How Much Did Wernher von Braun Know, and When Did He Know It?

Michael J. Neufeld talks about his new book, Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War

(Carolyn Russo)

(Continued from page 3)

Neufeld: Well, the Carter statement is a very interesting case of how von Braun was viewed during the Cold War—basically as a benevolent space pioneer. The fact is his work is much more ambiguous and two-sided. Of course the whole story of the concentration camp labor hadn’t really come out in the United States yet.

“Nazi Villain or Space Hero” is the title of one paper I’ve been giving. Everybody wants to reduce him to a stereotype: Either he’s the great pioneer of space or he is a bad Nazi with jackboots who’s tromping on concentration camp prisoners. I find him to be a much more ambiguous figure—much more complicated.

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