Debbie Cenziper Presents “Citizen 865: The Hunt for Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers in America”
Interviewed by Walter Wolf
5:00 p.m. Reception | 6:00 p.m. Presentation | 7:00 p.m. Book Signing
In 1990, in a drafty basement archive in Prague, two American historians made a startling discovery: a Nazi roster from 1945 that no Western investigator had ever seen. The long-forgotten document, containing more than 700 names, helped unravel the details behind the most lethal killing operation in World War II.
In the tiny Polish village of Trawniki, the SS set up a school for mass murder and then recruited a roving army of foot soldiers, 5,000 men strong, to help annihilate the Jewish population of occupied Poland. After the war, some of these men vanished, making their way to the United States and blending into communities across America. Though they participated in some of the most unspeakable crimes of the Holocaust, “Trawniki men” spent years hiding in plain sight, their terrible secrets intact.
In a story spanning seven decades, Citizen 865 chronicles the harrowing wartime journeys of two Jewish orphans from occupied Poland who outran the men of Trawniki and settled in the United States, only to learn that some of their onetime captors had followed. A tenacious team of prosecutors and historians pursued these men and, up against the forces of time and political opposition, battled to the present day to remove them from US soil.
Through insider accounts and research in four countries, this urgent and powerful narrative provides a front row seat to the dramatic turn of events that allowed a small group of American Nazi hunters to hold murderous men accountable for their crimes decades after the war’s end.
The reception and presentation are free and open to the public, and brought to you by the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. To register, please call 504-528-1944 x 412.
Can’t make it to the Museum? Watch it live.
About the Author
Debbie Cenziper is an investigative journalist, professor, and author based in Washington, DC. A contributing reporter for the investigative team at The Washington Post, she has won many major awards in print journalism, including the 2007 Pulitzer Prize. Cenziper is the coauthor of the critically acclaimed Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality. She was recently named the director of investigative journalism at the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.