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

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,166 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
The enactment of the German extermination policies that resulted in the murder of six million European Jews depended upon many factors, including the cooperation of local authorities and police departments, and the passivity of the populations, primarily of their political and spiritual elites. Necessary also was the victims' willingness to submit, often with the hope of s ...more
Paperback, 870 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Harper Perennial (first published December 31st 1998)
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Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: germany, holocaust
(Note: This is a review for Volume II of Saul Friedlander's "Nazi Germany and the Jews". This volume is "The Years of Extermination." Volume I is entitled "The Years of Persecution." I did not realize there WAS a Volume I until I was far into this book. I will go back and read it at some point, but I have many other books waiting on my reading list. These are large books and, frankly, rather depressing.)

Whoa. This book is, essentially, the definitive chronicle of the Holocaust. It is heavily inf
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was really disappointed with this book. Granted, this is a hard topic to tackle, simply due to the magnitude of victims, and the extent of brutality; however, the author really did not, in my opinion, do justice to his subject.

Strangely, the author slams every conceivable population for their part in the Holocaust - I never thought I'd read a book where the pope appeared more anti-Semitic than Hitler, but so it was. The Jewish community also gets a good heaping helping of blame in this book,
Apr 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a monumental study of Nazi state and its relationship with the Jews. It is written as dispassionately as possible given the topic. It reports the facts through diary entries, archives, correspondance and the work of previous historians. The sheer volume of effort that has been put to creating this record is almost unfathomable as is the record of atrocities committed by the Nazis. There is some attempt to examine motivation but in the end the author admits that the reasons are unknowable ...more
Margaret Morris
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Using diary's, letters, and other first-hand accounts, Friedlander (historian and Holocaust survivor), follows the destructive path of Hitler's final solution. Although there are stories of those few who stood apart and worked clandestinely to save numerous people, Friedlander emphasizes the complicity of most of Europe (because of deeply embedded anti-semitic ideology;), which helped propel the overwhelmingly effective destructiveness of mass murder, through both active collaboration and passiv ...more
Marissa Morrison
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book traces the development of the Final Solution and chronicles the deaths of millions of Jews. It is, of course, impossible to tell the stories of 6 million individuals; in spite of the inclusion of quotations from victims' diaries, the scope of this book remains vaguely wide.

The Holocaust is still a very hard thing for me to comprehend, but this book makes some things clearer. Friedlander highlights how quickly many, many Europeans let themselves be convinced that the Jews were vile, in
Carolyn O'Hara
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, in-depth examination of factors surrounding the darkest years of the 20th century. The author's use of diaries throughout was brilliant, and I am in total awe that so many diaries were rescued and preserved.

New York Times, 24 June 2007:

"What raises “The Years of Extermination” to the level of literature, however, is the skilled interweaving of individual testimony with the broader depiction of events. Friedländer never lets the reader forget the human and personal meanings of the his
Daniel Law
This is probably the most in depth look at what really happened in the German occupied Europe during WWII. It is a mixture of documentary, evidentiary, and diaristic evidence all wound together in a way that will keep you spell bound as you read your way through the madness that was NAZI Germany.

It is one of the most complete and accurate accounts and is a must read
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two books by Friedlander

I've just finished the two books by Friedlander. The first on the build up of anti-Semitism in Germany and other European countries in the 30's, the second on the results of those policies from 1939 to May 1945.

Friedlander's incredible knowledge of what appears to be every aspect of his subject matter overwhelms the reader with the day to day details of laws enacted against Jews in the 30's and their persecution during the war.

His thoroughness of account taught me several
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Readers should keep in mind what sort of history this is. It is not a narrative history of the war, and not even a narrative history of the Holocaust. It narrates chiefly the experience of undergoing the Holocaust, i.e. what it was like to be there and one of the victims. This is so difficult it requires clarification by various non-narrative ideas, some organizational (e.g. how the death camps were proposed and organized) but others wholly interpretive.
Friedlaender's main general idea is that
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Als je je wilt verdiepen in het hoe en waarom van de Holocaust, zijn de boeken van Friedländer van onschatbare waarde. De systematische uitsluiting van de joodse bevolking in de geannexeerde en bezette gebieden, de inzet van de Einsatzgruppen, de houding van de bevolking en overheid in diverse landen, de rol van de kerken, de uiteindelijke beslissing in januari 1942 over de Endlösung, de kennis over de massamoord die vanaf datzelfde jaar langzaam maar zeker doordrong in 'de buitenwereld', de tot ...more
Tarn Richardson
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A staggering achievement, in terms of size, scale, detail. emotion and horror. Friedländer cohesively and expertly explains how hatred towards of the Jewish population was seized upon, garnered and grown within pre- and wartime Germany, how the wheels of the Holocaust were set in motion, and how the monstrous machine of extermination was brought into action powered.

A sobering but essential read for anyone wishing to understanding the desperation and ruthless horror of the Nazi machine - and the
Donato Colangelo
Imponente sforzo per raccogliere e presentare nel modo più diretto possibile le atrocità dello sterminio degli ebrei d'Europa. Non si può dare meno di 5 stelle ad un volume ben scritto, scorrevole e incredibilmente dettagliato. Le numerosissime note sparse nel testo arricchiscono ulteriormente un trattato sull'orrore che dovrebbe trovare posto nelle librerie di molte persone, in questi tempi bui in cui la xenofobia sta tornando, ahinoi, in primo piano.
ברוך קורל
Very interesting
Jun 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book during the summer (just after I finished the first volume). A dense and horrible read that one cannot truly describe with any type of justice. I've personally been to many of the sites in this book describes in such descriptively nauseating detail. Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka are all sights that have horribly come alive in my memories which were once dominated by serene natural beauty almost untainted by the terror which occured 65 years before my visit; untainted ...more
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ilk cildin devami. Inanilmaz titiz bir calisma. Milletler sisteminin 2. Dunya Savasi'nda kuruldugunun (dolayisiyla aslinda bir anlamda Nazilerin savasi kazandigi), Holokostun yan etkilerinin savas sirasinda kullanildiginin (Alman halkini bastirma, ses cikaramayacak hale getirme), Varsova Gettosu'nda en fazla okunan kitabin Musa Dagi'nda Kirk Gun olmasinin, Yahudileri destekleyen tek onemli grev ve ayaklanmanin Hollanda'da gerceklesmesinin, "cildirmis" Almanlarin o kadar da yanliz olmadiklarinin, ...more
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Friedlander successfully tackles the question "Why didn't anyone DO anything???" He frames the Holocaust in terms of a backlash against liberal society. Every class, government, and almost every church distrusted the Jews for what they thought the Jews stood for: Bolshevism (Hitler) Communism (the Vatican), international business (middle class Germans), moneyed professionals (struggling workers), etc. When Hitler's obsessive anti-Semitism set the match to the tinder, the conflagration began. Thi ...more
Daniel Solera
The Years of Extermination continues Saul Friedländer’s astoundingly detailed investigation of the systematic and institutional killing of European Jews. Where his first book, The Years of Persecution deals with Hitler’s rise to and consolidation of power (1933 – 1939), this one concerns itself with the years of the second World War (1939 – 1945). Relying almost entirely on primary documents, Friedländer’s work becomes a tapestry of voices from both sides of the calamity, giving us perspectives ...more
Pulitzer Prize Winner

This is the middle book of a three part series on the Jews in Nazi Germany. This book is rather long and depressing and it is not what I would call "light reading." It is also a bit dry in parts. However, if you want an understanding of the events surrounding the Holocaust in Germany, this is a book to read. The author brings in a ton of primary source material.

This book went into many different things that I had not considered in regards to the holocaust and the Final Solut
Toni Osborne
Feb 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945

This book is a meticulously written historical work on Nazi Germany's mass murder of Europe's Jews. The author never lets us forget the human aspect as he describes events that are interweaved with individual testimonies taken from diaries, letters and witness statements at postwar trials. The taunting words chronicle the horror and disbelief of European Jewry as they suffer humiliation, discrimination, persecution, deportation and finally death in a manner th
Jun 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the Holocaust. I found it educational in many ways -- for its timeline, for the quotes from Hitler's talks and speeches (which gave insight into his thinking at particular points in time), for its insight into the inaction of the Catholic Church and other opinion leaders. It is a book about a terrible time with horrible, mindless, insane cruelty on a scale that really can't be imagined. But, it is a history and a story that must be ...more
John Bleasdale
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A stunning history that unfortunately doesn't feel as incredible now as it once did. Friedlander is forensic in his analysis but impassioned in his witnessing. The diaries of victims are cross referenced with the accounts of ordinary Germans and the Nazi hierarchy. The vicious inhumanity is only rarely alleviated by individual acts of brave generosity. And though the Nazis are beyond any moral pale, many others show a culpable moral failing including the Catholic church, Zionist organizations, a ...more
Nick Black
Barnes & Nobles impulse acquisition 2008-05-19, largely swayed due to the gauche Pulitzer emblem.

A pretty solid companion to Shirer, which glosses over most of the destruction of European Jewry (the authority here is of course Hilberg's three-volume 1985 update to his classic The Destruction of the European Jews, and honestly I'd have expected Friedländer to use his access to modern Soviet sources to great effect in distinguishing himself from Hilberg, especially given the six (6!) bibliogra
Jerome Adirim
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow The Holocaust happened in a world much like our own. As people or rather Jews had their esteem taken away from them by the Nazi Nuremenberg laws; they stopped understanding that pogroms were by no means only in history. Suit, tie, courthouse, university or pulling a donkey in the Pale of Settlement, all Jews are viewed by some or most as dispicable and vile.

Friedlander explains through mass of this book the reasons the Jews were blind to this catastrophe and further makes it clear that we,
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
700 pages that really outline how it happened. More of a military/ world war view. Not so much the “how” of the average German citizen, which is what I want to know, but I got a sense of how powerful the Nazis were, how relentless (they would not let a dozen jews go to Norway) I also got a feel for Adolph Hitler, who I had the view was not as central to this – that he could have been replaced. But he was it – he was the figure… the leader.

I also got a feel for how antisemite the Europe was and
Apr 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Have recently discovered that for myself (and I believe others) a better knowledge and understanding of the whys and wherefores of the Holocaust is essential to an understanding of what it is to be human in the moddern Imperial-Patriarchal-'Civilized' system we take for granted. Self-destruction is our heritage and our all too close and real prospect. What can we see beyond what's all about fear, control, conquest, and destruction?
May 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: six-stars
This is an incredible book, and no doubt one of the best histories of World War II ever written. Every person on the planet should read this book. It thoroughly recounts, in unflinching detail, both the atrocities committed under German leadership, and the evolution of the worst kind of human evil ever to be elicited from the souls of mankind.
Dec 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, war
Informative and passionate, but would have benefited mightily with at least SOME maps of Europe! I had to go out and buy an atlas just to follow along. Read simultaneously with Human Smoke. Interesting contrast! Also watching the recent Holocaust films of Sophie Scholl, The Counterfeiters, Paragraph 175. Just ordered SHOAH, a 9 hour documentary.
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Relying on research but supplementing with voices from diarists, Friedländer's 663-page second volume of his Holocaust history is unusually affecting, and often overwhelming with the scale and scope of the destruction of Europe's Jews. (I told my wife at one point that the theme of this book is "everyone knew.") Deserving of every accolade heaped upon it.
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based upon a vast array of sources....including diaries, letters, etc.......from victims as well as perpetrators of horrendous crimes, this book provides an extremely detailed and in-depth study of the fate of the European Jews during the entirety of WWII. If the reader has an interest in the Holocaust and what occurred during this time period, he/she should definitely read this work.
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“Contrary to what had long been assumed, Himmler did not give the order for the general extermination of all Jews in Soviet territory during his August 15 visit to Minsk, when, at his request, he attended a mass execution of Jews on the outskirts of the city.48 The move from selective to mass murder had started earlier, probably as a result of Hitler’s remarks during the July 16 conference regarding the “possibilities” offered by “antipartisan” operations. All Jews may not have been partisans in German eyes, but why not assume that they would offer assistance to partisans if they could?” 2 likes
“All Jews age 14 or over who are found in the area being combed shall be shot to death; Jewish women and children shall be driven into the marshes [where they would drown]. The Jews are the partisans’ reserve force; they support them…. In the city of Pinsk the killing by shooting shall be carried out by cavalry companies 1 and 4…. The ‘Aktion’ is to begin at once. A report on the implementation shall be submitted.” 1 likes
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