A former official in the Algerian civil service and the author of four previous novels, the Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal has recently published a new book titled Le village de l'Allemand: "The German's Village." Via the reflections of two brothers of Algerian origin living in the Parisian banlieues, it tells the story of the brothers' father: Hans Schiller, a hero of the Algerian war of independence as a member of the National Liberation Front (FLN) -- and, as so happens, before that an officer in the dreaded Nazi paramilitary force, the SS. For Boualem Sansal, "the line separating Islamism from Nazism is a thin one." Grégoire Leménager spoke with him for the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur. The interview appears in English for the first time in World Politics Review.
Le Nouvel Observateur: Your novel takes its title from the story of a Nazi war criminal, a former member of the SS, who went into exile in Algeria, where he trained FLN fighters and became a hero of the Algerian war of independence. . . . Is this a real story? How did the novel come about?
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