The Death Marches: The Final Phase of Nazi Genocide

Daniel Blatman, Author, Chaya Galai, Translator
Daniel Blatman, trans. from the French by Chaya Galai, Harvard Univ., $35 (570p) ISBN 978-0-674-05049-5
Ebook - 584 pages - 978-0-674-05919-1
Paperback - 561 pages - 978-0-674-72598-0
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Blatman's searing account of the last days of the Holocaust focuses on the forced marches designed to keep prisoners of the Nazi regime from liberation by the Allies. The narrative traces the history of the concentration camps from Dachau in 1933 to the evacuation of such camps as Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Ravensbrück, and Mauthausen in 1945. Desperate to hide their crimes and to liquidate the remaining Jews, Gypsies, and political prisoners as well as large numbers of Slavs , Nazi bureaucrats and ordinary German soldiers and citizens became murderers. Particularly disturbing is the description of the massacre at Gardelegen on April 13, 1945, where hundreds of prisoners were shot or burned alive by a mixed force of Volkssturm militiamen, Luftwaffe recruits, army soldiers, and members of the S.S. The local official responsible for the atrocity, Gerhard Thiele, was a minor Nazi Party functionary who eluded justice after the war. In this litany of horror, Blatman, a professor of Jewish history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describes the evil that bland bureaucrats can generate. 12 b&w illus.; 5 maps. (Jan.)
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