The Search for Major Plagge

The Search for Major Plagge

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On April 11, 2005, in Jerusalem, Karl Plagge will be named a qRighteous Amongthe Nationsq hero by the State of Israel. He joins Oskar Schindler and some380 other similarly honored Germans who protected and saved Jews duringthe Holocaust.Karl Plagge's story is of a unique kind of courage--that of a German army officerwho subverted the system of death to save the lives of some 250 Jews in Vilna, Lithuania. One of those he saved was Michael Good's mother.Haunted by his mother's stories of the mysterious officer who commanded herslave labor camp, Michael Good resolved to find out all he could about the enigmaticqMajor Plagge.q For five years, he wrote hundreds of letters and scoured theInternet to recover, in one hard-earned bit of evidence after another, informationabout the man whose moral choices saved hundreds of lives. This unforgettablebook is the first portrait of a modest man who simply refused to play by the rules.Interviewing camp survivors, opening German files untouched for more thanfifty years, and translating newly discovered letters, Good weaves an amazing tale.An engineer from Darmstadt, Plagge joined, and then left, the Nazi Party. In Vilna, in whose teeming ghetto tens of thousands of Jews faced extermination, he foundhimself in charge of a camp where military vehicles were repaired. Time aftertime, he saved Jews from prison, SS death squads, and the ghetto by issuingthem work permits as qindispensableq laborers essential to the war effort.Karl Plagge never considered himself a hero, describing himself as a fellow travelerfor not doing more to fight the regime. He said that he saved Jews--and others--because qI thought it was my duty.q This book also reminds us of the many wayshuman beings can resist evil. qThere are always some people, q Pearl Good said ofthe man who saved her life when he didn't have to, qwho decide that the horroris not to be.qFortunately for my grandfather, his friend Poddanya#39;s car repair workshop was co- opted by the Germans and integrated into the Wehrmacht war machine under the command of the HKP unit in the Vilna area. From the first days of the Germananbsp;...

Title:The Search for Major Plagge
Author:Michael Good
Publisher:Fordham Univ Press - 2006


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