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Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans

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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)
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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
Tom
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
...more
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
Susan
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
...more
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
Nathan
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
Tomi
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.
Joe
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.
Karen
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.
Tim
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I lost my book 1 1 Mar 26, 2013 12:51PM  
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2 followers
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
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“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
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