- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Fordham University Press; Expanded edition (December 31, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0823224414
- ISBN-13: 978-0823224418
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.8 x 5.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Search for Major Plagge: The Nazi Who Saved Jews, Expanded Edition Expanded Edition
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The Amazon Book Review
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Good, the son of two Holocaust survivors from Vilna, Lithuania, informs us that Karl Plagge, a German army officer, saved his mother and more than 250 other Jews. In September 1991, Good traveled to Vilna, looking for Plagge, who had been in charge of a military vehicle repair unit there from 1941 to 1944. Plagge had died in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1957. As the anti-Jewish policies of the Nazis increased in intensity through the 1930s, Plagge experienced increasing guilt about what was happening; in early 1939, Plagge realized the Nazis were pushing the country into another world war. His primary method of resistance against the genocide was to give work permits to Jews, allowing them to save themselves and their families from the aktions that swept the Vilna ghettos. He kept up the guise that he needed these skilled Jewish workers, although many of them were unskilled. This is an exceptional story of one man's bravery and compassion in a world where six million Jews were murdered. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"In this gripping, emotional work, Good explores the life and legacy of a mysterious German officer who secretly defied his government to save Lithuanian Jews during the Holocaust." (―Matthew Engelhardt Middletown Press)
"We need to listen to the story of Major Karl Plagge. . .who redeemed the name of human being in the time of darkness." (―Rabbi Jack Riemer South Florida Jewish Journal)
"Inspiring . . . are the faithful efforts of the book's author, Dr. Michael Good, a Connecticut physician, whose mother Pearl and her family were mong Major Plagge's (more than 250) lucky saved souls, in tracing an unlikely Nazi's life and assuring the rightful recognition of a mensch who was too humble to acknowledge his own uniqueness." (―Rabbi Israel Zoberman Southeastern Virginia Jewish News)
“This is an exceptional story of one man’s bravery and compassion in a world where six million Jews were murdered.” (―Booklist)
“A poignant and powerful story. . . . [Good’s] portrait is vivid; his questions compelling. His answers only deepen the mystery of goodness and its meaning in our age.” (―Michael Berenbaum Director, the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust, Los Angeles)
“Reconstructs the actions of the German major who saved . . . Jewish men, women, and children, including Good’s mother, by refusing to follow protocol and outwitting his superiors. . . .a true man of conscience and bravery.”―Marek Breiger, L.A. Jewish Journal (―Marek Breiger L.A. Jewish Journal)
"...unprecedented insights into the burden of silent memories and a disastrous heritage of guilt." (―Edith Wyschogrod)
"This book is a personal quest, personal journey, and a personal history." (―Jewish Book World)
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Top customer reviews
Among the many difficult questions Good explores is what makes a "hero." Does a hero have to be a martyr and if so, what does that say for us mortals who may not have that strength? Is a moral life possible for ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances? What choices can we make in our everyday lives that will allow us to participate in the project of Major Plagge and others like him, to resist absurdity and groupthink, follow our inner conscience, and just be better people?
The research paper trail the author provides is surprisingly interesting, as are the communications between present-day Germans and Holocaust survivors seeking to learn more about Major Plagge and in so doing, to learn about themselves. There are some repeated details and rough edges in the writing, but they are outshone by the book's other virtues. Warning - this story is not for the faint of heart, and it contains descriptions of unspeakable horrors. But the author's focus is not on the dark side of humanity except as contrast for the light. I am grateful for this book and for the people who made it possible. I wish there were more stories like it.
The book is well written for the author's first attempt. The only criticism I have of the book is that it seems to start and stop in strange places. It seems there could have been a unifying story line more along the lines of a screen play which integrates the stories the author discovers after the story of his mother concludes.
Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book if you have any interest in this era or in the way people treat each other. Whatever you do, do not put the book away until you read the letters that Major Plagge wrote to the attorney in the appendix of the book. Brilliant!