Thomas Von Steinaecker was born in Germany in 1977. A novelist and journalist, he has also written extensively for radio and is the creator of several documentaries, including Richard Strauss and His Heroines. Two of his novels, Wallner beginnt zu Fliegen (2007) and Die Verteidigung des Paradieses (2016), have been nominated for the German Book Prize.

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Escape from the Nazis: Anna Seghers’s Suspenseful Classic

The Seventh Cross is an example of something rare in the literature of the German language: a brilliantly written novel that keeps alive one of the most important chapters of German history—though I can still see why as a student I thought the book was old-fashioned. The grammar is complex, the language at times curious, its female characters oddly passive. So what gives The Seventh Cross its literary quality? First, something quite simple: Anna Seghers, it turns out, was a veritable master of suspense.