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Publisher's Summary

What would life be like for a black boy growing up in Nazi Germany? This unprecedented autobiography answers that question with the spellbinding true story of Hans J. Massaquoi’s life in Hamburg during the height of Hitler’s regime.
Hans is the son of a black Liberian diplomat father and a white German mother. His father returns to Africa at the beginning of the war, leaving them behind in poverty and without the means to flee. Bewildered, Hans is force-fed ceaseless anti-semitic and anti-African propaganda in his schools. Within this tense atmosphere, increasingly violent Nazi policies and Allied bombing raids make Hans and his mother’s lives a desperate day-to-day struggle for survival.
Through countless close calls, Hans perseveres by his ingenuity, strength of character and a liberal dose of good luck - eventually going on to find his father in Liberia and emigrate to America.
Peter Jay Fernandez’s intense narration brilliantly punctuates all of the tragedy and triumph in this monumental audiobook.
©1999 Hans J. Massaquoi (P)2001 Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By MALACO on 02-14-15

A Great Read

What did you love best about Destined to Witness?

The story was well written and you could feel the reality of his day to day existence. His story was so much like many of ours, except he was in an entirely different environment.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hans, his willingness to open up and share his personal experiences, the good the bad and the foolish, it took a lot of courage. He was a lucky fellow to have survied the many close encounters with almost certain disaster.

What about Peter Jay Fernandez’s performance did you like?

The narration was good. I read the hard copy afterwards, which was more enjoyable after hearing some of the German phrases.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

This would be a really entertaining movie. BLACK KID IN NAZIS GERMANY? or
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: Black in Nazis Germany

Any additional comments?

A unique fascinating story. It makes you wonder what other stories are out there, that we just don't know about and what were there outcomes. I recommend this to everyone.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Daryl on 08-15-14

Destined to Witness - a Gripping biography

What made the experience of listening to Destined to Witness the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed Mr. Massaquoi's introspection, and his willingness to acknowledge his mistakes without beating himself up or excusing them. Things were the way they were, and- good, bad or ugly - everyone had to try and survive in nazi Germany even if one's race made them an obvious potential target.

What does Peter Jay Fernandez bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I have never listened to his performances, but I will definitely check them out soon. His German is a little awkward, but this is a minor quibble in a stellar performance.

Any additional comments?

This book made me think about how any culture views race. Even as a white person, my lack of acknowledgement of race is, by itself, a comment on my racial views. I will pick up this book again.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By LilyRose on 05-25-14

Really Interesting Perspective

This book was very enjoyable. A different perspective on Nazi Germany, from a boy who considered himself a proper little German, yet wasn't wanted by the authorities in his country. It is amazing how little racism he experiences from most normal people and then suddenly (like when he tries to join the Hitler Youth) he finds his services are not required. An excellent book, telling a fascinating story with an admirable lightness of touch.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Ellesse White on 12-08-15

Amazing Truthful detail

Would you listen to Destined to Witness again? Why?

Yes, because the book goes into such detail, I feel that if I was to read it again I'd pick up on more details that maybe I hadn't caught previously.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked that there were tense moments, moments of equilibrium and disequilibrium throughout the story. It never ceased to catch my all round focus. I like how the narrator/author goes into depth about his surroundings, it makes it easy for me to picture the exact environment, allowing me to vision it exactly from the last point that I'd listened to the book.

Have you listened to any of Peter Jay Fernandez’s other performances? How does this one compare?


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was so captivating to me that I didn't want the book to end, so I made sure to listen to about 3 hours each day, so that I had something to look forward to at the end of each day.

Any additional comments?

Amazing and inspiring book. Reading this, you are able to capture the history of civilians of the World War 2 from a different perspective.

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