The Search for Major Plagge: The Nazi Who Saved Jews, Expanded Edition / Edition 2

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When The Search for Major Plagge was published last spring, the world finally learned about a unique hero-and about one American doctor's extraordinary journey to tell Karl Plagge's story.Part detective story, part personal quest, Michael Good's book is the story of the German commander of a Lithuanian work camp who saved hundreds of Jewish lives in the Vilna ghetto -including the life of Good's mother, Pearl. Who was this enigmatic officer Pearl Good had spoken of so often? After five years of research-interviewing survivors, assembling a team that could work to open German files untouched for fifty years, following every lead he could, Good was able to uncover the amazing tale of one man's remarkable courage. And in April 2005 Karl Plagge joined Oskar Schindler and 380 other Germans as a Righteous among Nations,honored by the State of Israel for protecting and saving Jewish lives during the Holocaust.This expanded edition features new photographs and a new epilogue on the impact of the discovery of Karl Plagge-especially the story of 83-year-old Alfons von Deschwanden, who, after fifty years of silence, came forward as a veteran of Plagge's unit. His testimony is now part of this growing witness to truth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This book is a personal quest, personal journey, and a personal history.

...unprecedented insights into the burden of silent memories and a disastrous heritage of guilt.-Edith Wyschogrod

This is an exceptional story of one man's bravery and compassion in a world where six million Jews were murdered.

Kirkus Reviews
An American doctor's quest for the unlikely Samaritan who saved his family during the Holocaust. "He was better than Schindler." So remarked debut author Good's mother on returning, in 1999, to the dilapidated site of a onetime Nazi motor-repair facility-an HKP, in the German acronym-outside of Vilnius, Lithuania. There, more than a thousand Jewish slave laborers and their families, having been removed from a ghetto that would soon be liquidated, spent the last years of WWII servicing military vehicles bound for the Eastern Front. Conditions in the HKP and its satellite shops were "relatively benign"; the prisoners, Good's grandfather recalled, "slept in beds and were able to wash [them]selves and to cook," and if rations were sometimes short, no one starved. This comparative good treatment was all thanks to the offices of a Major Karl Plagge, who courted severe punishment himself for interfering with the murderous policies of the S.S. With the Germans' westward retreat in 1944, Plagge disappeared. Working from the testimonials of survivors, Good first sought to locate military records but was stymied because access to such documents was restricted. Having recruited the help of German researchers, however, he was finally able to locate transcripts of Plagge's postwar denazification trial, in which Plagge related how he attempted to balance being a good and obedient soldier with being a quiet agent of resistance: "I took the decision," he said, "always to act against Nazi rules and to also give my subordinates the order to act in a very humane manner toward the civilian population"-including Jews. Armed with this evidence, Good petitioned Israel's Yad Vashem commission to grant Plagge thehonorary designation of "righteous among nations," indicating a gentile who had helped Jews at personal risk. Good's request was finally granted in 2002-but not without another trying period of argumentation and presentation of evidence to prove that Plagge truly deserved such recognition. A rewarding tale of redemption in the face of horror, of wide interest.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823224418
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2006
  • Edition description: 2
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,316,891
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Good has appeared on C-SPAN, as a speaker in Israel and Germany, and in schools,libraries, churches, and synagogues across the United States. Plagge's story was tracked by media around the world and can also be xplored at Good, a physician, continues to follow and develop the Plagge story from his home in Durham, CT.

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