Julius Schlesinger, aspiring SS officer, has received orders to remove from the roof of Prague’s concert hall the statue of the Jewish composer Felix Mendelssohn. But which of the figures adorning the roof is the Jew? Remembering his course on racial science, Schlesinger instructs his men to pull down the statue with the biggest nose. Only as the statue they have carefully chosen begins to topple does he recognize that it is not Mendelssohn; it is Richard Wagner.
Full of dark humour and bitter irony, Weil’s novel traces the transformation of ordinary lives during the Nazi occupation of Prague. This is the story of the struggle to survive in the labyrinthine Nazi regime, and the courage required to retain hope and humanity.