Hitler's Pawn (Hardcover)

The Boy Assassin and the Holocaust

By Stephen Koch

Counterpoint LLC, 9781640091443, 256pp.

Publication Date: January 8, 2019

List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

A remarkable story of a forgotten seventeen-year-old Jew who was blamed by the Nazis for the anti-Semitic violence and terror known as the Kristallnacht, the pogrom still seen as an initiating event of the Holocaust

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 the 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 global power. When France fell, after a wild chase the Nazis captured Herschel 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 the Second World War. A prisoner and alone, Herschel 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 Herschel finally won it. Based on the newest research, Pawn is the richest telling of Grynszpan's story to date.


About the Author

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