I loved this book. The story is told in two different time periods ~ present day and 1944. In present day an advertising firm gets a hold of an old German suitcase that was sitting on the curb with the garbage. They decide to use the suitcase in an ad campaign and try to locate the owner.
In WWII Germany we learn about the people who owned the suitcase and the events of their lives. At one point it belongs to an SS officer and later to a Jewish medical student on the run from the SS and Gestapo.
There's a bit of mystery that easily figured but I think that was the author's intention. I don't usually figure out mysteries so I was a little surprised that it was so easy but by the time I figured it out there was the tension of what might happen to that character if I was right. The author created a greater concern for the reader than solving the mystery.
I learned more about the evils of the Nazi regime and the atrocities they carried out. At the same time I learned more of the Jewish culture and I enjoyed that part. This book relieves the horrific by switching back and forth between time periods and stories. I appreciated that because it gave me time to contemplate and to catch my breath. There were times when the scene shifted and I didn't want it to because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next, but I prefer books that tell more than one story at a time that are connected in some way.
The German Suitcase reminds me that I can't make broad generalizations about people or circumstances. I need that reminder on a regular basis. Sometimes, as humans, we think we can sum up a person's motives in a single, overreaching judgement. People are complex and so are their lives. I'm working at righting my grandfather's history and I have to be so careful to not draw conclusions but to just report events and hope they let those who read about him to feel his humanity, his time period, and his struggles. I hope I never say that he did this because of that. The only ones who know that is him and God. Kind of wandered away from the book, but that is one insight the book provided me.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history, WWII, or a well-written and intriguing book.