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A Fairy Tale Unmasked
A Fairy Tale Unmasked

A Fairy Tale Unmasked

The Teacher and the Nazi Slaves


160 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper, PDF, EPUB

Trade Paper, $29.95 (CA $40.95) (US $29.95)

Publication Date: February 2021

ISBN 9781912676569

Rights: US, CA, AU & ZA

Vallentine Mitchell (Feb 2021)


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A Fairy Tale Unmasked is two books in one. Part One is the story of Dieter Vaupel, a German high school teacher who, in 1983, uncovered a hidden past when he and his students began researching what happened in their town during the Nazi regime. The picturesque town of Hessisch Lichtenau was where thousands of slave laborers, including 1,000 women and girls from Auschwitz, were forced to work in one of the largest munitions factories in all of Europe. Vaupel and his students broke through the wall of silence surrounding this history and stood up to threats to leave the past alone. Then, amid further controversy, Vaupel and a group of townspeople contacted former forced workers and invited them to come back to Hessisch Lichtenau. In 1986, Blanka Pudler, who as a 15-year-old girl was sent from Auschwitz as a slave laborer, was one of those who returned. Part Two of A Fairy Tale Unmasked is Pudler’s account of her enslavement, a story she would go on to tell to thousands of German schoolchildren. In honor of her efforts, in 2012 she was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Part One is written by journalist D.Z. Stone with the cooperation of Dieter Vaupel. Part Two is by Dieter Vaupel, based on his interviews with Blanka Pudler. This is an extraordinary collaboration that makes for compelling and captivating reading.


"Fairy Tale Unmasked is two books in one, each building on the other. Part I is the effort of a German High School teacher and his indefatigable students to uncover the true history of their town, once the site of a Nazi slave labor camp. Part II is the memoir of Blanka Pudler, a 15-year-old Jewess incarcerated in that camp. As usual D.Z. Stone writes movingly, compellingly. The result, a story so worth telling, so well told." —Dr Michael Berenbaum, American Jewish University, Los Angeles, CA

"As a teacher in the 1980s, Dieter Vaupel broke the long silence surrounding the crimes of National Socialism. With his students, he documented the suffering of foreign forced workers, established relationships with these exploited people, and honored their lives in various ways, including bringing Blanka Pudler’s story to the world." —Professor Krause-Vilmar

Author Biography

Dieter Vaupel, born 1950, is a teacher and political scientist. He studied at the universities of Gießen and Kassel and has a doctorate on forced labor and compensation. He is now a History lecturer at Kassel University. He is the author of several books and articles on history and teaching topics. In addition to collaborating on A Fairy Tale Unmasked, D. Z. Stone, a journalist trained in cultural anthropology, has authored No Past Tense, and reported for The New York Times and Newsday. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, she holds a master’s from Columbia University.