Hitler's Pawn
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 HolocaustAfter 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, Hitler's Pawn is the richest telling of Grynszpan’s story to date.

Hitler's Pawn Details

TitleHitler's Pawn
Author
ReleaseJan 8th, 2019
PublisherCounterpoint
ISBN-139781640091443
Rating
GenreNonfiction, World War II, Holocaust, History, Cultural, Germany, Biography, Autobiography, Memoir

Hitler's Pawn Review

  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    As a historian, it's always refreshing to read a book that teaches me something new--especially about a topic I've studied quite a bit. Koch's work recounts the tale of a Jewish male teenager living in exile in Paris, who decided to revenge the deportation of his family and 12,000 other Polish Jews from legal residence in Germany in October 1938. He shot a low-level German diplomat to bring light to Nazi atrocities, and Hitler and his minions seized on the action to justify Kristallnacht and, ul As a historian, it's always refreshing to read a book that teaches me something new--especially about a topic I've studied quite a bit. Koch's work recounts the tale of a Jewish male teenager living in exile in Paris, who decided to revenge the deportation of his family and 12,000 other Polish Jews from legal residence in Germany in October 1938. He shot a low-level German diplomat to bring light to Nazi atrocities, and Hitler and his minions seized on the action to justify Kristallnacht and, ultimately, the extermination of millions of Jews. The work is a history, but it's also a spotlight on today's scapegoating of minority groups and anti-immigration rhetoric plaguing many nations. It is both a lesson from the past and a warning for the modern world.I received an early copy for honest review from Book of the Month Club.
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  • Alex Sullivan
    January 1, 1970
    This is a tighly written examination of the life a relatively minor figure who casted a large shadow on the politics surrounding the Second World War. It is well researched and written in an easy to read style, with plenty of background information for those who are not intimently familiar with the time period. A good read for anyone interested in the events leading up to the Second World War and the Holocaust.Received advanced reader copy.
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  • Naina
    January 1, 1970
    Hitler's Pawn is a well-researched, non-fiction account of Hershel Grynszpan's impact as one of the catalysts of World War 2 and the Holocaust. Hershel Grynszpan was a seventeen-year-old Jewish boy seeking refuge in France from Germany. The rest of his family was still in Germany and had been subjected to horrible treatment by the Germans--they were rounded up with other Jewish families and deported to Poland without any notice or any of their belongings. Hearing of this, Hershel concocts a plan Hitler's Pawn is a well-researched, non-fiction account of Hershel Grynszpan's impact as one of the catalysts of World War 2 and the Holocaust. Hershel Grynszpan was a seventeen-year-old Jewish boy seeking refuge in France from Germany. The rest of his family was still in Germany and had been subjected to horrible treatment by the Germans--they were rounded up with other Jewish families and deported to Poland without any notice or any of their belongings. Hearing of this, Hershel concocts a plan to shoot a German officer in France and eventually does so, ironically taking the life of Ernst vom Roth, a German diplomat not sympathetic to the Nazi regime. Hitler and other Nazis use this assassination to blame "old world Jewry" and use it as a reason for their poor treatment of Jews. I had never heard of Hershel or the role he played in history, and I found this book fascinating and enlightening. If I learn something from a historical non-fiction book, that is a win for me. Thank you to Book of the Month for my advanced readers copy.
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  • Sandy Brehl
    January 1, 1970
    I'm by no means a WWII/Holocaust scholar, but I've done some deep dives in research for writing and now in training to be an outreach educator for Holocaust History. Even so, this provided new-to-me valuable information about historic events and the intricacies of various players in the Third Reich echelons.The detailed research cites reliable sources, and the events and personalities unfold with surprising revelations. I confess to feeling that the author fell into a pattern of repeating inform I'm by no means a WWII/Holocaust scholar, but I've done some deep dives in research for writing and now in training to be an outreach educator for Holocaust History. Even so, this provided new-to-me valuable information about historic events and the intricacies of various players in the Third Reich echelons.The detailed research cites reliable sources, and the events and personalities unfold with surprising revelations. I confess to feeling that the author fell into a pattern of repeating information from earlier portions of the text a fair amount, usually to set up the subsequent developments. Perhaps it was intended to make the work more comprehensible when reading single chapters, but it became a bit tedious toward the end. Even so, I recommend this as a worthy read for curious and/or scholarly readers, and I'm grateful to have read it.
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  • Nissa
    January 1, 1970
    If you are interested in WWII or the Holocaust, you will want to read this book. No, it is not an easy book to read but, it moves quickly and is well-written. I highly recommend it.
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