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During the Holocaust, 99 percent of all Jewish killings were carried out by members of state organizations. In this groundbreaking book, Stefan Kuhl offers a new analysis of the integral role that membership in organizations played in facilitating the annihilation of European Jews under the Nazis. Drawing on the well-researched case of the mass killings of Jews by a Hamburg reserve police battalion, Kuhl shows how ordinary men from ordinary professions were induced to carry out massacres. It may have been that coercion, money, identification with the end goal, the enjoyment of brutality, or the expectations of their comrades impelled the members of the police battalion to join the police units and participate in ghetto liquidations, deportations, and mass shootings. But ultimately, argues Kuhl, the question of immediate motives, or indeed whether members carried out tasks with enthusiasm or reluctance, is of secondary importance. The crucial factor in explaining what they did was the integration of individuals into an organizational framework that prompted them to perform their roles. This book makes a major contribution to our understanding of the Holocaust by demonstrating the fundamental role played by organizations in persuading ordinary Germans to participate in the annihilation of the Jews. It will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars of organizations, violence, and modern German history, as well as for anyone interested in genocide and the Holocaust.
In examining one of the defining events of the twentieth century, Doris L. Bergen situates the Holocaust in its historical, political, social, cultural, and military contexts. Unlike many other treatments of the Holocaust, this revised, third edition discusses not only the persecution of the Jews, but also other segments of society victimized by the Nazis: Roma, homosexuals, Poles, Soviet POWs, the disabled, and other groups deemed undesirable. In clear and eloquent prose, Bergen explores the two interconnected goals that drove the Nazi German program of conquest and genocide-purification of the so-called Aryan race and expansion of its living space-and discusses how these goals affected the course of World War II. Including firsthand accounts from perpetrators, victims, and eyewitnesses, her book is immediate, human, and eminently readable.
After Adolf Hitler made plans to create a "model protectorate" out of Denmark, Winston Churchill predicted that the nation would become the Fuhrer's tame canary. Isolated from the Allies and fueled only by a sense of human decency and national pride, the Danes created an extraordinary resistance movement that proved a relentless thorn in the side of the Nazis. By 1945, they had published twenty-six million issues of illegal newspapers. They set up radio guides for Allied aircraft on the coasts and proved invaluable in penetrating Nazi defenses. Regular boat services ran between Sweden, Denmark, and Britain. German ships could not move out of ports, and troops were stymied again and again by the sabotage of railways and air bases. Most amazing of all was the transportation of some 7,000 Danish Jews to safety in Sweden. They were not trained; they were not soldiers. They were simply ordinary citizens who refused to stand idly by and witness an atrocity. The story of the selfless courage and daring should inspire countless future generations. Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
"A remarkable act of personal history: brave, revelatory and unflinchingly honest" WILLIAM BOYD "There is no-one writing in English like this: engaged humanity achieving a hard-won wisdom" DAVID MILLS, The Times Lord of All the Dead is a courageous journey into Javier Cercas' family history and that of a country collapsing from a fratricidal war. The author revisits Ibahernando, his parents' village in southern Spain, to research the life of Manuel Mena. This ancestor, dearly loved by Cercas' mother, died in combat at the age of nineteen during the battle of the Ebro, the bloodiest episode in Spain's history. Who was Manuel Mena? A fascist hero whose memory is an embarrassment to the author, or a young idealist who happened to fight on the wrong side? And how should we judge him, as grandchildren and great-grandchildren of that generation, interpreting history from our supposed omniscience and the misleading perspective of a present full of automatic answers, that fails to consider the particularities of each personal and family drama? Wartime epics, heroism and death are some of the underlying themes of this unclassifiable novel that combines road trips, personal confessions, war stories and historical scholarship, finally becoming an incomparable tribute to the author's mother and the incurable scars of an entire generation.
'An ambitious and engrossing investigation of the moral legacies which stubbornly refuse to pass' Brendan Simms As the western world struggles with its legacies of racism and colonialism, what can we learn from the past in order to move forward? Susan Neiman's Learning from the Germans delivers an urgently needed perspective on how a country can come to terms with its historical wrongdoings. Neiman, who grew up as a white girl in the American South during the civil rights movement, is a Jewish woman who has spent much of her adult life in Berlin. In clear and gripping prose, she uses this unique perspective to combine philosophical reflection, personal history and conversations with both Americans and Germans who are grappling with the evils of their own national histories. Through focusing on the particularities of those histories, she provides examples for other nations, whether they are facing resurgent nationalism, ongoing debates over reparations or controversies surrounding historical monuments and the contested memories they evoke. It is necessary reading for all those confronting their own troubled pasts.
The Holocaust is the gravest crime in recorded history. In order to try and better understand the true significance of the Holocaust, as well as its scale and magnitude, millions of people each year now travel to the former camps, ghettos and other settings for the atrocities. The Holocaust Sites of Europe offers the first comprehensive guide to these sites, including much practical information as well as the historical context. This book is an indispensable guide for anyone seeking to add another layer to their understanding of the Holocaust by visiting these important sites for themselves. It provide a survey of all the major Holocaust sites in Europe, from Belgium and Belarus to Serbia and Ukraine: not only does it discuss the notorious concentration and death camps, such as Auschwitz and Ravensbruck, but also less well known examples, like Sered' in Slovakia, together with detailed descriptions of massacre sites, as well as the ghettos, 'Euthanasia' centres and Roma and Sinti sites which witnessed similar crimes. Throughout the book there is also extensive insight into the many museums and memorials which commemorate the Holocaust. The Holocaust Sites of Europe is a thoughtful and fitting guide to some of the most traumatic sites in Europe and will be an invaluable companion for those who wish to honour the victims and understand more about their fate.
A groundbreaking reexamination of the Holocaust and of how Germans understood their genocidal project Why exactly did the Nazis burn the Hebrew Bible everywhere in Germany on November 9, 1938? The perplexing event has not been adequately accounted for by historians in their large-scale assessments of how and why the Holocaust occurred. In this gripping new analysis, Alon Confino draws on an array of archives across three continents to propose a penetrating new assessment of one of the central moral problems of the twentieth century. To a surprising extent, Confino demonstrates, the mass murder of Jews during the war years was powerfully anticipated in the culture of the prewar years. The author shifts his focus away from the debates over what the Germans did or did not know about the Holocaust and explores instead how Germans came to conceive of the idea of a Germany without Jews. He traces the stories the Nazis told themselves-where they came from and where they were heading-and how those stories led to the conclusion that Jews must be eradicated in order for the new Nazi civilization to arise. The creation of this new empire required that Jews and Judaism be erased from Christian history, and this was the inspiration-and justification-for Kristallnacht. As Germans imagined a future world without Jews, persecution and extermination became imaginable, and even justifiable.
As the Holocaust passes out of living memory, future generations will no longer come face-to-face with Holocaust survivors. But the lessons of that terrible period in history are too important to let slip past. How Was It Possible?, edited and introduced by Peter Hayes, provides teachers and students with a comprehensive resource about the Nazi persecution of Jews. Deliberately resisting the reflexive urge to dismiss the topic as too horrible to be understood intellectually or emotionally, the anthology sets out to provide answers to questions that may otherwise defy comprehension. This anthology is organized around key issues of the Holocaust, from the historical context for antisemitism to the impediments to escaping Nazi Germany, and from the logistics of the death camps and the carrying out of genocide to the subsequent struggles of the displaced survivors in the aftermath. Prepared in cooperation with the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, this anthology includes contributions from such luminaries as Jean Ancel, Saul Friedlander, Tony Judt, Alan Kraut, Primo Levi, Robert Proctor, Richard Rhodes, Timothy Snyder, and Susan Zuccotti. Taken together, the selections make the ineffable fathomable and demystify the barbarism underlying the tragedy, inviting readers to learn precisely how the Holocaust was, in fact, possible.
'Moving - at times almost unbearably so - and fascinating' Antonia Fraser A family's story of human tenacity, faith and a race for survival in the face of unspeakable horror and cruelty perpetrated by the Nazi regime against the Jewish people. Growing up in the safety of Britain, Jonathan Wittenberg was deeply aware of his legacy as the child of refugees from Nazi Germany. Yet, like so many others there is much he failed to ask while those who could have answered his questions were still alive. After burying their aunt Steffi in the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, Jonathan, now a rabbi, accompanies his cousin Michal as she begins to clear the flat in Jerusalem where the family have lived since fleeing Germany in the 1930s. Inside an old suitcase abandoned on the balcony they discover a linen bag containing a bundle of letters left untouched for decades. Jonathan's attention is immediately captivated as he tries to decipher the faded writing on the long-forgotten letters. They eventually draw him into a profound and challenging quest to uncover the painful details of his father's family's history. Through the wartime correspondence of his great-grandmother Regina and his grandmother, aunts and uncles, Jonathan weaves together the strands of an ancient rabbinical family with the history of Europe during the Second World War and the unfolding policies of the Nazis, telling the moving story of a family whose lives are as fragile as the paper on which they write, but whose faith in God remains steadfast.
`Among the most moving documents I have read in years ... You will not forget it' Elie Wiesel From her small, sunny hometown between the beautiful Carpathian Mountains and the blue Danube River, Elli Friedmann was taken - at a time when most girls are growing up, having boyfriends and embarking upon the adventure of life - and thrown into the murderous hell of Hitler's Final Solution. When Elli emerged from Auschwitz and Dachau just over a year later, she was fourteen. She looked like a sixty year old. This account of horrifyingly brutal inhumanity - and dogged survival - is Elli's true story.
'Through thick and thin, never separate. Stick together, guard each other, and live for one another.' As Hitler's war intensified, the Ovitz family would have good reason to stand by their mother's mantra. Descending from the cattle train into the death camp of Auschwitz, all twelve emerged in 1945 as survivors - the largest family to survive intact. What saved them? Ironically, the fact that they were sought out by the 'Angel of Death' himself - Dr Joseph Mengele. For seven of the Ovitzes were dwarfs - and not just any dwarfs, but a beloved and highly successful vaudeville act known as the Lilliput Troupe. Together, they were the only all-dwarf ensemble with a full show of their own in the history of entertainment. The Ovitzes intrigued Mengele, and amongst the thousands on whom he performed his loathsome experiments, they became his prize 'patients': 'You're something special, not like the rest of them.' It was this disturbing affection that saved their lives. After being plunged into the darkest moments in modern history, this remarkable troupe emerged with spirits undimmed, and went on to light up Europe and Israel, which offered them a new home, with their unique performances. Giants reveals their moving and inspirational story.
The Holocaust was the systematic murder of Europe's Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Second World War. An understanding of the historical circumstances that fed the Holocaust remains the essential means of making sense of the inexplicable crimes that occurred. This commemorative volume describes Jewish life before the spread of Nazism in Europe and Nazi ideologies. The author discusses the mass murder, the death camps such as Auschwitz, the perpetrators, the witnesses, the escapees, the refugee havens and the 10,000 Kindertransport youngsters who were given safe haven in Britain. We are told stories of the resistance, acts of heroism, survivors and those who risked their lives to save the Jews. Finally, we learn about the liberation of the camps, the resettlement of the Jews and how the events are remembered now. The 15 removable documents included in this book have been carefully selected to take us beyond the horrifying statistics and remind us that each number was a person. They include: letter describing Kristallnacht and a diary extract about life in the ghetto; list of Jews to be transported, including place of departure and destination; and drawings by a child incarcerated at Theresienstadt concentration camp.
Living with History focuses on a particular aspect of heritage preservation in the twentieth century: destruction and postwar reconstruction in Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, and The Netherlands. This book establishes a status quaestionis for the historiography of wartime and postwar preservation, and sets these particular developments in preservation history in the context of the general evolution of architecture and urbanism. The authors investigate the specific role of conservationists and heritage institutions and administrations in the overall reconstruction and examine the part played by architects and planners in heritage preservation.
On 26 April 1937, a weekly market day, nearly sixty bombers and fighters attacked Gernika. They dropped between 31 and 46 tons of explosive and incendiary bombs on the city center. The desolation was absolute: 85 percent of the buildings in the town were totally destroyed; over 2,000 people died in an urban area of less than one square kilometer. Lying is inherent to crime. The bombing of Gernika is associated to one of the most outstanding lies of twentieth-century history. Just hours after the destruction of the Basque town, General Franco ordered to attribute authorship of the atrocity to the Reds and that remained the official truth until his death in 1975. Today no one denies that Gernika was bombed. However, the initial regime denial gave way to reductionism, namely, the attempt to minimize the scope of what took place, calling into question that it was an episode of terror bombing, questioning Francos and his generals responsibility, diminishing the magnitude of the means employed to destroy Gernika and lessening the death toll. Even today, in the view of several authors the tragedy of Gernika is little less than an overstated myth broadcasted by Picasso. This vision of the facts feeds on the dense network of falsehoods woven for forty years of dictatorship and the one only truth of El Caudillo. Xabier Irujo exposes this labyrinth of falsehoods and leads us through a genealogy of lies to their origin, metamorphosis and current expressions. Gernika was a key event of contemporary European history; its alternative facts historiography an exemplar for commentators and historians faced with disentangling contested viewpoints on current military and political conflicts, and too often war crimes and genocide that result. Published in association with the Canada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies
Despite their common heritage, Jews born and raised on opposite sides of the Polish-Soviet border during the interwar period acquired distinct beliefs, values, and attitudes. Variances in civic commitment, school lessons, youth activities, religious observance, housing arrangements, and perceptions of security deeply influenced these adolescents who would soon face a common enemy. Set in two cities flanking the border, Grodno in the interwar Polish Republic and Vitebsk in the Soviet Union, Borderland Generation traces the prewar and wartime experiences of young adult Jews raised under distinct political and social systems. Each cohort harnessed the knowledge and skills attained during their formative years to seek survival during the Holocaust through narrow windows of chance. Antisemitism in Polish Grodno encouraged Jewish adolescents to seek the support of their peers in youth groups. Across the border to the east, the Soviet system offered young Vitebsk Jews opportunities for advancement not possible in Poland, but only if they integrated into the predominantly Slavic society. These backgrounds shaped responses during the Holocaust. Grodno Jews deported to concentration camps acted in continuity with prewar social behaviors by forming bonds with other prisoners. Young survivors among Vitebsk's Jews often looked to survive by posing under false identities as Belarusians, Russians, or Tatars. Tapping archival resources in six languages, Borderland Generation offers an original and groundbreaking exploration of the ways in which young Polish and Soviet Jews fought for survival and the complex impulses that shaped their varying methods.
Many stories of courage have been told about the sacrifices made by individuals and families during World War 2 -- this is one to stir the emotions of all who read it.
It seems at first commonplace: a group photograph of peasants at harvest time, after hard work well done, resting contentedly with their tools behind the fruits of their labor. But when one finally notices the "crops" scattered in front of the group, what seemed innocent on first view become horrific skulls and bones. Where are we? Who are the people in the photograph, and what are they doing? The starting point of Jan Tomasz and Irena Grudzinska Gross's Golden Harvest, this haunting photograph in fact depicts a group of peasants-"diggers"-atop a mountain of ashes at Treblinka, where some 800,000 Jews were gassed and cremated. The diggers are searching for gold and precious stones that Nazi executioners may have overlooked. The story captured in this grainy black-and-white photograph symbolizes the vast, continent-wide plunder of Jewish wealth that went hand-in-hand with the Holocaust. The seizure of Jewish assets during World War II occasionally generates widespread attention when Swiss banks are challenged to produce lists of dormant accounts, or national museums are forced to return stolen paintings. But the theft of Europe's Jewish population was not limited to conquering armies, leading banks, or museums. It was perpetrated also by local people, such as those pictured in the photograph. Lyrical and often heartbreaking, A Golden Harvest takes readers across Europe as it exposes the economic ravaging of an entire society. Beginning with a simple group shot, the authors have written a moving book that evokes the depth and range, as well as the intimacy, of the Final Solution.
Nominated in Best Fiction at the Audie Awards 2020. Her beauty saved her life - and condemned her. In 1942 Cilka Klein is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival. After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator by the Russians and sent to a desolate, brutal prison camp in Siberia known as Vorkuta, inside the Arctic Circle. Innocent, imprisoned once again, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, each day a battle for survival. Cilka befriends a woman doctor, and learns to nurse the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under unimaginable conditions. And when she tends to a man called Alexandr, Cilka finds that despite everything, there is room in her heart for love. Based on what is known of Cilka Klein's time in Auschwitz, and on the experience of women in Siberian prison camps, Cilka's Journey is the breathtaking sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz. A powerful testament to the triumph of the human will, this novel will move you to tears, but it will also leave you astonished and uplifted by one woman's fierce determination to survive, against all odds. 'She was the bravest person I ever met' Lale Sokolov, The Tattooist of Auschwitz This audiobook edition is an mp3-CD.
When a failed right-wing military coup provoked civil war in Spain, in July 1936, the Spanish government made a worldwide plea for help. In Britain, Aid Spanish Committees sprang up nationwide. Nowhere was empathy more keenly felt for the working people of Spain than among the people of Glasgow, which became the hub of the Scottish Aid for Spain movement. Glasgow was also home to an enterprise which was to make a significant contribution to the Spanish Republic the Scottish Ambulance Unit (SAU). The Unit was the brainchild of a wealthy Glaswegian philanthropist, Sir Daniel Macaulay Stevenson (18511944). The Units valiant and tireless work soon earned it an excellent reputation among Republican forces and as news of its remarkable work spread, volunteers became affectionately known as Los Brujos The Wizards. However, the off-duty activities of some of the SAUs members earned it an altogether different kind of reputation, and the Unit was soon to become immersed in scandal which tarnished its good name. Donald Gallie was a member of the first SAU team to arrive in Madrid (there would be three successive expeditions). He was 24 years old when Civil War broke out. His family shared a strong sense of commitment, and this, together with Donalds love of travel and adventure, is what impelled him to volunteer for service. His skills as mechanic would prove invaluable in the aid and transport given to casualties. His Diary is a remarkable document, and its publication a significant event in the historiography of the Spanish Civil War.
The Arab-Israeli conflict goes far beyond the wars waged on Middle East battlefields. There is also a war of narratives revolving around the two defining traumas of the conflict: the Holocaust and the Nakba. One side is charged with Holocaust denial, the other with exploiting a tragedy while denying the tragedies of others. In this path-breaking book, political scientist Gilbert Achcar explores these conflicting narratives and considers their role in today's Middle East dispute. He analyzes the various Arab responses to the Holocaust, from the earliest intimations of the genocide, through the creation of Israel and the occupation of Palestine, and up to our own time, critically assessing the political and historical context for these responses. Achcar offers a unique ideological mapping of the Arab world, in the process defusing an international propaganda war that has become a major stumbling block in the path of Arab-Western understanding.
Between the French defeat in 1940 and liberation in 1944, the Nazis killed almost 80,000 of France's Jews, both French and foreign. Since that time, this tragedy has been well-documented. But there are other stories hidden within it--ones neglected by historians. In fact, 75% of France's Jews escaped the extermination, while 45% of the Jews of Belgium perished, and in the Netherlands only 20% survived. The Nazis were determined to destroy the Jews across Europe, and the Vichy regime collaborated in their deportation from France. So what is the meaning of this French exception? Jacques Semelin sheds light on this 'French enigma', painting a radically unfamiliar view of occupied France. His is a rich, even-handed portrait of a complex and changing society, one where helping and informing on one's neighbours went hand in hand; and where small gestures of solidarity sat comfortably with anti-Semitism. Without shying away from the horror of the Holocaust's crimes, this seminal work adds a fresh perspective to our history of the Second World War.
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