Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hitler's Silver Box by Dr. Allen Malnak


Dr. Allen Malnak



About the book  
Hitler’s Silver Box is a modern day historical thriller set in Chicago, which begins with an elderly bookseller and Holocaust survivor, Max Bloomberg, being brutally murdered in his own home by a trio of thugs. Max’s closest relative, Dr.Bruce Starkman, chief ER resident at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital is shocked when he learns his Holocaust survivor uncle is dead—his body already cremated, a violation of his uncle’s religious beliefs. Max leaves a clue, allowing Bruce to find a hidden journal in Max's handwriting detailing his uncle’s ordeal some fifty years before in a Nazi concentration camp, during which Max is ordered by a Waffen SS Colonel to craft a silver box which is to be a birthday present for Hitler. The silver box contains a document written by Nazi leaders, which if discovered will lead to a worldwide Nazi resurgence. Max manages to escape and bury the birthday gift in a forest near Prague. 
Bruce decides to try and find the box and to solve the mystery of his Uncle’s untimely demise. He and an attractive Israeli female companion with a military background are pursued and attacked by present day Nazis intent on reviving the Reich. The novel leads from Chicago to Paris to Prague in swift, hair-raising turns. The full journal of Max Bloomberg is included in the book.
Background of HITLER’S SILVER BOX
When my father came to America in 1906 at age 16, he had only one distant relative in this country. He left behind in Kovno, Lithuania a large family, including his parents, eight brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles. They ranged in age from the elderly to babies.
Dad died of natural causes during the Second World War and immediately following the war, my late brother Lewis and I began to try to track down our father’s European family. I was just 16 when the war ended. We wrote letters to everyone we could think of and after about a year received a detailed reply from the International Red Cross. Nazi records as well as witness reports indicated that all members of dad’s family had been murdered either in or near Kovno or after transfer to a death camp. Every man, woman and child!
So, one entire side of my family was destroyed by the Nazis. Of course, I became interested in the Holocaust and began reading articles about it even during my high school and college years. During my internship at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, I read a short book DOCTORS OF INFAMY, which covered many horrendous medical experiments performed on concentration camp prisoners by Nazi physicians. The book was so disturbing that after reading it, I tossed it into a garbage can. My next book on the subject was Elie Weisel’s NIGHT.  I then became occupied with my professional career as well as with my growing family for many years. When I reached the age of forty, I decided I owed it to my dead family members to engage in a real study of that terrible time. I then spent perhaps two or three years of my limited free time reading every book I could find on the Holocaust.
Years later, I retired from the practice and teaching of internal medicine, and my wife and I moved to Bonita Springs Florida. I noticed in the Naples Daily News an article describing a course in writing fiction being held at the Naples Philharmonic. The teacher was Hollis Alpert a well known novelist, biographer, short story editor as well as a movie critic.
I took classes with Hollis for a couple of years. He would give us assignments, often listing several subjects that we should use as the basis of a short story. He would critique each story and at the next weekly session read some of them to the class.
One topic I picked was titled “A Silver Box.” For some reason, I decided to write it about a concentration camp prisoner at the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp who was forced by a Nazi colonel to make a silver box which would be a present for Adolph Hitler.
After reading the story in class, afterwards, Hollis suggested that this story could be expanded into a novel, and that started the process that eventually lead to HITLER’S SILVER BOX-A NOVEL. I changed the protagonist from Max, the silversmith, to his nephew an ER resident who searched for the silver box fifty years after the war and following his uncle's mysterious death.
While HITLER’S SILVER BOX is a work of fiction, it’s loosely based on the fact that during the Second World War, Nazi scientists worked up to the war’s end on a multitude of secret weapons on which Hitler pinned his hopes for a last ditch victory. 
These weapon systems ranged from very long range rockets that could be fired from underground bases to alternative physics, robotic warriors, new energy sources, radical germ warfare and of course, nuclear weapons. 
In the novel, the facts were modified to suggest that many objects which were later called UFOs were also developed by Nazi scientists in concealed locations, and various secret laboratories were set up around the world including in areas of both Arctic and Antarctic wastes where explorers had never trekked. 
HITLER’S SILVER BOX further develops this to suggest that as Allied Armies closed in on Germany from east and west, it became apparent to his top generals that the war would be lost. With Hitler’s reluctant approval, a group of high ranking Nazi officials decided it would be prudent to plan for a Fourth Reich. This would require keeping these scientists funded and working for many years. All knowledge about them including their exact locations as well as their discoveries would have to be kept secret until the time was right.
Thus the vital importance of the sole document containing this information placed inside the silver box made specially for Hitler. The box was taken from the Nazis in 1945 and hidden in a forest in what is now the Czech Republic.
Writing the novel required considerable research. Having worked during my training and military service in a number of emergency rooms as well as having been medical director of a large ER department in Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital, I was familiar with that aspect of the story. I studied articles and books on life inTheresienstadt concentration camp and had to learn a great deal about silversmithing.
Dialogue and careful descriptions were difficult crafts to understand and learn, but the hardest part of writing the novel was describing the conditions that Max went through in the concentration camp using the “particular” silver, the provenance of which nearly drove him and me mad.  
The dramatic ER scenes were easier because they were based on my personal experiences. Since like Bruce in the novel, I also have claustrophobia in tunnels, writing that scene caused me some discomfort.
 


Hitler's Silver Box Blurb:

Dr. Bruce Starkman, chief ER resident at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, is plucked from total immersion in his profession by the mysterious death of his Uncle Max.

It’s only when Bruce finds his uncle’s hidden journal detailing Max’s ordeal some fifty years before in Theresienstadt concentration camp that the situation begins to make sense. Deciphering clues his uncle left behind, he has to decide whether to seek the truth about something from the past, or move forward with his medical career.

The young physician soon realizes a worldwide Nazi resurgence is imminent unless he can find and destroy a secret document written by Nazi leaders and concealed in a silver box, which his uncle hid in 1945. This forces Bruce to reevaluate his priorities and start his own search for the elusive box.

The search takes Bruce and Miriam, an aggressive, attractive Israeli woman with military training to Paris and the Czech Republic, while being pursued and attacked by groups of vicious neo-Nazis.

Can Bruce cross over from a healer to a person of violence? The world’s future may depend on it.

Written with an eye for detail and a dramatic sense of timing, Allen Malnak’s Hitler’s Silver Box is the kind of story that grabs its readers by the collar and tells them to hold on tight.

Links to Florida Weekly articles:


About the author:
Dr. Allen Malnak graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine and interned at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital. After completing a three year Internal Medicine Residency at the Research and Educational Hospitals of the University of Illinois and the Westside VA Hospital, he was Chief of Internal Medicine at the US Army Hospital, Fort Sill, OK.

Following military service, Dr. Malnak was a Clinical Investigator in Liver Disease at Mount Sinai Hospital of Chicago. He practiced in the Chicago area as a Board Certified Internist for about thirty-five years. During that time he was a Clinical Instructor at Chicago Medical School and an Associate Attending Physician at Cook County Hospital for eight years and following that a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Stritch School of Medicine of Loyola University for twenty-five years.

He was Medical Director of a number of organizations, including the Emergency Department of Mount Sinai Hospital and Principle Health Care of Illinois. Dr. Malnak also served as Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine, President of the Medical Staff, a member of the Board of Directors of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Chicagoland.

His interest in the Holocaust was sparked by the fact that his father came to the USA from Lithuania at age 16, leaving behind a large family. All the men, women and children of that family were sent to a death camp by the Nazis and exterminated.

The retired internist is married and has three living children from his previous marriage. He and his wife, Patricia live in southwest Florida with their Whippet—Paige, and Parakeet— Kiwi.
Visit Dr. Allen Malnak’s Science and Health Blog.


2 comments:

Florence said...

Spectacular article, it has almost everything I needed to find. Thank you for putting the effort and time to write it. Please continue posting. Next time even more exciting stuff.

- Florence of web design

Mayra Calvani said...

Hi Marilyn,

Thanks so much for hosting Dr. Malnak on your blog. I appreciate it!

I'll tweet this several times.