[Spoilers] How can you possibly empathize with a Nazi guard? Well, you begin to want to understand her if she's Hanna Schmitz. The story is told through Michael Berg, a 15 year old who falls for the beautiful Hanna and begins a sexual relationship with the 36 year old. He reads to her, and she sleeps with him. But it is clear that there is mutual love there...as inappropriate as it might be.And as quickly as Hanna enters his life, she disappears marking him for life. He comes across her in a sensationalized trial of 6 female SS guards and he's shocked. But sitting through the trial, he realizes her secret: why she left so suddenly, why she accepts all the blame for the conduct on trial, and why she won't defend herself. But she allows her her deceit and keeps silent. His relationships fail, his marriage fails, his relationship with his daughter is distant...all because of Hanna. Yet he maintains that relationship with Hanna after the courtroom from a distance through the medium that meant so much to Hanna. All the while, he never really forgives her, understands her, or accepts her. Yet, in his own way, he always loves her.
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