Third Reich Biographies

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”  Adolf Hitler

Biographical information can be found by searching a library’s online catalog. Just type in a name and the word “biography,” and the online catalog will list biographical sources available in print or electronic form. “[T]o locate biographical sources for people in a certain subject area or profession, your keyword search would combine the words describing the profession/subject with the terms “biography” and “dictionaries.”

Always remember that biographical information may not be accurate. Cross-check biographical information against other sources. The most trustworthy material is articles in popular references, such as encyclopedias and scholarly journals. “Scholarly or critical biographies are acceptable sources of biographical information as they most always feature extensive end notes of list of references …”

To begin your research consult a biographical index to find biographical information with citations to published sources. These indexes are available in your library and online on the internet. Be careful with online biographical information. Make sure that you are using a legitimate source.

The Facts on File Guide to Research, 2010


Ayer, Eleanor H. In the Ghettos: Teens Who Survived the Ghettos of the Holocaust. N.p.: Saddleback Pub, 2002. Print. Juvenile literature. Chronicles the deportation of Jews into ghettos during Hitler’s Third Reich …”

Biddle, Wayne. Dark Side of the Moon: Wernher Von Braun, the Third Reich, and the Space Race. New York: W.W. Norton, 2009. Print.

Boatner, Mark Mayo. Biographical Dictionary of World War II. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1996. Print. This book is “a monumental, single-volume reference that contains authoritative single-victim accounts of more than 1,000 key personalities from the war years.”

Breuer, William B. Nazi Spies in America: Hitler’s Undercover War. New York: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 1990. Print. Lists “Espionage agents convicted in the United States, 1937-1945.”

Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. The Dictionary of Jewish Biography. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. Print. “[A]nindispensable guide for anyone interested in the history of the Jewish people. …”

Delattre, Lucas. A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich: The Extraordinary Story of Fritz Kolbe, America’s Most Important Spy in World War II. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 2005. Print. The extraordinary story of American spy Fritz Kolbe.

Dietrich, Otto. The Hitler I Knew: The Memoirs of the Third Reich’s Press Chief. New York, NY: Skyhorse Pub., 2010. Print. The author gathered information for 12 years to write this book.

Edwards, John Carver. Berlin Calling: American Broadcasters in Service to the Third Reich. New York: Praeger, 1991. Print. “Expatriates posing as detached yet patriotic American commentators, and using ‘the newspaper-of-the-day’ voice of the stereotypical radio announcer, sought to turn U.S. opinion against the British and achieve the political objectives of of the media-savvy employer-master propagandist Paul Josef Goebbels.”

Fest, Joachim C., and Michael Bullock. The Face of the Third Reich: Portraits of the Nazi Leadership. London: I.B. Tauris, 2011. Print. Portraits of the Nazi leadership.

Frick, Lisa. Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2006. Web. 23 Sept. 2011. <>. Simon Wiesenthal (1908-2005) was a Nazi War crimes investigator and human-rights activist.

Gehlen, Wilhelm R., and Don A. Gregory. Jungvolk: The Story of a Boy Defending Hitler’s Third Reich. Philadelphia, PA: Casemate, 2008. Print. Very interesting story of a boy in the Hitler Youth.

Gerwarth, Robert. Hitler’s Hangman: The Life of Heydrich. New Haven: Yale UP, 2011. Print. “Reinhard Heydrich is widely recognized as one of the great iconic villains of the twentieth century, an appalling figure even within the context of the Nazi leadership.”

Gill, Anton. An Honorable Defeat: A History of German Resistance to Hitler, 1933-45. New York: H. Holt, 1994. Print. Who’s who in the German Resistance.

The Historian. “Biography: Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi Hunter.” Helium. Helium Inc., 13 Apr. 2008. Web. 15 Sept. 2011. <>. Simon Wiesenthal, a famous Nazi hunter, is a survivor of Mauthausen Concentration Camp. Most of his family were killed by the Nazis.

Kjelle, Marylou Morano. Hitler’s Henchmen. San Diego: Lucent, 2003. Print. Juvenile literature. “Profiles five men who held positions of power in Hitler’s regime …”

Larson, Erik. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin. New York: Crown, 2011. Print. “Documents the efforts of the first American ambassador to Hitler’s Germany, William E. Dodd …”

Leuner, Heinz David. When Compassion Was a Crime: Germany’s Silent Heroes, 1933-1945. London: Wolff, 1978. Print. A long list of rescuers is included.

Manvell, Roger, and Heinrich Fraenkel. The Men Who Tried to Kill Hitler. New York: Skyhorse Pub., 2008. Print. The book contains information on 14 men who tried to kill Hitler.

Manz, Bruno. A Mind in Prison: The Memoir of a Son and Soldier of the Third Reich. Washington, DC: Brassey’s, 2000. Print. “Manz recounts how the advice of his elders and Hitler’s charisma induced him to join the Hitler Youth at age 11 … ”

McKale, Donald M. Nazis after Hitler: How Perpetrators of the Holocaust Cheated Justice and Truth. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012. Print. “This deeply researched and informative book traces the biographies of thirty ‘typical’ perpetrators of the Holocaust–some well known, some obscure–who survived World War II.”

Meding, Dorothee Von. Courageous Hearts: Women and the Anti-Hitler Plot of 1944. Providence, RI: Berghahn, 1997. Print. The book is focused on eleven women who took part in the anti-Nazi resistance.

Metaxas, Eric. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy : A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011. Print. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, resistance leader, is examined.

O’Donnell, Patrick K. They Dared Return: The True Story of Jewish Spies behind the Lines in Nazi Germany. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2009. Print. “A never-before-told World War II story of Jewish soldiers on a dangerous mission within the Third Reich …”

Poland in Exile. Web. 03 Dec. 2011. <>. “This web site is dedicated to the men and women who left Poland to fight against the Nazis and Russian Communism in the 1939 – 1945 War. These pages are a tribute to their unselfish valour and acts as a memorial in their honour.

Posner, Gerald L. Hitler’s Children: Sons and Daughters of Leaders of the Third Reich Talk about Their Fathers and Themselves. New York: Random House, 1991. Print.

Schmidt, Ulf. Karl Brandt: The Nazi Doctor Medicine and Power in the Third Reich. London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007. Print. German war criminal’s biography.

Snyder, Louis L. Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. London: Robert Hale, 1995. Print.

Speer, Albert. Inside the Third Reich Memoirs. N.p.: Paw Prints, 2008. Print. Hitler’s architect wrote his memoirs.

Spicer, Kevin P. Hitler’s Priests: Catholic Clergy and National Socialism. DeKalb: Northern Illinois UP, 2008. Print. Appendix 2 contains biographical data on 138 brown priests, 109 diocesan priests, 19 ordained members of religious orders, and 10 priests from dioceses outside Germany.

Stürmer, Michael. The German Empire: A Short History. New York: Modern Library, 2000. Print. Key figures in the history of the German Empire.

Von, Hassell Agostino., Sigrid Von Hoyningen-Huene. MacRae, and Simone Ameskamp. Alliance of Enemies: The Untold Story of the Secret American and German Collaboration to End World War II. New York: Thomas Dunne, 2006. Print. “A brief introduction to some of the principal players, many of whom may be unfamiliar to readers, and their OSS code names and/or numbers.”

Wick, Steve. The Long Night: William I. Shirer and the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print. William L Shirer started the Berlin bureau of Edward R. Murrow’s CBS News in the 1930s.

Fiction, Nazi Germany


“The day of individual happiness has passed.” Adolf Hitler


Author Philip Kerr does an enormous amount of research for his historical World War II era novels. His original “Berlin Noir” trilogy has stretched to eight novels. The series jumps back and forth in time. Louisville’s Courier Journal says: “There is also the history lesson. The accuracy and detail of time and place are exquisite –things such as slang, power relationships, views of everyday life–are deftly and unobtrusively worked into the narrative.” April 21, 2012.  Rebecca Cantrell is also a Nazi novel author who strives for accuracy. Start one of these books: you will be hooked.

Auslander, Shalom. Hope: A Tragedy. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print. “The critically acclaimed writer Shalom Auslander’s debut novel is a hilarious and disquieting examination of the burdens and abuse of history, propelled with unstoppable rhythm and filled with existential musings and mordant wit. It is a comic and compelling story of the hopeless longing to be free of those pasts that haunt our every present.”

Begley, Louis. Wartime Lies. New York: Knopf, 1991. Print. “As the world slips into the throes of war in 1939, young Maciek’s once closetted existence outside Warsaw is no more. When Warsaw falls, Maciek escapes with his aunt Tania. Together they endure the war, running, hiding, changing their names, forging documents to secure their temporary lives—as the insistent drum of the Nazi march moves ever closer to them and to their secret wartime lies.”

Blake, Richard A. “While Warsaw Burns.” America Magazine. 24 Mar. 2003. Web. 19 Feb. 2013. <>. The film “The Pianist,” directed by Roman Planski, is reviewed. “The Pianist sets these questions in the context of the Holocaust. As director, Roman Polanski brings a fearful authenticity to the film. A Jewish child in Crakow, he could observe the frantic efforts to preserve humanity under the Nazis. In the best of his earlier work, such as ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ (1968) and ‘Chinatown’ (1974), he probed the effects of evil on those powerless to resist. Now at age 70, he has dared to lift the scab and drain the source of the infection.”

Byrd, Max. “‘Mission to Paris,’ by Alan Furst.”  The New York Times, 24 June 2012. Web. 02 July 2012. <>. “’Mission to Paris’ is the 12th of his enormously successful historical spy novels, and one of the best. Its protagonist, the Austrian-born American actor Fredric Stahl, is, like most of Furst’s heroes, in his early 40s, stoic, resourceful, quietly sympathetic. In his films Stahl plays ‘a warm man in a cold world.’ And he has come to Paris in the autumn of 1938 not on a mission but simply to make a movie. Soon enough, though, as the wheels and gears of the plot engage, he stumbles into the clutches of Nazi conspirators who want to exploit his celebrity for pro-­German propaganda.”

Cantrell, Rebecca. A Game of Lies. New York: Forge, 2011. Print. Hannah Vogel, “posing as travel reporter Adelheid Zinsli and lover of SS officer, … has been collecting Nazi secrets from Lang and smuggling them back to Switzerland.”

Cantrell, Rebecca. A Night of Long Knives. New York: Forge, 2010. Print. “Journalist Hannah Vogel has vowed to never again set foot in her homeland of Germany while the Nazis are still in power.”

Cantrell, Rebecca. A Trace of Smoke. New York: Forge, 2009. Print. “Even though hardened crime reporter Hannah Vogel knows all too well how tough it is to survive in 1931 Berlin, she is devastated when she sees a photograph of her brother’s body in the Hall of the Unnamed Dead.”

Cavanaugh, Jack. His Watchful Eye. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2002. Print. “The thrilling sequel to the Christy-award winning ‘While Mortals Sleep.’ Konrad Reichmann, an outstanding product of Hitler’s youth movement, becomes disillusioned as the reality of the Russian front bears no resemblance to the ‘glory’ of the Third Reich.”

Cavanaugh, Jack. While Mortals Sleep. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2001. Print. “In the first installment of the “Songs in the Night” series, Josef Schumacher, pastor of a small church on the outskirts of Berlin, is infuriated when a Nazi youth rally pulls the teens away from church services.”

Dietrich, William. Blood of the Reich: A Novel. New York, NY: Harper, 2011. Print. “On the eve of World War II, explorer Kurt Raider receives an order from Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler to set out from Berlin in search of a legendary energy source hidden among the mountains of Tibet–one that could bring victory to the Nazis.”

Doughty, Louise. Fires in the Dark. New York: HarperCollins, 2004. Print. “Fires In the Dark reveals the highly secretive and misunderstood world of the coppersmith gypsies. In 1927, when prosperity still reigns in Central Europe.”

Fallada, Hans, and Michael Hofmann. Every Man Dies Alone. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2009. Print. “This never-before-translated masterpiece–by a heroic best-selling writer who saw his life crumble when he wouldn’t join the Nazi Party–is based on a true story.”

Friedman, Daniel. Don’t Ever Get Old. New York: Minotaur, 2012. Print. This mystery is the story of Baruch “Buck” Schatz, an 88-year-old. “Called to the deathbed of Jim Wallace, a fellow survivor of the POW death camp in Chelmno, Poland, Buck learns that Heinrich Ziegler, the sadistic guard who enjoyed tormenting Jewish prisoners, did not die at the end of the war as Buck believed, but escaped with a trunk load of Nazi gold.”

Furst, Alan. Dark Star: A Novel. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2002. Print. “Paris, Moscow, Berlin, and Prague, 1937. In the back alleys of nighttime Europe, war is already under way. André Szara, survivor of the Polish pogroms and the Russian civil wars and a foreign correspondent for Pravda, is co-opted by the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and becomes a full-time spymaster in Paris.”

Furst, Alan. The Foreign Correspondent: A Novel. New York: Random House, 2006. Print. “From Alan Furst, whom The New York Times calls ‘America’s preeminent spy novelist,’ comes an epic story of romantic love, love of country, and love of freedom-the story of a secret war fought in elegant hotel bars and first-class railway cars, in the mountains of Spain and the backstreets of Berlin. It is an inspiring, thrilling saga of everyday people forced by their hearts’ passion to fight in the war against tyranny.”

Furst, Alan. Kingdom of Shadows: A Novel. New York: Random House, 2001. Print. “In spymaster Alan Furst’s most electrifying thriller to date, Hungarian aristocrat Nicholas Morath–a hugely charismatic hero–becomes embroiled in a daring and perilous effort to halt the Nazi war machine in eastern Europe.”

Furst, Alan. Night Soldiers: A Novel. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988. Print. “‘Night Soldiers’ masterfully re-creates the European world of 1934-45: the struggle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the last desperate gaiety of the beau monde in 1937 Paris, and guerrilla operations with the French underground in 1944. ‘Night Soldiers’ is a scrupulously researched panoramic novel, a work on a grand scale.”

Furst, Alan. The Polish Officer: A Novel. New York: Random House, 1995. Print. “Capt. Alexander de Milja is a chameleon. A cartographer by profession, de Milja works as an intelligence officer in the Polish underground at the outset of World War II. When the Germans discover de Milja’s identity in Poland, he goes to France and later Russia to continue his work.”

Furst, Alan. Red Gold: A Novel. New York: Random House, 1999. Print. “In World War II, a French film director working for the Vichy resistance has to smuggle a large shipment of arms under the nose of the Nazis. The guns are the price the Communists demand for cooperation with the resistance.”

Furst, Alan. Spies of the Balkans: A Novel. New York: Random House, 2010. Print. “As war approaches northern Greece, the spies begin to circle–from the Turkish legation to the German secret service. In the ancient port of Salonika, Costa Zannis, a senior police official, head of an office that handles special ‘political’ cases, risks everything to secure an escape route for those hunted by the Gestapo.”

Furst, Alan. The Spies of Warsaw: A Novel. New York: Random House, 2008. Print. “In 1937 Warsaw, on the eve of World War II, intelligence operatives on both sides of the forthcoming struggle wage their own espionage battle in a world of betrayal, intrigue, and abduction.”

Glazener, Mary. The Cup of Wrath: A Novel Based on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Resistance to Hitler. Savannah, GA: F.C. Beil, 1992. Print. “Discover the dedication, humanity, and intrigue of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a young German pastor and theologian who was executed by the Nazis at age 39 for his part in the ‘Officers’ Plot.”

Gondelman, Jonathan. “Life Goes On.” Jewish Ideas Daily. 4 Feb. 2013. Web. 15 June 2013. <>. “There is a story behind the recent publication of Hans Keilson’s ‘Life Goes On’. It was the Jewish author’s first novel, based on his youth and early adulthood in Depression-era Germany. When the book was published in 1933, Keilson was just 23 years old and finishing medical school. A year later the Nazi Party banned the book and forbade him to practice medicine. In 1936, a year after the passage of the Nuremberg Laws, Keilson left Germany for the Netherlands, where he lived under a false name and established a pediatric practice. When the Germans occupied the Netherlands, he joined the Resistance and traveled around the country treating Jewish children who were separated from their parents and living underground. He wrote two more novels, ‘Death of the Adversary’ and ‘Comedy in a Minor Key’, both about the war.”

Herman, David. “The Origin of Violence.” The Origin of Violence. 02 Apr. 2012. Web. 04 Dec. 2012. <>. “In the past few years there has been a wave of acclaimed French novels about Vichy and the Holocaust – Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française, Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones, Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key and now Fabrice Humbert’s The Origin of Violence, winner of the first-ever French Orange Prize.”

“The Holocaust.” Mitchell.libguides. Mitchell College. Web. 04 May 2013. <>. A list of books covering the Holocaust.

Jenoff, Pam. The Kommandant’s Girl. Ontario, Canada: Mira, 2007. Print. “Set in a time when loyalties were tested and no one could be trusted, [the author] … faithfully explores the timeless theme of hope, struggle and defiance in the face of overwhelming odds.”

Kerr, Philip. A German Requiem. London, England: Viking, 1991. Print. “In ‘A German Requiem,’ the private eye has survived the collapse of the Third Reich to find himself in Vienna. Amid decaying imperial splendor, he traces concentric circles of evil and uncovers a legacy that makes the wartime atrocities seem lily-white in comparison.”

Kerr, Philip. A Quiet Flame. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2009. Print. “A Quiet Flame opens in 1950. Falsely fingered a war criminal, Bernie Gunther has booked passage to Buenos Aires, lured, like the Nazis whose company he has always despised, by promises of a new life and a clean passport from the Perón government.”

Kerr, Philip. Field Gray. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011. Print. “In a historical suspense novel, chain-smoking, hard-drinking Bernie Gunther moves from riot-torn Berlin in 1931 to Adenauer’s Germany in 1954–with a stop at a Russian prisoner-of-war camp along the way.”

Kerr, Philip. Hitler’s Peace: A Novel of the Second World War. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2005. Print. “A stunning World War II ‘what if’ thriller in which the fate of Europe-and of its remaining 3 million Jews-hangs in the balance.”

Kerr, Philip. If the Dead Not Rise. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010. Print. “Berlin, 1934: The Nazis have secured the 1936 Olympiad for the city but are facing foreign resistance.”

Kerr, Philip. March Violets. London, England: Viking, 1989. Print. “March Violets introduces readers to Bernie Gunther, an ex-policeman who thought he’d seen everything on the streets of 1930s Berlin-until he turned freelance and each case he tackled sucked him further into the grisly excesses of Nazi subculture.”

Kerr, Philip. The One from the Other. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2006. Print. “Working as a private detective in Munich in 1949, Bernie Gunther copes with the chaos of postwar Germany when a woman hires him to find out the fate of her missing husband, a war criminal whose death she wants to confirm.”

Kerr, Philip. The Pale Criminal. London, England: Viking, 1990. Print. “The Pale Criminal brings back Bernie Gunther, an ex-policeman who thought he’d seen everything on the streets of 1930s Berlin-until he turned freelance and each case he tackled sucked him further into the grisly excesses of Nazi subculture.”

Kosinski, Jerzy. The Painted Bird. New York: Grove, 1995. Print. “Kosinski’s story follows a dark-haired, olive-skinned boy, abandoned by his parents during World War II, as he wanders alone from one village to another, sometimes hounded and tortured, only rarely sheltered and cared for. ”

Kuehn, Heinz R. “At the Heart of Nazi Germany.” Rev. of The Cup of Wrath: A Novel Based on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Resistance to Hitler. Sewanee Review Summer 1995. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 10 Jan. 2012. A novel about Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s resistance to Hitler.

Némirovsky, Irène, and Sandra Smith. Suite Française. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. Print. “Irene Nemirovsky “was a highly successful writer living in Paris, But she was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz; a month later she was dead at the age of thirty-nine.” “Suite Francaise is a singularly piercing evocation.”

Styron, William. Sophie’s Choice. New York: Random House, 1979. Print. “this complex and ambitious novel opens with Stingo, a young southerner, journeying north in 1947 to become a writer. It leads us into his intellectual and emotional entanglement with his neighbors in a Brooklyn rooming house: Nathan, a tortured, brilliant Jew, and his lover, Sophie, a beautiful Polish woman whose wrist bears the grim tattoo of a concentration camp…and whose past is strewn with death that she alone survived.”

Szeman, Sherri. The Kommandant’s Mistress: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins, 1993. Print. “‘The Kommandant’s Mistress’ focuses on a female inmate of a concentration camp who sexually services the camp Kommandant. The novel is built on the juxtaposition of two narratives, one by the Kommandant and one by his prisoner. The Kommandant imagines that the woman shares his pleasure in the encounter. Other prisoners regard her with envy and disgust, imagining her experience as less harsh than theirs. Her narrative makes clear that the acts that the Kommandant forces her to perform are yet another component of the atrocity inflicted upon the Jews of the camp on the way to their murder.”

Wiseman, Thomas. Children of the Ruins: A Novel. Boston: Little, Brown, 1986. Print. “Wiseman’s seventh novel, a two-part story, focuses on a Cologne youth gang. During World War II particularly such groups of petty delinquents provided a form of resistance to the Nazis.”