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.
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.
“[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
Eliezer Gruenbaum (1908Ð1948) was a Polish Jew denounced for serving as a Kapo while interned at Auschwitz. He was the communist son of Itzhak Gruenbaum, the most prominent secular leader of interwar Polish Jewry who later became the chairman of the Jewish Agency's Rescue Committee during the Holocaust and Israel's first minister of the interior. In light of the father's high placement in both Polish and Israeli politics, the denunciation of the younger Gruenbaum and his suspicious death during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war add intrigue to a controversy that really centers on the question of what constitutesÑand how do we evaluateÑmoral behavior in Auschwitz. GruenbaumÑa Jewish Kapo, a communist, an anti-Zionist, a secularist, and the son of a polarizing Zionist leaderÑbecame a symbol exploited by opponents of the movements to which he was linked. Sorting through this Rashomon-like story within the cultural and political contexts in which Gruenbaum operated, Friling illuminates key debates that rent the Jewish community in Europe and Israel from the 1930s to the 1960s.
This significant new study is concerned with the role of interpreting in Nazi concentration camps, where prisoners were of 30 to 40 different nationalities. With German as the only official language in the lager, communication was vital to the prisoners' survival. While in the last few decades there has been extensive research on the language used by the camp inmates, investigation into the mediating role of interpreters between SS guards and prisoners on the one hand, and among inmates on the other, has been almost nonexistent. On the basis of Primo Levi's considerations on communication in the Nazi concentrationary system, this book investigates the ambivalent role of interpreting in the camps. One of the central questions is what the role of interpreting was in the wider context of shaping life in concentration camps. And in what way did the knowledge of languages, and accordingly, certain communication skills, contribute to the survival of concentration camp inmates and of the interpreting person? The main sources under investigation are both archive materials and survivors' memoirs and testimonials in various languages. On a different level, Interpreting in Nazi Concentration Camps also asks in what way the study of communication in concentration camps enhances our understanding of the ambiguous role of interpreting in more general terms. And in what way does the study of interpreting in concentration camps shape an interpreting concept which can help us to better understand the violent nature of interpreting in contexts other than the Holocaust?
Taking groups of students To The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is a heavy responsibility, but it is a major contribution to citizenship if it fosters understanding of what Auschwitz stands for, particularly when the last survivors are at the end of their lives. it comes with certain risks, however. This pack is designed for teachers wishing to organise student visits to authentic places of remembrance, and For The guides, academics and others who work every day with young people at Auschwitz. There is nothing magical about visiting an authentic place of remembrance, and it calls for a carefully thought-out approach. To avoid the risk of inappropriate reactions or the failure to benefit from a large investment in travel and accommodation, considerable preparation and discussion is necessary before the visit and serious reflection afterwards. Teachers must prepare students for a form of learning they may never have met before. This pack offers insights into the complexities of human behaviour so that students can have a better understanding of what it means to be a citizen. How are they concerned by what happened at Auschwitz? is the unprecedented process of exclusion that was practised in the Holocaust still going on in Europe today? in what sense is it different from present-day racism and anti-Semitism? the young people who visit Auschwitz in the next few years will be witnesses of the last witnesses, links in the chain of memory. Their generation will be the last to hear the survivors speaking on the spot. The Council of Europe, The Polish Ministry of Education And The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum are jointly sponsoring this project aimed at preventing crimes against humanity through Holocaust remembrance teaching.