Sunday, January 1, 2012

January Lecture: "The Devil's Doctor"

On Tuesday, January 17, 2012 Steve Karger, a history teacher in the Public Schools of Irvington will present a lecture about the notorious Heinrich Himmler, Chief of the German Police, Minister of the Interior, and head of the Gestapo during the Nazi reign in Germany. From 1939-1945, Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and one of the persons most directly responsible for the Holocaust.

Karger's lecture relates the amazing story about Himmler and his doctor Felix Kersten, and how Kersten, at great risk to his own life and that of his family, persuaded Himmler to free thousands of Jews from the Concentration Camps where they were consigned to death. As Himmler's personal physician, Kersten found himself in a unique position from which he could gather information which could be passed on to the U.S. Office of Strategic Service (OSS). Kersten saved the lives of more than 60,000 Jews in concentration camps by persuading Himmler to disobey Hitler's direct order to kill them all.

Recently, both a film and a book have recounted the story of Himmler and Kersten. Steven Karger will draw from John Waller's book, The Devil's Doctor, to include the fascinating details of how he became involved with both the film and the book through a personal family connection.

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