This book is a vivid testament to the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words. Originally issued in German in 1960, it has been published in eight languages. The 1969 English translation has been revised and enlarged through many editions. It is a compilation of selected black and white photos, most not seen before, and pertinent documentation. The primary sources are mostly from Nazi files, Soviet archives and personal accounts of survivors.
The black and white photos vividly portray the horror the Jews endured as the Nazi regime enacted its final solution. It is a book of the dead. As Steven Spielberg noted, “Color beautifies.” The starkness of these black and white photos makes the events pictured all the more haunting.
The human dignity of the victims is apparent despite their degradation, despite the fact that they knew they were going to die. The matter-of-fact statements of so many Nazi officials attest to the unspeakable cruelty inflicted on the Jews. According to a witness at the Nuremberg Trial, Eichmann said, “He would leap laughing into the grave, because knowing that he had five million people on his conscience would be a source of extraordinary satisfaction.”
Much of the documentation was taken from the diaries of the Nazi hierarchy. The photos, many taken by Nazi soldiers, were sent home as war souvenirs. The photos of child victims are particularly poignant and touching. One and a half million children, who lost their lives during this terrible time in human history, live on in these photos.
There is much new and vital information in this latest edition. It should be obligatory reading for all those who think it’s time to forget the Holocaust. Through it, the civilized world can bear witness to “Never Again.” Biblio., chronological table 1933 – 1945, 200 photographs.