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Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust Paperback – 28 Feb 1997

3.3 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: SOS Free Stock; Reprint edition (28 Feb. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679772685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679772682
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 284,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

** 'A monumental achievement. (SUNDAY TIMES)

** 'Powerful and well-researched... this book stimulates thought... It is a serious book written by a gifted scholar. (TLS)

** 'As stomach churning in its grueseome detail as it is mind-blowing for its radical façade stripping of one of the ghastliest episodes of human history. (DAILY MAIL)

** 'There is enough material here to disturb the human race to the end of time. (ROBERT KEE) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

This groundbreaking international bestseller lays to rest many myths about the Holocaust: that Germans were ignorant of the mass destruction of Jews, that the killers were all SS men, and that those who slaughtered Jews did so reluctantly. Hitler's Willing Executioners provides conclusive evidence that the extermination of European Jewry engaged the energies and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of ordinary Germans. Goldhagen reconstructs the climate of "eliminationist anti-Semitism" that made Hitler's pursuit of his genocidal goals possible and the radical persecution of the Jews during the 1930s popular. Drawing on a wealth of unused archival materials, principally the testimony of the killers themselves, Goldhagen takes us into the killing fields where Germans voluntarily hunted Jews like animals, tortured them wantonly, and then posed cheerfully for snapshots with their victims. From mobile killing units, to the camps, to the death marches, Goldhagen shows how ordinary Germans, nurtured in a society where Jews were seen as unalterable evil and dangerous, willingly followed their beliefs to their logical conclusion.


"Hitler's Willing Executioner's is an original, indeed brilliant contribution to the...literature on the Holocaust."--New York Review of Books

"The most important book ever published about the Holocaust...Eloquently written, meticulously documented, impassioned...A model of moral and scholarly integrity."--Philadelphia Inquirer

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was to have been required reading for the Holocaust class offered at Western Kentucky University and Dr. Jack Thacker. However, Dr Thacker suffered serious health problems and the class was cancelled. I wanted to learn more about the horrors of the Holocaust and how it happened so I ordered the book to read and learn.
Dr Goldhagen has really stuck his neck out to discuss openly some of the sociological patterns of Europe over the past few centuries in a study of antisemitism. It seems most people had a negative viewpoint of the Jews, even though most had never even met a Jew. This long term sociological "brainwashing" of Europe naturally led to actions which took place during World War 2.
This book made me feel uncomfortable because I now have to reexamine my attitudes about various people groups and if my attitudes are based on truth and experience or on generalities and gossip. In our world of 2015, there is no shortage of hate between people groups and political ideologies. If more people today were to learn from the mistakes of the past, which Dr. Goldhagen so boldly points out, there may be hope for just settlement of today's massive and complex problems.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A scholarly and well documented account of Anti-Semitism in Germany, and its terrifying outcome in what has come to be called the holocaust.
But there is danger, too, in equating all Germans with Nazis. See an important article by Stuart Woolf in History Today,
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Was meant to be in 'very good condition' however was a tatty old thing. It wasn't even acceptable condition, it was in the worst condition. Not very happy at all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The seller was very quick . Also contacted me to make sure i had pick the right book. Well i have and also now discovered he has advantage over the rest of the group he works . So expect more orders lok
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Format: Paperback
The debate is growing regarding the place of ordinary Germans in the Holocaust. From the publication, to critical acclaim, of "Hitler's Willing Executioners - Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust" (USA: 1996) (hereinafter "HWE"), Goldhagen has shifted from relative obscurity, to the central figure in what has become known as the Goldhagen Debate. His argument, as the title of the book suggests, is first that the German people share a collective responsibility for the Holocaust, and second, that the death camp systems 'exposes not just Nazism's, but Germany's true face'. For the Holocaust to have happened the Nazis 'had to induce a large number of people to carry out the Killings'. With the premise that this had thus far been ignored in the academic literature, he makes it his focus. The intent of his methodology is to partially dash conventional explanations of the Holocaust, believing that they ignore the willingness of the perpetrators, ordinary German, to make a moral decision regarding mass murder. He advocates the 'eschewing' of convenient labels for the killers, such as Nazis and SS men and their replacement with Germans, going on that some were Nazis and SS men, some were not, but he argues, they 'were overwhelmingly and most importantly Germans [...] this was above all a German enterprise'. To this end, he forms his overarching argument that:
'[T]he perpetrators, "ordinary Germans," were animated by antisemitism by a particular type of antisemitism that led them to conclude that the Jews ought to die.
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Format: Paperback
This book states what is often stated and only mentions the Jews who were tortured and murdered by the Nazis while completely ignoring the 6 million other people who were also slated for extermination. The author claims the whole thing was based on hatred of Jews without admitting the hatred of gays (who were singled out for the most cruel experiments), gypsies, religious minorities like Jehovah's Witnesses, mentally and physically handicapped, Socialists and Communists (both opposed to Nazism) et al. All of these people were rounded up, tortured, worked to death, experimented on and murdered because of hatred of them by the Nazis. Jews were only one part, albeit the major part, of the mass extermination. Antisemitism was not the only factor in the Holocaust of 12 million, of whom Jews were 1/2 of the whole.

The author erroneously states that this Holocaust was the only one in the 20th century ("There is no comparable event in the 20th century..."), ignoring the victims of other mass slaughters, genocides and 'holocausts' like the Turkish Muslim ethnic cleansing and genocide (holocaust) of Christians (Armenian, Greek and Assyrian) in the early 20th century which sparked the term 'genocide', culminating with Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey in the early 1920s, and his obsession with cleansing all non-Muslims from Turkish soil, a land the Ottoman Muslims had taken by force from the Christian Byzantine Empire. Greeks had lived here since 8000BC. Only a handful remain today and are still persecuted. The Christian ethnic cleansing and genocide killed as many as 3 million men, women and children by forced marches, starvation, rape, beheadings, burning and murder over a number of years. This Holocaust/genocide preceded the Nazi's Holocaust of Jews and many others.
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