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The Berlin Mission

The Berlin Mission

The American Who Resisted Nazi Germany from Within

An unknown story of an unlikely hero–the US consul who best analyzed the threat posed by Nazi Germany and predicted the horrors to come.

In 1929, Raymond Geist went to Berlin as a consul, and he handled visas for emigrants to the US. Geist expedited the exit of Albert Einstein just before Hitler came to power. Once the Nazis began to oppress Jews and others, Geist’s role became vitally important. It was Geist who extricated Sigmund Freud from Vienna and Geist who understood the scale and urgency of the humanitarian crisis.

Even while hiding his homosexual relationship with a German, Geist fearlessly challenged the Nazi police state whenever it abused Americans in Germany or threatened US interests. He made greater use of a restrictive US immigration quota and secured visas for hundreds of unaccompanied children. All the while, he maintained a working relationship with high Nazi officials such as Himmler, Heydrich, and Göring.

While US ambassadors and consuls general cycled in and out, the indispensable Geist remained in Berlin for a decade. An invaluable analyst and problem solver, he was the first American official to warn that what lay ahead for Germany’s Jews was what later would become known as the Holocaust.
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Genre: Nonfiction / History / Europe / Germany

On Sale: October 29th 2019

Price: $28 / $35 (CAD)

Page Count: 336

ISBN-13: 9781541742161

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"Inspiring...This stirring history, which unearths a little-known role model of resistance, will move readers."—Publishers Weekly
"A vivid chronicle of 1930s Germany conveyed through the life of a lesser-known historical figure."—Kirkus Reviews
"No American knew Nazi Germany better than Raymond Geist--and no one is better qualified to tell his story than Richard Breitman. As the long-serving US consul in Berlin, Geist served as the trusted intermediary between terrified Jews and their Gestapo tormentors. One of America's leading Holocaust historians, Breitman has skillfully pieced together Geist's extraordinary, largely untold life, including a politically risky homosexual romance. A thrilling read, and a great achievement."—Michael Dobbs, author of The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village caught in between
"In Berlin Mission, Richard Breitman tells us the riveting story of Raymond Geist, an American diplomat stationed in Nazi Germany throughout the pre-war years. Based on entirely new documentation, the book presents the difficult path of an official in charge of visas to the United States, who witnessed and understood the growing plight of German Jews and helped many to reach the American safe haven, notwithstanding a restrictive immigration policy. Geist's efforts became the more crucial as, in early as in December 1938, he deduced from his contacts at the highest ranks of the Gestapo that the Jews remaining under Hitler's domination would ultimately perish. He conveyed his assessment to Washington. In our times of moral uncertainty, this book is a must."—Saul Friedländer, professor emeritus in history, UCLA
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