Reading a novel by Robert Harris called Fatherland, published in 1992, about a Berlin detective who gets caught up in crimes, circa 1964, arising from the protection of deep secrets in a Germany that had not lost World War II, I came across this intriguing passage:
He [Det. Xavier March] looked back at the house. His mother, a firm believer in ghosts, had used to tell him that brickwork and plaster soaked up history, stored what they had witnessed like a sponge. Since then March had seen his share of places in which evil had been done, and he did not believe it. There was nothing especially wicked about Am grossen Wannsee 56-58. It was just a businessman’s large mansion, now converted into a girls’ school. So what were the walls absorbing now? Teenage crushes? Geometry lessons? Exam nerves?
Of course, it is the house where Hitler’s underlings planned the final solution. Naturally one’s stomach turns at the thought of children in the house after its previous use. And the house might well be called evil – but not because of its architecture! (A taut novel, its plot unfolds in the days leading up to the celebration of Hitler’s 75th birthday.)