Rich with eye-witness accounts, incisive interviews, and first-hand source materials including documentation from the Eichmann and Nuremberg war crime trials, master historian Martin Gilbert weaves a detailed, immediate account of the Holocaust from Hitler’s rise to power to the final defeat of the Nazis in 1945.
This sweeping narrative begins with an in-depth historical analysis of the origins of anti-Semitism in Europe, and tracks the systematic brutality of Hitler’s “Final Solution” in unflinching detail. It brings to light new source materials documenting Mengele’s diabolical concentration camp experiments and documents the activities of Himmler, Eichmann, and other Nazi leaders. It also demonstrates comprehensive evidence of Jewish resistance and the heroic efforts of Gentiles to aid and shelter Jews and others targeted for extermination, even at the risk of their own lives.
Combining survivor testimonies, deft historical analysis, and painstaking research, The Holocaust is without doubt a masterwork of World War II history.
A poignant introduction by the author (official biographer of Winston Churchill) is followed by his instructive analysis of anti-Semitism in Europe, from Martin Luther's venomous fulminations against Jews to the motivating power of anti-Semitism in the National Socialist movement. Hitler's "final solution'' began formally within hours of the German invasion of Russia, a campaign that, as Gilbert shows, provided an opportunity for genocide hitherto lacking. With a relentless accumulation of detail and eyewitness accounts, he writes of the systematic efficiency of the Nazi attempt to destroy European Jewry and the widespread disbelief that such could be happening. Though the figure of Adolf Hitler remains in the background, such executives as Himmler, Eichmann and Mengele are very much in evidence throughout the gripping narrative (there is new material on the latter's labors at Auschwitz). An element in the historical tragedy that Gilbert stresses is the deliberate destruction of childrenone of Mengele's principal interestswhich the author calls ``the new barbarism.'' The narrative reaches its dreadful climax with the convergence on the death camps of the Allied and Soviet armies, a time when ``rescue and slaughter marched hand in hand.'' A particularly disturbing section deals with outbreaks of anti-Semitism after the German surrender. On July 4, 1946, for instancemore than a year after V-E Day42 Jews were massacred by Poles in the town of Kielce. Gilbert brings within the pages of this volume all the major substantiated evidence of Jewish resistance throughout the war, plus many examples of Gentiles risking their lives to protect Hitler's prey. Photos. Major ad/promo. January