The true story of Folke Bernadotte’s heroic rescue of 30,000 prisoners during WWII
In one of the most amazing rescues of WWII, the Swedish head of the Red Cross rescued more than 30,000 people from concentration camps in the last three months of the war. Folke Bernadotte did so by negotiating with the enemy — shaking hands with Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Gestapo. Time was of the essence, as Hitler had ordered the destruction of all camps and everyone in them.
A Forgotten Hero chronicles Folke’s life and extraordinary journey, from his family history and early years to saving thousands of lives during WWII and his untimely assassination in 1948. A straightforward and compelling narrative, A Forgotten Hero sheds light on this important and heroic historical figure.
“Shelley Emling . . . brings Bernadotte to life . . . She does a superb job in rectifying the cloud of obscurity that has settled over him . . . The energy, cunning, and forcefulness that Bernadotte deployed is excellently portrayed in the book.” — New York Journal of Books
“Shelley Emling’s book about my father is very interesting, especially the second half about the end of the Third Reich. Today’s readers, perhaps mostly the younger generation, are not, in general, very aware of this important period of the Second World War. The rivalry and jockeying for position with the führer to the bitter end is well depicted and astonishing. How my father — with the help of Heinrich Himmler’s confidante, Walter Schellenberg — managed to convince the head of the Gestapo and the concentration camps to overlook his sworn allegiance to Adolf Hitler is well narrated and very important knowledge for readers. An essential read for those interested in the Nazis, the Third Reich, and the end of the Second World War. Well done!” — Bertil Bernadotte, Folke Bernadotte’s son
“In this gripping work, Shelley Emling unearths the story of a determined Swede who risked German guns and Allied bombing to save thousands from Nazi concentration camps. Harrowing and hopeful, A Forgotten Hero will restore your belief in humanity.” — Lisa Verge Higgins, author of Random Acts of Kindness
“Shelley Emling’s A Forgotten Hero is a splendid, riveting, authentic account of Swedish diplomat Folke Bernadotte's wonderfully successful effort to rescue 30,000 Jewish and other European prisoners from Nazi death camps in the waning days of the Second World War. Emling describes with great clarity and tremendous feeling how Bernadotte forced Nazi officials to release prisoners to the Swedish Red Cross. In a world gone mad with murder and destruction, Bernadotte stood firm for civilization and the dignity of human beings. Emling's book is a brilliant, lasting monument to his memory.” — Bevin Alexander, acclaimed military historian and author of How Hitler Could Have Won World War II and Inside the Nazi War Machine
“With journalistic verve and precision, Shelley Emling navigates the machinations of Nazi Germany’s ghastly plot to exterminate millions. Her explosive narrative is a salient reminder that demonizing ‘the other’ heinously erodes our humanity. When the multitudes remained indifferent because the Nazi threat was not personal, Folke Bernadotte headed straight towards the conflagration, at enormous personal risk, to save strangers. Emling ensures that Bernadotte — who went toe to toe with Hitler’s henchmen — will be remembered as an example of our better selves.” — Lillian S. Weiss, co-author of Endless Enemies: Inside FBI Counterterrorism
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