Useful Enemies: John Demjanjuk and America’s Open-Door Policy for Nazi War Criminals; By Richard Rashke; Delphinium
Richard Rashke takes a unique approach to Holocaust literature in his latest book, Useful Enemies. He tells a story that aims to capture why it took so long for the United States to strip Ivan Demjanjunk, a Nazi collaborator, of his US citizenship and deport him back to Germany in 2009. Rashke not only allows the story to unfold in such a clear and precise way, but his style of writing captures the reader’s attention so that it is difficult to end one chapter without moving directly on to the next. The author’s writing is so engaging that he makes the reader feel like they are part of the investigation and in the courtroom.
On the one hand, Rashke tells the political story about the motives behind the U.S.‘s welcoming of war criminals onto its land. On the other hand, he successfully balances it with the emotional story of the Holocaust. Although the book is a bit lengthy, it is a must-read for anyone interested in the Holocaust, American politics, and those interested in understanding how justice may be carried out. The author does an outstanding job in describing the tireless efforts of Elizabeth Holtzman and Eli Rosenbaum who searched for Nazis and Nazi collaborators so that they would be persecuted.
Thanks to the research and writing of individuals such as Rashke, we are able to remember the details and the truth of the Holocaust. As Simon Wiesenthal, a famous Nazi searcher once said, “When I die and go to heaven, I will meet the victims of the Holocaust. They will tell me their professions while they lived. When they ask me what I did on earth, I will reply, ‘I never forgot you.’” As a third generation Holocaust survivor and scholar of Holocaust studies, I highly recommend reading Rashke’s Useful Enemies.