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Richard R. Karlen was born and grew up in Newark, NJ., where he attended Weequahic HS. After graduating from NYU Dental School, he enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed in South Korea and Japan for three years. Upon completion of his tour of duty, he returned to New Jersey where he practiced dentistry in Newark for thirty-five years, until he retired and embarked on a new career as an author. He currently lives in Scotch Plains, NJ with his wife, daughter, son and grandson.

Richard R. Karlen’s tenth work of fiction, THE GOLDMAN, will be published by Ironbound Press in the spring of 2010.

Author’s Note

“Through Thin Shirts”, was inspired by the memoirs of Dr. Miklos Nysizli, a forensic pathologist who chronicled his experiences in a German concentration camp. Both Nysizli and the protagonist in “Through Thin Shirts”, are compelled by circumstances to assist Nazi pseudo-scientist Josef Mengele in his abominable human experimentation. Unlike Nysizli, who returns to his native Hungary after the war, his fictional counterpart immigrates to America. Far from war scarred Europe, he changes his name to Chaim Potofsky and attempts to start a new life.

Mourning his own family, who perished in the camps, while condemning himself for his collaboration with their murderers, Potofsky lives a penitent existence in a self-imposed purgatory of guilt and remorse. The essence of this novel, however, is not one of despair, but can be found in the phrase; where there is life there is hope.

The former physician attempts to find redemption in a grand act of atonement. He writes and sells a play illuminating the cruelty of Mengele’s experiments, a risky endeavor that threatens to expose his own Nazi collaboration to the post-war world. Though the production is a surprising success, it does not bring about the personal absolution the protagonist seeks. The ghosts of his own murdered son and of the murdered children who passed through his operatory can only be put to rest by the most unlikely of saviors – a ten year old Puerto Rican boy who alone possesses the power to free his soul.          



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