Among many other things, the just-published first volume of Niall Ferguson’s biography of Henry Kissinger sheds light on the former secretary of state’s youthful relationship with Jews and Judaism. Andrew Roberts writes in his review:
Ferguson has had access to every part of Kissinger’s vast archive at the Library of Congress. . . . These include a heartfelt essay on “The Eternal Jew” written by the twenty-two-year-old German-born Sergeant Kissinger after witnessing the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp; some loving but uncompromising letters to his parents about his separation from their Orthodox faith; a jejune and somewhat cringe-making teenage note to a would-be girlfriend; and the minutes he took as secretary of a Jewish youth organization to which he belonged as the Nazis were seizing power in his homeland. . . .
Ferguson gives the full story of the Kissinger family’s experience under the Third Reich before they emigrated in 1938, and Ferguson has identified at least 23 close family members who perished in the Holocaust. . . . The first chapters covering the Kissingers’ life in the late 1930s and early 1940s in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York recapture the Jewish immigrant experience superbly and put into perspective the fact that Henry (born Heinz) became the first foreign-born United States citizen to serve as secretary of state.