Book cover of The Collaborators: Three Stories of Deception and Survival in World War II by Ian Burumaby Ian Buruma

Ian Buruma’s spellbinding account of three near-mythic figures—a Dutch fixer, a Manchu princess, and Himmler’s masseur—who may have been con artists and collaborators under Japanese and German rule, or true heroes, or something in between.

On the face of it, the three characters in this book seem to have little in common—aside from the fact that each committed wartime acts that led some to see them as national heroes, and others as villains. All three were mythmakers, larger-than-life storytellers, for whom the truth was beside the point. Felix Kersten was a plump Finnish pleasure-seeker who became Heinrich Himmler’s indispensable personal masseur—Himmler calling him his “magic Buddha.”

Interview with the Author

Podcast art for The Book Club by The SpectatorThe Book Club 
Ian Buruma: Collaborators
3/15/23         49 min

Podcast art for Leonard Lopate at Large on WBAI Radio in New YorkLeonard Lopate at Large on WBAI Radio In New York 
Ian Buruma on The Collaborators
5/26/23            55 min

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Episode 101: Ian Buruma on Three Legendary Fakes
4/20/23           27 min

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The (a)Morality of War: Ian Buruma on how some people actively collaborated with evil during World War II
3/13/23            41 min

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