Once upon a time the Himmlers were just a normal German family. There were three brothers – Gebhart, Heinrich and Ernst. Heinrich grew up to become the head of Hitler's SS, mastermind of the concentration camp system and chief perpetrator of the Holocaust.
When Katrin Himmler, Heinrich's great-niece, was 15, one of her school mates asked during a history lesson if she was related to the Himmler. Yes, she stammered, at which there was a deathly hush in the classroom and the teacher, embarrassed and unsure, quickly moved the lesson on. As she grew older, Katrin gave her family history a wide berth, but married to an Israeli whose family was confined to the Warsaw Ghetto and with a young, half-Jewish son, she realises that she cannot evade the past so easily.
Katrin Himmler's cool but meticulous examination of the Himmler story reveals – in all its dark complexity – the gulf between the "normality" of bourgeois family life and the horrors perpetrated by one member.