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In March 1944, SS Colonel Adolph Eichmann, responsible for implementing the Final Solution, arrived in Budapest, Hungary, with his SS troops and the German Army with orders exterminate the last remaining Jewish community in Europe, which numbered in the hundreds of thousands, by shipping them to death camps or by simply murdering them in the streets.Under dubious cover as a diplomat in the neutral Swedish Legation but actually working for the American War Refugee Board, Swede Raoul Wallenberg, a Gentile from the family of the Wallenberg business empire, left the safety of Sweden for Budapest in July 1944. His mission: stop the Nazi slaughter of Hungarian Jewry. Everyone responsible for arranging his mission knew that one man had no chance of success, but President Roosevelt had to show he was doing something. Colonel Eichmann dismissed Wallenberg as "just another weak-kneed aristocrat playboy," finding out later how resourceful, brave and skillful the compassionate Wallenberg could be, setting the stage for one of the most dramatic, and seemingly unequal, confrontations of the war. It was the unarmed Swede, assisted by some of his legation colleagues, versus Eichmann, backed by the arms and might of the SS, the Gestapo and several German panzer divisions. Wallenberg rescued Jews using his knowledge of the Nazi psyche and his artistic and architectural talents, language skills and acting ability. He designed an impressive protective passport with official seals, stamps and signatures for "his Jews," one that gave even the feared Gestapo pause. Using his superb mastery of the German language, he could imitate the most authoritative Prussian general, a skill he used to face down the SS and Hungarian Nazis at railway terminals where Jews were loaded onto freight cars, along the route of forced marches of Jews to the death camps, and in the streets and homes of Budapest. He plucked Jews from the jaws of certain death and deposited them in his Swedish safe houses. Through the use of bribes and threats of postwar retribution by the Allies, he managed to enlist the aid of some of those sworn to carry out the Final Solution. His squad of partisans and Aryan-looking Jews, posing as the SS and Hungarian police, rescued Jewish children at orphanages, patients at Jewish hospitals and countless other Jews, about to be shot and thrown into the Danube. Despite several attempts on his life by the Nazis, Wallenberg managed to frustrate the powerful SS and Colonel Eichmann for seven months until the final confrontation when Eichmann had most of the Jews of Budapest herded into the Central Ghetto and then ordered the German Army to annihilate the ghetto, presenting the Swedish diplomat with his greatest challenge. Amid the thundering artillery of the Soviet Army on the outskirts of Budapest, Wallenberg invited Colonel Eichmann to an elegant dinner to convince him to abandon his plans to massacre all the Jews in the ghetto. Wallenberg used his considerable intellect and debating skills to demonstrate to Eichmann the fallacies of the Nazi myths foisted on the German people by Hitler. Eichmann, however, while conceding the logic of Wallenberg's arguments, refused to cancel his murderous plans, leading to Wallenberg's breathtakingly audacious and climactic face-off with the German Army commander, General Schmidthuber. This historical novel, based on the author's years of research, sets out in vivid detail the triumphs of the courageous Swede and the subsequent tragedy of his disappearance after incarceration by the Soviets.
|Product dimensions:||5.98(w) x 9.14(h) x 0.76(d)|
What People are Saying About This
A carefully researched historical novel the combines fascination with a powerful message.
former United States Senator from Illinois; professor at Southern Illinois University (SIU) and founder and director of the Public Policy Institute at the SIU Carbondale campus
I have just finished reading your manuscript "Wallenberg Is Here.". . . Your treatment of both Wallenberg and Eichmann is unquestionably among the most insightful and gripping portrayals to date. With very few exceptions you expertly interweave historical events with the unique and personal experiences of the two most directly involved in carving the fate of Hungarian Jewry. The reader is led behind the scenes and made privy to personal or highly classified information. This creates a level of intimacy that tends to neither demonize Nazi leaders nor glorify heroes. One never loses sight that both Eichmann and Wallenberg are both human and react with all the human forces that drive one to accomplish enormous deeds or misdeeds. This realization is more than a little unsettling as it brings the most macabre events of the Holocaust into the realm of the daily world.
"Regarding Eichmann, you bring this notorious Nazi down to a human, albeit nightmarish, scale. Equally, one cannot help but relate to Wallenberg as a person, who, not unlike us, has his share of ordinary, everyday baggage to tote. However, at the end of the day, both Wallenberg and Eichmann have accomplished the extraordinary � and your fascinating tale gives us valuable information on how the impossible became history.
National Director of the Anti-Defamation League
I have just finished reading with deep appreciation and increasing admiration your historical novel Wallenberg Is Here!. "Because the story of Raoul Wallenberg is so well known, described in great detail by biographers and historians, and depicted with sensitivity by those who served with him and in his own words in his letters and correspondence, your project was terribly ambitious. Thankfully, your talent was equal to the rather difficult task."You have an uncanny sense of many of the key figures. Your depiction of Wallenberg is sensitive. He appears not as a hero larger than life, but as a hero in life, who offered life to the isolated and lonely Jews. Wallenberg was, as you describe him, a complex man driven by rather simple values. "Your characterization of Eichmann is also impressive. You capture his passion, his zeal, for the task at hand. You depict him as he refused to understand himself, not as a man following orders, but one who is innovating and creatively facilitating the murder of the Jews. You also understand his ambition; his differences of tactics and goals with both his superiors and his subordinates as the World War is about to end in total German defeat. "You capture with understanding but without melodrama, the desperation of the Jews, the dilemmas of their leadership and the determination of the Jewish underground to save as many Jews as possible. Throughout the work, I gained a keen sense of what is what like to be there, and how it felt. I was riveted to the book even though I understood its final outcome. "You have negotiated a difficult subject, a complex character, and the most anguished of conditions without losing your way or without losing your readers. Well done indeed.
eminent Holocaust scholar and author and former Director of the United States Holocaust Research Institute at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum