Kersten, Felix (1898-1960)

Born to a German-Baltic family in Estonia, then part of Czarist Russia. Joined the German army. Was part of the German military intervention in the Finnish civil war at the end of WW I. Stayed in Finland and obtained citizenship. Enlisted in the army as a commissioned Lieutenant. Back as a civilian and traveling to Germany and Holland, he gained a number of very influential customers for his special brand of massage, learned from Chinese doctors. He treated members of the Dutch Royal house and political newcomers such as Count Ciano, Mussolini’s son in law and Italian Foreign Minister. His next client was Heinrich Himmler to whom Kersten provided indispensible services by alleviating Himmler’s chronic and severe stomach pains. He did not dare to refuse Himmler’s invitation to become his personal masseur, after Himmler declared that he cannot do without the magical hands of Kersten. He became a Himmler confidant, gaining his full trust. From his unique vantage point, Kersten tried to help and assist people threatened and persecuted by the Nazis. He was instrumental in bringing about personal meeting between Himmler and Swedish Count Bernadotte resulting in the release of busloads of Danes and Norwegians interned in German concentration camps, and another, most unusual  meeting between Himmler and Norbert Masur, the Jewish representative of the Swedish Jewish community  towards the end of the war.  After the war, Kersten lived in Germany and Sweden. He died in Stockholm in 1960, aged sixty-two.

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