David Blake Knox Face Down: The Disappearance of Thomas Niedermayer


Code 9781848408470

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The first comprehensive account of one of the darkest and mostly forgotten episodes of the Troubles.

On 27 December 1973 the nightmare began: late that night German businessman Thomas Niedermayer was kidnapped from his home in Belfast. Never seen alive again by his friends or family, he became one of the ‘disappeared’ and it seemed that no one knew what had happened to him.

His wife, Ingeborg, and his daughters, Renate and Gabriele, spent the next seven years not knowing if Thomas were alive or dead. In 1980, an IRA informant led police to recover his body. But the trauma for Thomas’s family was far from over: there were further devastating consequences for all of them.

Five decades on, FACE DOWN sets out to discover what really happened in Belfast all those years ago.

Now in its second, updated edition and the subject of a feature-length documentary, this astonishing story of one family's generational trauma undermines any attempt to glamorise or minimise the effects of political violence.

About the Author

Dr David Blake Knox was educated in Ireland and at Cambridge University in England. He has worked as a TV Producer for RTÉ in Dublin, the BBC in London and HBO in New York. While in RTÉ, he devised and produced the innovative Nighthawks TV series, and was Director of TV Production.

He established Blueprint Pictures, an independent TV and Film production company, in 2002. Blueprint specializes in Arts and Entertainment programming.

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‘Tells the shocking story of the IRA kidnapping and killing in 1973 of Thomas Niedermayer, the German boss of the Belfast Grundig factory, where Catholics and Protestants worked together productively, and how this led remorselessly to four family suicides. I cannot praise it enough. We have an unembroidered, heartrending story showing the ghastly reality of terrorism, and the torment victims go through … The contributions from commentators [are] superb.’— RUTH DUDLEY EDWARDS, BELFAST NEWS LETTER (FOR THE DOCUMENTARY FILM).

‘David Blake Knox’s non-fiction work is a lie detector for the post-Troubles era ... Niedermayer becomes, in Blake Knox’s clear yet deceptively subtle argument, a perfect test case.’ — THE IRISH TIMES (FOR 'THE KILLING OF THOMAS NIEDERMAYER' 2019).

‘A consistently thought-provoking read... impressively researched and morally clear-sighted.’ — THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST (FOR 'THE KILLING OF THOMAS NIEDERMAYER' 2019).

‘Gripping, chilling, properly enraging...The film digs up some still-startling horrors, but it also restores fleshed-out humanity to a decent man.’ ****— DONALD CLARKE, THE IRISH TIMES (FOR THE DOCUMENTARY FILM).



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