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.