The first comprehensive history of the Nazi concentration camps In a landmark work of history, Nikolaus Wachsmann offers an unprecedented, integrated account of the Nazi concentration camps from their inception in 1933 through their demise, seventy years ago, in the spring of 1945. The Third Reich has been studied in more depth than virtually any other period in history, and yet until now there has been no history of the camp system that tells the full story of its broad development and the everyday experiences of its inhabitants, both perpetrators and victims, and all those living in what Primo Levi called "the gray zone." In KL, Wachsmann fills this glaring gap in our understanding. He not only synthesizes a new generation of scholarly work, much of it untranslated and unknown outside of Germany, but also presents startling revelations, based on many years of archival research, about the functioning and scope of the camp system. Examining, close up, life and death inside the camps, and adopting a wider lens to show how the camp system was shaped by changing political, legal, social, economic, and military forces, Wachsmann produces a unified picture of the Nazi regime and its camps that we have never seen before. A boldly ambitious work of deep importance, KL is destined to be a classic in the history of the twentieth century.
Seventy years have passed since the tortured inmates of Hitler’s concentration and extermination camps were liberated. When the horror of the atrocities came fully to light, it was easy for others to imagine the joyful relief of freed prisoners. Yet for those who had survived the unimaginable, the experience of liberation was a slow, grueling journey back to life. In this unprecedented inquiry into the days, months, and years following the arrival of Allied forces at the Nazi camps, a foremost historian of the Holocaust draws on archival sources and especially on eyewitness testimonies to reveal the complex challenges liberated victims faced and the daunting tasks their liberators undertook to help them reclaim their shattered lives. Historian Dan Stone focuses on the survivors—their feelings of guilt, exhaustion, fear, shame for having survived, and devastating grief for lost family members; their immense medical problems; and their later demands to be released from Displaced Persons camps and resettled in countries of their own choosing. Stone also tracks the efforts of British, American, Canadian, and Russian liberators as they contended with survivors’ immediate needs, then grappled with longer-term issues that shaped the postwar world and ushered in the first chill of the Cold War years ahead.
Dachau and the SS studies the concentration camp guards at Dachau, the first SS concentration camp and a national 'school' of violence for its concentration camp personnel. Set up in the first months of Adolf Hitler's rule, Dachau was a bastion of the Nazi 'revolution' and a key springboard for the ascent of Heinrich Himmler and the SS to control of the Third Reich's terror and policing apparatus. Throughout the pre-war era of Nazi Germany, Dachau functioned as an academy of violence where concentration camp personnel were schooled in steely resolution and the techniques of terror. An international symbol of Nazi depredation, Dachau was the cradle of a new and terrible spirit of destruction. Combining extensive new research into the pre-war history of Dachau with theoretical insights from studies of perpetrator violence, this book offers the first systematic study of the 'Dachau School'. It explores the backgrounds and socialization of thousands of often very young SS men in the camp and critiques the assumption that violence was an outcome of personal or ideological pathologies. Christopher Dillon analyses recruitment to the Dachau SS and evaluates the contribution of ideology, training, social psychology and masculine ideals to the conduct and subsequent careers of concentration camp guards. Graduates of the Dachau School would go on to play a central role in the wartime criminality of the Third Reich, particularly at Auschwitz. Dachau and the SS makes an original contribution to scholarship on the pre-history of the Holocaust and the institutional organisation of violence.
Representations of a Nazi Concentration Camp, 1940-2015
Author: Sara J. Brenneis
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
By examining narratives about Spanish Mauthausen victims over the past seventy years, author Sara J. Brenneis provides a historical, critical, and chronological analysis of a virtually unknown body of work.
'Brilliant. A timely reminder of the fragility of democracy and the dangers of extreme nationalism.' Nikolaus Wachsmann, author of KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps 'Intelligent, well-informed... intriguing.' The Times 'In this post-truth, alternative-facts American moment, The Death of Democracy is essential reading.' Kurt Andersen, author of Fantasyland 'An outstanding accomplishment.' Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland A revelatory account of the fall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Hitler, based on new and award-winning research, and recently discovered archival material. The Death of Democracy explores one of the great questions in all of human history: what caused the fall of one of the most progressive governments in twentieth-century Europe, and the rise of the most terrifying? Drawing on extraordinary individual stories to illustrate its broader arguments, this revelatory new account presents a panoramic portrait of Germany at a turning point, focusing on the global dimension of the Nazi phenomenon as part of a widespread reaction against a world order of triumphant, cosmopolitan liberal democracy and capitalism after the First World War. This was a world situation that pushed its opponents to embrace authoritarianism, nationalism and economic self-sufficiency, kick-starting a revolution reliant upon the innovative exploitation of new media technologies, and the formidable political and self-promotional skills of its leader. Based on award-winning research and recently discovered archival material, The Death of Democracy is an authoritative and panoramic new survey of one of the most pivotal periods in modern history, and a book with a clear and important message for the world today.
Life and Death in Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women
Author: Sarah Helm
Publisher: Anchor Books
A masterly and moving account of the most horrific hidden atrocity of World War II: Ravensbrück, the only Nazi concentration camp built for women On a sunny morning in May 1939 a phalanx of 867 women--housewives, doctors, opera singers, politicians, prostitutes--was marched through the woods fifty miles north of Berlin, driven on past a shining lake, then herded in through giant gates. Whipping and kicking them were scores of German women guards. Their destination was Ravensbrück, a concentration camp designed specifically for women by Heinrich Himmler, prime architect of the Holocaust. By the end of the war 130,000 women from more than twenty different European countries had been imprisoned there; among the prominent names were Geneviève de Gaulle, General de Gaulle's niece, and Gemma La Guardia Gluck, sister of the wartime mayor of New York. Only a small number of these women were Jewish; Ravensbrück was largely a place for the Nazis to eliminate other inferior beings--social outcasts, Gypsies, political enemies, foreign resisters, the sick, the disabled, and the "mad." Over six years the prisoners endured beatings, torture, slave labor, starvation, and random execution. In the final months of the war, Ravensbrück became an extermination camp. Estimates of the final death toll by April 1945 have ranged from 30,000 to 90,000. For decades the story of Ravensbrück was hidden behind the Iron Curtain, and today it is still little known. Using testimony unearthed since the end of the Cold War and interviews with survivors who have never talked before, Sarah Helm has ventured into the heart of the camp, demonstrating for the reader in riveting detail how easily and quickly the unthinkable horror evolved. Far more than a catalog of atrocities, however, Ravensbrück is also a compelling account of what one survivor called "the heroism, superhuman tenacity, and exceptional willpower to survive." For every prisoner whose strength failed, another found the will to resist through acts of self-sacrifice and friendship, as well as sabotage, protest, and escape. While the core of this book is told from inside the camp, the story also sheds new light on the evolution of the wider genocide, the impotence of the world to respond, and Himmler's final attempt to seek a separate peace with the Allies using the women of Ravensbrück as a bargaining chip. Chilling, inspiring, and deeply unsettling, Ravensbrück is a groundbreaking work of historical investigation. With rare clarity, it reminds us of the capacity of humankind both for bestial cruelty and for courage against all odds. From the Hardcover edition.
Leading scholars from the united States, Israel, Poland, and other European countries provide a comprehensive account of what took place at the Auschwitz death camp. The book addresses the history of the camp, the technology and dimensions of the genocide carried out there, profiles of the perpetrators and the lives of inmates, underground resistance and escapes, and what the outside world knew about Auschwitz and when. 25 photos.
The SS, Forced Labor and the Nazi Monumental Building Economy
Author: Paul B. Jaskot
This book re-evaluates the architectural history of Nazi Germany and looks at the development of the forced-labour concentration camp system. Through an analysis of such major Nazi building projects as the Nuremberg Party Rally Grounds and the rebuilding of Berlin, Jaskot ties together the development of the German building economy, state architectural goals and the rise of the SS as a political and economic force. As a result, The Architecture of Oppression contributes to our understanding of the conjunction of culture and politics in the Nazi period as well as the agency of architects and SS administrators in enabling this process.
Now available in a single volume paperback, this advanced reference resource for the novel and novel theory offers authoritative accounts of the history, terminology, and genre of the novel, in over 140 articles of 500-7,000 words. Entries explore the history and tradition of the novel in different areas of the world; formal elements of the novel (story, plot, character, narrator); technical aspects of the genre (such as realism, narrative structure and style); subgenres, including the bildungsroman and the graphic novel; theoretical problems, such as definitions of the novel; book history; and the novel's relationship to other arts and disciplines. The Encyclopedia is arranged in A-Z format and features entries from an international cast of over 140 scholars, overseen by an advisory board of 37 leading specialists in the field, making this the most authoritative reference resource available on the novel. This essential reference, now available in an easy-to-use, fully indexed single volume paperback, will be a vital addition to the libraries of literature students and scholars everywhere.
“[A] pioneering work . . . Shed[s] light on the historic events surrounding the Holocaust from place, space, and environment-oriented perspectives.” —Rudi Hartmann, PhD, Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado This book explores the geographies of the Holocaust at every scale of human experience, from the European continent to the experiences of individual human bodies. Built on six innovative case studies, it brings together historians and geographers to interrogate the places and spaces of the genocide. The cases encompass the landscapes of particular places (the killing zones in the East, deportations from sites in Italy, the camps of Auschwitz, the ghettos of Budapest) and the intimate spaces of bodies on evacuation marches. Geographies of the Holocaust puts forward models and a research agenda for different ways of visualizing and thinking about the Holocaust by examining the spaces and places where it was enacted and experienced. “An excellent collection of scholarship and a model of interdisciplinary collaboration . . . The volume makes a timely contribution to the ongoing emergence of the spatial humanities and will undoubtedly advance scholarly and popular understandings of the Holocaust.” —H-HistGeog “An important work . . . and could be required reading in any number of courses on political geography, GIS, critical theory, biopolitics, genocide, and so forth.” —Journal of Historical Geography “Both students and researchers will find this work to be immensely informative and innovative . . . Essential.” —Choice