The Holo­caust and Life Under Nazi Occupation

Peter Dar­man, ed.
  • Review
By – August 30, 2013

This book leaves no room for doubt about the Nazi occu­pa­tion and its effects on the Jews of Europe and all oth­ers the Nazis con­sid­ered unde­sir­able. It doc­u­ments with pic­tures, descrip­tions, a time­line, and a glos­sary what occurred in Europe from the 1920s to 1945. The book also address­es Mein Kampf, a book of Hitler’s core beliefs, to help read­ers under­stand the cor­ner­stone for lat­er events. 

It is divid­ed into three sec­tions: The Ter­ror Begins, Racial War in Rus­sia, and Geno­cide. The first chap­ter includes sec­tions on peo­ple close to Hitler, such as Rohm who estab­lished the Storm Troop­ers. Hav­ing out­lived his use­ful­ness, Rohm, along with many Nazis and non-Nazis, was killed in the Night of the Long Knives,” the attacks that con­sol­i­dat­ed Hitler’s pow­er. Pho­tographs and text show read­ers how Jew­ish busi­ness­es were ruined, how Jews were humil­i­at­ed, and how they were sent to Auschwitz. It includes a report from a Pol­ish inmate who gassed peo­ple and a descrip­tion of med­ical exper­i­ments that tor­tured and killed vic­tims. Vignettes of Hitler’s hench­men are also presented. 

The sec­ond sec­tion focus­es on the expan­sion of the racial war into the Sovi­et Union. Ein­satz­grup­pen (spe­cial action groups) fol­lowed the Ger­man armies and were as­signed spe­cif­ic geo­graph­ic areas where Jews, Gyp­sies, and oth­er unde­sir­ables” were to be mur­dered. Remark­ably effi­cient,” these groups elicit­ed help from the locals to achieve their gris­ly goals.

The final sec­tion tells read­ers about the Final Solu­tion” and trans­port­ing large num­bers of Jews to death camps. Once again, pho­tographs as well as writ­ten arti­cles are used to doc­u­ment the sto­ry. There are pho­tographs of the War­saw Ghet­to, of emaci­ated sur­vivors from a con­cen­tra­tion camp, of the ovens used to burn the bod­ies, and of the mass­es of unburied dead. Pic­tures do speak loud­er than words.

Although this is a slen­der book, the text is dense and rich in infor­ma­tion. It is recom­mended for ages 14-adult.

Marge Kaplan is a retired Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage teacher. She is a con­sul­tant for the children’s lit­er­a­ture group for the Roseville, MN school sys­tem and is a sto­ry­teller of Jew­ish tales.

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