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Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule
     

Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule

4.0 1
by Karel C. Berkhoff
 

ISBN-10: 0674027183

ISBN-13: 9780674027183

Pub. Date: 03/28/2008

Publisher: Harvard

“If I find a Ukrainian who is worthy of sitting at the same table with me, I must have him shot,” declared Nazi commissar Erich Koch. To the Nazi leaders, the Ukrainians were Untermenschen—subhumans. But the rich land was deemed prime territory for Lebensraum expansion. Once the Germans rid the country of Jews, Roma, and Bolsheviks, the

Overview

“If I find a Ukrainian who is worthy of sitting at the same table with me, I must have him shot,” declared Nazi commissar Erich Koch. To the Nazi leaders, the Ukrainians were Untermenschen—subhumans. But the rich land was deemed prime territory for Lebensraum expansion. Once the Germans rid the country of Jews, Roma, and Bolsheviks, the Ukrainians would be used to harvest the land for the master race.

Karel Berkhoff provides a searing portrait of life in the Third Reich’s largest colony. Under the Nazis, a blend of German nationalism, anti-Semitism, and racist notions about the Slavs produced a reign of terror and genocide. But it is impossible to understand fully Ukraine’s response to this assault without addressing the impact of decades of repressive Soviet rule. Berkhoff shows how a pervasive Soviet mentality worked against solidarity, which helps explain why the vast majority of the population did not resist the Germans. He also challenges standard views of wartime eastern Europe by treating in a more nuanced way issues of collaboration and local anti-Semitism.

Berkhoff offers a multifaceted discussion that includes the brutal nature of the Nazi administration; the genocide of the Jews and Roma; the deliberate starving of Kiev; mass deportations within and beyond Ukraine; the role of ethnic Germans; religion and national culture; partisans and the German response; and the desperate struggle to stay alive. Harvest of Despair is a gripping depiction of ordinary people trying to survive extraordinary events.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674027183
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
03/28/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
1,199,102
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Figures

Preface

Introduction

1. Soviet Ukraine and the German Invasion

2. The Reichskommissariat Ukraine

3. The Holocaust of the Jews and Roma

4. Prisoners of War

5. Life in the Countryside

6. Conditions in the Cities

7. Famine in Kiev

8. Popular Culture

9. Ethnic Identity and Political Loyalties

10. Religion and Popular Piety

11. Deportations and Forced Migrations

12. Toward the End of Nazi Rule

Conclusion

Appendix: Tables

Abbreviations

Notes

Sources

Acknowledgments

Index

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Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
willyvan More than 1 year ago
This remarkable and harrowing book is a study of the Nazis’ genocidal rule over the Ukraine from 1941 to 1944, which killed 4.1 million people. Hitler’s view was, “The destruction of the major Russian cities is a prerequisite for the permanence of our power in Russia.” Erich Koch, Reichskommissar for Ukraine, aimed to ‘smash Ukrainian industry and drive the proletariat back to the country’. Berkhoff describes what he calls the Nazis’ ‘genocidal massacre’ of Soviet POWs. He points out that by contrast, the Soviet authorities appealed to ‘the self-esteem, independence, and trustworthiness of ordinary people’. Appallingly, elements in Ukrainian society collaborated with the Nazi occupier. Orthodox Church leaders in the Ukraine condemned not the Holocaust but ‘Jewish-Bolshevism’. A Ukrainian Nationalist leaflet of 1941 said, “Moscow, Poland, the Hungarians, Jewry are your enemies. Destroy them.” Ukrainian nationalist leaders admitted that the Ukrainian Insurgent Army policy was to ‘exterminate Ukraine’s national minorities’. In 1943, Ukrainians killed more than 15,000 Poles living in the Ukraine. Berkhoff sums up, “the Nazi regime in the ‘East’ was driven by the Nazi conviction that Ukraine was, or should become, a clean national minorities’ slate for the German people. … This extreme German nationalism combined with anti-Bolshevism, anti-Semitism, and a racist view of the ‘Russians’, and the results were terror, murder, massacre, and genocide.” In his book on the Ukraine, Harvest of Sorrow, the Foreign Office propagandist (and Thatcher speech-writer) Robert Conquest had devoted just one sentence to this genocidal Nazi occupation, calling it ‘a period between two waves of Red Terror’. But Berkhoff concludes more accurately, “never before in the history of Ukraine did so many social and ethnic groups suffer so much during one period.”