Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, May 25, 2011 - History - 656 pages
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To be a child in mid-twentieth-century Europe was to be not a person but an object, available for use in the service of the totalitarian state. Very soon after Adolf Hitler came to power, policies of eugenic selection and euthanasia began to weed ill or disabled children out of the New Order by poison, gas, and starvation. Defect-free “good blood” children were subjected to an “education” based on racism, propaganda, and the glorification of the Führer, and were deliberately deprived of free time that would allow independent thought or action.

Once the war began, “Nordic”-looking children were kidnapped from families in the conquered lands and subjected to “Germanization.” Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of “bad blood” children—Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Ukrainians, Russians(were separated from their families and condemned to forced migration, slave labor, sadistic experiments, starvation, and mass execution. At the end of the war, uprooted children of every origin wandered the bombed-out cities and countryside, some having been taken from home at such a young age that they did not know where they had come from or even their own names. Millions surged into and out of DP camps, exploited by political and religious groups, while the Allies and the fledgling United Nations tried mightily to put families back together and to find new homes for the orphans.

All the riveting narrative skill and impeccable scholarship that distinguished Lynn Nicholas’s first book, The Rape of Europa (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction), are present in her study of these terrible crimes against humanity. To research this story she has delved into the governmental and military archives of many nations, and has interviewed countless individuals. She shows the relationship of the deadly Nazi policies to the brutal tactics used in the USSR in the 1930s and to their rehearsal in the Spanish Civil War, and vividly describes the abject failure of Hitler’s campaign to plant Germanizing colonies in the conquered nations. She gives us the stories of survivors of ghastly war-spawned famines(in Greece and Russia in the 1940s, Holland in the “Hunger Winter” of 1945, and Berlin in the Airlift year of 1949(and of British, French, and Dutch children who were evacuated to the countryside; boys and girls sent alone from Europe to England on the Kindertransports; the teenaged soldiers of the Reich; the small veterans of the quarries, the factories, and the camps as well as those who survived in lonely hiding.

In Cruel World Lynn Nicholas shows us clearly, and with passionate empathy for the innocent victims, the crimes against children that inevitably result when ideology overwhelms humanity. This powerful book, as it recounts the waking nightmare that enmeshed the lives of Europe’s boys and girls, bears witness to our own responsibility to the children of the twenty-first century.


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Cruel world: the children of Europe in the Nazi web

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Although numerous studies examine Nazi racial policy and its implementation, independent scholar Nicholas deftly focuses her attention on how the application of these ideas affected the lives of ... Read full review

Contents

Acknowledgments
2
A Note on Nomenclature
Prologue
PART I   Producing the Perfect Nazi
1 Applied Eugenics
2 Purging the Unfit
3 Increasing the Master Race
4 Education for the New World Order
14 Total War
PART V  Aftermath
15 Liberation and Repatriation
16 The Defeated
17 No Place Like Home
Notes
CHAPTER 9 BAD BLOOD
Chapter 10 Germanizing the West

5 Hitlers Children
PART II  Seeking Refuge
6 The Floodgates Close
7 Saving the Children
The Nazis Go Global
8 Good Blood
9 Bad Blood
10 Germanizing the West
PART IV  Radicalization and Resistance
Russia and Greece
Hidden Children
Forced Labor
RUSSIA AND GREECE
Hidden Children
FORCED LABOR
CHAPTER 14 TOTAL WAR
CHAPTER 15 LIBERATION AND REPATRIATION
CHAPTER 16 THE DEFEATED
CHAPTER 17 NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Bibliography
Photo Credits
Permissions Acknowledgments
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Lynn H. Nicholas was born in New London, CT, and educated in the U.S., England, and Spain. The Rape of Europa, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, has been translated into eight languages. It inspired an international movement to locate and repatriate works of art and other property confiscated and stolen by individuals and governments before and during World War II. Ms. Nicholas was elected to the Légion d'Honneur by the government of France and was named an Amicus Poloniae by Poland. She has become widely known as a lecturer on the issues addressed in The Rape of Europa and Cruel World and has appeared as an expert witness in art-repatriation trials and before Congress.


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