Otford Press is proud to announce the publication of One Man In His Time, the extraordinary autobiography of Hans Post.
Hans Post was born in Germany in 1926 to a nationalistic mother (a member of the SS Auxiliary from 1928) and militaristic father (a WWI veteran). He won leadership roles in the Hitler Youth, volunteered for SS Waffen at age 16 and received his mobilisation papers at 17. Months later he was drafted to the Skorzeny Commando, led by the infamous Colonel Otto Skorzeny, who had rescued Mussolini from the impregnable Gran Sasso. Hans Post wore an American uniform on a 1944 bid to snatch Eisenhower in Paris, and was awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class for his actions in the Battle of the Bulge.
Hans Post was 19 at war's end. As a prisoner of the Allies he spent time in 14 camps, including nine months in Thoreé-les-Pins, where most Germans were shot or starved to death. His account of the camp may be the only one written in English by a witness.
He spent the next 15 years emerging from the war's shadow, recovering physically and trying to reconcile himself with his past.
In the mid 1950s he emigrated to Australia with his wife, Lydia, and their three children. As communists, they had become alienated from family and friends at home.
In Australia, working at Australian Iron and Steel in Wollongong, Hans Post directed his energy into activism, specifically workers' and migrants' rights. But his passions knew no boundaries. He harboured conscripts during the Vietnam War and was the first Australian JP to be sworn in without reference to God (after lobbying to have the law changed). He pushed successfully for Wollongong's first TAFE Welfare Course, while Lydia was responsible for the first Family Planning clinics in Wollongong and Port Kembla. Today, he is vying with his stepson Duncan for the title of Australia's most prolific blood donor.
When his parents visited Australia in 1969, Hans was desperate to discuss his memories. They refused to acknowledge their early support for the Nazis, and denied everything else. No, he had not worn a tailor-made Nazi uniform to a wedding as a five-year-old. No, the family had not encouraged him to join the Hitler Youth to pave his way to the SS. He was making it all up.
Uneasy as the war's 50-year anniversary approached, he felt compelled to confront himself, to purge himself by telling the stories. For several hours at a stretch, once each fortnight from 1994 to 1998, he spoke into a microphone held by a neighbour, former Christian Brother, Michael Morley. When Michael told him the last chapter was typed, he enjoyed his best night's sleep for years. This unique book is both a powerful personal story and a significant historical document.
Lydia died suddenly in 1975. Hans Post now lives in his hand-built mudbrick home in rural NSW, with his wife Gina Behrens, who is Jewish.
Hans Post will be available for limited interviews. Please contact Katie McMurray at KatieMac Publicity on 02 9130 8559 or email her firstname.lastname@example.org.
One Man in His Time, Hans Post, as told to his friend, Michael Morley
published by Otford Press
isbn 1876928352, ARP $39.95 pb. illustrated, 430 pp, large format
Date of publication Oct 7, 2002. Embargo date Oct 4.
Comments about One Man in His Time
'The extraordinary story of a young German in the Third Reich. With candour and critical self-reflection Hans Post recounts his enthusiastic participation in the Hitler Youth and details his activities as part of an élite SS formation during World War II. Post's autobiography paints a vivid picture of what it was like to grow up as a young man in Nazi Germany and frankly explores his generation's tragic and disastrous complicity in the war of conquest and annihilation unleashed by Hitler. There are very few high-quality memoirs of the Hitler generation available in English, and the publication of Post's book is therefore a most welcome event.'
Dr Steven R. Welch, Senior Lecturer, Modern German History, University of Melbourne.
'Hans' life story reveals both the appetite for justice in all of us and the
capacity to change oneself, as a way to also change society.'
Peter McGregor, University of Western Sydney.
'One Man in His Time is not merely an autobiography. It is a deeply, fascinating, indeed unique, insight into the Nazi era in Germany. It is therefore a valuable social document, as well as an absorbing story of one person's response to the horrors of that totalitarian regime.'
Paul Kraus , Writer.
'Hans Post, whom I have known longer than half a century, writes in his biography impressively and precisely about the time we experienced together in various prisoner of war camps.'
Hans Joachim Finke (Germany), Author, Die Ûberwindung der Sprachlosigkeit.
' ... a very detailed and objective account of imprisonment in the French prison camp at Thoreé-les-Pins ... of great historical value.'
James Bacque (Canada), Author, Crimes and Mercies, Other Losses.
Most memoirs by soldiers focus on wars. They focus on why people fight, and dwell on the horrors of battle. Enough has been written about that. 'One Man in His Time' is different.
There are only two chilling chapters that deal with the Battle of the Bulge, Nazi atrocities, concentration camps and the like. One deals with the atrocities the victorious allies inflicted on the individual men who comprised the defeated SS. Little has been written about this.
The book deals with why one man did what he did, before, during and after mankind's darkest hour. What impressed me when I decided to publish this book was the fascinating detail Hans Post provides of life in pre war Germany, the absorbing minutiae of the society of the time, and utter transformation that occurred in Hans' life as a result.
This is not a book which yearns for possibilities of a glorious Reich. It is a book of one man in his time, and the interaction of that time and an incredible individual.
Lansell Taudevin, Publisher, Otford Press