In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money – and maybe get him killed. But if he’s clever enough, he’ll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officer won’t find it. He sorely needs the money, and outwitting the Nazis who have occupied his beloved city is a challenge he can’t resist.
But when one of his hiding spaces fails horribly, and the problem of where to hide a Jew becomes terribly personal, Lucien can no longer ignore what’s at stake. The Paris Architect asks us to consider what we owe each other, and just how far we’ll go to make things right.
About the Author
An architect by profession, Charles Belfoure has published several architectural histories, two of which have won awards from the Maryland Historical Trust. He was also given grants by the Graham Foundation and the James Marston Fitch Foundation for architectural research. A graduate of the Pratt Institute and Columbia University, he taught at Pratt as well as at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. His area of speciality is historic preservation, and he writes a blog on historic preservation and architecture. He has been a freelance writer for the Baltimore Sun and the New York Times.
A charming story of redemption and the subtlties of forgiveness set in Nazi-occupied Paris. French architect Lucien Bernard is enticed to build hiding spaces for Jewish refugees into Paris buildings by his own ambition, despite indifference to the politics of the resistance. A beautiful look at the built heritage and social history of the twentieth century, framed in a parable of tolerance and empathy.