Tracing the rise of racist and eugenic ideologies, Henry Friedlander explores in chilling detail how the Nazi program of secretly exterminating the handicapped and disabled evolved into the systematic destruction of Jews and Gypsies. He describes how the so-called euthanasia of the handicapped provided a practical model for the later mass murder, thereby initiating the Holocaust. The Nazi regime pursued the extermination of Jews, Gypsies, and the handicapped based on a belief in the biological, and thus absolute, inferiority of those groups. To document the connection between the assault on the handicapped and the Final Solution, Friedlander shows how the legal restrictions and exclusionary policies of the 1930s, including mass sterilization, led to mass murder during the war. He also makes clear that the killing centers where the handicapped were gassed and cremated served as the models for the extermination camps. Based on extensive archival research, the book also analyzes the involvement of the German bureaucracy and judiciary, the participation of physicians and scientists, and the nature of popular opposition.
the origins of nazi genocide
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The Origins of the Final Solution is the most detailed, careful, and comprehensive analysis to date of the descent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews into mass murder: the Holocaust. Arguing that genocide was not a preconceived plan but rather a discovered possibility, Christopher Browning explains how Hitler's decision to murder the Jews en masse emerged in stages and by a process of elimination that gradually foreclosed plans for their expulsion from Europe. Only in the interval between late September and late October 1941 did the desire to "remove" the Jews intersect with the discovery of acceptable means of killing them on a large scale and with the euphoria of expected victory in Russia, all of which followed on from two years of 'race war' and 'racial imperialism' in eastern Europe that prepared 'ordinary Germans' for this fateful task.
Using the framework of genocide, this volume analyzes the patterns of persecution of the Roma in Nazi-dominated Europe. Detailed case studies of France, Austria, Romania, Croatia, Ukraine, and Russia generate a critical mass of evidence that indicates criminal intent on the part of the Nazi regime to destroy the Roma as a distinct group. Other chapters examine the failure of the West German State to deliver justice, the Romani collective memory of the genocide, and the current political and historical debates. As this revealing volume shows, however inconsistent or geographically limited, over time, the mass murder acquired a systematic character and came to include ever larger segments of the Romani population regardless of the social status of individual members of the community.
Distinctively coauthored by a Christian scholar and a Jewish scholar, this monumental, interdisciplinary study explores the various ways in which the Holocaust has been studied and assesses its continuing significance. The authors develop an analysis of the Holocaust's historical roots, its shattering impact on human civilization, and its decisive importance in determining the fate of the world. This revised edition takes into account developments in Holocaust studies since the first edition was published.
Enzo Traverso's Understanding the Nazi Genocide draws on the critical and heretical Marxism of Walter Benjamin and the Frankfurt School.
The eleven essays that comprise this book offer an integrated perspective on Nazi policies of mass murder. Drawing heavily on primary sources from European and American archives, the collection of essays provides novel interpretations of Nazi policies vis-à-vis ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities in the German-occupied territories, specifically Eastern Europe. The essays printed in this volume advance two main theses, drawing a line under the Functionalist-Intentionalist debate regarding the origins of Nazi genocide. In their dealing with the “lesser races,” the Nazis proved more flexible and less single-minded than has been conventionally believed. Faced with what they saw as a temporary military setback, the Nazis were willing to renegotiate their murderous policies, granting certain concessions to the minority groups otherwise slated for destruction. In the long run, however, the Nazis never abandoned the ideology of racial exclusiveness, which had contributed to their ultimate defeat. Another thesis concerns the complex ethno-political landscape of Eastern Europe that came under Nazi domination. German occupation authorities encouraged ethnic rivalries and grievances, which trace back to the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires and beyond. Hobbesian war of all against all that had ensued made it easier for the Nazis to apply a divide-and-rule policy. It also provided a fertile ground for collaboration, specifically in the mass murder of Jews. The book will appear to both academic and non-academic audiences interested in the subjects as diverse as genocide, ethno-nationalism, and minority studies.
Based on an exploration of both pre-Nazi and Nazi theory and practice, Pete Kakel challenges the dominant narrative of the murder of European Jewry, illuminating the Holocaust's decidedly imperial-colonial origins, context, and content in a book of interest to students, teachers, and lay readers, as well as specialist and non-specialist scholars.
A magisterial history of the Jews in Nazi Germany and the regime's policies towards them in the years prior to World War II and the Holocaust. Written by arguably the world's leading scholar on the subject. Himself a survivor, Friedlander has been a leading figure in Holocaust studies for decades and this book represents a definitive summing up of his research and that of hundreds of other historians. NAZI GERMANY AND THE JEWS: THE YEARS OF PERSECUTION is perhaps the richest examination of the subject yet written, and, crucially, one that never loses sight of the experiences of individuals in its discussion of Nazi politics and the terrible statistics and technological and administrative sophistication of the Final Solution.
When Hitler published Mein Kampf in 1924, he held up a foreign law as a model for his program of racial purification: The U.S. Immigration Restriction Act of 1924, which prohibited the immigration of those with hereditary illnesses and entire ethnic groups. When the Nazis took power in 1933, they installed a program of eugenics--the attempted "improvement" of the population through forced sterilization and marriage controls--that consciously drew on the U.S. example. By then, many American states had long had compulsory sterilization laws for "defectives," upheld by the Supreme Court in 1927. Small wonder that the Nazi laws led one eugenics activist in Virginia to complain, "The Germans are beating us at our own game." In The Nazi Connection, Stefan Kühl uncovers the ties between the American eugenics movement and the Nazi program of racial hygiene, showing that many American scientists actively supported Hitler's policies. After introducing us to the recently resurgent problem of scientific racism, Kühl carefully recounts the history of the eugenics movement, both in the United States and internationally, demonstrating how widely the idea of sterilization as a genetic control had become accepted by the early twentieth century. From the first, the American eugenicists led the way with radical ideas. Their influence led to sterilization laws in dozens of states--laws which were studied, and praised, by the German racial hygienists. With the rise of Hitler, the Germans enacted compulsory sterilization laws partly based on the U.S. experience, and American eugenists took pride in their influence on Nazi policies. Kühl recreates astonishing scenes of American eugenicists travelling to Germany to study the new laws, publishing scholarly articles lionizing the Nazi eugenics program, and proudly comparing personal notes from Hitler thanking them for their books. Even after the outbreak of war, he writes, the American eugenicists frowned upon Hitler's totalitarian government, but not his sterilization laws. So deep was the failure to recognize the connection between eugenics and Hitler's genocidal policies, that a prominent liberal Jewish eugenicist who had been forced to flee Germany found it fit to grumble that the Nazis "took over our entire plan of eugenic measures." By 1945, when the murderous nature of the Nazi government was made perfectly clear, the American eugenicists sought to downplay the close connections between themselves and the German program. Some of them, in fact, had sought to distance themselves from Hitler even before the war. But Stefan Kühl's deeply documented book provides a devastating indictment of the influence--and aid--provided by American scientists for the most comprehensive attempt to enforce racial purity in world history.