The Commander’s Daughter

Original title: Ingrid, a filha do comandante

Publication Date:

March 2024

Original language and publisher

Brazilian Portuguese | Buzz

Territories Handled

Netherlands, Scandinavia, World English


Historical Fiction

The Commander’s Daughter

Original title: Ingrid, a filha do comandante


An astonishing auto-fictional novel based on the true love story between the author, a Hungarian Jew who survived the Holocaust, and the daughter of the Sobibor and Treblinka commander Franz Stangl.

Gabriel is a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust and Ingrid, a pretty, intelligent Austrian girl. They are both 16 years old and fled with their parents to Brazil leaving behind war-ridden Europe. They get to know each other at the international school in São Paulo, and first become friends, then go steady, and then discover the enchantment of a first love. He is introduced to the girl’s parents, becomes a frequent guest to their home, and thinks of a future serious commitment with her. He doesn’t know much about her family, but she knows he is Jewish. She shouldn’t be antisemitic, then, he muses, soothing his conscience for dating an Austrian/German girl.

One day, desperate and in tears, Ingrid dispatches Gabriel. As a Brazilian poet wrote, “love is forever while it lasts”, Gabriel meets and dates other girls and encloses her memory in an endearing but half-forgotten corner of his heart. One random morning, though, he opens the newspaper and sees a big first-page photo of his former father-in-law, with the caption saying that he was arrested in São Paulo. Ingrid’s father had been the commander of the concentration camps Treblinka and Sobibor, where most of his family was murdered during the war. A “monster”, as the newspaper called him.

For nearly 60 years, this unique true story was kept hidden deeply in the author’s heart. The horror of having had a close relationship with the monster, the guilt of ignoring the sacrifice of the daughter, and his own perverse innocence left an unhealing wound in his conscience. It took a quotation from Isak Dinesen, “all pains are bearable if you put them into words”, to convince him to write this book. The Commander’s Daughter is a literary novel based on a true story that, at the same time as it mesmerizes the reader from beginning to end, makes us think about the complexity of human relations and the deep layers of trauma left by one of the most horrendous events of Human history.