The story of a musical soldier’s incredible odyssey through World War II and his dream of becoming Danish.

By Tom Buk-Swienty

IN THE LONELY HEART, Tom Buk-Swienty takes the reader on a dramatic journey through the Third Reich. The book tells the story of the young German, Hans Horn, who becomes entangled in the madness of Nazi Germany’s war during World War II.

THE LONELY HEART is based on Hans Horn’s own records. Through his detailed and highly credible memories, which are built upon diaries and other contemporary personal sources from the time of the war, and partially narrated by Hans Horn himself, Tom Buk-Swienty unfolds a vast and extraordinary story about the war in Europe as seen through the eyes of a sensitive and musical individual who experienced the political changes and, above all, the war up close.

MARKED FOR LIFE by the horrors of the war, Hans Horn emigrated to Denmark afterward, where he became a practicing physician and lived until his death in 1989. It was only in his later years that he was able to translate his experiences into words and images. He wrote it all down but also drew and painted the dramatic and beautiful events he had witnessed. When he passed away, he left behind a colossal, fully illustrated memoir spanning over 5,000 pages. It is this truly unique documentary material, now made available through Hans Horn’s children, that has come into the hands of Tom Buk-Swienty.

“I am an insignificant child of the 20th century who, without wanting it, was destined to witness many strange, cruel, and beautiful events, while constantly trying to survive in one way or another…”

THIS IS HOW Hans Horn begins his memoirs. And in the same remarkable manner, he continues to describe his upbringing in 1930s Germany, the gradual but significant transformation of the country, the Nazi influence, and later the war, including the inevitable conscription into the Wehrmacht. Then it was all about survival – wanting to live and attempting to navigate as a German soldier in war-torn Europe, especially surviving the dreaded Eastern Front. The book is richly illustrated with Hans Horn’s own deeply moving watercolors.

First published by Politiken, Denmark 2019

Denmark, Politiken

“Tom Buk-Swienty has done it again: The memoirs of a German soldier are fantastic and
highly gifted. A captivating tale of a German-Danish doctor who miraculously navigated through the madness of Nazism and World War II with his humanity intact.”
– Politiken, Hans Hertel, Denmark

“Engaging presentation. Also because Hans Detlef Horn writes well and paints absolutely fantastically… Buk-Swienty’s effort is that of a well-writing historian who embeds Horn’s accounts into the political and cultural events of contemporary history – and does it excellently. Ugeskrift for læger (The Journal for Doctors) It’s a splendid book that the author, journalist, and historian Tom Buk-Swienty has released… The book receives my highest recommendations.”
– Kristeligt Dagblad, Bo Hakon Jørgensen, Denmark

“Tom Buk-Swienty does it again: An ordinary person’s will to survive is an excellent story… Tom Buk-Swienty has put in a great deal of work to convey Hans Horn’s memories, and he has succeeded beautifully. It’s a delightful and relevant book.”
– Jyllands-Posten, Henrik Jensen, Denmark

“Tom Buk-Swienty writes excellently. Makes history come alive for all of us who want to know more… The many drawings and watercolors add a layer to the story that, more than the text itself, enables the reader to understand the horror and fear that Hans Horn tries to describe. At times, an almost surreal imagery gives us a heart-wrenching impression of the inhumanity that is so difficult to comprehend… It’s not a history book but an extraordinary tale of a person clinging to life – despite everything.”
– Jysk Fynske Medier, Claus Christian Koch, Denmark

“Only the most insensitive person would pass through these text pieces unmarked. The book gains strength and reflective power as the pages turn. The use of Hans Horn’s own paintings in the book is fitting. It supports the depth that the biography contains. As a historian and journalist, Tom Buk-Swienty truly manages to connect the biographical with a historical reality through documentary elements. It’s a pleasure to read… Through a secure and direct writing style and a clear structure, Tom Buk-Swienty leads us, with Hans Horn as a guide, into the darker side of World War II in a very successful way.”
– Nordjyske Stiftstidende, Martin Rytter Handberg, Denmark

“Det ensomme hjerte” by Tom Buk-Swienty is a gripping and shocking but also very warm book about a young man’s life in Germany, plagued by Nazism. The narrative once again establishes the author as one of the finest communicators in Danish historical writing…”
–, Erik Ingemann Sørensen, Denmark

“Tom Buk-Swienty knows how to capture you, so you feel that it could just as well have been you who, like Hans Horn, was subjected to all the horrors that Hitler and his cohorts inflicted on the Germans… a good, exciting, atmospheric, and detailed novel-biography based on real events.”
– Weekendavisen, Bo Bjørnvig, Denmark