STORY OF ATONEMENT

March 01, 2018 at 5:00 am

On the Jewish holiday of Purim, author John Heminway joins us to share the story of a former Nazi doctor in search of a new life in Africa in the wake of World War II. Heminway joins us to talk about his book “In Full Flight: A Story of Africa and Atonement,” revealing a journey through a life punctuated by both courage and weakness, driven by a need to atone.

Aired on February 28, 2018.

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>>> THE LEGENDARY FLYING DOCTOR
ANN SPURRY, SHE REIGNED OVER THE
SKIES OF NORTHERN KENYA AND WENT
TO GREAT HEIGHTS TO BRING CARE
TO THE PEOPLE.
LANDING ON THIN STRIPS AND
RISKING HER LIFE EVERY DAY FROM
1964 ALL THE WAY UP TO HER LAST
DAY IN 1999.
AND BECAUSE OF HER HEHEROISM, S
WAS NICKNAMED THE MOTHER DOCTOR.
BUT BEFORE HER QUEST THAT WOULD
SAVE THOUSANDS OF LIVES, A DARK
PAST PLAYED OUT IN THE NAZI ERA.
OUR NEXT GUEST, JOHN H.
HEMINGWAY, REVEALS THESE SECRETS
"IN FULL FLIGHT" A STORY OF
AFRICA AND ATONEMENT.
WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.
>> GREAT TO BE HERE.
>> HOW DID YOU COME ACROSS THIS
AMAZING STORY?
>> I'VE KNOWN ANN FOR TWO
DECADES, I HAD WRITTEN ABOUT
HER, PUBLISHED SOME ARTICLES
ABOUT HER, SHE BECAME A CHAPTER
OF A BOOK.
I THEN MADE A FILM THAT INCLUDED
THREE PEOPLE ONE OF WHOM WAS
ANN.
AND SO I KNEW HER AND WE
ACTUALLY BECAME REALLY QUITE
CLOSE FRIENDS AND I ADORED
HER,ED HER,
ED ADMIRED HER.
SO WHEN SHE DIED, WHICH WAS
TRAGIC FOR SO MANY OF US.
I SET OFF TO WRITE A LOVING
BIOGRAPHY OF HERSELF.
AND THEN THAT'S WHEN THE WHEELS
CAME OFF.
>> WOW.
AND WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE
LIKE AS YOU DISCOVERED A FULLER
PICTURE OF THIS PERSON WHO HAD
DONE SO MUCH HUMANITARIAN WORK
TO HAVE THIS DARK PAST?
>> WELL, IT WAS VERY TROUBLING
FOR ME.
BECAUSE WHAT I WAS UNCOVERING
WAS FRANKLY NOT THE ANN I KNEW,
THE ANN I KNEW WAS THIS
BENEVOLENT CREATURE WHO JUST
SAVED PEOPLE AT AN INDUSTRIAL
RATE THROUGHOUT THE RURAL AREAS
OF KENYA AND SO I CAME ACROSS
THIS WOMAN THAT JUST WAS DOING
UNSPEAKABLE, UNSPEAKABLY BAD
THINGS.
>> SO WITHOUT GIVING AWAY TOO
MUCH, BECAUSE OF COURSE WE WANT
PEOPLE TO READ THE BOOK, BUT CAN
YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
WHAT ANN DID THAT WAS SO
MONSTROUS AND SHOCKING FOR YOU?
>> OKAY, SO ANN AND HER BROTHER
WERE IN THE FRENCH RESISTANCE.
AND THEY BEHAVED WITH ENORMOUS
HEROISM, RISKING THEIR LIVES
ALMOST ON A DAILY BASIS.
THAT PART OF THE ANN WAS JUST A
WONDERFUL STORY TO UNCOVER.
BUT IN 1943, ANNE WAS CAPTURED
BY THE GERMANS WHO WERE THEN
OCCUPYING PARIS AND SHE WAS PUT
INTO ONE PRISON OUTSIDE OF
PARIS, AND THEN AFTER ABOUT NINE
MONTHS TRUCKED IN A CATTLE CAR,
TRANSPORTED TO A DREADED
CONCENTRATION CAMP, ESSENTIALLY
SHE TORTURED HER FELLOW
PRISONERS UNDER THE ORDERS OF
SOMEBODY ELSE.
SHE ALSO DELIVERED LETHAL
INJECTIONS.
AND SHE ALSO SELECTED FOR THE
GAS CHAMBER.
THAT IS THE BEST EVIDENCE OF
ALL.
>> GIVEN WHAT SHE DID THEN AND
WHAT SHE DID WITH THE LATER PART
OF HER LIFE, A CYNIC MIGHT SAY
THAT, WELL, THIS IS JUST YOUR
MEA CULPA, THIS IS YOUR WAY OF
SORT OF WASH CLEAN THE SINS OF
THE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY THAT
WERE COMMITTED.
DID SHE TALK TO YOU AT ALL ABOUT
HOW SHE VIEWED E EED IT?
>> NO.
THAT WAS PERHAPS THE GENIUS PART
OF ANN, EVERY TIME I EVER
MENTIONED ANYTHING ABOUT WAR,
RESISTANCE, ABOUT HER
EXPERIENCES, SHE SHUT ME DOWN.
AND MOST OFTEN SHE SHUT ME DOWN
REALLY WITH A VENGEANCE, IT WAS
DON'T YOU DARE ASK ME ANY OF
THAT STUFF.
AND I KEPT WONDERING AS DID SO
MANY OTHER PEOPLE, AND ALSO ALL
OTHER JOURNALISTS THAT WERE ALL
SHUT DOWN, I THOUGHT, WELL,
GOSH, SHE WAS TORTURED, SHE WAS
PERHAPS MUTILATED BY THE NAZIS,
AND, YES, I UNDERSTAND WHY SHE
WANTS TO BE QUIET.
SO THAT'S THE NARRATIVE THAT I
CREATED DURING HER LIFETIME.
A
BUT SHE NEVER LET ON IN KENYA TO
ANY OF HER FRIENDS THERE.
>> WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO
TELL HER STORY NOW?
>> I'M ESSENTIALLY EXPOSING A
HERO.
SOME WOULD SAY I AM -- I AM
KNOCKING A SAINT OFF A PEDESTAL.
WE'RE SEEING THAT IN PUBLIC
LIFE, IN MEDIA RIGHT NOW, IN
LARGE, LARGE WAYS.
THIS IS A STORY THAT I THINK
ALMOST DWARFS THE OTHERS.
BECAUSE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
WORLD WAR II CRIMES OF AN
EXTRAORDINARILY SERIOUS NATURE.
>> IT'S THE KIND OF STORY THAT
GIVES US REASON TO QUESTION AND
CHALLENGE OUR THOUGHTS OF WHO WE
CONSIDER TO BE A SAINT AND FOR
WHY.
JOHN HEMINGWAY, THANK YOU SO
MUCH FOR JOINING US ON THE
PROGRAM AND THIS IS AN
INCREDIBLE BOOK, SO THANK YOU
FOR WRITING IT.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.
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