Boekverslag : Ira Levin - The Boys From Brazil
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The boys from Brazil

The author

Ira Levin (American) was born in New York City in 1929 and is a graduate of the "Horace Mann School." He lives in New York and has three sons. His first novel, the crime story "A kiss before dying" (1952) was an immediate public success. It was followed by "Rosemary's Baby" (1964), a hair-raising fictitious account of modern deviltry and witchcraft. It was made into a film starring Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes, and gave rise to a spate of imitations in print and on the screen. Levin's third novel "This perfect day" (1967) is a futuristic anti-utopia set in a computercontrolled world. "The Stephord Wives" (1972) was another popular success. "The Boys from Brazil" has also found a wide reading public.

Explanation of the title and the connection of the title with the book

Dr. Mengele made (with the help of Hitler in 1943) little Hitler's in Brazil. Those "perfect Aryans" were adopted by parents from America and Europe. Those boys came from Brazil, so that's why the book is called "The Boys from Brazil."

Information about the book

Place of publishing: London

Year of publishing: 1976 (by Michael Joseph Ltd.)

Main characters

Yakov Liebermann (main character)

The most of the book is written in his view. It wasn't difficult for me to feel with him. He is definitely a round character. For example, at the end of the book he don't want to kill little Hitler-boys because he doesn't want to be a child killer (like Dr. Mengele).

Dr. Mengele

Mengele is a nazi, and he got help from Hitler to clone him into little boys and now he's trying to give the boys the same situation as Hitler had. The fathers of the boys have to be killed at the age of sixty-five, because Hitler's daddy died at that age too. He doesn't show character development.

Other characters

Barry Koehler

Barry is the student who lets Yoskila tape the discussion in Sao Paulo and gave some of the information to Liebermann, before Dr. Mengele (himself) killed him.

Klaus von Palmen

Another student who was obsessed by the speech of Liebermann at one of his conferences. He did some research and in the middle of the book they became partners.

Rabbi Gorin

He is contrasted with Liebermann whose ally he is. Gorin's solution to the problem posed by the Hitlers and Mengeles of this world is to fight them with their own weapons. The opposition between Liebermann and Gorin, that of idealism versus realism, is a fundamental human problem which will probably remain unresolved as long as mankind continues to consist of free individuals.


Should we use violence when it seems to guarantee a quick removal of the dangers threatening society.

This theme is represented by the militant organization and by Liebermann. Should they kill the little Hitlers or shouldn't they. Liebermann doesn't want to kill them because he doesn't want to become a child-killer like Mengele but the members of the organization insist on killing the little Hitlers to protect the world.

Short summary per chapter

Chapter I

In September of 1974 there is a meeting between some Nazi's. There's a man in white who says his name is Aspiazu (but in fact is Dr. Mengele). He arranged the meeting. He says against the men that they have to kill 94 people (men around the age of sixty-five) on pre-arranged dates. He doesn't tell them why.

At the end of the conversation Dr. Mengele asks Tsuruko if someone asked her to listen to the men what they've said. She denies, but when Dr. Mengele gives her some money she said that she had recorded the conversation and gave the tape to a man called "Hunter." Dr. Mengele was of course curious about that but he checked all hotels and found the hunter; his real name was Barry Koehler. He killed him, but it was a few minutes too late to pretend Barry to talk to Liebermann. He didn't play the tape yet, but Liebermann got some information. The last two words of this chapter are "Heil Hitler".

Chapter II

This chapter begins with the view of Yakov Liebermann, a journalist who got the phone-call from Barry. He thinks that the student was joking, but he gives his analysis a chance. Liebermann finds someone who checks all sixty-five year old men who are being killed during the coming period. Another part of the chapter is reserved to tell the story of the murder of Döring. The chapter ends with some questions being asked in a conference, the conference where Liebermann first met Klaus von Palmen.

Chapter III

The first killings are accomplished and Liebermann gets the list with the names of the sixty-four to sixty-six year old men being killed in the period between the time of the phone-call of Barry and that date.

Klaus von Palmen became partner of Liebermann.

We read that Farnbach is going to kill somebody.

Liebermann is going to meet Frau Döring and her son.

Chapter IV

Liebermann and some friends are checking some other widows of sixty-five year old men who were killed. Those in Europe don't bring anything. But when he met someone in America and he met her son he saw exactly the same son as the son of Ms. Döring. The even look like twins. But they aren't…..

Liebermann thinks. He saw that the widow of the American son was in her early fourties. And the Döring woman was also in the early fourties. And the man was sixty-five. And the sons were exactly the same.

Chapter V

Liebermann found out that those boys were adopted. And by one way or another he found out that Frieda Maloney was the woman who gave away these boys. She gives him some names she can remember of some families who adopted her boys from Brazil in 1960-1963. Now he knows the date that Mr. Wheelock will be killed.

Klaus finds the way that those boys could get the same look. The are cloned. Lieberman and Von Palmen are going to a professor of biology who tells them some major things about mononuclear reproduction.

Chapter VI

Mengele has a plan to kill Liebermann, because he found out that Liebermann knows the plans of the Nazi-group. Mengele wants to kill Liebermann but he simply couldn't because Liebermann is not going to the hotel where Liebermann would come and stay. He's passing the last days before the supposed to be killing of Wheelock with the Young Jewish Defenders. Liebermann also arranged a meeting between Wheelock and him to tell him that he needs extra security.

Mengele knows this, and is a bit earlier there. He says to Wheelock that he's Liebermann and when the situation is good he kills Wheelock.

Chapter VII

Liebermann is going to Wheelock. Mengele says to Liebermann that he's Wheelock. They are talking a bit and then Mengele takes his gun and shoot sometimes at Liebermann. At that time the Wheelock-Hitler look-a-like-son came in and send his dogs at Dr. Mengele. After some talking the boy knows sure that he do best if he let the dogs kill Mengele so he gives them the order to kill.

Chapter VII

Liebermann is in the hospital because of his shot-wounds.

When he's out of the hospital he and Gorin have a conversation. Liebermann says that he doesn't want to kill the Hitler-boys because there's a big chance that they won't be like Hitler at all. He goes to the toilet and let the paper in.

Chapter IX (last one)

Nothing important. It was a good book, but the end was a bit boring. The book has to stop when there is a question.
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