Historians Laqueur (A History of Zionism, etc.) and Breitman here tell the story of the German industrialist, who, at great risk, was the first to inform the world that Hitler had begun a systematic extermination of the Jews. Eduard Schulte, a fierce but secret Nazi-hater, was a non-Jewish, middle-aged, one-legged head of a mining company, whose Polish branch bordered the death camp Auschwitz. Access to top Nazi officials led to his discovery of the ``Final Solution'' in 1942, but his warnings to the U.S. State Department and American Jewry were delayed for many months through State Department bumbling. By 1943, Schulte was forced to find asylum in Switzerland. Almost as disturbing, and equally absorbing, is the authors' revelation that Schulte was rated disloyal to the Vaterland by postwar German officials, hence his virtual anonymity. Photos. Jewish Book Club alternate; author tour. (May)
With exemplary scholarship the authors address an obscure incident in the German resistance to Hitler and in the revelation of Nazi plans for the Final Solution. In July 1942, a prominent German industrialist passed on to Allied intelligence officers the first solid evidence that the Nazi regime was already implementing plans for the eradication of European Jewry. The identity of the mysterious messenger, Edward Schulte, was not discovered until 1983. The authors are equally adept at discovering the secrets of Schulte's clandestine activities and at describing the grim background of wartime conditions. The one piece missing is the riddle of Schulte himself; his personality and motives remain a mystery. This impressive book, written with a rare combination of precision and passion, is recommended for academic and public libraries. History Book Club and Jewish Book Club alternates. James B. Street, Santa Cruz P.L., Cal.