Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp [NOOK Book]

Overview

"An important, revealing story, exceptionally well told."—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post


Employing the rich testimony of almost three hundred survivors of the slave-labor camps of Starachowice, Poland, Christopher R. Browning draws the experiences of the Jewish prisoners, the Nazi authorities, and the neighboring Poles together into a chilling history of a little-known dimension of the Holocaust. Brutal and deadly in their living and work conditions, these camps represented ...

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Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp

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Overview

"An important, revealing story, exceptionally well told."—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post


Employing the rich testimony of almost three hundred survivors of the slave-labor camps of Starachowice, Poland, Christopher R. Browning draws the experiences of the Jewish prisoners, the Nazi authorities, and the neighboring Poles together into a chilling history of a little-known dimension of the Holocaust. Brutal and deadly in their living and work conditions, these camps represented the only chance of survival for local Jews after the ghetto liquidations of 1942. There they produced munitions for the German war effort while scrambling to survive murderous and corrupt camp regimes and desperately trying to protect children, spouses, parents, and neighbors. When the labor camps closed in the summer of 1944, the surviving Starachowice Jews still had to confront Auschwitz and then the reprisals of anti-Semitic Polish neighbors. Combining harrowing detail and insightful analysis, Browning's history is indispensable scholarship and an unforgettable story of survival.

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Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Yardley
The literature of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany is so vast as to defy comprehension, yet there remain aspects of the subject that are insufficiently covered or not covered at all. Christopher Browning's fine, harrowing Remembering Survival points us in yet another little-charted direction. It is the history of a Nazi slave-labor camp at Starachowice, in central Poland, where between 1942 and 1944 thousands of Jews were forced to work…to produce munitions for the Nazi war machine…Browning is keenly sensitive to the unreliability of memory, especially memory of distant events, so as he stitches together the story of Starachowice he is especially careful to distinguish between reliable and unreliable evidence. There can be no doubt, however, of the essential truth of this story, a small one when viewed against everything else that happened in that dreadful time, but an important and revealing one, exceptionally well told in Remembering Survival.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In 1942 the liquidation of the Jewish-Polish ghetto of Wierzbnik sent 4,000 Jews to their deaths in Treblinka and enslaved another 1,600 at factory camps in the nearby town of Starachowice. Wierzbnik at its peak had 5,400 Jews, of whom 600 to 700 survived the war, and half of these left testimonies in memoirs or others forms. National Jewish Book Award–winning historian Browning (The Origins of the Final Solution) bases his study primarily on survivor testimonies from the slave-labor camps at the Starachowice factory. Willi Althoff, the first commander of factory security whose killings of Jews were theatrically staged and who killed all Jews infected with typhus, was succeeded by pragmatist Kurt Baumgarten, who preferred keeping workers alive to increase factory production and line his pockets by extorting. Nuanced survivor accounts from live interviews, memoirs and archived accounts depicts some Ukrainian guards as sadistic anti-Semites while others were lenient, well-behaved, or corruptible. As the Soviets approached, the Germans deported the slaves to Auschwitz-Birkenau before retreating. Although too specialized for the casual reader, Browning's authoritative, lucid, and subtly analyzed microhistory of a relatively obscure area of Holocaust history will be of considerable value to scholars. 10 photos, maps. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
A scholarly, nuanced micro history of a Nazi slave-labor camp. Browning (History/Univ. of North Carolina; The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942) systematically relates how the Jews of Wierzbnik became the property of the SS, slaves who were rented out as laborers in the neighboring camp of Starachowice. Despite the humiliations, physical abuse, bondage and murder, the war-supply camp was, for a while, a haven for those with work papers. Then there was the local killing Aktion one day in October 1942, and, though the destruction of Nazi human property might have been against state interest, there were many wanton shootings just for sport. A few comparatively decent overseers notwithstanding, the Jews faced the brutal police chief Walter Becker (who was acquitted of war crimes in 1972), the dangerous Ukrainian guards and the Polish partisans. Ultimately, thousands of Jews were transported by rail from Starachowice to Auschwitz-Birkenau for extermination. Browning methodically narrates the tale on a survivor-by-survivor basis. His trenchant, relentless exposition shows how the camp was truly exceptional in its evil efficiency. The text is all the more powerful because the author avoids dramatization or overwrought polemics. A coda describes the rigged postwar trial of Becker and the egregious miscarriage of justice that outraged the author and provoked his study. An important addition to Holocaust studies, evoking the small band of survivors who remembered.
Booklist
“[A] highly credible and deeply shocking account.... This is an excellent addition to the field of Holocaust studies.”
The Washington Post
There can be no doubt...of the essential truth of this story, a small one when viewed against everything else that happened in that dreadful time, but an important and revealing one, exceptionally well told in Remembering Survival.— Jonathan Yardley
Moment
“A master historian of intimate tragedy.”
Jonathan Yardley - The Washington Post
“There can be no doubt...of the essential truth of this story, a small one when viewed against everything else that happened in that dreadful time, but an important and revealing one, exceptionally well told in Remembering Survival.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393079432
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/10/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 730,232
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Christopher R. Browning is the Frank Porter Graham Professor of History at the University of North Carolina and the author of Ordinary Men, Remembering Survival and other works of Holocaust history. He lives in Chapel Hill.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Map - Occupied Poland, 1939-1944

Map - Wierzbnik-Starachowice: The Surrounding Region

Map - Wierzbnik-Starachowice: Ghetto, Factories, and Camps

Introduction 1

Pt. I The Jews of Wierzbnik

1 The Prewar Jewish Community of Wierzbnik-Starachowice 15

2 The Outbreak of War 24

3 The Early Months of German Occupation 30

4 The Judenrat 34

5 The German Occupiers in Wierzbnik-Starachowice 40

6 Coping with Adversity in Wierzbnik, 1940-1942 51

Pt. II The Destruction of the Wierzbnik Ghetto

7 Wierzbnik on the Eve of Destruction 65

8 The Aktion, October 27, 1942 83

9 Into the Camps 101

Pt. III Terror and Typhus: Fall 1942-Spring 1943

10 Personalities and Structures 113

11 The Typhus Epidemic 121

12 The Althoff Massacres 125

13 Tartak 135

Pt. IV Stabilization

14 The Kolditz Era: Summer-Fall 1943 141

15 Jewish Work 153

16 Food, Property, and the Underground Economy 159

17 The Ukrainian Guards 168

18 Poles and Jews 172

19 Children in the Camps 176

20 Childbirth, Abortion, Sex, and Rape 185

21 The Schroth Era: Winter-Spring 1944 192

Pt. V Consolidation, Escape, Evacuation

22 Closing Majowka and Tartak 207

23 The Final Days 218

24 From Starachowice to Birkenau 226

25 The Starachowice Women and Children in Birkenau 239

26 Escapees 246

Pt. VI Aftermath

27 Return to and Flight from Wierzbnik 259

28 Postwar Investigations and Trials in Germany 270

29 Conclusion 291

Notes 301

Index 363

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    Rotton

    Rotton Nazis
    Hate Hitler
    Stupid Nazis and i hate Hitler
    Poor Jews

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    Posted August 7, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

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    Posted September 2, 2010

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