At the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp, communist prisoners organized resistance against the SS and even planned an uprising. They helped rescue a three-year-old Jewish boy, Stefan Jerzy Zweig, from certain death in the gas chambers. After the war, his story became a focus for the German Democratic Republic's celebration of its resistance to the Nazis.
Now Bill Niven tells the true story of Stefan Zweig: what actually happened to him in Buchenwald, how he was protected, and at what price. He explores the (mis)representation of Zweig's rescue in East Germany and what this reveals about that country's understanding of its Nazi past. Finally he looks at the telling of the Zweig rescue story since German unification: a story told in the GDR to praise communists has become a story used to condemn them.
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Professor of Contemporary German Studies, Nottingham Trent UniversityReview:
In this original and thoroughly researched analysis, Bill Niven picks his way with admirable clarity through the tangled webs of spin and counter-spin, never claiming to attain a definitive narrative of what "really" happened, but also not shrinking from robust censure of overt distortion or partisanship. --The Times Literary Supplement
[A] very well-researched work of great insight and sophistication, a fine piece of scholarship that furthers our understanding of the way ideology was formed under Communism. --Central European History
[A] lucidly written and fascinating study which draws on a variety of sources (interviews, archive, literature, film). It is that rare thing, a truly scholarly book that addresses and deserves a wide audience. --Journal of European Studies
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