This book goes a long way toward elucidating the role a number of German women played as "agents of death" in the Nazi Holocaust.
Before coming to thiThis book goes a long way toward elucidating the role a number of German women played as "agents of death" in the Nazi Holocaust.
Before coming to this book, I had thought that the only German women who had willingly taken part in killing Jews and other peoples regarded as "undesirables" by the Nazis were the SS auxiliaries in the concentration camps like Ravensbruck and Bergen Belsen, who acquired a reputation for brutality. But in "Hitler's Furies", the reader learns that there were also German women working in areas as diverse as nursing, teaching, and secretarial work in the East following both the conquest of Poland and Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union who were witnesses to the killings of Jews. Indeed, some, such as Erna Petri and Gertrude Segel, crossed the line and gladly engaged in murder on several occasions.
What is remarkable about this story is how the role of these murderous women in the service of the Third Reich was largely hidden or ignored for close to 70 years after the Second World War. The author explains why this was allowed to happen and endeavors to inform and educate the reader about the role of women in the Third Reich, the Nazis' attitudes about women, and the postwar lives of the women who had chosen to kill in support of the Hitler regime. I'm glad to have read this book, for it gives the reader an added insight into how the Holocaust made some women willing executioners of the Final Solution. ...more
I first became aware of Traudl Junge through the TV series "The World at War" during the 1970s. She spoke of her time with Hitler in the FuehrerbunkerI first became aware of Traudl Junge through the TV series "The World at War" during the 1970s. She spoke of her time with Hitler in the Fuehrerbunker in Berlin during the final days of the war. What she said in those interviews conveyed to me a heightened atmosphere that was surreal and veering on ghoulishness.
Several years later, I had the chance to see the German film, "The Bunker", which brought Frau Junge back to mind. So, when I learned that she had written a book about her time as one of Hitler's secretaries, I bought it and found it an interesting book. For anyone with an interest in the history of life in Germany during the Third Reich, this is the book to read. ...more
Earlier in the year, I attended a book reading by Anne Jacobsen about this subject, which was complete with a rather impressive slide presentation. WhEarlier in the year, I attended a book reading by Anne Jacobsen about this subject, which was complete with a rather impressive slide presentation. What she said about Operation Paperclip that day not only induced me to buy this book later that week. But more importantly, it forever altered my previous view of Operation Paperclip, which, from the time I first became aware of it sometime in the 1980s, I had regarded as a wholly noble effort on the part of the U.S. government to locate, retrieve, and resettle in the U.S. in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War a remarkable group of talented German scientists, whose managerial and technical expertise played no small part in helping the U.S. forge ahead of the Soviet Union in the space race. In this regard, Wernher von Braun came to mind. As someone with memories of the Apollo space program, I admired him greatly.
Now, having read this rather weighty book, I will never see von Braun in the same light again. Not only had he been a member of the Nazi Party, he had also joined the SS sometime before the Second World War and had risen to the rank of Sturmbannführer (Major), heading the Mittelbau-Dora Planning Office (which was instrumental in the development and building --- with the use of slave labor from the concentration camps --- of the V2 rockets that Hitler unleashed against the Allies in 1944 and 1945). These facts were not only known by the U.S. government, but had either been downplayed by it or classified so that they would never come to light during von Braun's lifetime.
What's more: Operation Paperclip also had its extensions in Germany itself through "feeder programs" such as Artichoke in places like Camp King, where captured Soviet spies were interrogated. A significant number of the scientists, engineers, doctors, and technicians who figured prominently in Operation Paperclip had engaged in wartime activities that, by the standards set at Nuremberg, were war crimes. For example, live medical experiments (whose grisly details I won't go into here) carried out at Auschwitz, Dachau, and the women's concentration camp at Ravensbrück. Whenever possible, the U.S. government availed themselves of the services of these Germans, provided it (i.e. the U.S. government) could help them elude or survive any adverse publicity about their pasts that sometimes surfaced after the war. Cold War pressures and imperatives made these scientists, engineers, doctors, and technicians indispensable to U.S. security interests.
"For Operation Paperclip, moving a scientist from military custody to immigrant status required elaborate and devious preparation, but in the end the procedure proved to be infallible. Scientists in the southwestern or western United States, accompanied by military escort, were driven in an unmarked army jeep out of the country into Mexico either at Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Juárez, or Tijuana. With him, each scientist carried two forms from the State Department, I-55 and I-255, each bearing a signature from the chief of the visa division and a proviso from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Section 42.323 of Title 22, signifying that the visa holder was 'a person whose admission is highly desirable in the national interest.' The scientist also had with him a photograph of himself and a blood test warranting that the did not have any infectious diseases. After consulate approval, the scientist was then let back into the United States, no longer under military guard but as a legal U.S. immigrant in possession of a legal visa. The pathway toward citizenship had begun. If the scientist lived closer to the East Coast than the West Coast, he went through the same protocols, except that he would exit the United States into Canada instead of Mexico and reeenter through the consulate at Niagara Falls."
Reading this book wasn't easy because it demands that the reader make him/herself fully attentive to its contents. Nevertheless, it's well-worth the effort. ...more
While many books abound about the experiences of Americans in Paris and London during the 1920s and 1930s, there are correspondingly few books availabWhile many books abound about the experiences of Americans in Paris and London during the 1920s and 1930s, there are correspondingly few books available about the experiences of those Americans who spent time in Germany from the 1920s to the early 1940s. This particular book stimulated my curiosity about some of these Americans --- journalists, military officers, writers, scholars, and diplomats --- one of whom first became aware as early as 1922 of a then insignificant nationalist, right wing political party and its leader Adolf Hitler, and observed the subsequent growth of the Nazi Party and Hitler's ascension to power in Germany in 1933.
One of the most interesting tidbits I was surprised to learn from reading this book was that the Nazis allowed Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, the foremost African American intellectual and historian of his generation, to spend time in Germany on a fellowship from 1935 to 1936. His observations about the Berlin Olympics were fascinating. Indeed, "Hitlerland" is the book I would recommend to anyone who wants an insight into the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of Americans who served in Germany as witnesses to the growth and consolidation of Nazism and the Third Reich. ...more