Historian Danny Parker, a Johnston County native, has penned “Hitler’s Warrior,” a biography of SS Colonel Jochen Peiper.
Handsome, intelligent, impetuous, and dedicated to the Nazi cause, Peiper (1915–1976) was one of the most controversial figures of World War II.
After volunteering for the Waffen-SS at an early age, Peiper quickly rose to prominence as Heinrich Himmler’s ever-present personal adjutant in the early years of the war.
Sent later to the fighting front with the fearsome 1st SS Panzer Division, Peiper became a legend for his flamboyant and brutal style of warfare.
As one of Hitler’s favorites, he was chosen to spearhead the Ardennes Offensive, later known as the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war, Peiper became the central subject in the bitterly disputed Malmédy war-crimes trial. Convicted but later released, he moved to eastern France. There, he and his past were discovered, and he died in a fiery gun battle by killers unknown even today.
Born in 1953 to Jean and Sherrill Parker of Four Oaks, Parker developed a keen interest in World War II at an early age.
In 1991, he authored “Battle of the Bulge,” a detailed campaign overview, followed in 1994 by “To Win the Winter Sky,” an account of the last months of the air war.
For 20 years, Parker researched his biography of Peiper. This effort spanned more than 200 interviews in the United States and Europe. He also spent many weeks at the U.S. National Archives and the Bundesarchiv in Germany.
Parker’s other interests span the gamut: low-energy home design, invention and machines, Zen practice and good coffee