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Hitler's Pawn: The Boy Assassin and the Holocaust

Hitler's Pawn: The Boy Assassin and the Holocaust

by Stephen Koch


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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on December 10, 2019


"In a work of fact that reads like fiction, with a novelist’s relish for incident and character, [Koch] brings his troubled, troubling protagonist to life." —Ian Brunskill, The Wall Street Journal

After learning about Nazi persecution of his family, Herschel Grynszpan (pronounced "Greenspan"), an impoverished seventeen-year-old Jew living in Paris, bought a small handgun and on November 7, 1938, went to the German embassy and shot the first German diplomat he saw. When the man died two days later, Hitler and Goebbels made the shooting their pretext for the great state-sponsored wave of anti-Semitic terror known as Kristallnacht, still seen by many as an initiating event of the Holocaust.

Overnight, Grynszpan, a bright but naive teenager—and a perfect political nobody—was front-page news and a pawn in a global power struggle. When France fell, the Nazis captured Grynszpan after a wild chase and flew him to Berlin. The boy became a privileged prisoner of the Gestapo while Hitler and Goebbels plotted a massive show trial to blame "the Jews" for starting World War II. A prisoner and alone, Grynszpan grasped Hitler’s intentions and waged a battle of wits to sabotage the trial, knowing that even if he succeeded, he would certainly be murdered. The battle of wits was close, but Grynszpan finally won. Based on the newest research, Hitler’s Pawn is the richest telling of Grynszpan’s story to date.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640093386
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 12/10/2019
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 560,121
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

STEPHEN KOCH is the author of two novels and many books of nonfiction on subjects ranging from Andy Warhol to World War II. After serving as chairman of the Creative Writing Division in the School of the Arts at Columbia University, he wrote a classic text on writing, The Modern Library Writer's Workshop. The director of the Peter Hujar Archive, he lives with his wife in New York and has one daughter.

Table of Contents

Preface 3

1 La Paix! La Paix! La Paix! 5

2 The Child 14

3 Hunted 23

4 Dispossession 33

5 The Assassin's Night 43

6 The Assassin's Day 59

7 Hitler's Luck 74

8 Arrest and Fame 90

9 Two Speeches 101

10 The Whole World Hears 111

11 Grief and Grandiosity 121

12 The Phony War 138

13 "I'm Herschel Grynszpan! Arrest Me!" 149

14 Herschel the Captive 160

15 The Homosexual Strategy 179

16 Victory Unaware 192

17 Oblivion 202

Epilogue: Two Brothers 212

Acknowledgments 219

Appendix: Herschel Grynszpan's Testament, Dictated in Code, April24-29, 1942 221

A Note on Sources 223

Visuals 229

Bibliography 231

Notes 235

Index 253