Based on a true story and inspired by the work of Primo Levi, The German Mujahid is a heartfelt reflection on the harsh imperatives of history.
The Schiller brothers, Rachel and Malrich, couldn’t be more dissimilar. They were born in a small village in Algeria to a German father and an Algerian mother, and raised by an elderly uncle in one of the toughest ghettos in France. But the similarities end there. Rachel is a model immigrant—hard working, upstanding, law-abiding. Malrich has drifted. Increasingly alienated and angry, a bleak future seems inevitable for him. But when Islamic fundamentalists murder the young men’s parents in Algeria the destinies of both brothers are transformed. Rachel discovers the shocking truth about his family and buckles under the weight of the sins of his father, a former SS officer. After Rachel’s suicide, Malrich, the outcast, will have to face that same awful truth alone.
Banned in Algeria, The German Mujahid is a groundbreaking novel. For the first time, an Arab author directly addresses the moral implications of the Holocaust, drawing parallels between Nazism and Islamic fundamentalism. But this richly plotted novel also addresses Algeria’s “dirty war” of the early 1990s and the emergence of grim Muslim ghettos in France’s low-income housing projects. Boualem Sansal confronts these and other volatile issues with unprecedented sincerity and courage.
Boualem Sansal’s first novel to appear in English, The German Mujahid (Europa, 2009), won the RTL Reader’s Prize for Fiction in France and was the first work of fiction by an Arab writer to acknowledge the Holocaust in print. Sansal was born in a small village in the Ouarsenis, Algeria. His fiction and essays have been systematically censored in his native country due to their criticism of the government. He has been awarded the prestigious Prix du Roman Arabe in 2012 and the German Peace Prize in 2011. 2084: The End of the World, his seventh novel, won the French Academy’s Gran Prix for Fiction.