E-mail: hfield@bicnet.net

 

Publisher's Statement:
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       The disappearance behind the Iron Curtain of the American brothers Noel and Hermann Field in 1949, followed by that of Noel's wife and their foster daughter, was one of the most publicized international mysteries of the Cold War. This dual memoir gives an intensely human dimension to that struggle, with Hermann narrating all that happened to him from the day he was abducted from the Warsaw airport to his release five years later, and Kate relating her unrelenting efforts to find her husband.
       Thousands of potential victims of Hitler's dragnet were rescued in 1939 and during World War II through separate efforts of the Field brothers.  Arrested in Czechoslovakia in 1949, Noel was taken to Hungary and used as an example of American perfidy in showtrials.  Hermann went to Poland primarily to find out what had happened to his brother.  After Hermann's abduction, he was taken to the cellar of a secret police prison, where he was held for five years. He gives us a detailed account of his battle to survive, alternating despair and horror with mordant humor.  Meanwhile his family had no idea whether he was still alive and if so, where.
       This moving story, based on detailed notes made by the authors during and shortly after the events described, presents an inside-outside counterpoint, as Hermann's chapters on his inward journey in his cellar world alternate with Kate's efforts in London to find him by scrutinizing accounts of political events in Eastern Europe for clues and penetrating the diplomatic corridors of power in the West for help.  Hermann had been arrested by a Polish security agent who later defected and became one of the West's most important informants on Soviet operations in Eastern Europe.  The search for the Field brothers was complicated by their history of leftist connections, for this tense period in the Cold War was the era of McCarthyism in the United States.  The book ends with an epilogue that analyzes the events of fifty years ago in the light of what we know today, as the result of newly available archival material.

       Hermann Field is Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy, Emeritus, at Tufts University, the co-author of the novels Angry Harvest and Duck Lane, and co-editor of Sustaining Tomorrow.  Kate Field holds an honors degree in Economics and Politics from the University of Cambridge.  She held an administrative position at Harvard University until her retirement.
 
 
Authors' Statement:
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Kate & Hermann, click to view larger imageThis book is the first opportunity we have had to fully tell our story to the English-speaking public. We wrote down recollections of our ordeal shortly after Hermann's release from a Polish prison cellar in l954. This is the basis of the present book.  For fear of hurting some people who were still alive, and of feeding into Cold War tension and McCarthyism, we did not publish our story at that time.  Now, as we sit comfortably in our New England farmhouse, we reflect on the events which so radically altered our lives (and nearly ended Hermann's) fifty years ago.

       Despite the end of the Cold War, there are still some pieces missing in the puzzle of what happened to us. The demise of the Soviet Union, however, made it possible for Hermann to have access to the police files in Hungary and learn the details of his brother Noel's interrogation.  This also made possible the Swiss documentary film Noel Field: The Invented Spy, which revealed much about the way in which he was made to contribute to the show trials in Eastern Europe.  This film coincided with the publication of our story in German under the title Departure Delayed in 1997 and in Polish as Opozniony Odlot in l998.

Hermann and Kate Field, 1999

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E-mail: hfield@bicnet.net

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