Wechsberg was educated in German and Czech. He learned to play the violin at eight years of age. In 1927 and 1929 he had served as a violinist on cruise ships to New York and the Orient. He later described his experiences as a musician in Europe and on cruise ships in "Looking for a Bluebird" (1948). In 1930, he obtained a law degree in Prague. At the same time, he worked as a journalist. One of his first published accounts, a travel report about his personal experiences in the Far East, was banned in the Third Reich.
In 1936 Wechsberg worked as a parliamentary secretary for the Jewish Party and as assistant advocate in Prague. He was sent to America by the Czech government 1938 as an expert to give lectures on the Sudeten problem. After his arrival, he was advised to not return to Europe since the situation had worsened through the Munich agreement. Wechsberg then became an American citizen. Up to that point, he had written in German, Czech and French; most of his accounts, however, are written in English. They were only partly and often much later translated into German. His magazine stories were published in Esquire and The New Yorker in 1943.
In 1943 Wechsberg was called up to serve in the American army; he was sent to Europe and worked there as armed forces correspondent. After the war, Wechsberg worked for the U.S. War Crimes Commission (Wechsberg 1967, p. 99) in 1945, and the American Office of Strategic Services in 1946 (Wechsberg 1967, p. 90). He published numerous accounts and contributions for different newspapers and magazines. From 1949 until his death he worked as a European correspondent for The New Yorker magazine.
In 1967, he published The Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Memoirs, in which he fused the research of Simon Wiesenthal with his own direct observations while working for the OSS and War Crimes Commission. In that book, he details how much of the Nazi political machine was preserved in Germany, and also through asylum overseas in Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay. His research is corroborated in the book The New Germany and the Old Nazis by economist, journalist, and U.S. War Crimes Commission member T.H. Tetens, as well in as the earlier book Germany Will Try It Again by Norwegian-American journalist Sigrid Schultz who lived in Berlin during the rise of the Third Reich, and in The Secrets of the SS by World War II bomber pilot Glenn Infield, who met SS officers first-hand in the years following the war and gives an even more detailed account of post-war international Nazi and fascist activity and organizations.
Joseph Wechsberg died in Vienna on April 10, 1983.Click here to hide this biography