Now available: A Judge in Auschwitz

Now available: A Judge in Auschwitz

In October 2021 Pen & Sword Books published my book A Judge in Auschwitz. It tells about SS judge Konrad Morgen’s crusade against SS corruption & ‘illegal’ murder in the concentration camps. It has already been published successfully in Dutch and Polish. This English version was translated by Arnold W. Palthe.

In autumn 1943, SS judge Konrad Morgen visited Auschwitz concentration camp to investigate an intercepted parcel containing gold sent from the camp. While there Morgen found the SS camp guards engaged in widespread theft and corruption. Worse, Morgen also discovered that inmates were being killed without authority from the SS leadership. While millions of Jews were being exterminated under the Final Solution programme, Konrad Morgen set about gathering evidence of these ‘illegal murders’.

Morgen also visited other camps such as Buchenwald where he had the notorious camp commandant Karl Koch and Ilse, his sadistic spouse, arrested and charged. Found guilty by an SS court, Koch was sentenced to death.

Remarkably, the apparently fearless SS judge also tried to prosecute other Nazi criminals including Waffen-SS commanders Oskar Dirlewanger and Hermann Fegelein and Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Höss. He even claimed to have tried to indict Adolf Eichmann, who was responsible for organising the mass deportation of the Jews to the extermination camps.

This intriguing work reveals how the lines between justice and injustice became blurred in the Third Reich. As well as describing the actions of this often contradictory character the author questions Morgen’s motives.

Now available: ‘Christmas under Fire, 1944’

Now available: ‘Christmas under Fire, 1944’

How was Christmas celebrated and experienced during 1944, the last year of World War II? This question is answered in the newly published book Christmas under Fire, 1944, written by the Dutch WW2 expert Kevin Prenger.

Bastogne in Belgium, Christmas 1944. Plagued by biting cold and the nerve breaking sound of striking mortar bombs, American soldiers sang Christmas carols. They ate their meagre rations, yearning for well-laid Christmas dinner tables and fried turkey. On the Eastern front, German military assembled to listen to Christmas music on the radio, if they had a little respite from the bloody battle against the advancing Red Army. After having read the latest mail from Germany, they wiped away a tear or two, thinking of their families back home.

In liberated Paris as well as in other European cities, Christmas was celebrated, how limited the circumstances may have been sometimes. In the major cities in the western part of the Netherlands, occupied by the Germans, civilians scraped the very last bits of food together for a Christmas dinner that could not appease their hunger. POWs dispersed all over the world looked forward to Christmas parcels from home. Even in Nazi concentration camps, inmates found hope in Christmas, although their suffering continued inexorably.

“Christmas under fire” tells about the circumstances in which Christmas was celebrated in the last full year of World War II by military, civilians and camp inmates alike. In the midst of the violence of war, Christmas remained a hopeful beacon of western civilization.

ISBN: 9781087410616