Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans” as Want to Read:
Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  110 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Nazi Terror tackles the central aspect of the Nazi dictatorship head on by focusing on the roles of the individual and of society in making terror work. Based on years of research in Gestapo archives, on more than 1,100 Gestapo and "special court" case files, and on surveys and interviews with German perpetrators, Jewish victims and ordinary Germans who experienced the Thi ...more
Paperback, 664 pages
Published December 4th 2000 by Basic Books (first published January 6th 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Nazi Terror, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Nazi Terror

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Lewis Weinstein
Mar 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
Confused research, poorly organized, poorly written.
Antonio Nunez
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I read this book I wasn't surprised about its main thesis. It is a well-known fact that even the most dictatorial of governments manage to hang on to power only by judiciously dosing out the terror they choose to inflict. A regime that descends into an orgy of blood-letting against its own citizens, such as Pol Pot's Cambodia, or Idi Amin's Uganda or Macias Nguema's Equatorial Guinea can only become undone. It is also a well-known fact that most people have no strong views about events that ...more
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rather lengthy book which delves into the role of ordinary and the not so ordinary Germans who where present during the days of the Nazi regime. There is a lot to take in here and a lot of qualitative research material has gone into this. There is a particularly good piece on the Cologne Gestapo and the men who ran the Jewish desk who organised the deportations to the East.

I would say this is worth reading but there is a lot of information here and his thesis can be a bit confusing at times bu
Joe Kessler
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
First published in the year 2000, this book feels a bit dated today, and the author perhaps over-extrapolates certain statistics from the sample of Gestapo records that he has examined. Nevertheless, it's a good overview of the role of "ordinary Germans" -- those citizens who were neither Jewish nor political enemies or other undesirables -- during the Nazi era. In particular, it emphasizes that most Germans a) were not directly involved in the atrocities of the Holocaust, b) were in no real dan ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Johnson lived in Germany for 5 years, researching Gestapo records in the area around Cologne,
surveying Germans who were from the area at the time, and interviewing some. The book is divided into sections concerning different groups from the 30's and the war period who came into contact with the gestapo, from Communists and labor organizers, through the Church, Jews, and "ordinary" German citizens. He provides much information about figures in the Gestapo police and examines the records of thei
Jeff Allen
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Good book. Johnson makes a strong case that while there were many levels of participation and guilt in the execution of the Holocaust, ordinary Germans share a level of guilt in their silence and lack of action to stop the madness. The terror that many associate with the state of Germany during this time period was not really experienced or felt by the majority of ordinary Germans thus not a factor in scaring them into compliance. The terror of the Nazi regime was on the other hand felt in extre ...more
R.. Mark Hamilton
Nazi Terror tackles the central aspect of the Nazi dictatorship head on by focusing on the roles of the individual and of society in making terror work. Based on years of research in Gestapo archives, on more than 1,100 Gestapo and "special court" case files, and on surveys and interviews with German perpetrators, Jewish victims and ordinary Germans who experienced the Third Reich firsthand, Johnson's book settles many nagging questions about who, exactly, was responsible for what, who knew what ...more
Jun 03, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The crowing claim of the dust jacket's review to have made "a complete hash" of Jonah Goldhagen's thesis is somewhat undermined by the book's messy organization and contradictory accounts. The bulk of 500-odd pages does nothing to convince the reader that ordinary Germans are extraordinarily culpable for the Holocaust; indeed, the most compelling evidence is a few charts provided at the outset. Far too reliant on personal anecdote (some of which seemed to disprove the thesis), this book is valua ...more
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I actually started this book some time ago, so I didn't really read all 500-ish pages today! It was repetitive and had too many numbers in it (statistics about percentages who aided, didn't aid, were accused by the Nazis, etc.). The basic premise is that most Germans knew about the Holocaust and didn't try to stop it; they had opportunities to do so and chose not to. The book certainly proves that fact.
Sam Motes
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
The author digs into the history to debunk some mid held beliefs about the Nazi's and the culpability of the average German in the horrors of their reign. The Gestapo was a small controlling group built on top of fellow citizens denouncing of neighbors and family members. I never knew about the Jehovah witnesses being a targeted group.
Dec 31, 2013 rated it liked it
It's always hard to say whether I enjoyed reading a book about Nazi Germany and their treatment of the Jewish people. I can say that I found this book enlightening and educational. At times it reads like a college text book, but I had to look past that and to focus on the main gist of the book. Also, as a CMU Alumni I liked the fact this is written by a CMU History Prof.
Sep 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-on-tape
Incredible research, difficult topic (obvi), well worth reading.
Paul Toth
Jun 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
A case study of the subject title. Rigorous, yet readable, horrible and occasionally comical (believe it or not), an inside story on what the Gestapo really did. Clue: Don't believe the films.
rated it liked it
May 13, 2009
rated it liked it
Apr 21, 2013
rated it it was amazing
May 19, 2012
Johnny Moore
rated it it was ok
Jan 22, 2010
rated it really liked it
Feb 08, 2012
rated it really liked it
Apr 26, 2007
rated it it was amazing
Jul 07, 2016
rated it really liked it
May 25, 2010
rated it liked it
Apr 03, 2012
Scott Wittla
rated it really liked it
Dec 02, 2013
rated it really liked it
Mar 24, 2013
rated it really liked it
Mar 03, 2015
Hector Spikes
rated it liked it
Feb 07, 2017
rated it liked it
May 24, 2016
Jami K
rated it it was amazing
Dec 22, 2017
William Gortowski
rated it really liked it
Jun 18, 2015
Diego Alvarez Villacís
rated it it was amazing
Sep 29, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
I lost my book 1 1 Mar 26, 2013 12:51PM  
  • Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany
  • The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945
  • Reading the Holocaust
  • The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942
  • The Face of the Third Reich: Portraits of the Nazi Leadership
  • Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power
  • Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps
  • Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution
  • The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders
  • The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust
  • Army of Evil: A History of the SS
  • The Third Reich in History and Memory
  • Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition, and Racism in Everyday Life
  • Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940
  • A Small Town Near Auschwitz: Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust
  • The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town 1922-1945
  • Exorcising Hitler: The Occupation and Denazification of Germany
  • The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris
Eric Johnson joined the CMU faculty in 1976 after studying at Brown and Stockholm Universities and receiving his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. Over the years he has taught a wide array of courses, primarily focused on modern Europe, Germany, the Holocaust, and social science methods and approaches to historical study. He has held several visiting professorships of various lengths. As pa ...more
More about Eric A. Johnson

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God
    $11.49 $2.99
  • Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier
    $11.99 $1.99
  • No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Loudest Voice in the Room: How Roger Ailes and Fox News Remade American Politics
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started theLongest War in American History
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
    $17.99 $1.99
  • French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters
    $12.49 $2.99
  • When the Game Was Ours
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Tomorrowland: Our Staggering Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Power
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Through My Eyes
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Brief History of Everything
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The World's Religions, Revised and Updated (Plus)
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Leonardo's Notebooks
    $11.99 $2.99
  • An American Childhood
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Making Toast
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN
    $11.99 $2.99
“What has been said is often less important than what has not been said.” 0 likes
“Rather than being uniformly antisemitic in outlook, the German population was very much divided over the Nazis' antisemitic policies. Some found them distasteful. Others plied them enthusiastically. Most were probably ambivalent or indifferent. Nevertheless, many had sympathy for their Jewish neighbors, classmates, and coworkers. More than a few were capable of expressing this sympathy to the Jews in private, but far too few took public steps that could have altered Nazi policy and significantly eased the Jews' plight.” 0 likes
More quotes…