Une enquête d'une ampleur inédite sur la prostitution enfantine en Allemagne, Grande-Bretagne et États-Unis.
Ils s'appellent Cassie, Gaby, Annette, Rup... Ils ont entre 13 et 17 ans, et vivent aux États-Unis, en Allemagne, en Angleterre. Un jour leur famille leur a paru insupportable et ils ont fugué, puis, pour survivre, se sont prostitués. Ce sont des enfants.
Gitta Sereny, avec son incomparable talent pour saisir la vérité d'une vie, leur fait raconter leurs histoires, rencontre leurs parents, leurs proxénètes, cherche à les aider.
Cela se passe dans les années 1980 - il n'y a pas si longtemps. Une époque où des hommes, ici, dans notre partie du monde, pouvaient presque impunément avoir des relations sexuelles avec des mineurs, où la pornographie commençait à devenir un produit de consommation de masse.
À travers ces portraits, Sereny tente de lutter contre cet état de fait. Certains de ces enfants ont été sauvés, d'autres non.
Avec leur colère, leur ingéniosité, leur mauvaise foi, leur innocence, ils incarnent cette enfance qui, toujours avide de liberté et pressée de grandir, risque de tomber entre les mains de ceux qui veulent lui faire oublier qu'elle est aussi, et surtout, vulnérable.
Gitta Sereny (1921-2012), journaliste et écrivaine britannique, est l'auteure de classiques de l'histoire de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, comme Au fond des ténèbres, sur Franz Stangl, le commandant de Treblinka, et d'Une si jolie petite fille, dont la traduction française a connu un grand succès critique et public en 2015. George Steiner écrivait d'elle : « C'est, sans conteste la plus brillante de nos journalistes d'investigation. »
The biography of Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka extermination camp - a classic and utterly compelling study of evilOnly four men commanded Nazi extermination (as opposed to concentration) camps. Franz Stangl was one of the. Gitta Sereny's investigation of this man's mind, and of the influences which shaped him, has become a classic. Stangl commanded Treblinka and was found guilty of co-responsibility for the slaughter there of at least 900, 000 people. Sereny, after weeks of talk with him and months of further research, shows us this man as he saw himself, and 'as he was seen by many others, including his wife. To horrify is not Sereny's aim, though horror is inevitable. She is seeking an answer to the question which beggars reason: How were human beings turned into instruments of such overwhelming evil?Gitta Sereny is of Hungarian-Austrian extraction and is trilingual in English, French and German. During the Second World War she became a social worker, caring for war-damaged children in France. She gave hundreds of lectures in schools and colleges in America and, when the war ended, she worked as a Child Welfare Officer in UNRRA displaced persons' camps in Germany. In 1949 she married the American Vogue photographer Don Honeyman and settled in London, where they brought up a son and a daughter and where she began her career as a journalist.Her journalistic work was of great variety but focussed particularly on the Third Reich and troubled children. She wrote mainly for the Daily Telegraph Magazine, the Sunday Times, The Times, the Independent and the Independent on Sunday Review. She also contributed to numerous newspapers and magazines around the world. Her books include: The Medallion, a novel; The Invisible Children, on child prostitution; Into That Darkness; and a biographical examination of Albert Speer. Gitta Sereny died in June 2012
'A masterpiece . . . a contribution to the effort of recuperation of human dignity at the end of this atrocious century . . . This is the account Joan of Arc would have given if she had been charged with interrogating Faust' John Banville, Observer 'A remarkable new biography - arguably the most important and certainly the most fascinating book about the Nazi era published in the last ten years . . . Gitta Sereny has written a masterpiece' Robert Harris, Sunday Times 'An essential experience that conveys like no other book the qualities of the Nazi elite . . . restoring emotion to people we would prefer to regard as soulless machines' David Cesarini, Financial Times 'A masterpiece of historical and inquisitorial technique, enables us to understand the ablest, most articulate, and most ambiguous of Hitler's ministers' Hugh Trevor-Roper, Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year
In December 1968 two girls who lived next door to each other - Mary, aged eleven, and Norma, thirteen - stood before a criminal court in Newcastle, accused of strangling two little boys; Martin Brown, four years old, and Brian Howe, three. Norma was acquitted. Mary Bell, the younger but infinitely more sophisticated and cooler of the two, was found guilty of manslaughter. She evaded being branded as a murderer due to what the court ruled as 'diminished responsibility', but she was sentenced to 'detention' for life. Step by step, Gitta Sereny pieces together a gripping and rare study of a horrifying crime; the murders, the events surrounding them, the alternately bizzare and nonchalant behaviour of the two girls, their brazen offers to help the distraught families of the dead boys, the police work that led to their apprehension, and finally the trial itself. What emerges from this extraorindary case is the inability of society to anticipate such events and to take adequate steps once disaster has struck.
Based on 70 hours of interviews with Franz Stangl, commandant of Treblinka (the largest of the extermination camps), this book bares the soul of a man who continually found ways to rationalize his role in Hitler's final soulution.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Gitta Sereny is one of the world's most respected journalists and historians. This book gathers together the best of her writing on Germany from over sixty years. It amounts to an extraordinary portrait of the country and its people, how they have come to terms with their Nazi past, both collectively and in specific instances - and how the burden of their guilt has altered the national identity. She writes about key individuals - Stangl, Speer - and the questions which their lives raise. Thepenetration and conviction of her writing throughout is startling and she constantly reminds us why it is important to consider the questions she addresses - war guilt, holocaust denial and the temptations of obedience.