Forty years later, Lebert's son Stephan--also a journalist--tracked down these same men and women to find out what had become of them, how they remembered their fathers, and what effect the names they carried had on the paths they had taken. Lebert's account of his conversations, juxtaposed with his father's postwar interviews, gives us an extraordinary and unflinching look at how these individuals have coped with a horrifying heritage.
The stories that emerge are fascinating, surprising, and often disturbing: The young man who refuses military service and is granted conscientious objector status on the grounds that his father is imprisoned by the state -- as a Nazi war criminal. The boy who begins his education learning the principles of fascism, finishes it at a Catholic boarding school, and later becomes a priest and a missionary to Africa. The woman who was systematically refused work because she wouldn't use an alias, but who now lives in the suburbs under her husband's name and keeps secret contacts with other nostalgic Nazis. The journalist who writes a scathing magazine article reviling the father responsible for two million deaths, and is greeted with a barrage of letters from outraged Germans -- whatever your father may have done, the letters argue, fathers must always be honored.
This is a remarkable and illuminating addition to our knowledge of the Nazi past and of how this past continues to haunt the present. And it offers a chilling perspective on the way children live with the legacy of their parents' deeds.
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