Born in Germany in 1928, Thomas Niedermayer was a German businessman sent to work in the Luftwaffe in Karlsruhe during the Second World War. After the city fell to the French troops, he was taken prisoner. After the war Thomas worked for the Grundig factory in Southern Germany and was chosen to manage a new plant outside of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Niedermayer prided himself on staying out of the sectarian conflict in the North.
In 1973 the Price sisters, Marian and Dolours, were sentenced to 20 years in an English Prison for their part in an I.R.A bombing campaign. As retribution for this, Brian Keenan, by then a senior figure in the IRA, planned to abduct his former boss Thomas Niedermayer and hold him for ransom in exchange for the sisters’ transfer. Niedermayer was abducted from outside his home on the 27th December 1973. He died after trying to escape on the third day of his abduction and his body was ‘disappeared’. His disappearance shattered the lives of those close to him.
This is the story of a man who never had the life he could have had, born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, moved to another place to leave behind that horror, caught up in another war he was priding himself on staying out of. Blake Knox draws each party carefully in order to highlight the savage reach of the Northern Ireland conflict; not just a sectarian scuffle in a tiny part of north-west Europe. At the heart of this story is a family, several lives destroyed, and the ongoing private cost of war.
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Date of Publication: 26/06/2019