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

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Synopsis

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.

 

About Norbert Lebert

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Stephan Lebert attended the DJ (German Journalism School) in Munich. Since 1999 he has been editor-in-chief of the Berliner Tagesspiegel. Norbert Lebert (1929-1923) was the author of numerous books published in Germany. Julian Evans was appointed OBE in 1997 for 'Services to Forestry and the Third World'. Also Vice-President of the Commonwealth Forestry Association, Director-at-Large of the International Society of Tropical Foresters (ISTF), and honorary member of Society of American Foresters. John Turnbull received the inaugural Queen's Award for Forestry through the Commonwealth Forestry Association for his contributions to forestry in developing countries.
 
Published September 17, 2001 by Little, Brown. 248 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Travel, Literature & Fiction, War, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Employing a novel, gripping concept, German journalist Stephen Lebert re-interviews the children of prominent Nazis, and mixes the material with interviews conducted in 1959 by his journalist father, Norbert Lebert.

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Publishers Weekly

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Because he's viewing events from a greater distance, Stephan is able to raise a number of wide-ranging questions—exploring the reasons behind the national outrage when Niklas Frank published a brutal piece detailing the depth of his hatred toward his father, former governor-general of Poland, and...

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