Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine / Edition 1

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On 16 July 1941, Adolf Hitler convened top Nazi leaders at his headquarters in East Prussia to dictate how they would rule the newly occupied eastern territories. Ukraine, the "jewel" in the Nazi empire, would become a German colony administered by Heinrich Himmler's SS and police, Hermann Goring's economic plunderers, and a host of other satraps. Focusing on the Zhytomyr region and weaving together official German wartime records, diaries, memoirs, and personal interviews, Wendy Lower provides the most complete assessment available of German colonization and the Holocaust in Ukraine.

Midlevel "managers," Lower demonstrates, played major roles in mass murder, and locals willingly participated in violence and theft. Lower puts names and faces to local perpetrators, bystanders, beneficiaries, as well as resisters. She argues that Nazi actions in the region evolved from imperial arrogance and ambition; hatred of Jews, Slavs, and Communists; careerism and pragmatism; greed and fear. In her analysis of the murderous implementation of Nazi "race" and population policy in Zhytomyr, Lower shifts scholarly attention from Germany itself to the eastern outposts of the Reich, where the regime truly revealed its core beliefs, aims, and practices.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As a study of the relationship between the Nazi core and periphery and of Himmler's grotesque and murderous ambitions to repopulate the Ukraine with Germans (represented in miniature by the Hegewald colonial outpost), this is a monograph of considerable
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807858639
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 8/27/2007
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 981,606
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Wendy Lower is research fellow and lecturer in the department of Eastern European history at Ludwig Maximilians Universitat in Munich. She is a former research fellow and director of Visiting Scholars Programs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.
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Table of Contents

1 Nazi colonialism and Ukraine 18
2 Military conquest and social upheaval, July-August 1941 30
3 The Wehrmacht administration of Zhytomyr 44
4 Making genocide possible : the onset of the Holocaust, July-December 1941 69
5 The Zhytomyr general commissariat, 1942-1943 98
6 The general commissariat's machinery of destruction : the Holocaust in the countryside and Jewish forced labor, 1942-1943 129
7 Himmler's Hegewald colony : Nazi resettlement experiments and the Volksdeutsche 162
8 The unraveling of Nazi rule, 1943-1944 180
9 Legacies of Nazi rule 200
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 8, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Fine study of the Nazis' genocide in Ukraine during WWII

    This is a vivid account of the appalling Nazi occupation of Europe’s eastern lands. Lower focuses on the Zhytomyr region of Ukraine. She examines how “Nazi-style militarism, colonialism, and genocidal population policies came together in one particular place and how the indigenous population there coped and, in inconceivably large numbers, tragically died under German rule.” The Nazis killed 4.1 million Ukrainian civilians and destroyed more than 700 cities and 28,000 villages.

    The Nazis used the worst colonial practices – forced population movements, slave labour, violence, racism, and mass murder – in Eastern Europe. As she remarks, “In carrying out their war of extermination in the East, Nazi leaders effectively marshalled a deep-seated German contempt for the ‘inferior’ peoples of the East.”

    Lower points out that “During the Cold War, German scholars, politicians and Russian-German émigrés in America lobbied on behalf of the ethnic Germans who suffered under the Soviets, while they ignored the significant role the Volksdeutsche played as collaborators in the ‘Final Solution’ and other Nazi occupation policies in the East.” Lower details the Ukrainian nationalist organisation’s ‘collaboration with the Nazis and perpetration of atrocities against Poles and Jews’.

    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’.

    By contrast, Lower concludes, “what the Nazis attempted to achieve in the region and how they implemented their imperialistic, criminal policies represented a dramatically different episode in Ukraine’s history, unlike the Stalinist campaigns of the 1930s and the subsequent, relatively relaxed Soviet policies of the postwar period. The Germans introduced familiar colonial forms of rule as well as initiating revolutionary racial programs that were genocidal. The first step, as the Nazis saw it, in fulfilling their utopian plans for the East was the destruction of the Jews.”

    She sums up, “In Ukraine’s history of man-made disasters, mostly imposed from the outside, the Nazi occupation stands out as the worst episode.”

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    What would it mean to be human?

    A case study of the Zhytomyr area in West Central Ukraine gives a horrifying picture of the Holocaust as it unfolded there in 1941-1944. Ukraine was to be a lovely garden for the German people, in Hitler's view, but first they'd have to kill the Bolsheviks and Jews, reshape the local ethnic Germans, and teach the Ukranians who was boss.

    The directors and perpetrators of the mass murder of Jews and others made gestures toward secrecy sufficient to suggest that they knew the monstrous crimes they were committing. Their crimes were nonetheless so public and their policy so explicit that there was no doubt and can be no doubt of what they did.

    The version for NOOK had minor e-formatting problems. When the events described became too much to bear, I hid behind the opportunity to highlight run-on words: theirsecurity, ordeath, thewar, theireyes, laydead, thewaras....

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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