"The Good Old Days": The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders

Front Cover
Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen, Volker Riess
Konecky Konecky, 1991 - History - 314 pages
The title comes from the cover of a private photo album kept by concentration camp commandant Kurt Franz of Treblinka. This gruesomely sentimental and unmistakably authentic title introduces an equally disturbing collection of diaries, letters home, and confidential reports written by the executioners and sympathetic observers of the Holocaust, illustrated with numerous photographs they themselves took as "souvenirs" of their "achievements." The most arresting images document the early massacres in the Baltic states, where executions were a public entertainment. In Lithuania, Jews were clubbed to death with crowbars before cheering crowds, while mothers held up their children to see the spectacle and German soldiers clustered like fans at a sporting event. At the moment these and similar murders took place, German witnesses, either in the course of duty or out of curiosity or by chance, made a photographic record. The alternation of their sentimental words with these horrific images documents a chilling incapacity for human feeling. These functionaries of death never seriously questioned the task they were assigned. "I only took part in the murder of three million people out of consideration for my family" wrote the director of Auschwitz 's political department. Indeed, in their personal letters and journals the camp guards are far more disturbed by delayed vacation leave or by shortages of small luxuries than by the executions they carried out daily, which they also noted, briefly and without comment. Top secret reports filed by SS officers recount the pressure exerted by the Reich to devise ever more effective methods of killing. As their work achieved a depraved efficiency, the camp guards enjoyed more time for social activities. Scrapbook snapshots show musical soirees and other informal gatherings where they drank and laughed together after a day 's work. "The Good Old Days" reveals startling evidence of the inhumanity of twentieth century history and is published as yet another irrefutable response to the revisionist historians who claim to doubt the historic truth of the Holocaust.--Adapted from dust jacket.
 

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User Review  - mallinje - LibraryThing

A particularly chilling account of the indifference of average people during the Holocaust. This book consists mostly of letters and diary entries by average people and soldiers during WWII. One ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Borg-mx5 - LibraryThing

What makes this book somewhat disturbing, is that these are just people. People who do terrible things. Even if they know in their hearts they are wrong, they do them anyway. Some enjoy their life ... Read full review

Contents

Bloomz Wednesday in Olkus 3Ilkenau
8
Each time a victim was beaten to death they started to clap
23
Pushed to their psychological limits
59
A new and better method of killing had to be found
68
Quite happy to take part in shootings
75
Once again I ve got to play general to the _ews
87
Execution as popular entertainment
107
Scores of soldiers some in bathing trunks watching
117
In the interest of maintaining military discipline
137
Glossary and abbreviations
275
Einsatzgruppen mobile execution units in Eastern Europe
282
Biographical details
289
Chronology
304
Index of selected persons and places
311
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