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The Destruction of the European Jews Paperback – Abridged, 1 Apr 1986

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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Holmes & Meier Publishers Inc; Abridged edition edition (1 April 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0841909105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0841909106
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"This is a monumental work. Through his careful research Hilberg has made an enduring contribution to Holocaust scholarship."
-- Nechama Tec, author of Defiance: The Bielski Partisans and In the Lion’s Den: The Life of Oswald Rufeisen --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gabor Laszlo Varkonyi on 2 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This magnificent study contains all the basic facts and the decision process about the holocaust. It's well-written, so you can read it relatively fast, and contains the most up-to-date sources. I suspect some parts have been updated in this third edition using the most recent findings, e.g. on the question of what kind of orders were given to the Einsatzgruppen in summer 1941 or Himmler's meeting with Hitler in December 1941. Even where it was obviously written half a century ago based on sources available at the time, he augmented the notes with references to newer findings and works that have since appeared.

Even though some other works shed some light on some aspects of the holocaust (most especially The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy) which are not dealt with here, reading Hilberg's work is essential before reading anything else. If you want to get in-depth knowledge by only reading one book on the holocaust, then this is the one to go for.

My only (slight) complaint is the chapter dealing with the history of antisemitism. I don't quite understand why most holocaust scholars need to deal with subjects (Middle Ages, Early Modern period, 19th century etc.) which are not the focus of their interest and where therefore their analysis is doomed to be shallower than in their main subject... But this is just a small part of the whole, the three volumes as a whole and almost throughout are worth reading and are highly recommended.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Paul Moody on 11 Oct. 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Historical revisionists of the Holocaust often attempt to use material and information from the period in a way that focuses upon the minutiae of an occurrence, or piece of evidence, in an attempt to disprove a much larger issue. This was spectacularly demonstrated in the libel case brought by David Irving against Deborah Lipstadt. A case that Irving lost and which left him branded an anti-semite by the Judge.

An important contribution to the rebuttal of revisionism of this period is delivered by Raul Hilberg in his 3 volume study. He has spent a considerable number of years researching every aspect of the events from identification to the destruction of the Jews in Europe, by the National Socialist government of Germany between 1933 and 1945. The reader is led, painstakingly, through a level of detail not evidenced in any other work on the subject. In some cases, the footnotes alone take up the bulk of the text on the page. The minutiae of detail is astounding and compelling, to the extent that it is cross-referenced with documents produced from National Socialist official documents, in the overwhelming majority of cases.

Dr. Hilberg presents this wealth of detail to substantiate and document one of the most heinous crimes in history. There is much use of the word `genocide' in modern day society and clearly the act of killing large numbers of people from a particular cultural or identified group persists, outrageously, in our world to this day.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By RM on 25 Nov. 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really cannot recommend this three volume scholarly masterpiece enough.
Overall, it has about 1400 pages, with about 400-500 pages per volume.

The first volume mainly deals with the Jews' fate pre-Holocaust, so in other words, from 1933-1939, although there is a small section towards the end which mentions the Einsatzgruppen, etc. The first volume primarily concerns itself with expropriation of Jewish property, liquidation of property, 'Aryanization' of property, the setting up of ghettos in major Polish cities, food distribution in the ghettos, etc.

The second volume explains the fate of the Jews in all areas of Europe, from Norway to Greece and all the countries in between. The sheer amount of detail is quite astonishing and the footnotes themselves sometimes take up more of the page than the actual text.

The final volume deals with the death camps in more detail, with detailed diagrams and lists of all major and relatively minor Nazis who controlled the camps, discussion about the post-war trials of Nazis, etc. There is even a massive list of nearly 400 Nazis and foreign collaborators and their post-war fates, which I found particularly illuminating. Not only the 'major' players but also far smaller 'cogs' in the wheel of death.

Just the other day, I was curious to find out the fate of two Nazis who were in Treblinka and sure enough, there they were, in the footnotes!
This brilliant achievement surpasses even Martin Gilbert's great "The Holocaust" and William Shirer's monumental "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich"

Is it worth it? It sure is! Particularly when you see the years of research that Dr. Hilberg put into this book (or books, rather). The binding quality of the books is top-notch and the paper and ink used are high-quality, long-lasting, and non-smudge, unlike many mass produced Penguin paperbacks, for example.
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