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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, eye opening,, 2 May 2011
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This review is from: Ein Volk, Ein Reich: Nine Lives Under the Nazis (Paperback)
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." (Popular Delusions and the Madness of Krauts - actually Crowds but it is an extremely apposite pun when you read this book). My 93 year old uncle was in the party of Royal Engineers back on 15th April 1945 that stumbled upon the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on their way to Berlin. They were looking for petrol and followed a likely looking track, which led them to this Nazi horror. He rarely talks about it, as I know it affected him deeply, and I have often wondered how the people who dwelt nearby and did nothing, were able to do so, and to live with themselves afterwards (let alone the perpetrators). Thanks to this book, I now have some insight into how those presumably normal everyday German citizens were able to bury their consciences and forget their morals to embrace the Nazi party, and allow and even perpetrate some of the horrors.

These 9 incredible stories are in places jaw-droppingly honest, rivetingly lacking in self-awareness, scandalously selfish and self-serving, deeply personal, and undoubtedly authentic. Their voices come from a spectrum of German society and trace the hopeful beginnings of the Third Reich to its shameful defeat at the end of WWII. If I am honest, I was initially put off by the title - thinking, stupidly, that it was actually going to be a book in German. Und mein Deutsch ist pretty schrecklich. Clearly the publishers are presuming a certain readership - possibly WW2 history fans, possibly students and academics. But in complete agreement with the previous reviewer, I think everyone not just students of history should read Hagen's excellent book, and learn from it. It's a fascinating, informative and salutary read.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 May 2011 10:54:27 BDT
This book tells the true stories of nine people.
Although from different walks of life, they all lived through the horrors of
Nazi Germany.
Their voices speak individually, painfully moving and piercingly honest.
Shocking and often unbelievable, this book shows mankinds' cruelty, kindness
and ability to survive.
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