J& ouml;rg Friedrich was born in Tyrolia in 1944 and grew up in the Ruhr District (Essen). A broadcaster in Berlin, Friedrich became a historian after he reported on the Majdanek Trial during the 1970s. His first comprehensive history of the prosecution of Nazi criminals in Germany, "The Cold Amnesty" (1984), was a bestseller in the Federal Republic. In 1993 he published a monograph on the forgotten Nuremberg Trial of the German High Command titled "The Law of War: The German Army in Russia," which earned him a honorary doctorate from the University of Amsterdam. The idea for "The Fire" came to Friedrich accidentally one night in February 2002, and since its publication, the book has been translated into ten languages, sparking debate worldwide.