Saturday, December 03, 2005

'A Nazi Past ... an Overlooked Death'

I read a rather unusual NYT obit yesterday, which turned out to be a gripping little tale. Hermine Braunsteiner Ryan lived several different lives, but her most vicious one was as a brutal Nazi camp warden. And she showed a knack for shaking off her past and movin on - I don't mean to commend her for this, merely to point it out - so much so that while she died in 1999, her first American newspaper obit isn't appearing until now. But apparently it was a Wikipedia entry as well as former NYT editor Joseph Lelyveld's book that tipped the Gray Lady off to a missing link in its record of the past. The woman even had a New York connection, having lived here for several years, before being extradited back to Europe. A great read, especially the ending, which is almost cinematic.
A Nazi Past, a Queens Home Life, an Overlooked Death [NYT]
Hermine Braunsteiner [Wikipedia]

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