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A Jew Who Defeated Nazism

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A Jew Who Defeated Nazism: Herbert Sulzbach’s Peace, Reconciliation and a New Germany by Ainslie Hepburn tells of Mr. Sulzbach’s role in resurrecting the British-German relationship after World War II. Ms. Hepburn is a writer, tutor, and social historian from England.

Herbert Sulzbach was a man that many of us wish we were. He served as an artillery officer in the Kaiser’s army during World War I. Sulzbach then managed to escape Germany when the Nazis came to power, and served as an English officer during World War II.

A true humanitarian who practices what he preaches, is certainly difficult to find. Mr. Sulzbach, however, is one of those rare gems. Working as a liaison in a POW camp, he used his knowledge, wits, and personality to de-Nazify soldiers and officers. In fact, he was so successful that soon his program became famous.

A Jew Who Defeated Nazism: Herbert Sulzbach’s Peace, Reconciliation and a New Germany by Ainslie Hepburn tells of the lifelong journey of Mr. Sulzbach, cementing his place in history. Mr. Sulzbach worked with many low-lever POWs, but spent much time with high-ranking SS officers as well. In Featherstone Park in Northumbria, Mr. Sulzbach made sure each of them returned home with the understanding of how democracy works.

Amazingly, his methods were to impose no censorship, and getting the prisoners to debate, ask questions and answer them themselves. I have read many books about disinformation lately, and as many of us know from debating online “experts”, one cannot change minds if the opposite party is dug in.

Mr. Sulzbach believed, rightfully as it turned out, that one cannot simply kill the tens of millions of Nazis. Furthermore, the POWs returning home were the best hope for future peace. Even those who were born, and undeniably mind washed, under the Nazi regime.

In this time of great disinformation campaigns, I would have liked the book to spend more time on his methods. It’s a short book, even so, it took too long to get to the point. There was no need to go through Mr. Sulzbach’s pre-WWI, or even between the two wars, so closely. I would have much rather read more about his methods. The ending seemed hurried, the author tells us about his death and funeral, but then continues to his other achievements while still alive.

Nevertheless, this is an amazing book about an amazing man. I embarrassed to say I never heard of Herbert Sulzbach, but I know that now I will certainly never forget.
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It is no small feat to do the research required to recount a historical figure’s story. This is especially true when that figure is not well known. I enjoyed learning about Sulzbach’s unique dedication to his cause and I sympathized with this desire to bring his two “home” countries together after the war had caused so much destruction to them both.

Moreover, I learned quite a few things about WWII in Britain that were new to me. I had never learned anything about the prisoner of war camps in the UK and I found learning about this through Sulzbach’s writings and experiences to be absolutely fascinating. It certainly left me wanting to learn more.

Unfortunately, I think that this account fell a bit short in the writing and the narrative structure. I imagine that many of the issues likely came from not having enough sources to draw on, but unfortunately I just didn’t feel pulled in by the story.

When I finished reading A Jew Who Defeated Nazism, I felt that I was familiar with Herbert Sulzbach’s deeds, but I didn’t feel that I really knew him as a person. It seemed to me that the account leaned heavily on what others said and wrote about him as well as his own letters, but I didn’t feel that it was all weaved together seamlessly to create a cohesive narrative.

It was all a bit disjointed at times and not always in chronological order. For example, Hepburn mentions Sulzbach’s passing and then continues to discuss a meeting at which he was present decades before his death.

Overall, I would recommend this read if you’re interested in learning more about Herbert Sulzbach and the diplomatic relationship between Germany and the UK following WWII. For an entertaining read, however, I don’t think this is your best bet.
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Mrs. Hepburn tells the biography of a warrior, patriot, and most importantly good human and peacemaker.  Herbert Sulzbach author of "With the Guns on the Western Front."  Sulzbach after the First World War and during the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and Fascism in Europe fled to Great Britain and became an example of how his people both Jew and Gentile could move past the nightmare of the Holocaust while still holding those accountable for the horror of the recent past.  Sulzbach would later help pioneer what is now termed deprogramming of German P.O.W.s and be awarded the O.B.E. by Queen Elizabeth II.  Truly a worthwhile book and
name to learn and revere.
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Not really interesting unless you’re interested in the person and not what he did. The book starts with his parents and has details like how much the main subject and his wife sold their China for in England, which as I said, is interesting if you are interested in the individual. But as a picture in to a Jewish emigre fighting against the Nazis, it’s hard to follow and stay with.
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