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'Bremerhaven'

Lauren Wells
10/07/2010
“Bremerhaven,” a book by President Emeritus Bruce Haywood, was recently published.

“‘Bremerhaven’ is a memoir of the two years I spent in that German port town, which was the American army’s gateway to Europe,” said Haywood. “I was the only member of a British intelligence team assigned to work with American intelligence.”

Haywood was president of Monmouth College from 1980-94, after having served 27 years on the faculty of Kenyon College, where he specialized in German language. For four years, he also served as Kenyon’s dean, and he was provost there from 1967-80.

“My six years of German and seven years of French got me out of the infantry and into the Intelligence Corps,” explained Haywood, who was raised in England. “I have called those two years in the corps the basis of my future life, for I was changed from one who thought the only good German was a dead German into one who wished to make German studies his profession. I was given through my American colleagues a vision of freedom and citizenship that England had not granted me. That I am what I am and the life I have lived in the U.S., I owe to my time in Bremerhaven.”

Haywood writes of his early pleasure in identifying and arresting Nazis and a war criminal responsible for the murder of 36 British and Canadian airmen. The horrors of the concentration camps are also mentioned in the book, as are informants who were crucial to his work and the friendships he formed with some of them. Haywood touches on his experiences in a ruined country where cigarettes became the primary currency and the only viable market was a black one. He recalls an initial inability to understand why German intellectuals had supported Hitler and explores “the struggles of the civilian population to make a life in the Occupation, while we lived in relative luxury.” Lastly, he writes of a slowly emerging political and economic order, symbolized by the manufacture of the Volkswagen Beetle.

“Bremerhaven” is available for purchase at Innkeepers in Galesburg and at Olivia’s (formerly Soda Works) in Monmouth. It will soon be available on Lulu, Amazon and Amazon Kindle.