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Nazi Germany And the Jews: The Years Of Extermination: 1939-1945 (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Saul Friedlander

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"This is a hideous history described with a blend of exemplary scholarship, spiritual detachment and intellectual humility that deserves the very widest readership.' -- Richard Overy DAILY TELEGRAPH "Friedlander is a world authority on the holocaust but he is also a survivor...his intellectual discipline may be that of the historian but his writing is animated by the passion of memory that only his generation can fully express." OBSERVER 'No one seriously interested in European history in the 20th century can escape reading this book.' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'By the end we understand the events better than any previous historian has managed to explain it, while still feeling bewildered, belittled, and incredulous that it happened, let alone that it happened to him.' -- David Cesarani LITERARY REVIEW "One of the many merits of Saul Friedlander's massive study of the years 1939 to 1945 is that it is as much about method as about content." -- Peter Pulzer TLS


The second and concluding volume of the definitive two-volume account of the Holocaust

With THE YEARS OF EXTERMINATION, Friedlander completes his work on Nazi Germany and the Jews. The book describes and interprets the history of the persecution and murder of the Jews throughout occupied Europe.
The implementation of German extermination policies and measures depended on the submissiveness of political authorities, the assistance of local police forces and the passivity or co-operation of the populations, primarily of their political and spiritual elites. The implementation also depended on the readiness of the victimes to submit to orders, often with the hope of modifying them or surviving long enough to escape the German vice.

This multifaceted representation - at all levels and in all different places - enhances the perception of the magnitude, complexity and interrelatedness of the multiple components of this history. Based on a vast variety of documents and an overwhelming choir of voices, Friedlander manages to avoid domesticating the memory of unparalleled and horrific events. The convergence of these various aspects gives THE YEARS OF EXTERMINATION its unique aulity. In this work the history of the Holocaust has found its definitive representation.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1968 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 908 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 0297818775
  • Verlag: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (10. April 2014)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00IJGHN48
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Nicht aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #700.892 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.7 von 5 Sternen  52 Rezensionen
114 von 123 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The Indelible Memory of the Dead 5. Mai 2007
Von Omer Belsky - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I read Saul Friedlander's first volume about Holocaust, Nazi Germany and the Jews: Volume 1: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939 almost ten years ago. That was one of the first, and one of the best, non fiction books I've read. With well crafted, confident prose, Friedlander guided us through the various stratas of German society as the Nazi administration slowly but relentlessly increased the pressure on the Jews. I was mightily disappointed as the years passed by and the second volume failed to appear. Rumor had it that it wasn't forthcoming. I only discovered that "The Years of Extermination" would in fact be released after it has been.

I got the hefty hardcover (870 pages, including 205 pages of notes and bibliography) in a bookstore in Israel while shopping for a book to take with me to a business trip. It was only after I purchased "The Years of Extermination" - but before I left - that I realized I would be reading most of it in Germany. How appropriate.

"The Years of Extermination" cover Germany's Jewish policy in the war years. The chapters are chronological rather than topical, and follow a relatively stable format. First, the chapter briefly discusses the progress of the War, the contingencies that played a part in the shaping of the extermination policy. Next, Friedlander describes the happenings in the highest echelons of the Nazi Regime - the various power struggles, speeches, and plans concerning the fate of the Jews. The rest of the chapter would be dedicated to the carrying out of the policies, and to the actions and reactions of the various victims, perpetrators, and by standers, throughout the Reich and among its allies. Friedlander also report about the knowledge and actions, or mostly lack thereof, of various Jewish and world leaders.

Friedlander's book is hard to read, and harder to summarize. The inhumanity of the Nazi Horror often makes you cold - it is easy to lose track on the personal suffering, on the individual human beings, when one discusses the mechanism and bureaucracy of Genocide. Friedlander successfully counters this tendency with excerpts of diaries, some well known (Anne Frank, Victor Klemperer) but most, like Lilli Jahn, the Jewish Doctor wife of an Aryan physician, all but forgotten. So reading the book is an emotional experience - a study of unmitigated, incomprehensible destruction.

Friedlander engages, to some extent or another, most of the controversies regarding the Holocaust. Particularly striking is his judgment, after a long and detailed discussion, of Pope Pius XII: "if the Catholic Church is merely considered as a political institution that has to calculate the outcome of its decisions in terms of instrumental rationality, then Pius's choice may be deemed reasonable in view of the risks entailed. If, however, the Catholic Church also represents a moral stand, as it claims, mainly in moments of major crisis, and thus has to move on such occasions from the level of institutional interests to that of moral witnessing, then of course Pius's choice should be assessed differently." (p. 573)

For me, small details were often the most striking. Among the Jews gathered up in the Ghettos were Christian converts, and there were Churches in Ghettos. Despite receiving some privileges, the Jewish Christians were twice damned: "As a foreign entity" wrote an underground Jewish journalist "they were thrust into a dual exile in the ghetto. A decisive majority of the Jewish population maintains no contact with these `Jews'. Foreign to the Jewish masses in their culture, hopes and yearnings, they share the Jews' suffering as uninvited partners in misfortune" (quoted on page 244). None of that made them any more compassionate, however: One of the Reverends in the Ghetto saw God's hand in placing him in it, and pledged to remain as much an anti-Semite as he was before once he got out.

I also did not know that the font with which the word Jude (Jew) was written on the yellow David star the Jews were forced to wear was invented specifically for that purpose, intentionally reminding one of sinister Kabalistic Hebrew, while remaining readable in all languages.

Reading and Reflecting about the horrors of the persecutions, it is hard not to wonder about the murderers. Did they know what they were doing was wrong? Did they realize the baseness, the unimaginable criminality of their actions? At times, they must have. "Goering is completely aware of what would threaten us all, if we were to weaken in this war" wrote Goebbels. "He has no illusions in this regard. In the Jewish question in particular, we are so fully committed that for us there is no escape any more. And that is good that way. Experience shows us that a movement and a people who have burnt their bridges fight fan more unconditionally than those who still have a way back." (Quoted on page 538).

There are, I think, dark implications in this and similar paragraphs. Incomprehension is sometimes the only resort we have for people who have brunt their bridges so far that they were no longer a part of humanity. Sometime later, I may speak rationally about their motives and incentives and ideology. Right now, all I feel is overwhelming incomprehension, and (using friedlander's term) the indelible memory of the dead.
53 von 58 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A new and good history of the Holocaust 28. April 2007
Von Seth J. Frantzman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
There are an number of prominent full length, one volume, histories of the Holocaust, this is the newest and contributes much to the study of the terrible event. In particular this book returns the reader to the 'old' view of the Holocaust. It challenges Arendt's theory that the Jews were responsible for their own fate and that the Germans were 'banal' and it assaults various 'economic' histories of the Holocaust by recalling the racial hatred that motivated the mass murder.

The most important contribution this book makes is examining the internal workings of the Jewish communal institutions and their leadership. Of the utmost importance is the books concentration on cataloguing the crimes of the Nazi collaborators in Croatia, Rumania, Ukraine, Latvia, Poland and elsewhere. The book combines a massive amount of source material to give flavor for all sides of the Holocaust machine. It is well written, beautiful and tragic and poignant.

The greatest drawback is a total lack of pictures or maps. This is a great shame, for the Holocaust was colossal in scale, maps are necessary.

The story is chronological rather than thematic or geographical, which can be confusing and the book lacks adequate headers to break up the countries studied. Nevertheless, quite an accomplishment, a great new history.

Seth J. Frantzman
63 von 71 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Magisterial Accomplishment 15. Juni 2007
Von Werner Cohn - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This cataclysmic modern catastrophe that we now call the Holocaust has now, at last, found its first truly magisterial, comprehensive treatment in Friedlander’s “The Years of Extermination.”

Previous attempts at this task (by Lucy Dawidowicz, Raul Hilberg, and some others) have suffered from being premature (i.e. they were conceived before some of the more important archives were available), and, in some cases, by having a whiff of eccentricity about them. This latter criticism applies particularly to the writers of some of the more specialized monographs. Many of these have flogged particular insights, which, while often valuable by themselves, were sometimes exaggerated and promoted for polemical purposes.

Was the Holocaust a natural outcome of German anti-Semitism? Was it a matter of greed of the Germans who wanted to rob the Jews? Was it mostly a matter of injustices inherent in the Versailles treaty, as some of the older commentators have urged? Was it partly a matter of German Protestants and their Lutheran heritage, as a recent writer would have us believe? Friedlander, to his enormous credit, pays close attention to all such partial insights but transcends them all. He has read everything and has considered everything (well, almost – see below). He distills for us all of the extremely rich specialized literature and gives us a coherent, full, rich, detailed, satisfying picture of what happened to the Jews in the Second World War.

When I say that he considers all the specialized research, I mean of course the work that needs consideration. He wastes no time on the so-called Holocaust deniers, nor, indeed, on those who insist that the moon is made of green cheese.

Obviously no book -- the Messiah not yet having come – is perfect. Alas. The outstanding fault that I find in this volume is its failure to as much as mention the (admittedly very minor) role played by Arab politicians in making the Holocaust possible.

Almost all other general books on the subject find at least some room to mention the Palestinian leader of the day, Hitler’s great friend and supporter, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini. Of course no book can cover absolutely everything, and Husseini’s role was small. But Friedlander does find room to point to the (very minor) roles of the Swiss and Canadian governments, who, while culpably indifferent to the fate of the Jews, were in no way actively hostile, as was the Mufti. Those interested in the story of the Mufti will wish to look at the section devoted to it in Robert Wistrich’s much smaller and much more modest “Hitler and the Holocaust” (New York, 2001).

But of course I cannot end on a negative note in writing about this great book. I have read most if not all of the previous comprehensive work on the subject, as well as a good deal of the more specialized literature. In studying this new book by Friedlander, I found new and surprising material on almost every page. I am completely confident that this book marks a turning point in what we know about the Nazi era. Both specialists and general readers owe a tremendous gratitude to the author for having given us this absolutely marvelous work.
28 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Magnificent Achievement 9. September 2007
Von Irving Wiesen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Daniel Goldhagen's critique above is mystifying on several counts. First, Friedlander clearly deals extensively with the killers and their motivations including testimony in their own words. Statements, testimony and diary entries by Goebbels, Himmler, Eichmann, Hoss, Frank and many others, including by the killers, are quoted repeatedly and extensively. Second, in no way does Friedlander diminish his earlier emphasis on "redemptive anti-Semitism" despite the paucity of that particular phrase in this second volume. In fact, he returns again and again to Hitler's animus in quasi-religious terms: the Holocaust as prerequisite to the survival of the human species itself; Hitler's self-described Reichstag "prophecy" concerning the Jews. If this is not "redemptive" I don't know what is. In fact at one point Friedlander expounds on this very issue specifically and at length. Notwithstanding the inapposite Goldhagen criticisms (the history is all there, notwithstanding Goldhagen's charge that this is history lite, including extensive examination of questions such as the "order" to kill the Jews, the role of the Pope, etc.), there is a certain weight of psychological focus on the mindset of Jews and ordinary Germans as expressed in diaries and letters. In this, Friedlander accomplishes something very difficult: he allows us a glimpse into the mind and the world of the Holocaust day to day--what was it like as a Jew, what did the ordinary German think, what did the soldiers think and report back home of the atrocities they witnessed and more than occasionally abetted? What did priests think and do? What did religious people think? Interweaving these glimpses into the broad tapestry of the history of the murderous events themselves, Friedlander gives us the macro and micro all at once--a deft, historically invaluable perspective. In short, I know of no Holocaust history which so comprehensively and grippingly covers the entire event, from its earliest stirrings and antecedents to the end of the war, and how it played out in the fabric of the societies which comprised Europe, as the two volumes of Friedlander's history. This should be required reading of every human being.
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Truly magisterial but something is missing 9. Juli 2008
Von S. Spilka - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
This is a magisterial book, as one of the critics defined it. Not only does it contain an exhaustive research, poignant diarists' quotations, and a vast collection of amazing facts (such as the refusal of the Hungerians to surrender their Jews to Hitler, or the indifference of starving and desperate parents to the deportation of their children), it also, and most importantly, "nails" the Nazi crimes and criminals as no other book has ever done. In the presence of this book, Holocaust deniers will be forever silenced. Furthermore, I can hardly imagine the pain Prof. Friedlander, a Holocaust survivor whose parents were murdered by the Nazis, had subjected himself to in writing this tome of a book. It is a brave, sacrificial work.
I agree, though, with some of the critics' complaints that the book, although riveting, is at times a difficult slog. Maps and pictures would have helped. Also chapters' titles would have helped. In the notes section, printing the chapter #s and the pages #s at the top of the page would have helped a great deal. But isn't it the function of the editors to notice such things? My most important criticism, though, concerns Friedlander's omissions. The Nazi evil sears the pages, as it did the Jews, and the victims' cries for help plow like an ax, as Kafka would put it, in the frozen sea within us. One cannot forget those screams, cannot take the ax out and toss it to oblivion. The bystanders, too, are revealed in their shame and cowardice, like thousands and thousands of shadows crowding the gladiatorial arena. But one group of people is noticeably missing: the heroes who risked their lives to save Jews. Wallenberg is given a brief mention in half a sentence; the Danish rescuers are mentioned in a mere short paragraph; and Schindler and Hannah Senesh are not even mentioned. Thousands of heroic gentiles are listed in the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., but Friedlander has found no room for even some of them in his book. If an act of courage is mentioned, it is disposed of quickly, as if it did not matter. But it did, and it does. Granted, Friedlander's subject moves in a different direction, but his omitting of the heroes does them--and all humanity perhaps--a grave injustice.
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