Noteworthy Holocaust books and Holocaust book reviews.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
Allied forces knew about Holocaust two years before discovery of concentration camps
The Allied Powers were aware of the scale of the Jewish Holocaust two-and-a-half years earlier than is generally assumed, and had even prepared war crimes indictments against top Nazi commanders. Newly accessed material from the United Nations – not seen for around 70 years – shows that as early as December 1942, the US, UK and Soviet governments were aware that at least two million Jews had been murdered and a further five million were at risk of being killed, and were preparing charges. Despite this, the Allied Powers did very little to try and rescue or provide sanctuary to those in mortal danger.
Hitler`s tipping point: When extermination of the Jews became official Nazi policy
ritish historian and documentary maker Laurence Rees claims he never set out to have a career where thinking about the horrors of mass genocide and the Nazi murder machine was part of his daily work criteria. But a curiosity about history, as well as a penchant for truth and justice got the better of him. And so, for the past 25 years, Rees has spent much of his working life personally interviewing both victims and perpetrators of one of the most horrific crimes the world has ever witnessed. His newest book, `The Holocaust,` published last month, asks many pertinent questions.
Black Earth: The Holocaust as history and warning by Timothy Snyder
History professor Timothy Snyder has written not just another book on the Holocaust, he has instead, delved into the warped mind of Adolf Hitler and concluded that Hitler was not just an `Uber` anti-Semite who hated Jews but a `racial anarchist` who considered Jews a `pestilence` infecting the entire planet and distorting its natural order. According to Snyder, Hitler admired Darwin`s `survival of the fittest` theory, and to him the German `race` was the fittest and thus most likely to be the winner in any contest to inherit the largest portion of the earth and be its `natural` rulers. To Hitler`s ecological view, the universe was a brutal place designed by nature where the strongest species took by force what they wanted or needed and where the weak, were destroyed.
Conflict-Series: A highly rated strategy game series for Android
If you love classic PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, Invasion of Poland 1939, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, the Battle of Bulge, and the Battle of Berlin 1945. In addition there are American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War scenarios available.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store)
Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews 1933-1949 by David Cesarani
Early in what he calls his `reappraisal` of Hitler`s Final Solution, David Cesarani details the earlier `solution` to the `Jewish question`. In May 1940, nine months into the war, Hitler still had no concerted plan for ridding Europe of its Jews, particularly the two million Polish Jews who had come under his rule since the invasion of Poland in 1939. When the SS chief, Heinrich Himmler, produced `some thoughts`, including `the large-scale emigration of all Jews to Africa or some colony`, the idea was seized on. The imminent defeat of France meant French colonies would soon become available, including the island of Madagascar, which was to be turned into `an open-air prison… like a parody of the Zionist enterprise in Palestine`. The transfer could start within a month, with millions of Jews sent by ship. Such was the Germans` confidence that the building of ghettos in Poland was halted, and the SS started learning Swahili.
Holocaust versus Wehrmacht: How Hitler`s Final Solution Undermined the German War Effort
Did the Holocaust Undermine the German War Effort? One of the great paradoxes of the Second World War is that while German troops on the Eastern Front were starving and freezing to death for lack of supplies, the rail transport of Jews to the death camps proceeded with uninterrupted Teutonic efficiency. The explanation is found in a profound insight by the historian Gerhard Weinberg - that for the Nazis the extermination of Europe`s Jews was the purpose of the war, not a distraction or a side show.
Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust by Ruth Thomson (book review)
In 1940 the Nazis began transforming the small Czechoslovakian fortress town of Terezin into a concentration camp for artists. Their workload varied from illustrating official reports, maps and charts to creating paintings and decorations for Nazi homes and buildings. Nazi propaganda depicted Terezin as a model Jewish settlement, but "Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust" paints a very different picture of the daily life in Theresienstadt: diary excerpts and interviews detail constant illness, starvation and unending hardships.
The Boy: A Holocaust Story by Dan Porat (Book review)
There are photographs that manage to capture the essence of historic events. In one of those photos a child with a newsboy`s cap raises his arms in surrender during a roundup of Warsaw Jews. In "The Boy: A Holocaust Story" Dan Porat tells the story of the scared boy, the Nazi photographer who probably shot the picture, the Nazi soldier in the photo (Josef Blösche, executed by firing squad in 1969), and the women nearby. The image in question was one of 52 black-and-white photos in a report by SS general Jürgen Stroop about the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto (titled: "The Jewish Quarter of Warsaw Is No More!").
The Kaiser`s Holocaust: Germany`s Forgotten Genocide And The Colonial Roots Of Nazism (book review)
At the new restaurant overlooking the bay in the tiny resort of Luderitz on the coast of Namibia, tourists sit out on the balcony and enjoy the views over Shark Island. But little do they know the grim truth. Shark Island, with its picturesque scenery, was the location of the world`s first death camp. 3500 innocent Africans were killed here at the hands of the Germans, decades before the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, with the silent sanction of the German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II. The story of the German extermination of the Herero and Nama peoples has been removed from the history books.
Treblinka Survivor: The Life and Death of Hershl Sperling by Mark S. Smith (book review)
1939-1945 Hershl Sperling withstood everything the Nazis threw at him: from Blitzkrieg to the Czestochowa ghetto, the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the hell-fires of Treblinka. Mark Smith spent 3 years researching his book "Treblinka Survivor: The Life and Death of Hershl Sperling". 800,000 people were sent to the Treblinka extermination camp - less than 70 survived. Sperling was one of them. At Auschwitz, he looked into the eyes of Dr Josef Mengele and lived to tell to the tale. Almost 70 years after Treblinka was leveled, this book tells Sperling`s story and solves the mystery of his suicide.
Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews by Peter Longerich (book review)
For most readers, it is a rare chance to explore the Holocaust through German eyes. With the publication of "Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews" by Peter Longerich, we can learn what the Shoah means to a German scholar who has researched the subject deeply. Longerich takes up the technical debate in Holocaust scholarship between the "intentionalists," who see the Holocaust as the intended result of a plan thought by Adolf Hitler, and "structuralists," who see it as the uncontrollable result of the Nazi bureaucracy. He argues that there is merit to the both theories.
US publisher cancels Holocaust love story - One more fabricated WWII memoir
A publisher has called off a Holocaust memoir with an amazing love story after the writer revealed he made up parts, adding the book to a growing list of fabricated WWII autobiographies. Berkley Books said it was canceling "Angel at the Fence, The True Story of a Love that Survived" after Herman Rosenblat admitted to his agent Andrea Hurst that he had invented part of the book. Rosenblat claimed he met his wife when she threw apples to him over a fence at a Nazi concentration camp - but it later came to light he made up the story for a competition a decade ago. Berkley Books demand that the author and the agent return all money that they have received for this work.
Book review: Life and Death in the Third Reich by Peter Fritzsche
"Life and Death in the Third Reich" depicts such a nuanced and well researched portrait of German National Socialism that in the end it`s not enough to call the Nazis architects of death. The political wave they rode in on was something of a phenomenon. The key question is the extent to which Germans allowed the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust and whether they deserve some blame. So, what did everyday Germans know? They knew of the mass segregation and deportation of Jews - but Germans saw that not as a program, but instead in the context of war`s brutality - as inevitable frontline fatalities alongside the German soldiers who were also dying by the thousands.
Why We Watched: Europe, America, and the Holocaust by Theodore Hamerow
Historian Theodore Hamerow takes readers on a tour of the attitudes and events during the 1930s and 1940s predicting the annihilation of the European Jews. Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was not alone in his belief that Jewish population needed to be undone, through banishment at the minimum, mass death at the maximum. Political and military leaders of many other nations shared this view. Part Two of the book (4 parts in total) focuses on the United States, as its power structures allowed anti-Semitism to rule policymaking, in spite of an avowed abhorrence of Hitler`s final solution.
Germany teaches its youth about the Holocaust with a graphic novel
No one can accuse the Germans of dismissing the horrors of the Nazi past. So concerned have they become about a lack of knowledge of the Holocaust among kids that they are spreading a new book in schools describing their country`s genocide in an easily accessible graphic novel. The "comic book" format is seen as the best way to get a whole new generation of children to confront the most terrible period of German history. The book - called The Search - shows a grandmother recounting her grandson the circumstances of how her father and her brother, Bob, were sent to Auschwitz during Adolf Hitler`s "Final Solution".
The Unknown Black Book: Nazi genocide in the Soviet territories
The Unknown Black Book: The Holocaust in the German-Occupied Soviet Territories by Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman. -- In 1941, Rasha Shuster and her two sisters ran away from their hometown just before the Germans massacred the 12,000 Jews who lived there. A peasant protected the girls for 3 weeks. Then his neighbor betrayed them. The local police killed Rasha`s sisters, but she heard the gunfires and ran for her life. After weeks in the forests, she was taken in by a poor peasant living alone in a shack. She hid there for over 2 years. "When I asked him why he was doing this and risking his life... he answered that it was because I was not guilty of anything."
Poland suing historian of book on oppression of the Jews after Holocaust
The author of a book charging Poles of a campaign against the Jews after the Holocaust could face charges of defaming the Polish nation. Jan Gross has previously accused Poles of actively aiding the Nazis in oppressing Jews in World War II. In his book "Fear" - released in Polish on Friday - he writes that anti-semitism remained dominant in the years after the Holocaust. In an interview Gross rejected charges that his book was aimed against Poland: "I am convinced anti-semitism was one of the main poisons that were injected into the Polish identity." He blamed nationalist and Catholic circles. "Will these people be finally able to say mea culpa? We`ll see."
Dictionary of Genocide by Samuel Totten and Paul Bartrop
Samuel Totten and Paul Bartrop began work 5 years ago on a dictionary of genocide. Sadly, between the many incidents of genocide during the world history and the current state of world affairs, the project turned out to be more like an encyclopedia: covering over 600 terms in over 500 pages. "It`s 3 times the length we originally planned, so the publisher put it into two volumes." Dictionary of Genocide is the first such work of its kind. The majority of entries are longer than you would expect in a normal dictionary. "Context is necessary. Without context, the resultant entry is bound to be simplistic."
One of most prominent Holocaust survivors, Anja Lundholm dies at 89
One of Germany’s most prominent Holocaust survivors Anja Lundholm, whose books recounted the horrors she experienced in a Nazi camp, has died aged 89. She published a series of books about her time at the Ravensbrueck women’s concentration camp, including her memoir "Hoellentor" ("Hell’s Gate"). She fled Nazi Germany for Italy with a fake passport in 1941 and joined the anti-fascist resistance there. In 1943, 6 months after the birth of her daughter, Lundholm was denounced by her SS officer father and arrested. She was sent to Ravensbrueck, where she became a slave labourer in degrading conditions - made vivid in her books.
The Years of Extermination 1939-1945 by Saul Friedländer [book review]
In 1997, Saul Friedländer published "The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939," the first of his 2-volume history of "Nazi Germany and the Jews." In the introduction he announced intention of "establishing a historical account of the Holocaust in which the policies of the perpetrators, the attitudes of surrounding society and the world of the victims could be addressed within an integrated framework." Such a framework has been missing from most historical accounts of subject. His second volume "The Years of Extermination Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945" establishes itself as the standard historical work on Nazi Germany`s mass murder.
What was Nazis` ultimate motivation for committing the atrocities (Article no longer available from the original source)
The question that every student of the Holocaust wants answered — the deceivingly simple "Why?" Even after 60 years of research and a library of more than 20,000 volumes, we still grope for the explanation. Actions have been well documented, but we have yet to reach any consensus on the Nazis` motivation for committing them. "The Jewish Enemy" by Jeffrey Herf poses the question: "Why did European, especially German, anti-semitism, which had never led to an effort to murder all before, do so between 1941 and 1945 in the midst of WWII? What changed to make it a rationale for mass murder rather than for a continuation of centuries-old persecution?"
The life and crimes of the Adolf Eichmann - Book
The trial of Adolf Eichmann made him the global face of the Holocaust. But his exact role in the atrocities remained buried by courtroom rhetoric, sloppy reporting or overly ideological analysis. To some, he was a classic Nazi: a depraved, criminal, socially inadequate über bully. Others saw a bureaucrat made into a mass murderer by totalitarianism, who counted Jews instead of beans. This gripping, lucid, meticulously researched book reveals that both views are wrong. After a hard day in his Berlin office organising mass deportations in 1943, the handsome, charming, popular SS officer would go to musical soirees with his staff.
Average German civilians: Slaughtering women and children day after day
Christopher Browning`s Ordinary Men was uniquely horrifying book. He described how a group of average German civilians formed Reserve Police Battalion 101 and proceeded in village after village, day after day, to slaughter the Jewish men, women and children they found there. At least Browning went some way to open up one of the two great questions left by the Holocaust: `How could they have?` The other question is whether the Nazis always meant to kill the Jews, or whether they drifted into murder when other `final solutions` became impossible. Browning shows how the decision for total extermination was crystallised by changing circumstances.