Customer Reviews for

Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A Different Look

I must admit this book was a little zealous and over-reacting in its message, but it did make me rethink the persecution of the Jews and the Holocaust. Too many books today take the hatred of Jews as starting from Hilter and going down. Too many depersonalize it and pre...
I must admit this book was a little zealous and over-reacting in its message, but it did make me rethink the persecution of the Jews and the Holocaust. Too many books today take the hatred of Jews as starting from Hilter and going down. Too many depersonalize it and pretend as if the German people were just crushed by the Nazi party and could not stop them. This book allows you to look at the Holocaust from the perspective of the ordinary German people who had personalities and wills of their own and who did contribute to the persecution of the Jews.

posted by Anonymous on September 16, 2001

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Most Helpful Critical Review

11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Biased reading

I was very curious about this book since my history teacher had told me that ALL Germans new about Hitler and stood behind him and that ALL Germans are anti-semites. I was very dissappointed with this book for several reasons. 1) The author is biased in his entire resea...
I was very curious about this book since my history teacher had told me that ALL Germans new about Hitler and stood behind him and that ALL Germans are anti-semites. I was very dissappointed with this book for several reasons. 1) The author is biased in his entire research. There is NOT ONE mentioning of all the resistance movements against Hitler initiated by 'regular Germans' that were not Jews such as Adam v. Trott zu Solz who had planned the assassination of Hitler but unfortunately did not succeed. Many Germans helped Jewish people and hid them knowing that they too would be killed by fellow Germans if they were found out. 2) My own grandmother was killed in Auschwitz because she was a gypsy. Her husband still had to serve in the German army, otherwise they would have killed his children. It was not his choice to participate in this war and 3) When boats with Jewish people who fled Germany arrived on the shores of the US, why did the US send many of them back instead of embracing them? However, I do not deny that many Germans new about the killing and some of the 'perpetrators' probably enjoyed torturing innocent people. But this is also true for people who particpated in witch hunts and enjoyed torturing and raping innocent women. Atrocities like the Holocaust were not only committed in Germany but also in the US were thousands of native Americans died in the 'trail of tears' and no doubt, had Americans had the opportunity to kill them in concentration camps, some of them probably would have done so. Native Americans, just like Jews, were viewed as vermins. What about Stalin's death camps? Millions were killed and nobody cared. War brings out the worst in every person. I do not agree with the author that 'ordinary people' in other countries would not participate in killing others or in the same manner than Germans did.

posted by Anonymous on March 28, 2003

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2003

    Biased reading

    I was very curious about this book since my history teacher had told me that ALL Germans new about Hitler and stood behind him and that ALL Germans are anti-semites. I was very dissappointed with this book for several reasons. 1) The author is biased in his entire research. There is NOT ONE mentioning of all the resistance movements against Hitler initiated by 'regular Germans' that were not Jews such as Adam v. Trott zu Solz who had planned the assassination of Hitler but unfortunately did not succeed. Many Germans helped Jewish people and hid them knowing that they too would be killed by fellow Germans if they were found out. 2) My own grandmother was killed in Auschwitz because she was a gypsy. Her husband still had to serve in the German army, otherwise they would have killed his children. It was not his choice to participate in this war and 3) When boats with Jewish people who fled Germany arrived on the shores of the US, why did the US send many of them back instead of embracing them? However, I do not deny that many Germans new about the killing and some of the 'perpetrators' probably enjoyed torturing innocent people. But this is also true for people who particpated in witch hunts and enjoyed torturing and raping innocent women. Atrocities like the Holocaust were not only committed in Germany but also in the US were thousands of native Americans died in the 'trail of tears' and no doubt, had Americans had the opportunity to kill them in concentration camps, some of them probably would have done so. Native Americans, just like Jews, were viewed as vermins. What about Stalin's death camps? Millions were killed and nobody cared. War brings out the worst in every person. I do not agree with the author that 'ordinary people' in other countries would not participate in killing others or in the same manner than Germans did.

    11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2000

    an unobjective, emotional view of history

    If you want a book to read that will disturb you as to the crimes man can do to fellow man then look no further. But as far as understanding the causes of the Holocaust and the details of it's meaning, I have to agree with Christopher Browning and state that Goldhagen misses the mark. Unfortunately, his 'broad brush' condemnation of the German people as a whole is backed by neither sound historical methods nor a deep thinking brain. To show how a number of cowardly criminals behaved behind the lines in the east hardly can justify indicting a whole nation as being 'willing executioners'. But it does take the advent of books like this to make one appreciate the better books by better historians.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2002

    Power subject, but poor research and use of sources.

    The Holocaust was perhaps the most tragic and horrible set of events in the 20th Century. In this search for causes, the author has written a wonderful book that unfortunately lacks academic credibility. The author's research appears to have been rather limited due in large part to the fact that he could not interact with German source material since it has been revealed he cannot read German. It would be like doing research on the American Indian Wars in French. Not reading the primary source language is a tragic flaw that researchers must avoid. Unfortunately, I cannot recomend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2001

    A Different Look

    I must admit this book was a little zealous and over-reacting in its message, but it did make me rethink the persecution of the Jews and the Holocaust. Too many books today take the hatred of Jews as starting from Hilter and going down. Too many depersonalize it and pretend as if the German people were just crushed by the Nazi party and could not stop them. This book allows you to look at the Holocaust from the perspective of the ordinary German people who had personalities and wills of their own and who did contribute to the persecution of the Jews.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2010

    Review

    The book is fine, just what I needed for my research.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2003

    A depiction of still not-so-dormant European anti-Semitism

    In the past year, European sympathy with the Arab cause and resentment of Israeli incursions against the Palestinians in general and against Yassir Arafat in particular have demonstrated that the derogatory and supposedly discredited views of Jews and Judaism held by the Nazis still lie just beneath the surface of political correctness. In order to combat such persistent bigotry, it is useful if appalling to keep in mind Professor Goldhagen's succinct account of such prejudices. The Nazis, he reminds us, viewed Jews as parasitic work shirkers who lived off others' labor, and who, like Shylock, lent money at usurious rates; as hypermaterialistic, dishonest, and thievish amassers of wealth stolen from the Volk (Michael Milken is believed by many present-day Germans to exemplify this characteristic); and as scheming evildoers who stirred up trouble and internecine strife within otherwise harmonious communities. Even the forged libel entitled "The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion" retains currency in certain European and middle-eastern circles. The prevalence of such views in Nazi Germany made willing collaborators of ordinary Germans, and Professor Goldhagen has performed a valuable service in providing painstaking scholarly documentation of this inarguable historical phenomenon.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2001

    German Christians Evolve into Executioners?

    Goldhagen states one of his underlying premises is the history of German Christianity was extremely anti-Semitic. Even if this is accepted as true, I was disappointed to be unable to read why, in Goldhagen's opinion, the Christian anti-Semitism found in Germany resulted in the Holocaust, rather than in another Christian country. Goldhagen focuses on the twentieth century when he analyzes German anti-Semitism. He mentions the influence of Martin Luther in passing, but never shows the reader the chronological progression of the German anti-Semitism, beginning with Martin Luther's influence, and ending with the Holocaust. However, it is well-organized, thought-provoking, and is an excellent book for discussion and debate. Recommended!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2011

    great!

    a perfect read..... enough said

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Historic Nonsense

    Mr. Goldhagen's work should be considered, yet heavily scrutinized. He makes broad assumptions of the German population that can be easily discredited by numerous other sources. A good read, but often frustrating when you know the facts

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2003

    Great Book With Powerful Evidence

    Goldhagen's evidence supports his claim that ordinary Germans voluntarily slaughtered Jewish victims during the holocaust (the Germans were not provoked into torturing the victims).

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2001

    History with a scholarly wallop

    You cannot but be impressed, totally, by the sheer PERSISTENCE and DEPTH of this book. It is magnificent in its detail and scope, and utterly readable throughout.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 29, 2013

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    Posted November 17, 2010

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    Posted January 27, 2009

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    Posted June 26, 2011

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    Posted October 31, 2008

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    Posted July 15, 2011

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    Posted December 22, 2010

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    Posted March 24, 2011

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    Posted October 24, 2008

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