THE MAN WITH THE MIRACULOUS HANDS by Joseph Kessel

THE MAN WITH THE MIRACULOUS HANDS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Macmillan published Kersten's Memoirs in 1957, and presumably a large part of this account of the activities of Felix Kersten, the doctor who exercised his amazing healing powers over Himmler to save his patient's victims, has been based on the diaries but given a more narrative form here. It is an amazing story- of the goodnatured little fat man who looked like a ""cross between a Flemish burgomaster and a Buddha of the West"", studied the higher curative powers of massage under a lama-doctor Ko, and applied them to Himmler whose excruciating stomach aches were only relieved by Kersten's therapy. During the five years to come, Kersten attended Himmler but was an alien by birth and sympathies among his entourage, with the one exception of Himmler's private secretary who collaborated with him in drawing up the lists of doomed men- Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, concentration camp victims of all nationalities. At the close, Kersten was jockeying with Himmler (and when persuasion failed, withholding treatment) to try and secure mass scale liberation of victims first through Swedon, then Switzerland.... Kersten is fascinating to follow-through his circumspect, ambivalent career- even though there may be points in question at its close.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1960
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy