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THE HOLOCAUST This section of my website serves the purpose of introducing several Holocaust memoirs written by survivors from different countries and cultures with one common feature: being Jewish. Below I enclosed a brief introduction chronologically presenting the most important events of this terrifying time. If you would prefer to skip that for now, please feel free to go ahead and browse the reviews of the books. The links with the titles are located here just to the right (please click on the photo of the cover). ORIGINS AND IDEOLOGY To truly understand how this genocide nightmare ever became possible, what were the ideological and political principles that had sanctioned the systematic and cold-blooded murder of six million Jews throughout Europe one has to take a look at history as far back as the 1920s. Although anti-Semitism had certainly existed since the beginning of time and Jews often encountered different forms of oppression, it was Adolf Hitler who has catapulted this problem into a completely different dimension. It all started with his autobiographical work titled “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle). Reading it now you can’t help but wonder how such idiotic and delusional ramblings managed to convince so many seemingly sane people to follow this man. You only have to watch one of his countless speeches, listen to the way he talked and observe his exaggerated and awkward gesticulation to experience utter amazement at the fact that anybody saw him as anything more than just a joke figure. Moreover, that he was actually able to become the leader of an incredible military super power, the ultimate master over life and death, destroying millions… The most pronounced ideas featured in “Mein Kampf” basically consisted of the plans to exterminate Jews (for whom he entertained a most deeply rooted hatred) and turn Slavs into slaves for the Third Reich. Thus Hitler wanted to kill two birds with one stone: enforce racial purity, as well as provide living space for the Germans (Lebensraum). The ideological ground of the Nazi party was the conviction about the superiority of the representatives of the Aryan race and the desire to position them at the very top of the pyramid of power. According to his views the ethnic status of humanity took on the following form: Germans-> other Aryan nationalities-> Slavic nations->Gypsies, Africans and Jews. Germans were considered to be the super race, the crème de la crème of mankind. As leader of the National Socialist party Hitler worked very hard to establish his position and launch anti-Semitic propaganda, which was the central force in his strategy before and during World War II. He utilized the chaos in the wake of the Great Depression in 1929 to gain popularity. He simply blamed the collapse of the World Economy on the Jews and, surprisingly enough, won many followers willing to believe him. By spreading terror, but also resorting to manipulation and deception Hitler succeeded in achieving absolute control over the German government, as well as other parties and media. In 1933 he officially became the “Fuhrer”, so basically a dictator with unlimited decisive capacity. It did not take long for the consequences of this disastrous turn of events to fully manifest themselves. Soon the masterpieces of literature considered “anti-German” were burning at all the major colleges; the political enemies of the Regime suffered a fate of prosecution, torture and even death. But nothing could have ever compared with what Hitler had prepared for the Jews. The annihilation of the Jewish community began with banishing them from all the aspects of professional, political and cultural life. The First Nuremberg Law proclaimed Jews to be a separate race. Mixed marriages or interracial relations quickly elevated to the status of criminal activity, as they were forbidden by law. With time the persecution only intensified and rules hardened. The “Kristallnacht” of the 9th of November 1938 can be perceived as a turning point in the treatment of Jews. From that time on they were openly hunted down and murdered. Those, who had the means and opportunity left Germany and emigrated abroad. Unfortunately, most of them were nevertheless captured and exterminated during the years in which Shoah raged throughout Europe. INVASION OF EUROPE At this time Hitler ceased to keep up any pretence of peaceful or honorable intentions and invaded Poland on the 1st of September 1939. Even though the Polish army fought heroically, it stood no chance against the modern and technologically superior German military. The Nazis quickly gained control over the country as the rest of the world looked on and did absolutely nothing. A few half-hearted protests and declarations of war, not backed up by any actual deeds was all Hitler received in response. No wonder he felt rather confident and quite invincible. Eventually this new method of warfare called “Blitzkrieg” allowed the German army to conquer most of Europe. From day one the violence displayed in Poland could not be compared to anything else that happened in Western Europe later, acts of unspeakable bestiality took place everywhere the SS troops appeared. Thousands of people were tortured and killed, whole Jewish settlements were destroyed, their inhabitants exterminated within hours. The soldiers forced them to dig their own graves and shot them standing or sitting at the rim, so that they would fall directly into the pit. Sometimes they would make the Jews lie face down on the ground and let them be trampled to death by spooked horses. If they wanted something less bloody, but still very effective, they would lock an entire village in a Synagogue with no way of escaping and set the building on fire. Countless victims were beaten or kicked to death. The methods of “liquidation” appeared to be as diverse as they were plentiful, the Nazis always managed to invent some new act of depravity to top everything else. Nobody was safe. Hitler’s lackeys enjoyed an existence unaffected by any law:  they could murder and exhibit the most   unimaginable degenerate behavior without any fear of punishment or consequences. After the initial pogrom all the Jewish property was “confiscated” (stolen) and the former owners were relocated to ghettos. These consisted of a cluster of buildings in a poor part of town, fenced off and completely isolated from the outside world, where all the Jews of the area were housed and lived in indescribable squalor and abominable sanitary conditions. Many of them quite simply starved to death or fell prey to various epidemics, violence and death became an integral part of their daily routine. In June 1941 the Germans attacked their supposed allies, the Soviets. Stalin stayed naïve until the very last moment and indeed refused to believe any reports of the impending doom. Needless to say, the Russians encountered the invasion completely unprepared and were initially not able to put up much resistance. The Nazis quickly seized the opportunity to deal with “the racial problem”: their treatment of Jews in this country once again surpassed any kind of humanly conceived notion of depravity. The specially trained “Einsatzgruppen”, which were basically death squads, murdered the helpless civilians by the thousands, once again forcing them to dig ditches serving as their own mass graves. They were executed by a shot to the head or the neck and pushed down into the pit. Sometimes the corpses would be set on fire and people still alive would be thrown into the flames. To add to their humiliation, the victims were made to undress and spent their last moments completely naked. For the mostly conservative Jews this constituted the ultimate act of dehumanization, as the sexes were not separated. These “Einsatzgruppen” also targeted the more educated citizens like teachers and clergy.  The estimated number of victims murdered this way in the Soviet Union and Poland is believed to amount to approximately 1 million. The only reason this modus operandi was eventually discontinued lay in the fact that it started to take an emotional toll on the executioners, as well as being deemed too costly: paying for all those bullets certainly did not come cheap. Somebody had to invent a less expensive way to end human life. The Nazis did not wait long with introducing their next “brilliant” plan, namely the gassing of Jews by exhaust fumes in vans masked as Red Cross vehicles. This gave birth to the idea of the gas chambers, probably the most effective method of genocide in the millions ever known to man (one could possibly argue that Stalin starving his own people to death in the great famine of 1932 could be considered even worse). In the meantime the German war machinery pushed forward full throttle. The European countries surrendered one by one and Hitler seemed quite unstoppable. The persecution of Jews in these newly conquered territories did not take on such drastic proportions as in Poland or the Soviet Union; nevertheless they were still systematically deprived of all their rights (banned from using public transport, stores, doctors etc.) and shipped to Concentration Camps. Every Jewish citizen was obligated to wear the yellow Star of David on his clothing. Even though some documented cases of resistance took place (like the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which lasted about a month and resulted in all of its participants being killed in combat or executed later), for the most part the Nazis were able to do as they pleased. The situation seemed completely under their control, so it was concluded that the time for the next step had finally arrived. This phase has henceforth been known as the “Final Solution”. THE FINAL SOLUTION On the 20th of January 1942 the most influential Nazi leaders met at the Wannsee Conference to decide the fate of the Jews. The participation of the heads of different government organizations was crucial to ensure frictionless cooperation between the departments. The most important points addressed during this meeting generally just sealed the course that Germany has already taken: the Jews from German occupied territories were to be transported to the following Extermination Camps in Poland: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka. Auschwitz-Birkenau is considered to be the location which claimed the most victims. Once there, the majority was supposed to be killed right away and the rest spared for hard labor. The most efficient and inexpensive methods of genocide, as well as disposing of the bodies were also featured as significant discussion topics. After the Final Solution directives were decided, the killing machine went ahead with full force. All the remaining Jews were sent to the Concentration Camps on trains. They travelled in cattle cars, in extremely crowded conditions (in fact they were packed tight to the point of not even being able to sit down), days on end (some of them as long as a week) without any food, water or sanitary facilities. Many of them perished on the way (main causes being extreme heat, cold, dehydration or starvation), but their corpses were not removed until the train reached its final destination. Quite frequently after disembarking the “passengers” received postcards and were ordered to convey to their relatives the message that they were doing well and experienced fair treatment. The goal of this rather peculiar request was to obtain the addresses of other Jews, as well as to avert suspicion regarding the camp’s purpose and thus lure others into coming without resistance. Those who survived this journey to hell underwent a selection right there on the ramp immediately upon arrival. Dr. Josef Mengele (also known as the Angel of Death) belonged to the most notorious participants of these selections and appeared to enjoy his job very much indeed. The ones, whose lives were temporarily spared (able- bodied young men and women), were basically worked to death (most of them only lasted a few months). The ones chosen to die (mothers with small children, pregnant women, the sick and elderly) received the doubtful privilege of experiencing first-hand in what twisted and diabolical manner the Nazi Regime went about the business of mass murder. The Jews selected to be exterminated were tricked into thinking that they were going to take a shower. This charade really can be described as nothing but the perfect deception, even all the signs were pointing to the “Bathhouse”. Once there, everything was carried out in an atmosphere of calm: the “guests” were asked to undress, a lot of times they were even handed some soap and towels. They were advised to remember the number of the hook where they left their clothes. After they entered the shower room, the doors were quickly sealed; only instead of water gas came out of the nozzles. Carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide (Zyklon B) belonged to the most commonly used substances for this purpose.  The victims suffocated to death, but it can by no means be considered a short or painless process. In their last minutes they clawed, bruised, battered each other to the point of becoming almost unrecognizable as they fought in a blind panic, trying to comprehend what was happening and get to the top of the frantic human pile to take a gulp of fresh air. Once everybody inside was dead, the special detail workers (Sonderkommando) consisting of Jewish inmates set to do their part. They cleaned the room of the corpses, which were often mutilated, covered in blood, feces, urine and vomit and prepared it for the next group to be executed. The bodies were dragged out, but not before all their body cavities were searched for valuables, gold teeth pulled out and hair cut off. The clothes and shoes of the murdered people were sorted and sent back to Germany. Needless to say this system was subjected to much abuse and the SS guards often stuffed their pockets with vast riches while “performing their duties”. The cadavers of the deceased were cremated in specially developed furnaces or burned in ditches. Those, who worked in these corpse removing details did not have a very high life-expectancy, either (about 2-3 months), as they were frequently killed and replaced by new arrivals in order to prevent any spread of this highly classified information. Being gassed was actually considered to be the “humane” way to exit this world. Some other prisoners were not so lucky. Babies and small children were often used for target practice, throwing them upwards and firing their guns at the victims still mid-air became a form of entertainment for many of the guards. Sometimes they just grabbed the helpless infants by the legs and smashed their heads against a suitable hard surface. Some people were burned or buried alive, as the bullets sometimes merely wounded them instead of killing. The children frequently ended up tossed into the pits still in perfect health alongside the decomposing corpses of the adults. CONCENTRATION CAMPS Those selected to work commenced to be deloused, shaved (including the head) and often received an identification number tattoo. Upon entering the camp they were confronted by a massive iron gate with the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” (work will set you free). Which ultimately it did, because after being worked to the point of utter emaciation they experienced the only freedom granted to them, namely death. Their accommodation consisted of barracks, where they slept 6-12 to a bunk  (built in three tiers). Sometimes the inmates had to share such a small space that they were forced to lie on their side without even being able to turn. They were given just the one change of clothes (the infamous striped uniform and cap or whatever else was available, like the clothes worn by the murdered Soviet POWs), as well as horribly uncomfortable and torturous to walk in wooden clogs.  They were constantly plagued by lice and bed-bugs. Very rarely, if at all, did they obtain access to any sanitary facilities. The stench ensuing under such circumstances cannot be compared to anything even remotely resembling a bearable environment. Their food rations (often spoilt and contaminated) were way too meager to sustain human life and consisted mostly of  a brownish brew described as “coffee” in the morning, a watery concoction with some rotting vegetables inside (a little meat if you were blessed beyond belief) masquerading as soup and a chunk of bread (main ingredient: sawdust) for dinner.  Occasionally they would get some margarine, marmalade or sausage, but that was very rare and far in between. Therefore, they just slowly starved to death while performing incredibly demanding physical labor. The work details varied in the degree of harshness: the gas chamber kommando being the worst, the clothes sorting one, otherwise known as “Canada”, undeniably the best. Some of the prisoners were fortunate enough to be selected for the kitchen, the fields or factories (weaving or military industry):  those had the opportunity of withstanding their captivity a little bit longer. But a lot of them were executing pointless tasks, like carrying stones from one side of the hill to the other: this work presented no other purpose but to physically exhaust those prisoners and break their spirits. Other details included: rock quarrying, road construction, ditch digging, chopping wood. Ironically the Intelligentsia and women, privileged in the outside world, had the worst chances of survival in the reality of the camp. The intellectuals were considered useless in any craft and dangerous due to their high education, while women were perceived as “givers of life” and therefore had to be exterminated by all necessary means to be prevented from ever again bearing any Jewish children.  Different diseases such as dysentery or typhus raged throughout the barracks. The Nazis could certainly not be accused of not possessing a certain sense of irony: each camp was equipped with a “hospital” to allegedly treat sick inmates. The only problem with that consisted in the fact that the “patients” were sent to the gas chambers at rather frequent intervals and extremely rarely did any of them indeed return to their barrack healed or otherwise. When one contemplates the absolutely surreal circumstances under which the inmates led their everyday lives, it becomes clear how astounding it must seem that even during this constant battle for survival one could still witness acts of kindness and sacrifice every day. Most of the people who did manage to endure this abomination owe it to the help of a friend, a family member, sometimes even a complete stranger: their memoirs quote hundreds of such examples. Another form of torture ever-present in the camps were the roll-calls. No matter the weather, the prisoners were made to stand to attention for hours. Those gatherings were held regularly in the morning and evening, but also for other occasions such as executions. These were carried out as punishment for even the most petty of insubordinations, like for instance stealing some rotten potato peels.  The captive slaves too weak to work were usually selected to be gassed, but frequently they would just pass away in their sleep. Many would also simply keel over and literally drop dead from exhaustion and malnutrition. Others were beaten to death, shot or otherwise slaughtered by the sadistic kapos (prisoners, often originating from the worst criminal background and known for their relentless brutality, chosen by the SS to supervise the other inmates) or guards. Their thirst for blood truly knew no limits and some of them would claim numerous victims every day. Incredible violence did not cause anybody to even bat an eye any more, whipping and savage beatings were just a part of the daily routine. The list of notorious Nazi overseers or camp commandants goes on forever, to mention just a few these are several of the more prominent names: Irma Grese, Maria Mandel, Maximilian Grabner, Josef Kramer, Franz Stangl or Rudolf Hoss. But this fate was still preferable to being chosen to participate in the medical experiments. The unquestionable leader in this field was Dr. Mengele, his “scientific” curiosity could be considered as morbid as it was boundless. He especially relished in conducting elaborate tests with twins, particularly children. Every Concentration Camp possessed a “medical facility” that would be responsible for carrying out experiments on human subjects of one kind or another. The atrocities committed during this time included: amputation of healthy limbs, injecting different fluids into the eyes in an attempt to change their color, keeping prisoners in tubs filled with ice (or outside in snow) until they froze to death, sterilizing women with radiation, all kinds of Frankensteinian transplants or injections of deadly diseases. At this point one must note that this “research” was conducted without Anesthesia: most of the prisoners died in excruciating pain, sometimes they suffered for days or weeks before they were finally blessed with the relief of death. If twins were the subject of the experiment, as soon as Mengele considered his work done, they were immediately killed by an injection of chloroform to the heart in order to perform an autopsy on both of them at the same time and compare the results.  Always efficient and frugal, there was literally no part of the Jewish prisoners that the Nazis would consider unworthy of further utilization. Their clothes and valuables were stolen, gold and silver teeth pulled out, artificial limbs confiscated, hair shaved off (later used for several industrial purposes). Although not as common, lamps were produced out of human skin and some prisoners lost their lives because of an interesting tattoo they had, which was then used in making a “decorative object” for the pleasure of some particularly twisted SS specimens.  Human fat found its use in manufacturing soap. LIBERATION Around 1944 the balance of victory was toppling over to the side of the Allied Forces. The Soviets were pressing ahead through Poland, the Americans and the Western Armies were coming from the direction of France. On their way through the devastated country the Soviet army encountered and liberated numerous concentration camps. What they found there besides some emaciated, skeletal-looking survivors were piles of corpses and proof of the most despicable and unprecedented mass extermination in human history. Human remains were discovered in ovens, whole warehouses filled with shoes, clothes or human hair left little doubt as to the fate of their owners. In some camps the inmates were executed mere hours before their saviors arrived in an attempt to not leave any witnesses. For most of the Jews still alive at this time the nightmare had not yet come to an end: they were not to experience the liberation as they were sent on the so-called “death marches”. Even though the Nazis already knew that they had lost the war, they still wanted to murder as many Jews as possible, out of pure spite and hatred. Tragically the accounts of the atrocities committed in the camps were dismissed for the longest time by the rest of the world as exaggerated Communist propaganda. Since they were coming from the Soviets, most governments flat out refused to believe any of the actual facts presented to them. Not even when some of the most reputable newspapers printed articles with photographs depicting the genocide did the public opinion wish to acknowledge the extent of what was happening. The majority of the death marches transpired in the deepest winter, with icy temperatures and blizzards raging throughout the countryside. The prisoners were forced to walk all day through heavy snow; some of them did not even wear any shoes. Those too sick or weak to go on were shot on the spot, as were those trying to escape. They spent the nights in barns and sheds, but quite often were left to sleep in the open. That was just another method of ensuring that as many of them died as quickly as possible. Those prisoners who tried to get up and move about to keep from freezing were gunned down. The rations of food consisted of tiny portions, the inmates sometimes walked for days without receiving anything to eat: their only source of nourishment the snow they consumed. In some of the groups as many as 90% of the participants met their end on the road, the main causes being starvation, exhaustion, extreme weather or an SS bullet. Those who did not perish in these monstrous conditions and actually reached Germany, were greeted with hostility and abuse, spit on and generally treated worse than vermin. They were forced to work in Labor Camps in a last desperate attempt to stop the Russians and the Allied Forces from winning the war. Nevertheless, as the liberating armies pushed forward and all hope of German victory was lost, the Nazis still attempted to kill as many Jews as possible by shooting them, alternatively also locking them up in buildings, which they then blew up with explosives or set on fire. After the Allied Forces finally arrived at those camps, the world started to believe the truth at last. If only it had not turned a blind eye for so many years, if only leaders such as Churchill and Roosevelt did not make a series of disastrous decisions while in office, many of the victims could have been spared. Indirectly the other governments’ belated response to the dangers arising from the ideological views of the Nazi Regime should certainly be seen as partly to blame for the implementation of this mass murder. Can inaction in this case be considered anything else but invitation to continue, relieving oneself of all responsibility? Do we conveniently overlook how many years of Hitler’s festive declarations that all Jews must be destroyed it actually took before he was in the position to do so? During the war countless reports of the horrific events did manage to indeed reach the outside world, but met with little reaction. Even after the facts became fairly well known, Roosevelt still refused to bomb the Auschwitz crematoria and railways leading to the camps. Had that operation been carried out, hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved. THE AFTERMATH The great majority of the Nazis participating in these criminal activities managed to escape, posing as normal citizens or Wehrmacht  soldiers (regular German  army not involved in the Holocaust atrocities). Most of them were never held accountable for their actions, despite the fact that the Allied Armies encountered huge piles of corpses and signs of genocide everywhere. Even the Jews still alive at liberation were not in the clear by a long run:  thousands of them died later on, days or weeks after being freed, from all the abuse and starvation they suffered. Their bodies were not strong enough to function properly anymore and despite considerable medical efforts they could not be saved… So what effect did this end of civilization as we knew it ultimately have on the population of Europe? The toll of the Holocaust: approximately 6 million Jewish people across Europe, over 3 million of them Polish. Needless to say millions of people from all different nationalities fell victim to Hitler’s regime as well (estimated around 40 million civilians). These consisted mostly of Soviets (the Soviet Prisoners of War were simply murdered by a firing squad in different Concentration Camps), Poles and other Slavic nations, but also other minorities such as Roma, Jehova’s Witnesses, communists, political prisoners or homosexuals. But none of them were murdered in such a systematic and reprehensible manner as the Jews. Also those aiding Jews put themselves in grave danger. The most drastic situation could be observed in Poland, where it was nothing out of the ordinary for a citizen to be executed for handing a Jew a piece of bread or even a glass of water. Yet thousands of Poles risked their lives and saved countless innocent people by hiding them in their homes or on their farms. Some Jews were supplied with fake “Aryan” papers and thus survived the war under false identity. Others joined the partisans and spent those years in the forests, fighting alongside the resistance. Every Nazi occupied country proved to be the land of many heroes, whose courage and personal sacrifice knew no limits. Sadly it also bore herds of traitors, who collaborated with the Gestapo or SS for personal gain. Some of them were duly “rewarded” for their actions after the war; the majority, however, did succeed in avoiding any legal proceedings altogether. If all this has not yet left you speechless, than please let me put a final cherry on this monstrous cake. Hitler obviously considered Germans to be a “super race”, so you would imagine he treated his own people quite well. That only makes sense. But it’s not true. What on Earth can you think of a government that murders the citizens of its own country? Yes, the Nazis did not shy away from that barbarity, either. And I am not merely talking about the German Jews, but also other “Aryan” citizens, who were exterminated during the T4 program. Any mentally or physically handicapped, terminally ill or simply emotionally disturbed person was pronounced unworthy of life and euthanized. This initiative has claimed between 70.000 and 200.000 lives. Moreover, people who opposed the regime in any way were sent to Concentration Camps or executed like Sophie Scholl and other members of the White Rose (anti-Nazi resistance group). Nevertheless, the perpetrator of this whole diabolical machinery could never be brought to justice, because he committed suicide in his bunker, as did most of his closest associates. For all his talk about the Third Reich ruling the world for a 1000 years his end was as pathetic as it was cowardly. However, for decades after the war ended those responsible for the crimes against humanity were hunted down and tried. The Israeli Secret Service (Mossad) played a key role in those arrests and can boast of some spectacular successes. Many of the agents running these operations were recruited among former Death Camp inmates and had a very personal interest in capturing the Nazi criminals. Dozens of the SS officials running the extermination factories faced their victims and accusers at the Trials of Nuremberg. Some were brought to justice in the countries where they carried out their deplorable deeds (Poland being one of the busiest states out there in this aspect). Those found guilty were either executed (mostly hanged) or handed very long prison sentences. In my personal opinion hanging certainly seems like a punishment much too humane compared to what they truly deserved. They should have been starved to death: there would have been some poetic justice to that. But I suppose stooping down to the uncivilized ways of your tormentors and indulging in some good old fashioned torture never really has been the appropriate method of retribution… Unfortunately, a remarkable number of the Nazis did manage to escape. One of the most prominent examples is Josef Mengele, who lived peacefully in South America until his death in a boating accident (drowning allegedly caused by a stroke) at the age of 67. It is shocking just how many of those monsters were granted refuge on that continent! How very unfair it seems to realize that countless of those responsible for extinguishing millions of human beings actually lived to a very advanced age, enjoying the blessings of having a family, children and grandchildren. Something they took away from all their victims, wiped out not only entire villages or towns, but also entire bloodlines. At the risk of sounding sentimental and not very scientific at all I will nonetheless add that wherever they are right now, I  hope they are paying dearly for what they’ve done. However, our best way to ensure the futility of their “master plan”, the insanity they considered their “destiny” is to never stop honoring those who were assassinated.  We must never let anyone say anything that could even remotely attempt to justify or explain the ideological basis for this madness. There will never be an excuse. There will never be an explanation. The Holocaust has been an integral part of my life since I was a teenager. It is something that shell-shocked me into becoming a better human being, into appreciating even the smallest things and trying to stand up to any form of bullying. Although I personally have never experienced any of those events, they will forever lie heavy on my soul. Even now, after all these years researching the Holocaust I am stunned by the intensity of the fury that befalls me every time I study these materials. Even now I am still not immune… How can you ever be? And every time I read another book or watch another documentary about this tragic chapter my heart breaks into six million pieces, one for each of the Jews murdered in the time of Shoah… I sincerely hope that this collection of reviews will help you explore the subject, assist you in picking the literature you might be interested in, mobilize you into becoming an advocate of the ultimate affirmation: life over death, goodness over evil. So that you can join me and all the others out there in saying: NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!
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THE HOLOCAUST This section of my website serves the purpose of introducing several Holocaust memoirs written by survivors from different countries and cultures with one common feature: being Jewish. Below I enclosed a brief introduction chronologically presenting the most important events of this terrifying time. If you would prefer to skip that for now, please feel free to go ahead and browse the reviews of the books. The links with the titles are located here just below (please click on the photo of the cover). ORIGINS AND IDEOLOGY To truly understand how this genocide nightmare ever became possible, what were the ideological and political principles that had sanctioned the systematic and cold-blooded murder of six million Jews throughout Europe one has to take a look at history as far back as the 1920s. Although anti-Semitism had certainly existed since the beginning of time and Jews often encountered different forms of oppression, it was Adolf Hitler who has catapulted this problem into a completely different dimension. It all started with his autobiographical work titled “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle). Reading it now you can’t help but wonder how such idiotic and delusional ramblings managed to convince so many seemingly sane people to follow this man. You only have to watch one of his countless speeches, listen to the way he talked and observe his exaggerated and awkward gesticulation to experience utter amazement at the fact that anybody saw him as anything more than just a joke figure. Moreover, that he was actually able to become the leader of an incredible military super power, the ultimate master over life and death, destroying millions… The most pronounced ideas featured in “Mein Kampf” basically consisted of the plans to exterminate Jews (for whom he entertained a most deeply rooted hatred) and turn Slavs into slaves for the Third Reich. Thus Hitler wanted to kill two birds with one stone: enforce racial purity, as well as provide living space for the Germans (Lebensraum). The ideological ground of the Nazi party was the conviction about the superiority of the representatives of the Aryan race and the desire to position them at the very top of the pyramid of power. According to his views the ethnic status of humanity took on the following form: Germans-> other Aryan nationalities-> Slavic nations->Gypsies, Africans and Jews. Germans were considered to be the super race, the crème de la crème of mankind. As leader of the National Socialist party Hitler worked very hard to establish his position and launch anti-Semitic propaganda, which was the central force in his strategy before and during World War II. He utilized the chaos in the wake of the Great Depression in 1929 to gain popularity. He simply blamed the collapse of the World Economy on the Jews and, surprisingly enough, won many followers willing to believe him. By spreading terror, but also resorting to manipulation and deception Hitler succeeded in achieving absolute control over the German government, as well as other parties and media. In 1933 he officially became the “Fuhrer”, so basically a dictator with unlimited decisive capacity. It did not take long for the consequences of this disastrous turn of events to fully manifest themselves. Soon the masterpieces of literature considered “anti-German” were burning at all the major colleges; the political enemies of the Regime suffered a fate of prosecution, torture and even death. But nothing could have ever compared with what Hitler had prepared for the Jews. The annihilation of the Jewish community began with banishing them from all the aspects of professional, political and cultural life. The First Nuremberg Law proclaimed Jews to be a separate race. Mixed marriages or interracial relations quickly elevated to the status of criminal activity, as they were forbidden by law. With time the persecution only intensified and rules hardened. The “Kristallnacht” of the 9th of November 1938 can be perceived as a turning point in the treatment of Jews. From that time on they were openly hunted down and murdered. Those, who had the means and opportunity left Germany and emigrated abroad. Unfortunately, most of them were nevertheless captured and exterminated during the years in which Shoah raged throughout Europe. INVASION OF EUROPE At this time Hitler ceased to keep up any pretence of peaceful or honorable intentions and invaded Poland on the 1st of September 1939. Even though the Polish army fought heroically, it stood no chance against the modern and technologically superior German military. The Nazis quickly gained control over the country as the rest of the world looked on and did absolutely nothing. A few half- hearted protests and declarations of war, not backed up by any actual deeds was all Hitler received in response. No wonder he felt rather confident and quite invincible. Eventually this new method of warfare called “Blitzkrieg” allowed the German army to conquer most of Europe. From day one the violence displayed in Poland could not be compared to anything else that happened in Western Europe later, acts of unspeakable bestiality took place everywhere the SS troops appeared. Thousands of people were tortured and killed, whole Jewish settlements were destroyed, their inhabitants exterminated within hours. The soldiers forced them to dig their own graves and shot them standing or sitting at the rim, so that they would fall directly into the pit. Sometimes they would make the Jews lie face down on the ground and let them be trampled to death by spooked horses. If they wanted something less bloody, but still very effective, they would lock an entire village in a Synagogue with no way of escaping and set the building on fire. Countless victims were beaten or kicked to death. The methods of “liquidation” appeared to be as diverse as they were plentiful, the Nazis always managed to invent some new act of depravity to top everything else. Nobody was safe. Hitler’s lackeys enjoyed an existence unaffected by any law:  they could murder and exhibit the most   unimaginable degenerate behavior without any fear of punishment or consequences. After the initial pogrom all the Jewish property was “confiscated” (stolen) and the former owners were relocated to ghettos. These consisted of a cluster of buildings in a poor part of town, fenced off and completely isolated from the outside world, where all the Jews of the area were housed and lived in indescribable squalor and abominable sanitary conditions. Many of them quite simply starved to death or fell prey to various epidemics, violence and death became an integral part of their daily routine. In June 1941 the Germans attacked their supposed allies, the Soviets. Stalin stayed naïve until the very last moment and indeed refused to believe any reports of the impending doom. Needless to say, the Russians encountered the invasion completely unprepared and were initially not able to put up much resistance. The Nazis quickly seized the opportunity to deal with “the racial problem”: their treatment of Jews in this country once again surpassed any kind of humanly conceived notion of depravity. The specially trained “Einsatzgruppen”, which were basically death squads, murdered the helpless civilians by the thousands, once again forcing them to dig ditches serving as their own mass graves. They were executed by a shot to the head or the neck and pushed down into the pit. Sometimes the corpses would be set on fire and people still alive would be thrown into the flames. To add to their humiliation, the victims were made to undress and spent their last moments completely naked. For the mostly conservative Jews this constituted the ultimate act of dehumanization, as the sexes were not separated. These “Einsatzgruppen” also targeted the more educated citizens like teachers and clergy.  The estimated number of victims murdered this way in the Soviet Union and Poland is believed to amount to approximately 1 million. The only reason this modus operandi was eventually discontinued lay in the fact that it started to take an emotional toll on the executioners, as well as being deemed too costly: paying for all those bullets certainly did not come cheap. Somebody had to invent a less expensive way to end human life. The Nazis did not wait long with introducing their next “brilliant” plan, namely the gassing of Jews by exhaust fumes in vans masked as Red Cross vehicles. This gave birth to the idea of the gas chambers, probably the most effective method of genocide in the millions ever known to man (one could possibly argue that Stalin starving his own people to death in the great famine of 1932 could be considered even worse). In the meantime the German war machinery pushed forward full throttle. The European countries surrendered one by one and Hitler seemed quite unstoppable. The persecution of Jews in these newly conquered territories did not take on such drastic proportions as in Poland or the Soviet Union; nevertheless they were still systematically deprived of all their rights (banned from using public transport, stores, doctors etc.) and shipped to Concentration Camps. Every Jewish citizen was obligated to wear the yellow Star of David on his clothing. Even though some documented cases of resistance took place (like the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which lasted about a month and resulted in all of its participants being killed in combat or executed later), for the most part the Nazis were able to do as they pleased. The situation seemed completely under their control, so it was concluded that the time for the next step had finally arrived. This phase has henceforth been known as the “Final Solution”. THE FINAL SOLUTION On the 20th of January 1942 the most influential Nazi leaders met at the Wannsee Conference to decide the fate of the Jews. The participation of the heads of different government organizations was crucial to ensure frictionless cooperation between the departments. The most important points addressed during this meeting generally just sealed the course that Germany has already taken: the Jews from German occupied territories were to be transported to the following Extermination Camps in Poland: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka. Auschwitz-Birkenau is considered to be the location which claimed the most victims. Once there, the majority was supposed to be killed right away and the rest spared for hard labor. The most efficient and inexpensive methods of genocide, as well as disposing of the bodies were also featured as significant discussion topics. After the Final Solution directives were decided, the killing machine went ahead with full force. All the remaining Jews were sent to the Concentration Camps on trains. They travelled in cattle cars, in extremely crowded conditions (in fact they were packed tight to the point of not even being able to sit down), days on end (some of them as long as a week) without any food, water or sanitary facilities. Many of them perished on the way (main causes being extreme heat, cold, dehydration or starvation), but their corpses were not removed until the train reached its final destination. Quite frequently after disembarking the “passengers” received postcards and were ordered to convey to their relatives the message that they were doing well and experienced fair treatment. The goal of this rather peculiar request was to obtain the addresses of other Jews, as well as to avert suspicion regarding the camp’s purpose and thus lure others into coming without resistance. Those who survived this journey to hell underwent a selection right there on the ramp immediately upon arrival. Dr. Josef Mengele (also known as the Angel of Death) belonged to the most notorious participants of these selections and appeared to enjoy his job very much indeed. The ones, whose lives were temporarily spared (able-bodied young men and women), were basically worked to death (most of them only lasted a few months). The ones chosen to die (mothers with small children, pregnant women, the sick and elderly) received the doubtful privilege of experiencing first-hand in what twisted and diabolical manner the Nazi Regime went about the business of mass murder. The Jews selected to be exterminated were tricked into thinking that they were going to take a shower. This charade really can be described as nothing but the perfect deception, even all the signs were pointing to the “Bathhouse”. Once there, everything was carried out in an atmosphere of calm: the “guests” were asked to undress, a lot of times they were even handed some soap and towels. They were advised to remember the number of the hook where they left their clothes. After they entered the shower room, the doors were quickly sealed; only instead of water gas came out of the nozzles. Carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide (Zyklon B)  belonged to the most commonly used substances for this purpose.  The victims suffocated to death, but it can by no means be considered a short or painless process. In their last minutes they clawed, bruised, battered each other to the point of becoming almost unrecognizable as they fought in a blind panic, trying to comprehend what was happening and get to the top of the frantic human pile to take a gulp of fresh air. Once everybody inside was dead, the special detail workers (Sonderkommando) consisting of Jewish inmates set to do their part. They cleaned the room of the corpses, which were often mutilated, covered in blood, feces, urine and vomit and prepared it for the next group to be executed. The bodies were dragged out, but not before all their body cavities were searched for valuables, gold teeth pulled out and hair cut off. The clothes and shoes of the murdered people were sorted and sent back to Germany. Needless to say this system was subjected to much abuse and the SS guards often stuffed their pockets with vast riches while “performing their duties”. The cadavers of the deceased were cremated in specially developed furnaces or burned in ditches. Those, who worked in these corpse removing details did not have a very high life- expectancy, either (about 2-3 months), as they were frequently killed and replaced by new arrivals in order to prevent any spread of this highly classified information. Being gassed was actually considered to be the “humane” way to exit this world. Some other prisoners were not so lucky. Babies and small children were often used for target practice, throwing them upwards and firing their guns at the victims still mid-air became a form of entertainment for many of the guards. Sometimes they just grabbed the helpless infants by the legs and smashed their heads against a suitable hard surface. Some people were burned or buried alive, as the bullets sometimes merely wounded them instead of killing. The children frequently ended up tossed into the pits still in perfect health alongside the decomposing corpses of the adults. CONCENTRATION CAMPS Those selected to work commenced to be deloused, shaved (including the head) and often received an identification number tattoo. Upon entering the camp they were confronted by a massive iron gate with the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” (work will set you free). Which ultimately it did, because after being worked to the point of utter emaciation they experienced the only freedom granted to them, namely death. Their accommodation consisted of barracks, where they slept 6-12 to a bunk  (built in three tiers). Sometimes the inmates had to share such a small space that they were forced to lie on their side without even being able to turn. They were given just the one change of clothes (the infamous striped uniform and cap or whatever else was available, like the clothes worn by the murdered Soviet POWs), as well as horribly uncomfortable and torturous to walk in wooden clogs.  They were constantly plagued by lice and bed-bugs. Very rarely, if at all, did they obtain access to any sanitary facilities. The stench ensuing under such circumstances cannot be compared to anything even remotely resembling a bearable environment. Their food rations (often spoilt and contaminated) were way too meager to sustain human life and consisted mostly of  a brownish brew described as “coffee” in the morning, a watery concoction with some rotting vegetables inside (a little meat if you were blessed beyond belief) masquerading as soup and a chunk of bread (main ingredient: sawdust) for dinner.  Occasionally they would get some margarine, marmalade or sausage, but that was very rare and far in between. Therefore, they just slowly starved to death while performing incredibly demanding physical labor. The work details varied in the degree of harshness: the gas chamber kommando being the worst, the clothes sorting one, otherwise known as “Canada”, undeniably the best. Some of the prisoners were fortunate enough to be selected for the kitchen, the fields or factories (weaving or military industry):  those had the opportunity of withstanding their captivity a little bit longer. But a lot of them were executing pointless tasks, like carrying stones from one side of the hill to the other: this work presented no other purpose but to physically exhaust those prisoners and break their spirits. Other details included: rock quarrying, road construction, ditch digging, chopping wood. Ironically the Intelligentsia and women, privileged in the outside world, had the worst chances of survival in the reality of the camp. The intellectuals were considered useless in any craft and dangerous due to their high education, while women were perceived as “givers of life” and therefore had to be exterminated by all necessary means to be prevented from ever again bearing any Jewish children.  Different diseases such as dysentery or typhus raged throughout the barracks. The Nazis could certainly not be accused of not possessing a certain sense of irony: each camp was equipped with a “hospital” to allegedly treat sick inmates. The only problem with that consisted in the fact that the “patients” were sent to the gas chambers at rather frequent intervals and extremely rarely did any of them indeed return to their barrack healed or otherwise. When one contemplates the absolutely surreal circumstances under which the inmates led their everyday lives, it becomes clear how astounding it must seem that even during this constant battle for survival one could still witness acts of kindness and sacrifice every day. Most of the people who did manage to endure this abomination owe it to the help of a friend, a family member, sometimes even a complete stranger: their memoirs quote hundreds of such examples. Another form of torture ever-present in the camps were the roll- calls. No matter the weather, the prisoners were made to stand to attention for hours. Those gatherings were held regularly in the morning and evening, but also for other occasions such as executions. These were carried out as punishment for even the most petty of insubordinations, like for instance stealing some rotten potato peels.  The captive slaves too weak to work were usually selected to be gassed, but frequently they would just pass away in their sleep. Many would also simply keel over and literally drop dead from exhaustion and malnutrition. Others were beaten to death, shot or otherwise slaughtered by the sadistic kapos (prisoners, often originating from the worst criminal background and known for their relentless brutality, chosen by the SS to supervise the other inmates) or guards. Their thirst for blood truly knew no limits and some of them would claim numerous victims every day. Incredible violence did not cause anybody to even bat an eye any more, whipping and savage beatings were just a part of the daily routine. The list of notorious Nazi overseers or camp commandants goes on forever, to mention just a few these are several of the more prominent names: Irma Grese, Maria Mandel, Maximilian Grabner, Josef Kramer, Franz Stangl or Rudolf Hoss. But this fate was still preferable to being chosen to participate in the medical experiments. The unquestionable leader in this field was Dr. Mengele, his “scientific” curiosity could be considered as morbid as it was boundless. He especially relished in conducting elaborate tests with twins, particularly children. Every Concentration Camp possessed a “medical facility” that would be responsible for carrying out experiments on human subjects of one kind or another. The atrocities committed during this time included: amputation of healthy limbs, injecting different fluids into the eyes in an attempt to change their color, keeping prisoners in tubs filled with ice (or outside in snow) until they froze to death, sterilizing women with radiation, all kinds of Frankensteinian transplants or injections of deadly diseases. At this point one must note that this “research” was conducted without Anesthesia: most of the prisoners died in excruciating pain, sometimes they suffered for days or weeks before they were finally blessed with the relief of death. If twins were the subject of the experiment, as soon as Mengele considered his work done, they were immediately killed by an injection of chloroform to the heart in order to perform an autopsy on both of them at the same time and compare the results.  Always efficient and frugal, there was literally no part of the Jewish prisoners that the Nazis would consider unworthy of further utilization. Their clothes and valuables were stolen, gold and silver teeth pulled out, artificial limbs confiscated, hair shaved off (later used for several industrial purposes). Although not as common, lamps were produced out of human skin and some prisoners lost their lives because of an interesting tattoo they had, which was then used in making a “decorative object” for the pleasure of some particularly twisted SS specimens.  Human fat found its use in manufacturing soap. LIBERATION Around 1944 the balance of victory was toppling over to the side of the Allied Forces. The Soviets were pressing ahead through Poland, the Americans and the Western Armies were coming from the direction of France. On their way through the devastated country the Soviet army encountered and liberated numerous concentration camps. What they found there besides some emaciated, skeletal- looking survivors were piles of corpses and proof of the most despicable and unprecedented mass extermination in human history. Human remains were discovered in ovens, whole warehouses filled with shoes, clothes or human hair left little doubt as to the fate of their owners. In some camps the inmates were executed mere hours before their saviors arrived in an attempt to not leave any witnesses. For most of the Jews still alive at this time the nightmare had not yet come to an end: they were not to experience the liberation as they were sent on the so-called “death marches”. Even though the Nazis already knew that they had lost the war, they still wanted to murder as many Jews as possible, out of pure spite and hatred. Tragically the accounts of the atrocities committed in the camps were dismissed for the longest time by the rest of the world as exaggerated Communist propaganda. Since they were coming from the Soviets, most governments flat out refused to believe any of the actual facts presented to them. Not even when some of the most reputable newspapers printed articles with photographs depicting the genocide did the public opinion wish to acknowledge the extent of what was happening. The majority of the death marches transpired in the deepest winter, with icy temperatures and blizzards raging throughout the countryside. The prisoners were forced to walk all day through heavy snow; some of them did not even wear any shoes. Those too sick or weak to go on were shot on the spot, as were those trying to escape. They spent the nights in barns and sheds, but quite often were left to sleep in the open. That was just another method of ensuring that as many of them died as quickly as possible. Those prisoners who tried to get up and move about to keep from freezing were gunned down. The rations of food consisted of tiny portions, the inmates sometimes walked for days without receiving anything to eat: their only source of nourishment the snow they consumed. In some of the groups as many as 90% of the participants met their end on the road, the main causes being starvation, exhaustion, extreme weather or an SS bullet. Those who did not perish in these monstrous conditions and actually reached Germany, were greeted with hostility and abuse, spit on and generally treated worse than vermin. They were forced to work in Labor Camps in a last desperate attempt to stop the Russians and the Allied Forces from winning the war. Nevertheless, as the liberating armies pushed forward and all hope of German victory was lost, the Nazis still attempted to kill as many Jews as possible by shooting them, alternatively also locking them up in buildings, which they then blew up with explosives or set on fire. After the Allied Forces finally arrived at those camps, the world started to believe the truth at last. If only it had not turned a blind eye for so many years, if only leaders such as Churchill and Roosevelt did not make a series of disastrous decisions while in office, many of the victims could have been spared. Indirectly the other governments’ belated response to the dangers arising from the ideological views of the Nazi Regime should certainly be seen as partly to blame for the implementation of this mass murder. Can inaction in this case be considered anything else but invitation to continue, relieving oneself of all responsibility? Do we conveniently overlook how many years of Hitler’s festive declarations that all Jews must be destroyed it actually took before he was in the position to do so? During the war countless reports of the horrific events did manage to indeed reach the outside world, but met with little reaction. Even after the facts became fairly well known, Roosevelt still refused to bomb the Auschwitz crematoria and railways leading to the camps. Had that operation been carried out, hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved. THE AFTERMATH The great majority of the Nazis participating in these criminal activities managed to escape, posing as normal citizens or Wehrmacht  soldiers (regular German  army not involved in the Holocaust atrocities). Most of them were never held accountable for their actions, despite the fact that the Allied Armies encountered huge piles of corpses and signs of genocide everywhere. Even the Jews still alive at liberation were not in the clear by a long run:  thousands of them died later on, days or weeks after being freed, from all the abuse and starvation they suffered. Their bodies were not strong enough to function properly anymore and despite considerable medical efforts they could not be saved… So what effect did this end of civilization as we knew it ultimately have on the population of Europe? The toll of the Holocaust: approximately 6 million Jewish people across Europe, over 3 million of them Polish. Needless to say millions of people from all different nationalities fell victim to Hitler’s regime as well (estimated around 40 million civilians). These consisted mostly of Soviets (the Soviet Prisoners of War were simply murdered by a firing squad in different Concentration Camps), Poles and other Slavic nations, but also other minorities such as Roma, Jehova’s Witnesses, communists, political prisoners or homosexuals. But none of them were murdered in such a systematic and reprehensible manner as the Jews. Also those aiding Jews put themselves in grave danger. The most drastic situation could be observed in Poland, where it was nothing out of the ordinary for a citizen to be executed for handing a Jew a piece of bread or even a glass of water. Yet thousands of Poles risked their lives and saved countless innocent people by hiding them in their homes or on their farms. Some Jews were supplied with fake “Aryan” papers and thus survived the war under false identity. Others joined the partisans and spent those years in the forests, fighting alongside the resistance. Every Nazi occupied country proved to be the land of many heroes, whose courage and personal sacrifice knew no limits. Sadly it also bore herds of traitors, who collaborated with the Gestapo or SS for personal gain. Some of them were duly “rewarded” for their actions after the war; the majority, however, did succeed in avoiding any legal proceedings altogether. If all this has not yet left you speechless, than please let me put a final cherry on this monstrous cake. Hitler obviously considered Germans to be a “super race”, so you would imagine he treated his own people quite well. That only makes sense. But it’s not true. What on Earth can you think of a government that murders the citizens of its own country? Yes, the Nazis did not shy away from that barbarity, either. And I am not merely talking about the German Jews, but also other “Aryan” citizens, who were exterminated during the T4 program. Any mentally or physically handicapped, terminally ill or simply emotionally disturbed person was pronounced unworthy of life and euthanized. This initiative has claimed between 70.000 and 200.000 lives. Moreover, people who opposed the regime in any way were sent to Concentration Camps or executed like Sophie Scholl and other members of the White Rose (anti-Nazi resistance group). Nevertheless, the perpetrator of this whole diabolical machinery could never be brought to justice, because he committed suicide in his bunker, as did most of his closest associates. For all his talk about the Third Reich ruling the world for a 1000 years his end was as pathetic as it was cowardly. However, for decades after the war ended those responsible for the crimes against humanity were hunted down and tried. The Israeli Secret Service (Mossad) played a key role in those arrests and can boast of some spectacular successes. Many of the agents running these operations were recruited among former Death Camp inmates and had a very personal interest in capturing the Nazi criminals. Dozens of the SS officials running the extermination factories faced their victims and accusers at the Trials of Nuremberg. Some were brought to justice in the countries where they carried out their deplorable deeds (Poland being one of the busiest states out there in this aspect). Those found guilty were either executed (mostly hanged) or handed very long prison sentences. In my personal opinion hanging certainly seems like a punishment much too humane compared to what they truly deserved. They should have been starved to death: there would have been some poetic justice to that. But I suppose stooping down to the uncivilized ways of your tormentors and indulging in some good old fashioned torture never really has been the appropriate method of retribution… Unfortunately, a remarkable number of the Nazis did manage to escape. One of the most prominent examples is Josef Mengele, who lived peacefully in South America until his death in a boating accident (drowning allegedly caused by a stroke) at the age of 67. It is shocking just how many of those monsters were granted refuge on that continent! How very unfair it seems to realize that countless of those responsible for extinguishing millions of human beings actually lived to a very advanced age, enjoying the blessings of having a family, children and grandchildren. Something they took away from all their victims, wiped out not only entire villages or towns, but also entire bloodlines. At the risk of sounding sentimental and not very scientific at all I will nonetheless add that wherever they are right now, I  hope they are paying dearly for what they’ve done. However, our best way to ensure the futility of their “master plan”, the insanity they considered their “destiny” is to never stop honoring those who were assassinated.  We must never let anyone say anything that could even remotely attempt to justify or explain the ideological basis for this madness. There will never be an excuse. There will never be an explanation. The Holocaust has been an integral part of my life since I was a teenager. It is something that shell-shocked me into becoming a better human being, into appreciating even the smallest things and trying to stand up to any form of bullying. Although I personally have never experienced any of those events, they will forever lie heavy on my soul. Even now, after all these years researching the Holocaust I am stunned by the intensity of the fury that befalls me every time I study these materials. Even now I am still not immune… How can you ever be? And every time I read another book or watch another documentary about this tragic chapter my heart breaks into six million pieces, one for each of the Jews murdered in the time of Shoah… I sincerely hope that this collection of reviews will help you explore the subject, assist you in picking the literature you might be interested in, mobilize you into becoming an advocate of the ultimate affirmation: life over death, goodness over evil. So that you can join me and all the others out there in saying: NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!
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