Terrence Petty: Enemy of the People (with John Daniszewski)

Wednesday May 29: 7:30PM 8:30PM

Event Admission        

Doors open 30 minutes before the start of the event.

Join the Associated Press' Terrence Petty as he discusses Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler on the Strand's second floor, with AP vice president for standards and editor-at-large John Daniszewski!

“We Will Not Be Intimidated” screamed the headline on the March 3rd, 1933, front page of the Munich Post, a newspaper determined to report the truth about Adolf Hitler and the rise of the Nazi Party. The headline appeared just days before the newspaper was silenced for good on March 9th.

For years as he plotted for dictatorial power, Hitler encountered a serious obstacle as the courageous and determined editors of the Munich Post, drawing on sources within the Nazi Party, relentlessly tracked and prominently reported the corruption and dark dreams of his inner circle. With leaked documents from Hitler’s political rivals, the Post, fearing the worst for Germany’s democracy, battled theFührer for ownership of the truth.

Though the Nazis filed libel lawsuits, spread anti-press propaganda and even physically assaulted and rounded up journalists of theMunich Post, finally raiding and wrecking the paper’s offices, the editors’ resistance would not be crushed.

Enemy of the People  brilliantly captures the terrifying times of Germany’s Weimar and early Nazi era. And it showcases the courage of a free press, driven to speak truth regardless of the cost.

Terrence (Terry) Petty’s decade as a Germany-based foreign correspondent for The Associated Press began with getting assigned to a monumental story just five hours after his flight from New York City landed in Frankfurt on August 17, 1987. Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler’s deputy and the last prisoner at the Allies’ Spandau Prison in Berlin, had died that day, an apparent suicide.  Petty hopped on a Lufthansa airliner bound for Berlin and spent four days on the story.

Over the next ten years, Petty wrote about dramatic events across Germany and other parts of the continent, such as the rise of the Greens party as a force to be reckoned with in German politics, attacks by the Red Army Faction terrorist gang, and the biggest story of postwar Europe _ the end of the Cold War. 

In 1989, Petty wrote about the exodus of East Germans from their Communist homeland, pro-democracy protests on the other side of the Iron Curtain, the toppling of East Germany’s Communist rulers following the opening of the Berlin Wall, and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's political maneuvering to unite the two German states in 1990. Petty wrote extensively about neo-Nazi violence that flared after unification and continues to this day. Petty, along with a few other journalists, also exposed plans by Kohl to deport Soviet army officers who had defected to Germany back to Russia, a plan the German leader eventually abandoned because of the public outcry.

In 1995 and 1996, Petty accompanied U.S. troops sent into war-torn Bosnia at the start of NATO’s peace-keeping mission there. He wrote about tensions between Serb and American troops that nearly resulted in combat and war crimes investigators’ excavation of thousands of Bosnian Muslim bodies buried in mass graves near Srebrenica.

During his decade abroad, Petty interviewed some of the most prominent and intriguing personalities of the Cold War’s final years, including Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Kohl, Willy Brandt, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Margaret Thatcher, and pro-democracy leaders not just in East Germany but also elsewhere in the former Soviet bloc. He also landed interviews with the infamous, including spending a day at the Bavarian chalet of Hitler’s filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl, who had not spoken to an English-speaking journalist in years. Petty wrote extensively about Germany’s never-ending efforts to come to terms with the Nazi past. This included a 1995 series marking the 50th anniversary of the liberation of extermination and concentration camps. Petty visited former camps across Germany for somber ceremonies that were attended by survivors of the Holocaust.

Petty, his wife Christina and their son Tristan returned to the states in 1997. Petty was the AP’s supervisory correspondent in Rhode Island for two years before becoming AP News Editor for Oregon in 1999, a position he held until his retirement in March 2017. As a West Coast news leader, Petty oversaw some major investigative projects, alongside guiding day-to-day journalism by his staff.  A 2002 recipient of a journalism fellowship by the American Council on Germany, Petty has continued to write about German matters since returning to the U.S.

A ninth-generation native of Vermont, Petty graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s in history in 1976. His wife, Christina, is also from Vermont. Petty began his journalism career in the late 1970s at the Middlebury-based Addison Independent weekly before moving on to daily newspapers in upstate New York. He joined The AP in Albany in 1982. He spent two years on The AP’s Foreign Desk in New York City before moving to Germany.

Petty, his wife and their son live in Portland. In retirement, Petty has been working on Germany-related research projects, including “Enemy Of The People,” as well as traveling with his wife.

John Daniszewski became AP’s vice president for standards and editor-at-large in July 2016 after more than a decade leading its international news department as international editor, senior managing editor and vice president for international news.

Prior to that, he spent 20 years as a reporter, editor and correspondent for both The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times. He has worked in more than 70 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia, including postings to Warsaw, Johannesburg, Cairo, Moscow, Baghdad and London. He became a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board in 2013.

As vice president for standards, Daniszewski oversees the implementation of AP’s news principles and values, working with the staff in all formats to maintain AP’s reputation for accuracy and neutrality across the news cooperative’s worldwide bureaus. 

In his international news roles, he was responsible for coverage worldwide generated by more than 500 staff in 110 bureaus. His leadership resulted in the restructuring of international news-gathering to replace one central news-editing hub in New York with five regional editing centers outside the U.S and negotiating the 2012 opening of AP’s bureau in Pyongyang, North Korea. He also spearheaded a media industry initiative that resulted in a new set of safety standards for freelance journalists and news organizations, adopted by more than 90 organizations around the world.

With the Los Angeles Times from 1996-2006, he served as bureau chief in Cairo, Moscow, Baghdad and London. In 2001, he covered the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and he stayed in Baghdad throughout the U.S. invasion and the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003. He was part of a team that won an Overseas Press Club award in 2006 and that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2007 for coverage of Iraq’s civil war.

He began his journalism career as a stringer for the AP while an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the AP staff in Philadelphia and later worked in Harrisburg and on the national and international editing desks in New York. In 1987, he was assigned overseas to Warsaw, Poland. There he covered the revival of Solidarity and the end of Communist rule. In 1989 he was shot and wounded in Timisoara, Romania, while reporting on the uprising against Nicolae Ceausescu’s communist regime. He later covered wars across the former Yugoslavia, including the siege of Sarajevo.

In 1993, be became AP’s bureau chief in Johannesburg, South Africa. He led the AP’s coverage of the election of President Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid before leaving in 1996 to go to the Times. He returned to AP as international editor in 2006 and was named a managing editor the next year. 

Since 2013, he has served on the Pulitzer Prize Board, which awards the country’s most prestigious awards in journalism, arts and letters. He also is a vice president of the Overseas Press Club Foundation and is active on the North American Committee of the International Press Institute. Six years ago, he launched the IPI/AP Foreign Editors Circle, the only annual forum for U.S. foreign and international editors. In 2015, he co-founded the news and freelance journalist safety group, ACOS (A Culture of Safety) Alliance, which sets best practices for news organizations to protect local journalists and freelancers and provides practical support to local journalists and freelancers. 

Daniszewski graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. An Ohio native, he is married to Dru Menaker, chief operating officer and director of international partnerships at PEN America. They have two grown children.