vigilante group of former Majdanek internees. Cruelly separated from Leyna, he is imprisoned by the group and put on-trial, but not before he has befriended his jailer … a Jewish youth called Solomon Kellmann.
Following the trial’s verdict, Carl and Solomon are sitting chatting quietly when five hooded figures storm the cell in which the ex-SS NCO is being held. The intruders subdue both men and then lynch Carl, while the deeply distraught jailer is held fast and forced to look-on helplessly.
Some weeks later, in England, a baby boy – Derek Shortman – is born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his throat like a noose. He also has two curious birth marks on his left forearm. Derek grows into a fine young man but, from early childhood, he’s haunted by a recurring nightmare which, at first, depicts a violent separation between him and an unknown person he is trying to protect.
Over time, the nightmare evolves while – during his waking hours – Derek meets-up with several people who, inexplicably, he feels he has met before. The last of these characters is Beth Reynolds. She assists Derek in unravelling the true meaning of his nightmare. Together they visit Majdanek where, out of the blue, a remarkable encounter with a complete stranger occurs. In that moment, all three embark on an extraordinary journey of revelation, redemption and resolution.