Nazis After Hitler: How Perpetrators of the Holocaust Cheated Justice and Truth

Donald M. McKale. Rowman & Littlefield, $39.95 (432p) ISBN 978-1-4422-1316-6
McKale's book stands out, not only for the detailed review of the war crimes of innumerous Nazis, but because he also chronicles their lives in the years following WWII. The book is graphic and the memories of survivors are painful to absorb, as one prisoner describes a concentration camp like "Dante's inferno…come to life," while another recounts mass executions in the gas chamber. McKale uncovers a recurring theme of denial during criminal trials: Dr. Warner Best insisted that the first time he heard about the killing of 5-6 million Jews was in the courtroom and Josef Kramer claimed, "I did not know the purpose of the gas chamber." But it's the enduring anti-Semitic attitude that resounds throughout the book; many war criminals went unpunished in the years following WWII. Even Adolf Eichmann, one of the most infamous Nazi criminals, went free for nearly 20 years, escaping Germany through a well-established "rat line." McKale ends the book with a haunting question: whether life would be different today if the Allies had pursued Holocaust criminals more aggressively after WWII. History buffs and students of the Holocaust will be fascinated with this book but for the casual reader, there's an enormous amount of material to digest—probably too much—and the graphic descriptions will likely prove overwhelming. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/05/2011
Release date: 12/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
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