My Father's Keeper: Children of Nazi Leaders--An Intimate History of Damage and Denial

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9780316519298: My Father's Keeper: Children of Nazi Leaders--An Intimate History of Damage and Denial

In 1959 the German journalist Norbert Lebert conducted extensive interviews with the sons and daughters of prominent Nazis: Hess, Bormann, Göring, and Himmler; Baldur von Schirach, creator of the Hitler Youth; and Hans Frank, governor of Poland. Then at the beginning of their adult lives, Lebert's subjects were the bearers of notorious names that made them outcasts to some, symbols of a lost glory to others.

Forty years later, Lebert's son Stephan-also a journalist-tracked down these same men and women to find out what had become of them, how they remembered their fathers, and what effect the names they carried had on the paths they had taken. Lebert's account of his conversations, juxtaposed with his father's postwar interviews, gives us an extraordinary and unflinching look at how these individuals have coped with a horrifying heritage.

The stories that emerge are fascinating, surprising, and often disturbing: The young man who refuses military service and is granted conscientious objector status on the grounds that his father is imprisoned by the state--as a Nazi war criminal. The boy who begins his education learning the principles of fascism, finishes it at a Catholic boarding school, and later becomes a priest and a missionary to Africa. The woman who was systematically refused work because she wouldn't use an alias, but who now lives in the suburbs under her husband's name and keeps secret contacts with other nostalgic Nazis. The journalist who writes a scathing magazine article reviling the father responsible for two million deaths, and is greeted with a barrage of letters from outraged Germans--whatever your father may have done, the letters argue, fathers must always be honored.

My Father's Keeper is a remarkable and illuminating addition to our knowledge of the Nazi past and of how this past continues to haunt the present. And it offers a chilling perspective on the way children live with the legacy of their parents' deeds.

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About the Author:

Stephan Lebert (pictured above), born in 1961, attended the DJ (German Journalism School) in Munich. He has worked for the

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Der Spiegel, and the Berliner Tagesspiegel, where he has been editor in chief since 1999.

Norbert Lebert (1929-1993) was a reporter, freelance journalist, and author of numerous books published in Germany.

Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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