HOUSTON, TX (Sept. 6, 2006) – The compelling tale of American prisoners of war (POWs) who were captured and treated as slaves during World War II will be the focus of a special September lecture at Holocaust Museum Houston by New York Times journalist Roger Cohen.
Cohen, author of the book “Soldiers and Slaves: American POWs Trapped by the Nazis’ Final Gamble,” will discuss his work and the story of American POWs during a free public lecture at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 25, 2006, at the Museum’s Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St. in Houston’s Museum District.
In his book, Cohen writes about a largely forgotten chapter of the Holocaust – the capture of American POWs at the Battle of the Bulge and elsewhere who were singled out by the Nazi regime and treated as slaves because they were Jews or resembled Jews in the eyes of the Germans.
In February 1945, 350 American POWs were captured and transported in cattle cars to Berga, a concentration camp in eastern Germany. There, they were put to work as slave laborers. More than 70 of the soldiers died in captivity. Cohen’s book explores those memories of pain, suffering and hope.
The New Yorker magazine said of his book, “Cohen gives a powerful account of a chapter of the war that was long suppressed — in part, he argues, because American authorities didn't recognize that their own soldiers had been caught in a ‘little outpost of the Holocaust.’ Cohen is particularly good at conveying the otherworldly encounters between Americans and European Jews in the camp, as when shock spreads over the face of a G.I. who realizes, after an exchange in broken Yiddish, that the crowd of wraithlike figures he sees is made up of Jews like him.”
Cohen writes on foreign affairs for the New York Times, where he has worked since 1990. He is also an international affairs columnist at The International Herald Tribune, writing the “Globalist” column.
Cohen had been foreign editor for The Times since March 2002. He became deputy foreign editor in August 2001 and acting foreign editor in September 2001.
Previously, he served as chief of the newspaper’s Berlin bureau from September 1998; as a correspondent in the Paris bureau from June 1995 to August 1998; as Balkan bureau chief based in Zagreb from April 1994 to June 1995; and as European economic correspondent based in Paris from January 1992 to April 1994.
Prior to working at The Times, Cohen was a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. In 1987, he opened The Journal’s office in Rio de Janeiro as chief correspondent in South America, covering Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Peru and Venezuela. In 1983, he opened The Journal’s office in Rome as chief correspondent, covering Italy and the east Mediterranean, reporting from Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and Lebanon.
From 1979 to 1983, Cohen was a foreign correspondent for Reuters. During that time, he was based in London, Brussels and Rome, reporting on the European Community, NATO, Belgium, Italy and the Vatican. From 1977 to 1979, he was a freelance journalist based in Paris. He is also co-founder of Speakeasy, a newspaper for students learning English.
Cohen is also the author of “Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo,” an account of the wars of Yugoslavia’s destruction, and he is the co-author of “In the Eye of the Storm: The Life of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf.”
Cohen won the Peter R. Weitz Prize from the German Marshall Fund for dispatches from Europe; an Overseas Press Club of America Citation for a series on immigration; and the Arthur F. Burns Prize from the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany for commentary on German-American relations. The same year, he also was awarded the Joe Alex Morris Jr. lectureship for distinguished foreign correspondence by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.
In 1999, Cohen was awarded an Overseas Press Club Citation for excellence in the books category for “Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo,” and in 1995 he won the Overseas Press Club’s Eric and Amy Burger Award for his investigation of torture and murder at a Serb-run Bosnian concentration camp. He received the Tom Wallace Award for feature writing from the Inter-American Press Association in 1989; an Overseas Press Club Citation for excellence for coverage of third world debt in 1987; and the Ischia Prize for best foreign coverage of the Italian economy in 1986. Born in London on Aug. 2, 1955, Cohen received his master’s degree in history and French from Oxford University in 1977.
Cohen’s lecture is being underwritten by the Lillian Kaiser Lewis Foundation, with special thanks to Continental Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston. The program is made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The lecture is free, but seating is limited. To RSVP for this event, please contact Tamara Savage at 713-942-8000, ext. 104 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy. Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston's Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004.
Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004.
For more information, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.