In 1939, a team of workers beneath the Vatican unearthed an early Christian grave. This surprising discovery launched a secret quest that would last decades — a quest to discover the long-lost burial place of the Apostle Peter.
From earliest times, Christian tradition held that Peter — a lowly fisherman from Galilee, whom Christ made leader of his Church — was executed in Rome by Emperor Nero and buried on Vatican Hill. But his tomb had been lost to history. Now, funded anonymously by a wealthy American, a small army of workers embarked on the dig of a lifetime.
The incredible, sometimes shocking, story of the 75-year search and its key players has never been fully told — until now. The quest would pit one of the 20th century’s most talented archaeologists — a woman — against top Vatican insiders. The Fisherman’s Tomb is a story of the triumph of faith and genius against all odds.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John O’Neill is a lawyer and #1 New York Times bestselling author. He has spent much of his life visiting and researching early Christian sites. He is a 1967 graduate of the Naval Academy, a former law clerk to Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and senior partner at a large international law firm.
Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a slave labor camp. When she returned home months later, she knew she would become a hunted woman and went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith's protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret.
In wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear. She tells how German officials casually questioned the lineage of her parents; how during childbirth she refused all painkillers, afraid that in an altered state of mind she might reveal something of her past; and how, after her husband was captured by the Soviets, she was bombed out of her house and had to hide while drunken Russian soldiers raped women on the street.
Despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith created a remarkable record of survival. She saved every document, as well as photographs she took inside labor camps. Now part of the permanent collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., these hundreds of documents, several of which are included in this volume, form the fabric of a gripping new chapter in the history of the Holocaust—complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant.
In his famously arresting prose, Sachar traces the assassinations of Rosa Luxemburg, Kurt Eisner, Matthias Erzberger, and Walther Rathenau in Germany—a lethal chain reaction that contributed to the Weimar Republic's eventual collapse and Hitler's rise to power. Sachar's exploration of political fragility in Italy, Austria, the successor states of Eastern Europe, and France completes a mordant yet intriguing exposure of the Old World's lethal vulnerability. The final chapter, which chronicles the deaths of Stefan and Lotte Zweig, serves as a thought-provoking metaphor for the assassination of the Old World itself.