The great desire to tell others not only dominates the world of Netflix and Co. “Prequels” and “sequels” have long been familiar terms and phenomena in printed literature as well.

What seems to fascinate us as recipients of series of the most varied provenance is not just our sheer curiosity to find out how a story continues or what came before it, it is also the knowledge that every new part will later change what has already been read or seen : In the best case, this hermeneutic loop results in an aesthetic added value.

At first glance, John Boyne's world success "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" is not one of those novels that call for a sequel, because the story actually seems to have been told: after all, its protagonist, nine-year-old Bruno, dies at the end together with his Jewish friend Shmuel of the story, the horrible death in the gas chamber of a concentration camp commanded by his father.

The many gaps that remain have to be filled by the readers - and for most of them they are probably the charm of the novel.

Of course, there was also harsh criticism, because some reviewers saw the work as a kitschy, completely implausible trivialization of the Holocaust.

Favorable reviews, on the other hand, pointed out that Boyne had done something to ensure that his story was not read historically,

What is Bruno's sister Gretel doing?

Now the Irish author has nevertheless presented a "sequel" and continues to tell the story of Bruno's sister Gretel in "Als die Welt zerbruch" who, unlike her three-year-younger brother, survived the war and then went into hiding with her mother using fake identities .

Like his historical role model Rudolf Höss, the father is executed.

Much about this novel is different from its predecessor: Gretel reports from the first-person perspective, the narrative is historically controlled to some extent and apparently wants to find out - as Boyne informs in the afterword to the English edition, which, remarkably, was not included in the German how guilty a young girl can become under these circumstances, and if she ever succeeds in turning her back on the terrible deeds committed by loved ones,

The answers the novel offers are harrowing - albeit in a different sense than John Boyne might have intended.

On different time levels, the reader experiences a woman who evades her responsibility by fleeing, always driven by the fear of ending up in prison for her father's crimes.

She was only twelve when she moved to Auschwitz with her family in 1943 – she never mentions the name even in her old age – and therefore not legally responsible for what happened there under her father’s orders when she feels complicit in her brother's death.

After the war, however, she and her mother were exposed and brutally abused by former French Resistance fighters.

From now on, Gretel is traumatized and does everything