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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

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Terrible as it was, no World War II folder would be complete without devoting time and discussion to one of the worst tragedies to occur (and there were so many others). This is a thread to discuss the Holocaust.

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The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. "Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire." The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.

During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived "racial inferiority": Roma (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others). Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals.


In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. Most European Jews lived in countries that Nazi Germany would occupy or influence during World War II. By 1945, the Germans and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews as part of the "Final Solution," the Nazi policy to murder the Jews of Europe. Although Jews, whom the Nazis deemed a priority danger to Germany, were the primary victims of Nazi racism, other victims included some 200,000 Roma (Gypsies). At least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients, mainly Germans, living in institutional settings, were murdered in the so-called Euthanasia Program.
As Nazi tyranny spread across Europe, the Germans and their collaborators persecuted and murdered millions of other people. Between two and three million Soviet prisoners of war were murdered or died of starvation, disease, neglect, or maltreatment. The Germans targeted the non-Jewish Polish intelligentsia for killing, and deported millions of Polish and Soviet civilians for forced labor in Germany or in occupied Poland, where these individuals worked and often died under deplorable conditions. From the earliest years of the Nazi regime, German authorities persecuted homosexuals and others whose behavior did not match prescribed social norms. German police officials targeted thousands of political opponents (including Communists, Socialists, and trade unionists) and religious dissidents (such as Jehovah's Witnesses). Many of these individuals died as a result of incarceration and maltreatment.


In the early years of the Nazi regime, the National Socialist government established concentration camps to detain real and imagined political and ideological opponents. Increasingly in the years before the outbreak of war, SS and police officials incarcerated Jews, Roma, and other victims of ethnic and racial hatred in these camps. To concentrate and monitor the Jewish population as well as to facilitate later deportation of the Jews, the Germans and their collaborators created ghettos, transit camps, and forced-labor camps for Jews during the war years. The German authorities also established numerous forced-labor camps, both in the so-called Greater German Reich and in German-occupied territory, for non-Jews whose labor the Germans sought to exploit.

Following the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) and, later, militarized battalions of Order Police officials, moved behind German lines to carry out mass-murder operations against Jews, Roma, and Soviet state and Communist Party officials. German SS and police units, supported by units of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS, murdered more than a million Jewish men, women, and children, and hundreds of thousands of others. Between 1941 and 1944, Nazi German authorities deported millions of Jews from Germany, from occupied territories, and from the countries of many of its Axis allies to ghettos and to killing centers, often called extermination camps, where they were murdered in specially developed gassing facilities.


In the final months of the war, SS guards moved camp inmates by train or on forced marches, often called “death marches,” in an attempt to prevent the Allied liberation of large numbers of prisoners. As Allied forces moved across Europe in a series of offensives against Germany, they began to encounter and liberate concentration camp prisoners, as well as prisoners en route by forced march from one camp to another. The marches continued until May 7, 1945, the day the German armed forces surrendered unconditionally to the Allies. For the western Allies, World War II officially ended in Europe on the next day, May 8 (V-E Day), while Soviet forces announced their “Victory Day” on May 9, 1945.

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, many of the survivors found shelter in displaced persons (DP) camps administered by the Allied powers. Between 1948 and 1951, almost 700,000 Jews emigrated to Israel, including 136,000 Jewish displaced persons from Europe. Other Jewish DPs emigrated to the United States and other nations. The last DP camp closed in 1957. The crimes committed during the Holocaust devastated most European Jewish communities and eliminated hundreds of Jewish communities in occupied eastern Europe entirely.

Source: This is the introduction from the United States Holocaust Museum site

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

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Prewar photograph of three Jewish children with their babysitter. Two of the children perished in 1942. Warsaw, Poland, 1925-1926.
— US Holocaust Memorial Museum

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German Jewish refugees disembark in the port of Shanghai, one of the few places without visa requirements. Shanghai, China, 1940.
— Leo Baeck Institute

Note: There were very few places that would take the refugees.

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Lithuanian librarian Ona Simaite took food to Jews in the Vilna ghetto, helped hide many Jews outside the ghetto, and saved valuable Jewish literary and historical materials. Vilna, 1941.
— US Holocaust Memorial Museum

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Anne Frank at 11 years of age, two years before going into hiding. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1940.

— Anne Frank Stichting

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 01, 2012 07:39AM) (new)

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There are many photos regarding the Holocaust which one can browse here on this link. Please be prepared that some of them are horrible beyond words. I would not post any of these images here because of sensitivity for the victims.

Source: The United States Holocaust Museum

message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

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Source: The United States Holocaust Museum

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 01, 2012 08:09AM) (new)

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Andre placed the following on the Current Events thread and I felt it also belonged here:

Andre stated:

The Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam has put up a website called Anne Frank's Amsterdam - all in English.

They sandwiched old and new photographs of several locations which makes it easier to get a feel for the daily life in Amsterdam from 1933 to 1944, and to see where things have taken place and find the spots when visiting the city today.

In a way it's also eerie knowing this is only about 77 years in the past, how familiar everything still is and much the city looks the same.

I added this here because I think it is of general interest and not just a WW2 story.

message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

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Here is a book that folks might find interesting on the Holocaust:

The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War

The Holocaust A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War by Martin Gilbert by Martin Gilbert (no photo available)

Goodreads Synopsis:

A compelling book on an ugly subject, The Holocaust may be the finest book available for those who want a general understanding of how the rise of the Nazis in Germany impacted the Jewish people--as well as those who want to learn exactly what was at stake in the Second World War.

When The Holocaust was first published in 1986, Elie Wiesel gave it a glowing review, writing, "This book must be read and reread." It occasionally seems like a numbing catalog of unspeakable horrors, but how else does one write a comprehensive history of such a great tragedy? Gilbert is an accomplished author with a frighteningly long list of books to his credit; this is among his best.

message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

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This book was a Pulitzer Prize Winner:

The Years of Extermination: Nazi German and the Jews 1939 1945 (Nazi Germany and the Jews #2)

The Years Of Extermination Nazi Germany And The Jews, 1939 1945 by Saul Friedländer by Saul Friedländer (no photo available)

Goodreads Synopsis:

With The Years of Extermination, Saul Friedländer completes his major historical work on Nazi Germany and the Jews.

The book describes and interprets the persecution and murder of the Jews throughout occupied Europe.

The enactment of German extermination policies and measures depended on the cooperation of local authorities, the assistance of police forces, and the passivity of the populations, primarily of their political and spiritual elites.

This implementation depended as well on the victims' readiness to submit to orders, often with the hope of attenuating them or of surviving long enough to escape the German vise.

This multifaceted study—at all levels and in different places—enhances the perception of the magnitude, complexity, and interrelatedness of the many components of this history.

Based on a vast array of documents and an overwhelming choir of voices—mainly from diaries, letters, and memoirs—Saul Friedländer avoids domesticating the memory of these unprecedented and horrific events.

The convergence of these various aspects gives a unique quality to The Years of Extermination. In this work, the history of the Holocaust has found its definitive representation

message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 01, 2012 06:45PM) (new)

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A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France

A Train in Winter An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship and Survival in World War Two by Caroline Mooreheadby Caroline MooreheadCaroline Moorehead

Publisher's Synopsis:

They were teachers, students, chemists, writers, and housewives; a singer at the Paris Opera, a midwife, a dental surgeon. They distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, printed subversive newspapers, hid resisters, secreted Jews to safety, transported weapons, and conveyed clandestine messages. The youngest was a schoolgirl of fifteen who scrawled "V" for victory on the walls of her lycÉe; the eldest, a farmer's wife in her sixties who harbored escaped Allied airmen. Strangers to each other, hailing from villages and cities from across France, these brave women were united in hatred and defiance of their Nazi occupiers.

Eventually, the Gestapo hunted down 230 of these women and imprisoned them in a fort outside Paris. Separated from home and loved ones, these disparate individuals turned to one another, their common experience conquering divisions of age, education, profession, and class, as they found solace and strength in their deep affection and camaraderie.

In January 1943, they were sent to their final destination: Auschwitz. Only forty-nine would return to France.

A Train in Winter draws on interviews with these women and their families; German, French, and Polish archives; and documents held by World War II resistance organizations to uncover a dark chapter of history that offers an inspiring portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and survival—and of the remarkable, enduring power of female friendship.


“By turns heartbreaking and inspiring.” (Caroline Weber, New York Times Book Review )

“[A] moving novelistic portrait. . . . An inspiring and fascinating read.” (Meredith Maran, People (3½ stars) )

“An extremely moving and intensely personal history of the Auschwitz universe as experienced by these women. . . . A powerful and moving book.” (Natasha Lehrer, Times Literary Supplement (UK) )

“[Moorehead] traces the lives and deaths of all her subjects with unswerving candor and compassion. . . . In Moorehead’s telling, neither evil nor good is banal; and if the latter doesn’t always triumph, it certainly inspires.” (Elysa Gardner, USA Today )

“As chronicled by Moorehead with unblinking accuracy, their agonies are appalling to contemplate, their stories of survival and friendship under duress enthralling to hear.” (More magazine )

“Haunting account of bravery, friendship, and endurance.” (Marie Claire )

“Compelling . . . Moorehead weaves into her suspenseful, detailed narrative myriad personal stories of friendship, courage, and heartbreak.” (Kirkus Reviews )

“Heightened by electrifying, and staggering, detail, Moorehead’s riveting history stands as a luminous testament to the indomitable will to survive and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.” (Booklist (starred review) )

“Even history’s darkest moments can be illuminated by spectacular courage, such as courage that Caroline Moorehead movingly celebrates in A Train in Winter. . . . Moorehead has created a somber account, sensitively rendered, of yet another grim legacy of war.” (Judith Chettle, Richmond Times-Dispatch )

“The first complete account of these extraordinary women and, incredibly, over 60 years later we are still learning new and terrible truths about the Holocaust. . . . An important new perspective. . . . Careful research and sensitive retelling.” (Buzzy Jackson, Boston Sunday Globe )

“A necessary book. . . . Compelling and moving. . . . The literature of wartime France and the Holocaust is by now so vast as to confound the imagination, but when a book as good as this comes along, we are reminded that there is always room for something new.” (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post )

“As Moorehead delves deeply into the women’s fight for survival, her narrative seamlessly comes together in order to share a significant part of history whose time has come to be heard.” (Meganne Fabrega, Christian Science Monitor )

“A miraculous story about friendship and the will to overcome extraordinary cruelty, heartache and loss.” (The Jewish Journal, "Best Books of 2011" )

About the Author:

Caroline Moorehead is the biographer of Bertrand Russell, Freya Stark, Iris Origo, and Martha Gellhorn. Well known for her work in human rights, she has published a history of the Red Cross and an acclaimed book about refugees, Human Cargo. Her previous book was Dancing to the Precipice, a biography of Lucie de la Tour du Pin. She lives in London and Italy.

Letters of Martha Gellhorn by Caroline Moorehead Troublesome People The Warriors of Pacifism by Caroline Moorehead Humanity in War 150 years of the Red Cross in photographs by Caroline Moorehead Dancing to the Precipice Lucie de la Tour du Pin and the French Revolution by Caroline Moorehead Gellhorn by Caroline Moorehead Bertrand Russell 2a Life by Caroline Moorehead Iris Origo Marchesa of Val D'Orcia by Caroline Moorehead Lost and Found 8heinrich Schliemann and the Gold That Got Away by Caroline Moorehead The Lost Treasures Of Troy by Caroline Moorehead Dunant's Dream War, Switzerland, and the History of the Red Cross by Caroline Moorehead all by Caroline MooreheadCaroline Moorehead

message 13: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (last edited May 01, 2012 07:02PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11605 comments Mod
Resistance: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

One of the few survivors of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising, Holocaust scholar Gutman draws on diaries, personal letters, and underground press reports in this compelling, authoritative account of a landmark event in Jewish history. Here, too, is a portrait of the vibrant culture that shaped the young fighters, whose inspired defiance would have far-reaching implications for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. A harrowing story of courage and sacrifice.

Resistance The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by Israel Gutman by Israel Gutman

message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 01, 2012 06:58PM) (new)

Bentley | 31940 comments Mod
Another book on the subject of concentration camps:


Auschwitz by Laurence Rees by Laurence Rees

Goodreads Synopsis:

Auschwitz-Birkenau is the site of the largest mass murder in human history. Yet its story is not fully known.

In "Auschwitz," Laurence Rees reveals new insights from more than 100 original interviews with Auschwitz survivors and Nazi perpetrators who speak on the record for the first time. Their testimonies provide a portrait of the inner workings of the camp in unrivalled detail--from the techniques of mass murder, to the politics and gossip mill that turned between guards and prisoners, to the on-camp brothel in which the lines between those guards and prisoners became surprisingly blurred.

Rees examines the strategic decisions that led the Nazi leadership to prescribe Auschwitz as its primary site for the extinction of Europe's Jews--their "Final Solution." He concludes that many of the horrors that were perpetrated in Auschwitz were driven not just by ideological inevitability but as a "practical" response to a war in the East that had begun to go wrong for Germany.

A terrible immoral pragmatism characterizes many of the decisions that determined what happened at Auschwitz. Thus the story of the camp becomes a morality tale, too, in which evil is shown to proceed in a series of deft, almost noiseless incremental steps until it produces the overwhelming horror of the industrial scale slaughter that was inflicted in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.


"Laurence Rees's compact, devastating new history of the infamous death factory distills a crucial lesson — perhaps the crucial lesson — of the 20th century: that the human capacity for mass murder is grotesquely widespread and must be faced squarely if we hope to resist it." --Don Von Drehle, The Washington Post

message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

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Stories, poems, memoirs, and other writings came out of the Holocaust, representing those who survived as well as the many who died. Anne Frank is one of the most famous victims of the Holocaust, but there were many others.

Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Work

Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their WorkS. Kremer (no book cover or author's photo available)

This is actually a two volume set.

Publisher's Synopsis:

The most comprehensive reference to the writers and works that have deepened our understanding of the horror and loss…

Holocaust Literature falls in an international genre because Nazism affected many countries, and after the war survivors were scattered over the globe. It will prove a valuable resource to students, scholars, general readers, or to anyone interested in world history.

Featuring 300 alphabetically organized bio-critical essays on writers of memoirs, novels, poetry, and drama, ranging in length from 1,500 to 7,000 words, this comprehensive scholarly work presents a broad spectrum of voices remembering, interpreting, and reinterpreting one of the twentieth century's most politically and emotionally charged events. Including writers whose works first appeared in Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Yiddish, this reference provides wide international coverage, though its focus will be on writers whose work is available in English.

About the Editor:

S. Lillian Kremer, University Distinguished Professor of English at
Kansas State University, has written numerous articles on Holocaust
literature. She is the author of two well-received books: Women’s Holocaust Writing: Memory and Imagination, and Witness Through the Imagination: Jewish-American Holocaust Literature.

message 16: by G (new)

G Hodges (GLH1) | 903 comments I have recently met someone who was on one of the last Kindertransports out of Germany. Can someone recommend a good book on this topic? Thanks.

message 17: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11605 comments Mod
I would suggest the following book which is a memoir by one the the children.

Kindertransport by Olga Levy Drucker by Olga Levy Drucker

message 18: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 01, 2012 07:32PM) (new)

Bentley | 31940 comments Mod
G, this is a source that may be of interest to you:

The source is the Imperial War Museum in England:

Through My Eyes and includes three accounts

There are sound clips (audio) and other pages per account:

Hella Pick:

John Silberman:

Celia Jane Lee:

Wikipedia Source:

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G Hodges (GLH1) | 903 comments Thank you both.

message 20: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11605 comments Mod
Glad to help. It is a subject that probably doesn't get the attention it deserves.

message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 01, 2012 07:39PM) (new)

Bentley | 31940 comments Mod
Here is another source from BBC:

More audio and accounts:

At the time I thought it was quite an exciting adventure. I said "goodbye" to my mother, "see you soon". Who could tell what was going to happen?
--Inga Joseph, interviewed in 2008

We all leant out of the carriage window and my parents waved white handkerchiefs. I didn't know that would be the last time I would see any of them alive.
--Vera Schaufeld, interviewed in 2008


In 1938, nine months before the Second World War, England opened its borders to around 10,000 children, mostly Jewish, who were fleeing the Nazi regime.

The children were sent, without their parents, out of Austria, Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia in a process that became known as Kindertransport.

Most Jewish families were prevented from travelling abroad by a lack of funds or the stringent visa controls imposed by countries such as Britain and the USA.

Following Kristallnacht, the night of violence organised against the Jewish communities in Greater Germany (Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia) on 9 November 1938, pressure was placed on the British government to relax immigration controls for a limited number of children.

Charitable organisations, such as the Red Cross, organised the Kindertransport, whereby unaccompanied children between the ages of 5 and 17, were allowed to travel to Britain by train and boat via Holland.

It saved their lives, but it was a traumatic rescue and the forced separation from their parents was only the beginning.

The fleeing children had to survive in a strange new world, where they couldn't speak the language and had no idea who was going to care for them. Older children lived in hostels; others were lucky enough to have loving foster families, although a small number were treated cruelly by their foster families.

British generosity in granting refuge did not extend to the parents. Children had to leave their parents behind and by the end of the war many were orphans.

Source: BBC

Audios of Robert Wasselberg, Bertha Leverton and Marion Marston
are also on this page.

They recommend the following book:

I Came Alone: The Stories of the Kindertransports by Bertha Leverton (no book cover or photo available)

message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

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This statistic is horrendous:

Over 1.5 million children from across Europe were murdered under the Nazi regime.

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This article examines the brutality they suffered and two schoolchildren talk about their experiences of a visit to Auschwitz in 2003.

The two children were Liz Pierce and Nina Pullen.

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One can never forget Night by Elie Wiesel.

Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.

Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.

Night  by Elie Wiesel by Elie WieselElie Wiesel

message 25: by Alisa (last edited May 01, 2012 08:04PM) (new)

Alisa (MsTaz) | 5519 comments Night  by Elie Wiesel by Elie WieselElie Wiesel
Night A terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of his family...the death of his innocence...and the death of his God. Penetrating and powerful, as personal as The Diary Of Anne Frank, Night awakens the shocking memory of evil at its absolute and carries with it the unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again.

Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel KBE ( /ˈɛli vɨˈzɛl/; Hungarian: Wiesel Lázár; born September 30, 1928) is a Romanian-born Jewish-American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor. He is the author of 57 books, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald concentration camps. Wiesel is also the Advisory Board chairman of the Algemeiner Journal newspaper.

When Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a "messenger to mankind," stating that through his struggle to come to terms with "his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler's death camps", as well as his "practical work in the cause of peace", Wiesel had delivered a powerful message "of peace, atonement and human dignity" to humanity.

Early life
Wiesel was born in Sighet, Transylvania (now Sighetu Marmaţiei), Maramureş, Kingdom of Romania, in the Carpathian Mountains. His mother, Sarah Feig, was the daughter of Dodye Feig, a celebrated Vizhnitz Hasid and farmer from a nearby village. He was active and trusted within the community, and in the early years of his life had spent a few months in jail for having helped Polish Jews who escaped and were hungry. It was his father, Chlomo, who instilled a strong sense of humanism in his son, encouraging him to learn Hebrew and to read literature, whereas his mother encouraged him to study the Torah. Wiesel has said his father represented reason, and his mother Sarah promoted faith. In his home, his family spoke Yiddish most of the time, but also Romanian, Hungarian and German. Wiesel had three sisters – older sisters Hilda and Beatrice, and younger sister Tzipora. Beatrice and Hilda survived the war and were reunited with Wiesel at a French orphanage. They eventually emigrated to North America, with Beatrice moving to Montreal, Canada. Tzipora, Chlomo and Sarah did not survive the Holocaust.

World War II
In 1940, Romania lost the town of Sighet following the Second Vienna Award. In 1944, Wiesel, his family and the rest of the town were placed in one of the two ghettos in Sighet. Wiesel and his family lived in the larger of the two, on Serpent Street. On May 16, 1944, the Hungarian authorities allowed the German army to deport the Jewish community in Sighet to Auschwitz-Birkenau. While at Auschwitz, his inmate number, "A-7713," was tattooed onto his left arm. Wiesel was separated from his mother and sisters Hilda, Beatrice, and Tzipora. Wiesel's mother and sister Tzipora were presumably killed in the gas chambers upon arrival. Wiesel and his father were sent to the attached work camp Buna, a subcamp of Auschwitz III-Monowitz. He managed to remain with his father for over eight months as they were forced to work under appalling conditions and shuffled between three concentration camps in the closing days of the war. On January 29, 1945, just a few weeks after the two were marched to Buchenwald, Wiesel's father was beaten by a Nazi as he was suffering from dysentery, starvation, and exhaustion. He was also beaten by other inmates for his food. He was later sent to the crematorium, only months before the camp was liberated by the U. S. Third Army on April 11.

for more information:

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Bentley | 31940 comments Mod
Alisa, I think we were thinking along the same lines. Why don't you edit out the first part and add the information about the author which is great stuff.

Some books that the Imperial War Museum recommends I will add here:

First is this one:

Even the cover makes you sad:


In association with the Imperial War Museum and based on work recording the experiences of Holocaust survivors for the sound archive - one of the most important archives of its kind in the world.

The intertwined moving and revealing interviews reveal the sheer complexity and horror of the Holocaust. The great majority of survivors suffered considerable physical and psychological wounds, yet the overall story is far from being just gloom and doom. There are many poignant vignettes describing acts of charity, reciprocity and kindness in the face of the most extreme form of barbarism.

Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust by Lyn Smith by Lyn Smith

message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 01, 2012 08:01PM) (new)

Bentley | 31940 comments Mod
Another one:


Drawing on their diaries and letters, Ben Shephard reconstructs events at Belsen in the spring of 1945 - from the first horror of its discovery, through the agonising process of trying to save the survivors, to the point where Belsen became 'more like a Butlin's Holiday camp than a concentration one'. After Daybreak is a powerful and dramatic narrative, full of extraordinary incidents and characters.

Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust by Lyn Smith by Lyn Smith

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Another one:


This book contains the life story of Anne Frank from her early happy childhood in Frankfurt growing up in Amsterdam her two years in hiding and the last few months of her life in the concentration camp

Anne Franks Story by Carol Ann Lee by Carol Ann LeeCarol Ann Lee

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Another recommended by the Imperial War Museum:

Everyone knows about Anne Frank, and her life hidden in the secret annexe - or do they? Peter van Pels and his family are locked away with the Franks too, and Peter sees it all differently. What is it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, to hate her and then find yourself falling in love with her? To know you're being written about in her diary, day after day? And, what's it like to sit and wait and watch whilst others die, and you wish you were fighting?

Anne's diary ends on August 4 1944, but Peter's story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion, the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz - and the terrible conclusion.

Annexed by Sharon Dogar by Sharon DogarSharon Dogar

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Here is a novel recommended by the IWH:

This novel tells the story of Bruno who knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no-one to play with.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne by John BoyneJohn Boyne

message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 31940 comments Mod
Another one close to the Imperial War Museum:


Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Cirla was just five years old when the Germans invaded in 1940 and in this enlightening account she describes the traumatic effect of the Holocaust on her own family, as witnessed from a young child's point of view.

As an innocent observer, unable to comprehend the events taking place around her, Cirla's recollections have a dreamlike quality that makes them all the more poignant.

For a number of years Cirla has worked as an educator at the permanent Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London, where she draws on her own childhood experiences to teach today's younger generation about the Holocaust.

message 32: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 01, 2012 08:19PM) (new)

Bentley | 31940 comments Mod
Another Imperial War Museum recommendation:


This memoir is the amazing story of striving to live a normal life, when everything arounds you becomes more and more abnormal. It is a story about friendships and dreams of romances, a story about daily struggles and small victories set against a backdrop of the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam and all the dangers that time held for Jews in the city.

Publisher's Synopsis:

Hannah tells her story in a simple yet unnervingly moving voice. The poignancy of this book is in the sensitive and thoughtful voice of Hannah Goslar as she faces each challenge with a remarkable degree of bravery. Important and shattering occurences are relayed in a calm and reasonable way, which only adds resonance to the power of the events. When Hannah and her family are arrested and transported to Bergen Belsen (where she has one final and emotional reunion with Anne Frank), it is Hannah's courage that saves the lives of herself and her younger sister. This is a truly remarkable book that tells us more about the lives of ordinary people during World War Two than any history book can. This is Hannah's Story told in her own words to Alison Leslie Gold.

Hannah Goslar Remembers A Childhood Friend Of Anne Frank by Alison Leslie Gold as told to Alison Leslie Gold

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Bentley | 31940 comments Mod
G wrote: "Thank you both."

You are welcome G; a tragedy that knows no words (Holocaust).

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Another Imperial War Museum recommendation:


In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow.

This work tells the story of Oskar Schindler, who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland and who was transformed by the war into a man with a mission.

Note: I think all of us remember the movie Schindler's List which is a very worthwhile movie for those who have not seen it.

Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally by Thomas KeneallyThomas Keneally


'An extraordinary achievement' -- Graham Greene 'Brilliantly detailed, moving, powerful and gripping' -- The Times 'Thomas Keneally has done marvellous justice to a marvellous story' -- Sunday Times 'Keneally is a superb storyteller. With SCHINDLER'S ARK he has given us his best book yet, a magnificent novel which held me from the first page to the last' -- Alan Sillitoe 'This remarkable book has the immediacy and the almost unbearable detail of a thousand eye witnesses who forgot nothing' -- New York Times Book Review

About the Author:

Thomas Keneally has been shortlisted for the Booker four times and won it with SCHINDLER'S ARK in 1982. His novels have been filmed ("Schindler's List" and "The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith") and dramatised ("The Playmaker"). He has also written several works of non-fiction including "Homebush Boy", a memoir.

Other books:

Homebush Boy by Thomas Keneally by Thomas KeneallyThomas Keneally

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Of course nobody can forget the diary of the little girl Anne Frank:


In Amsterdam in the summer of 1942 the Nazis forced teenager Anne Frank and her family into hiding. For over two years they another family and a German dentist lived in a 'secret annexe' fearing discovery. All that time Anne kept a diary.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank Anne FrankAnne Frank

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Another Imperial War Museum recommendation:

6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, but this is only half the story. Doris Bergen reveals how the Holocaust extended beyond the Jews to engulf millions of other victims in related programmes of mass-murder. The Nazi killing machine began with the disabled, and went on to target Afro-Germans, Gypsies, non-Jewish Poles, French African soldiers, Soviet prisoners of war, homosexual men and Jehovah's Witnesses.

The Holocaust A New History by Doris L. Bergen by Doris L. Bergen

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Another Imperial War Museum recommendation:


Everyone knows the story of Anne Frank - the extraordinary diary that she wrote during her two years in hiding in the Secret Annexe. But few have even the sketchiest knowledge of how that story ended. Here, six women whose lives touched Anne Frank's in her final months tell their story - of the terrible journey east to Auschwitz, the daily privations and terror of the death camps, and of the friendships and courage that transcended even the most vile conditions. Anne Frank's story did not end with her last words in the Diary; it ended alone on a filthy floor at Bergen-Belsen. These women were the fortunate ones to survive.

The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank by Willy Lindwer by Willy Lindwer

message 38: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 01, 2012 09:34PM) (new)

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Here is an interesting story: (he saved The Pianist - Wladyslaw Szpilman)

Above photo of Wladyslaw Szpilman

Wilhelm Hosenfeld was born in a village in Hessen, Germany, in 1895. His family was Catholic and he grew up in a pious and conservative German patriotic environment. After serving as a soldier in World War I, he became a teacher, and taught at a local school. By the time World War II broke out, Hosenfeld was married and had five children.

In the end of August 1939, a week before the German attack on Poland, 43-year-old Hosenfeld was drafted into the Wehrmacht (the German Army). He was stationed in Poland, first in Pabiance, and as of July 1940 in Warsaw, where he would stay until the end of the war. Hosenfeld spent most of the war years as a sports and culture officer, rising from the rank of sergeant to captain. In summer 1944, during the Polish uprising, when all military forces were engaged in suppressing the revolt, he was involved in the interrogation of prisoners.

Although joining the Nazi party in 1935, Hosenfeld soon grew disillusioned with the regime and disgusted by the crimes against Poles and Jews that he became witness to. All through his military service he kept a diary in which he expressed his feelings. The texts survived because he would regularly send the notebooks home. In his writing, Hosenfeld stressed his growing disgust with the regimes’ oppression of Poles, the persecution of Polish clergy, the abuse of Jews, and, with the beginning of the “Final Solution”, his horror at the extermination of the Jewish people. In 1943, after witnessing the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt, he wrote in his diary: "these animals. With horrible mass murder of the Jews we have lost this war. We have brought an eternal curse on ourselves and will be forever covered with shame. We have no right for compassion or mercy; we all have a share in the guilt. I am ashamed to walk in the city…."

Hosenfeld not only expressed his deep revulsion in words, but also actively helped the victims. Leon Warm escaped from a train to Treblinka during the 1942 deportations from Warsaw. He made it back into the city, and managed to survive with the help of Hosenfeld who employed him in the sports stadium, and provided him with a false identity. His help to another Jew became famous with the film "The Pianist", based on Waldislaw Szpilman's life story. After his entire family was killed, Szpilman managed to leave the ghetto and survived on the Aryan side with the help of Polish friends [Janina Godlewska, Andrezej Bogucki and Czeslaw Lewicki were honored as Righteous Among the Nations in 1978]. After the Polish Uprising in summer 1944, the Polish population was evicted from the city, and Szpilman remained alone, hiding in the ruins of the destroyed city, hungry, frozen, frightened and with no support whatsoever. It was there that Hosenfeld found him in mid-November 1944, and helped him survive during the critical final weeks before liberation.

In January 1945 Hosenfeld was taken prisoner by the Soviets. Five years later, on 7 May 1950 a military tribunal in Minsk sentenced him to 25 years in prison. The trial, so the one-page verdict stated, was held in the absence of the defense. The verdict stated that Hosenfeld had personally interrogated prisoners during the Warsaw uprising and sent them to detention, thereby strengthening Fascism in the struggle against the Soviet Union.

Six months after the trial, in November 1950, Leon Warm came to visit Hosenfeld's wife in Thalau. A Polish priest who had met Hosenfeld in the POW camp had found him and told him of his rescuer's predicament. Warm, who was about to emigrate from Europe, also wrote a letter to Szpilman in Warsaw. It seems unlikely that something could have been done by the two survivors who had lost their families and who were, like others, working hard to pick up the pieces and try to build a life in a world that had little interest in the Jewish tragedy. Hosenfeld died in a Soviet prison in 1952.

Szpilman applied to Yad Vashem in 1998 to have his rescuer recognized. By that time Leon Warm had already died, but his letter to Szpilman survived, and his sister wrote to Yad Vashem from Australia, confirming her brother's rescue. Before the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous could award the title, it had to be verified that Hosenfeld had not been involved in war crimes. Once his diaries and letters were made public, the case was submitted for the Commission's review. Yad Vashem also received confirmation from the Polish Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes that his conduct had been untarnished.

On 25 November 2008, Yad Vashem recognized Wilhelm Hosenfeld as Righteous Among the Nations.

Wilhelm Hosenfeld:

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Small Miracles of the Holocaust

Small Miracles of the Holocaust Extraordinary Coincidences of Faith, Hope, and Survival by Yitta Halberstam by Yitta Halberstam


The brutality of the Holocaust conjures up horrific images and impressions of humanity. Yet there were some rays of light during this nightmarish time - episodes in which lives were spared, families were brought back together, and the human spirit and faith somehow endured because of a chance occurrence at just the right moment. This book by two second-generation Holocaust survivors collects 50 stories of such "extraordinary coincidences", recounting love stories, remarkable reunions, and narrow escapes that defy explanation. Highly recommended.

message 40: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 17, 2012 10:52AM) (new)

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Here is an interesting slide show in the news today:

Holocaust survivors celebrate belated Bar Mitzvah

Seven survivors of the Holocaust gathered at a synagogue in the Israeli city of Ashkelon on May 17 to celebrate the traditional Jewish coming of age ceremony normally marked at the age of 13.

Note: It is a little heart wrenching to know why they missed their ceremony when they were 13, where they might have been and/or where their families were.

Holocaust survivor Yoel Levinger (R), 85, sits with other survivors during their Bar Mitzvah ceremony at a synagogue in the Israeli city of Ashkelon May 17, 2012. Levinger was one of seven survivors of the genocide on Thursday to celebrate the traditional Jewish coming of age ceremony normally marked at the age of 13. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (ISRAEL - Tags: SOCIETY RELIGION)

message 41: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11605 comments Mod
Mazel tov!!!!!
Did you notice the death camp numbers tattoo on Mr. Levinger's arm?

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My eyes not being terrific- no. But I went back and looked at it closely and do now.

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Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11605 comments Mod
A new book on one of the major figures in the genocide of the European Jewish population, who remained hidden in South America for 15 years.

The Eichmann Trial

The Eichmann Trial by Deborah E. Lipstadt by Deborah E. LipstadtDeborah E. Lipstadt


The capture of SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann by Israeli agents in Argentina in May of 1960 and his subsequent trial in Jerusalem by an Israeli court electrified the world. The public debate it sparked on where, how, and by whom Nazi war criminals should be brought to justice, and the international media coverage of the trial itself, was a watershed moment in how the civilized world in general and Holocaust survivors in particular found the means to deal with the legacy of genocide on a scale that had never been seen before.

Award-winning historian Deborah E. Lipstadt gives us an overview of the trial and analyzes the dramatic effect that the survivors’ courtroom testimony—which was itself not without controversy—had on a world that had until then regularly commemorated the Holocaust but never fully understood what the millions who died and the hundreds of thousands who managed to survive had actually experienced.

As the world continues to confront the ongoing reality of genocide and ponder the fate of those who survive it, this trial of the century, which has become a touchstone for judicial proceedings throughout the world, offers a legal, moral, and political framework for coming to terms with unfathomable evil. Lipstadt infuses a gripping narrative with historical perspective and contemporary urgency.

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This book looks at Anne Frank's family and sheds light on the people and circumstances that shaped her.

Treasures from the Attic

Treasures from the Attic the Extraordinary Story of Anne Frank's Family by Mirjam Pressler by Mirjam Pressler

The story is one that is envisioned by many: a relative, an old woman who has lived in the same home for a lifetime, passes away, her death prompting the inevitable task of sorting through her effects by her surviving family. But in the attic in this particular house, a treasure trove of historic importance is found. Rarely does this become an actuality, but when Helene Elias died, no one could put a price on what she left behind.

Helene Elias was born Helene Frank, sister to Otto Frank, and therefore aunt to Anne Frank. Ensconced upstairs in the house she inherited from her mother, and eventually passed on to her son, Buddy Elias, Anne’s cousin and childhood playmate, was the documented legacy of the Frank family: a vast collection of photos, letters, drawings, poems, and postcards preserved throughout decades—a cache of over 6,000 documents in all.
Chronicled by Buddy’s wife, Gertrude, and renowned German author Mirjam Pressler, these findings weave an indelible, engaging, and endearing portrait of the family that shaped Anne Frank. They wrote to one another voluminously; recounted summer holidays, and wrote about love and hardships. They reassured one another during the terrible years and waited anxiously for news after the war had ended. Through these letters, they rejoiced in new life, and honored the memories of those they lost.

Anne’s family believed themselves to ordinary members of Germany’s bourgeoisie. That they were wrong is part of history, and we celebrate them here with this extraordinary account.

Anne FrankAnne Frank

message 45: by Nicole (new)

Nicole This book due out in November and looks very interesting. I haven't seen many books from this point of view.

A Small Town Near Auschwitz

A Small Town Near Auschwitz by Mary FulbrookbyMary Fulbrook(no photo)

In A Small Town Near Auschwitz, historian Mary Fulbrook tells the story of Udo Klausa, a civilian administrator in the small town of Bedzin, an ordinary functionary who helped implement the Nazis' inhumane policies towards the Jews. Using a wealth of personal letters, memoirs, testimonies, interviews, and other sources, Fulbrook pieces together Klausa's role in the unfolding destruction of the Jews under his authority, as well as the heroic attempts at resistance on the part of some of the victims of Nazi racial policies in this area. She also offers fascinating insight into the inner conflicts of a Nazi bureaucrat who, throughout, considered himself "a decent man."

Udo Klausa's case is so important because it is in many ways so typical. Behind Klausa's story is the larger story of how countless local functionaries across the Third Reich facilitated the murderous plans of a relatively small number among the Nazi elite--plans that could never have been realized, on the same scale, without the diligent cooperation of these very ordinary men. As Fulbrook shows, men like Klausa "knew" and yet mostly suppressed this knowledge, performing their day jobs without apparent recognition of their own role in the carnage, or any sense of personal wrongdoing or remorse--either before or after 1945.

For Fulbrook, an eminent historian, the story of Udo Klausa hits very close to home, because Fulbrook's mother was both a refugee from Nazi Germany and a close friend of Klausa's wife. Fulbrook has known the Klausa family all her life, but had no inkling of Udo's true role in the Third Reich until a few years ago, a stunning discovery that led directly to this deeply personal history of life in Nazi Germany.

message 46: by Bryan, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS (new)

Bryan Craig | 11639 comments Mod
Indeed, Nicole, thanks for posting; it would be interesting.

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Hitler's Foreign Executioners: Europe's Dirty Secret

Hitler's Foreign Executioners Europe's Dirty Secret by Christopher HaleChristopher Hale


Revealing for the first time Heinrich Himmler's master plan for Europe, this book discusses his dream of an SS empire with no place for either the Nazi Party or Adolf Hitler. His astonishingly ambitious plan depended on the recruitment of tens of thousands of "Germanic" peoples to build an "SS Europa." This book, researched in archives all over Europe and using first-hand testimony, exposes Europe's dirty secret—that nearly half a million Europeans and more than a million Soviet citizens enlisted in the armed forces of the Third Reich—to fight a crusade against "Jewish-Bolshevism." No other historian has examined the connections between these SS "foreign legions" (both police and Waffen-SS) and the Holocaust. Even today, some apologists claim that the foreign volunteers were merely soldiers "like any other" and fought a decent war against Stalin's Red Army. Christopher Hale demonstrates conclusively that these surprisingly common views are mistaken.

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The Complete Maus

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman Art SpiegelmanArt Spiegelman


On the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of its first publication, here is the definitive edition of the book acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker).

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity and succeeds in “drawing us closer to the bleak heart of the Holocaust” (The New York Times).

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek’s harrowing story of survival is woven into the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century’s grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of the children who survive even the survivors. Maus studies the bloody pawprints of history and tracks its meaning for all of us.

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Man's Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl Viktor E. FranklViktor E. Frankl


Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of those he treated in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory—known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")—holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

At the time of Frankl's death in 1997, Man's Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life" found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.

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Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust

Masters of Death The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust by Richard RhodesRichard Rhodes


In Masters of Death, Rhodes gives full weight, for the first time, to the Einsatzgruppen’s role in the Holocaust. These “special task forces,” organized by Heinrich Himmler to follow the German army as it advanced into eastern Poland and Russia, were the agents of the first phase of the Final Solution. They murdered more than 1.5 million men, women, and children between 1941 and 1943, often by shooting them into killing pits, as at Babi Yar.

These massive crimes have been generally overlooked or underestimated by Holocaust historians, who have focused on the gas chambers. In this painstaking account, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes profiles the eastern campaign’s architects as well as its “ordinary” soldiers and policemen, and helps us understand how such men were conditioned to carry out mass murder. Marshaling a vast array of documents and the testimony of perpetrators and survivors, this book is an essential contribution to our understanding of the Holocaust and World War II.

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War (other topics)
The Years Of Extermination: Nazi Germany And The Jews, 1939 1945 (other topics)
A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship and Survival in World War Two (other topics)
The Letters of Martha Gellhorn (other topics)
Troublesome People: The Warriors of Pacifism (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Martin Gilbert (other topics)
Saul Friedländer (other topics)
Caroline Moorehead (other topics)
Israel Gutman (other topics)
Laurence Rees (other topics)