Literature tips

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Blatman, Daniel: Die Todesmärsche 1944/45. Das letzte Kapitel des nationalsozialistischen Massenmords. - Reinbek : Rowohlt 2011

Daniel Blatman gives the first-ever comprehensive account of the final chapter of Nazi annihilation policy. Unlike what had gone on previously, events were no longer played out in remote Eastern Europe but on German streets and fields. And the murderers were no longer from the ranks of the SS, the police units, or the army. Brutalized by the war and Nazi propaganda, civilians now took part in the massacres and the ruthless hounding of fleeing “enemies of the people”. This standard work is thus also a horrifying portrait of German society at the end of the Second World War.

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Macek, Ilse; Schmidt, Horst (eds.): Max Mannheimer - Überlebender, Künstler, Lebenskünstler. Ausgewählte Reden und Schriften von und über Max Mannheimer. - Munich: Volk-Verl. 2011

The editors Ilse Macek and Horst Schmidt have compiled for the first time a selection of speeches and writings by and on Max Mannheimer as a way of honoring and portraying this fascinating man. Friends and companions like Charlotte Knobloch, Hans-Jochen Vogel, and Christian Ude as well as family members contribute and give a very personal view of Max Mannheimer.

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Schüle, Annegret: Industrie und Holocaust. Topf und Söhne. Die Ofenbauer von Auschwitz. - Stiftung Gedenkstätten Buchenwald und Mittelbau-Dora (ed.). - Göttingen : Wallstein 2010

The industrial mass murder in Auschwitz would not have been possible without the cremation ovens and the ventilation technology used in the gas chamber constructed by the Erfurt firm of Topf & Söhne. Annegret Schüle reconstructs the history of this firm and shows how the owners, engineers, and assemblers not only knew for what purpose the facility was to be used, but also became accomplices. Topf & Söhne is an example for the key role played by private businesses in Nazi mass exterminations. The book is an important contribution to this aspect of the history of 20th-century industry.

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Steegmann, Robert: Das Konzentrationslager Natzweiler-Struthof und seine Außenkommandos an Rhein und Neckar 1941-1945. – translated from the French by Peter Geiger. - Berlin : Metropol Verlag 2010

Between 1941 and 1945 the Nazi regime deported around 52,000 prisoners from across Europe to the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in Alsace. They were to perform forced labor there and in the affiliated subcamps on both sides of the Rhine. Over the course of its existence Struthof was turned from a labor into a death camp. Almost 22,000 prisoners died of hunger, exhaustion, illness – or were directly murdered. Those who survived were ruthlessly exploited by German companies, in particular in Baden-Württemberg and Alsace. In years of research Robert Steegmann has succeeded in meticulously reconstructing the history of the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp and the fates of those degraded en masse to slaves.