The UK's only ever war crimes trial took place in 1999 and had its origins in the horrors of the Holocaust in Belarus in 1942, but it's only now in The Secrets of Others that the full story can be told. The Secrets of Others tells the remarkable story of two interwoven journeys. Ben-Zion Blustein and Andrei Sawoniuk were childhood companions in 1930s Domachevo, once a holiday and health resort in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and then a struggling township in Belarus. During the events which followed its Nazi occupation in 1942, they became the bitterest of enemies. After the war, Ben-Zion made his way to Israel, and ‘Andrusha the bastard’ found work as a London Transport ticket collector.
They next confronted each other in the Old Bailey, 57 years later, where one was the principal prosecution witness, and the other had been charged with a fraction of the number of murders he almost certainly committed. Sawoniuk's guilt is rarely in doubt, but whether he will be convicted certainly is. Mike Anderson was gripped by the story, and so began his quest to find out all he could about this astonishing story and the people at the centre of it all. As he discovered, it was even more remarkable than he could ever have imagined.
Mike Anderson is a senior executive with one of the UK’s oldest private banks. He has been obsessed with the story of Britain’s only war crimes trial and the events which led up to it for many years. The wife of his school headmaster was an Auschwitz survivor whose stories first inspired his lifelong quest to explore and understand the Holocaust.
Neil Hanson is the author of a dozen works of narrative non-fiction, including The Custom of the Sea, The Confident Hope of a Miracle, The Dreadful Judgement and The Unknown Soldier. He has also ghost-written 50 other published books, principally autobiographies. He was appointed to a Fellowship of the Royal Literary Fund in 2007 and to a Consultant Fellowship in 2014.
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