The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution / Edition 3

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Henry Friedlander explores in chilling detail how the Nazi program of secretly exterminating the handicapped and disabled evolved into the systematic destruction of Jews and Gypsies. Tracing the rise of racist and eugenic ideologies in Germany, he describes how the so-called euthanasia of the handicapped provided a practical model for mass murder, thereby initiating the Holocaust. Based on extensive research in American, German, and Austrian archives as well as Allied and German court records, the book also analyzes the involvement of the German bureaucracy and judiciary, the participation of physicians and scientists, the motives of the killers, and the nature of popular opposition. Friedlander also sheds light on the special plight of handicapped Jews, who were the first singled out for murder.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Well researched, remarkably balanced in its judgments, and full of fresh insights. It deserves the widest possible readership.

Journal of Modern History

Friedlander has written an excellent piece of historical research which establishes the similarities of the fates of three victim groups.

Jewish History

Never is a speculation presented without masses of material to back it up. It is a substantial book.

Holocaust and Genocide Studies

One of the distinguishing features of this study is the meticulous description of the administration of the euthanasia program.

Gordon A. Craig, New York Review of Books

If one has time to read only one book among the recent works on Nazi euthanasia, this is it.

Christopher R. Browning, Times Literary Supplement

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Friedlander's study tracks the Nazi program of genocide back to 1940 with the murder of some 5000 handicapped children, euthanasia that was subsequently expanded to include disabled Jews and Gypsies. The targeting of these three groups was based on the Nazis' belief in human inequality and their determination to ``cleanse the gene pool of the German nation.'' Thus began the euthanasia program in which debate over the most efficient method of mass murder led to the construction of killing centers where crippled children were gassed and cremated. Friedlander shows that the success of the program convinced the Nazis that mass murder was technically workable, that ordinary citizens were willing to slaughter large numbers of innocent people. The killing centers became models for the extermination camps of the Final Solution. ``When all is said and done, we are still unable to grasp the reasons that seemingly normal men and women were able to commit such extraordinary crimes,'' concludes Friedlander, a history professor at Brooklyn College. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807846759
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/22/1997
  • Edition description: 3
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 1,161,488
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry Friedlander was professor of history in the department of Judaic studies at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and coeditor of the 26-volume Archives of the Holocaust Series.
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Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Prophets Without Honor: The Travails of the Southern Clergy, 1954-1960
Chapter 2. Going South: Northern Clergy and Direct-Action Protests, 1960-1962
Chapter 3. The Call to Battle: The Churches and Synagogues Enter the Civil Rights Struggle,1963
Chapter 4. Bringing Good News to the Oppressed: Clerical Organization in the North and South, 1964
Chapter 5. Flood Tide: Bearing Witness in Alabama, 1965
Chapter 6. Going Against the Grain: Clergy and the Antiwar Movement, 1963-1965
Chapter 7. A Voice for Moderation: Clergy and the Antiwar Movement, 1966-1967
Chapter 8. The Escalation of Dissent: The Antiwar Movement, 1967-1968
Chapter 9. The Costly Peace: The Antiwar Movement, 1968-1973


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