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Daniel Jonah Goldhagen re-visits a question which history has treated as settled, and his research leads him to the inescapble conclusion that none of the answers holds true. That question is: "How could the Holocaust happen?", and his response is an exploration of German society and its ingrained anti-semitism that demands a fundamental revision of our thinking about the years 1933-1945. The author marshals fresh, primary evidence - including extensive testimony from the actual perpetrators - to show that the killers were ordinary Germans who were not compelled to act as they did (they knew they could refuse without retribution) yet they killed willingly and zealously.
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About the Author

Daniel Goldhagen is Associate Professor of Government and Social Studies at Harvard University. His doctoral disseration, which is the basis for this book, won the Gabriel A. Almond Award for the best dissertation in the field of comparative politics.

Reviews

The publisher expects an uproar on the publication of this book, which blames the Holocaust not on the Nazis but on ordinary Germans who were not compelled to kill but who wanted to.

** 'A monumental achievement.' SUNDAY TIMES ** 'Powerful and well-researched... this book stimulates thought... It is a serious book written by a gifted scholar.' TLS ** 'As stomach churning in its grueseome detail as it is mind-blowing for its radical facade stripping of one of the ghastliest episodes of human history.' DAILY MAIL ** 'There is enough material here to disturb the human race to the end of time.' ROBERT KEE 'This book is a tremendous contribution to the understanding and teaching of the Holocaust...it should be read in every school.' OBSERVER 'Daniel Goldhagen's astonishing, disturbing and riveting book, the fruit of phenomenal scholarship and absolute integrity, will permanently change the debate on the Holocaust.' SIMON SCHAMA 'A must read...Daniel Godlhagen's book is a landmark...a profound analytical and graphic book.' SUNDAY TIMES 'This shocking and well docuemented book is an indictment of the vast number of Germans who directly or indirectly took part in Hitler's extermination of the Jews...genuinely shocking. I hope this book will be widely read.' EVENING STANDARD

Goldhagen's gripping and shocking landmark study transforms our understanding of the Holocaust. Refuting the widespread notion that those who carried out the genocide of Jews were primarily SS men or Nazi party members, he demonstrates that the perpetrators‘those who staffed and oversaw the concentration camps, slave labor camps, genocidal army units, police battalions, ghettos, death marches‘were, for the most part, ordinary German men and women: merchants, civil servants, academics, farmers, students, managers, skilled and unskilled workers. Rejecting the conventional view that the killers were slavishly carrying out orders under coercion, Goldhagen, assistant professor of government at Harvard, uses hitherto untapped primary sources, including the testimonies of the perpetrators themselves, to show that they killed Jews willingly, approvingly, even zealously. Hitler's genocidal program of a "Final Solution" found ready accomplices in these ordinary Germans who, as Goldhagen persuasively argues, had absorbed a virulent, "eliminationist" anti-Semitism, prevalent as far back as the 18th century, which demonized the Jews and called for their expulsion or physical annihilation. Furthermore, his research reveals that a large proportion of the killers were told by their commanders that they could disobey orders to kill, without fear of retribution‘yet they slaughtered Jews anyway. By his careful estimate, hundreds of thousands of Germans were directly involved in the mass murder, and millions more knew of the ongoing genocide. Among the 30 photographs are snapshots taken by the murderers of themselves and their victims. (Mar.)

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