Stuff in the ‘Trawniki’ Category

17 January, 2020

CITIZEN 865: The Hunt for Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers in America, Debbie Cenziper

The gripping story of a team of Nazi hunters at the U.S. Department of Justice as they raced against time to expose members of a brutal SS killing force who disappeared in America after World War Two.
“Cenziper brought her investigative skills to bear on the challenge of retrieving the hard facts, but she also possesses the gift of a storyteller….[Citizen 865 is] a highly significant work of investigation that is eye-opening and heartbreaking. She compels us to confront the crimes of the Trawniki men in a way that burns itself into both memory and history.”―Washington Post

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 Two.

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 U.S. 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:  The Hunt for Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers in America (Hachette Books, November 2019) 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 one-time 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 U.S. 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 after the war was over.

Debbie Cenziper is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who writes for The Washington Post. She is also the director of investigative reporting at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Over 20 years, Debbie’s stories have sent people to prison, changed laws, prompted federal investigations and produced more funding for affordable housing, mental health care and public schools. She has won many major awards in American print journalism, including the Robert F. Kennedy Award and the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting from Harvard University. She received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for stories about affordable housing developers in Miami who were stealing from the poor; a year before that, she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for stories about widespread breakdowns in the nation’s hurricane-tracking system. Debbie grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Florida in 1992.


31 October, 2017

CITIZEN 865, Debbie Cenziper

Pulitzer-Prize Winning Washington Post investigative journalist relates the untold story of how a group of historians-turned-investigators at the U.S. Justice Department pursued one of the last great secrets of the Third Reich, a group of killers known as the Trawniki guards, Soviet soldiers recruited by the S.S. out of POW camps, and how more than dozen were found living decades later in cities and suburbs across America and brought to justice (Hachette Books/Fall 2019/World English).