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Surviving Hitler: Corruption and Compromise in the Third Reich Hardcover – 16 Oct 2000
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From the Author
Life (and death) in the 3rd Reich and their ethical dilemmas
Our aim in Surviving Hitler is to step back in time to the heart of the Third Reich - including occupied countries such as France and Holland as well as Germany itself - and illustrate the range and depth of ethical and moral dilemmas under Nazism. Our research shows that the price of civic courage, of taking a stand against terror - even if just on a personal level - was not always as high as has been believed.
We have used a variety of sources to illustrate daily life and death in the Nazi era. These include declassified intelligence and diplomatic documents; our own extensive interviews with survivors from Poland, Germany, Israel, the United States and Hungary; and other little-known material.
Our aim is to focus the reader's attention on the question of moral courage, and to consider the question of how ordinary people react under extraordinary pressure. While there are many worthwhile works of scholarship examining the role of the Nazi leadership, Surviving Hitler focuses more on the incredible pressures that Nazism exerted on individuals and how they reacted.
To this end we have tried to use as much original first hand material as possible. Surviving Hitler includes for example a dramatic first hand account of the secret negotiations in wartime Budapest between the Zionist leadership and Adolf Eichmann; the story of a young German woman who was an inmate at the Theresienstadt concentration camp the day the Red Cross arrived; how a group of central Asian Jews living in Paris bribed the SS to reclassify them as Muslims, and an account of the extraordinary life of Albert Goering, brother of Hermann, who saved dozens of Jews and anti-Nazis.
We hope that readers will find Surviving Hitler as engrossing to read, as we did to research and write.
About the Author
Adam LeBor writes for the Independent and Literary Review. He is the author of A Heart Turned East and Hitler's Secret Bankers. Roger Boyes is The Times' German correspondent and the author of The Naked President, The Priest Who Had to Die and Hard Road to Market. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
This book doesn't answer all those questions, but it does more than I have seen elsewhere by simply explaining what was possible, what wasn't and telling some remarkable individual stories. Some of them are so heroic you can hardly believe it; some are so horrific you have to pause and put the book down for a while to contemplate how anyone could treat other human beings that way. But most are in a grey area - businessmen who on the one hand funded the Nazis but on the other stood up for their Jewish workers; Goebbels' brother, who tried to speak out continually about what was going on but at the same time went on loving and being close to his brother who was in command of much of it.
The authors of this book make moral judgements but not in a very high-handed way; they are not condemning people who did not do more, they simply point out that the excuses 'just following orders' or 'there was nothing we could do, it was a dictatorship' don't hold water. There were strikes under Hitler, demonstrations, people refused to carry out executions or signed papers giving Jews protection - and they got away with it! I felt like cheering when I read about how the Jews in Warsaw eventually got wise, realised they were doomed and so decided to stand up for themselves and make a brave last stand - better to die on their feet than, well, die on their knees, I guess.
There are real lessons here and I hope that this book gets a wide readership - as well as being thought-provoking, there are better stories here than you'll probably find in most novels or films about the Nazis.
Looking mainly at how German society and people behaved under Hitler and the Nazi's, the book shows that Germans did protest against the extermination of the Jews, that people did risk their own lives to save people, but also that the majority did nothing despit being unable to hide from the deportations, the camps and the deaths.
I also discoverd how the rest of mainland Europe behaved under the Third Reich, that showed that hardly anyone in Europe in blameless in the Holocaust.
It also made me wonder what I would have done if I'd lived through al that - would I have had the strength of character to resisit, or would I have done anything for an easy life.
This is a great and fascinating look at the darkest heart of 20th Century European History.
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