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The Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution: A Reconsideration

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The Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution: A Reconsideration Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On January 20, 1942, in a grand villa on the shore of Berlin's Lake Wannsee, a conference of Nazi officers produced a paper known as the Wannsee Protocol, which laid the groundwork for a final solution to the Jewish Question. This Protocol has always mystified us. How should we understand this calm, business-like discussion of holocaust? And why was the meeting necessary? Hundreds of thousands of Jews had already been shot by squads in Russia or gassed in the camp at Chelmno. Mark Roseman seeks to unravel this double mystery and explain how it was that on a snowy day, fifteen well-educated young men met to talk murder.

Author of A Past in Hiding and winner of the Fraenkel Prize in contemporary history and the Wingate Literary Prize for nonfiction, Mark Roseman teaches at the University of Southampton. He has published widely on German history and lives in Southampton, England.

In early 1947, American officials in Germany stumbled across a document. Headed Secret Reich matter, it summarized the results of a meeting of top Nazi officials that took place on January 20, 1942, in a grand villa on the shore of Berlin's Lake Wannsee.

On one level, this document offered clarity: known as the Wannsee Protocol (and included here in full), it tallied up the Jews in Europe, carefully classified the half and quarter Jews, and above all laid the groundwork for a final solution to the Jewish Question. Yet the Protocol, among the most shameful documents of history, remains deeply puzzling. How should we understand this businesslike discussion of genocide? And why was the meeting necessary? Hundreds of thousands of Jews had already been shot by squads in Russia or gassed in the camp at Chelmno. Test murders had been carried out in Auschwitz. Indeed, the most remarkable thing about the Wannsee Conference is that we do not know why it took place.

Roseman, author of the acclaimed A Past in Hiding, seeks to unravel this double mystery and to explain how it was that on a snowy January day in 1942, a group of educated young men met to discuss the systematic slaughter of a people.

There is, to my knowledge, no book that brings together more masterfully in less than 200 pages the daunting problems and massive research on the Holocaust than Mark Roseman's account of the notorious Wannsee Conference. Concise and very accessible, yet also comprehensive in its contextualization of the 'Final Solution of the Jewish Question' and its origins, I found this a most illuminating study of the cold-blooded planning and execution of the most horrific crime of the 20th century.--V. R. Berghahn, Seth Low Professor of History, Columbia University

Roseman sets out not to solve this mystery of the Conference] so much as to anatomize it, to dissect the thinking of the key players and to present the central themes, ideas, and intentions of the day. He does so with the same determination and respect that he brought to A Past in Hiding.--Los Angeles Times

There is, to my knowledge, no book that brings together more masterfully in less than 200 pages the daunting problems and massive research on the Holocaust than Mark Roseman's account of the notorious Wannsee Conference. Concise and very accessible, yet also comprehensive in its contextualization of the 'Final Solution of the Jewish Question' and its origins, I found this a most illuminating study of the cold-blooded planning and execution of the most horrific crime of the 20th century.--V. R. Berghahn, Seth Low Professor of History, Columbia University

Roseman's book is a lively contribution to work on a terrifying period in history. It is no simplistic account--chaos and uncertainty are the very 'stuff' of history--but, throughout the book, we are forced to recognize the very ordinariness of these men as we follow, step by step, the diverse routes they followed in their will to destroy.--Joanna Bourke, The New Statesman

A cool, judicious and well informed guide to the meeting whose minutes were described by the war crimes prosecutors at Nuremberg as 'perhaps the most shameful document of modern history.'--Richard J. Evans, author of Lying About Hitler

This is the best analysis in existence of the fateful Wannsee Conference and its place in the fateful events that culminated in 'The Final Solution.'--Ian Kershaw, author of Hitler

Lucid and compelling . . . a remarkable book.--Saul Friedlander, The Times Literary Supplement

Well-researched and subtly argued . . . Roseman's grasp of every detail of the Wannsee Conference is impressive . . . Equally important is the document translated here in full: the minutes of the meeting, known as the Wannsee Protocol . . . Roseman's book is also a contribution to the question of how far Hitler was personally responsible for the extermination program.--Hyam Maccoby, Evening Standard

An up-to-date analysis . . . Succinct, closely argued, free of academic jargon. Engrossing and chilling, it helps our understanding of Wannsee's place on the twisted path to genocide.--Theo Richmond, author of Konin

Convincing . . .An excellent introduction to this immensely complex story . . . A highly-readable, concise, and thorough account not only of the conference itself--about which very little documentation ever survived--but of the whole debate on the timing and nature of the Holocaust . . . Shows compellingly that Wannsee was just one of many stepping stones in the middle of a long messy process of turning vicious anti-Semitic discrimination into stark mass murder.--Richard Overy, The Sunday Telegraph

A thoughtful examination . . . A chilling keyhole glimpse of Nazi evil's bureaucratic banality.--Kirkus Reviews

In January 1942 a group of top Nazi officials met in a villa on the shore of Lake Wannsee, near Berlin, for the purpose of planning the 'final solution' of the 'Jewish question.' This Wannsee Conference and the document emanating fr

Synopsis:

On January 20, 1942, in a grand villa on the shore of Berlins Lake Wannsee, a conference of Nazi officers produced a paper known as the “Wannsee Protocol,” which laid the groundwork for a “final solution to the Jewish Question.” This Protocol has always mystified us. How should we understand this calm, business-like discussion of holocaust? And why was the meeting necessary? Hundreds of thousands of Jews had already been shot by squads in Russia or gassed in the camp at Chelmno. Mark Roseman seeks to unravel this double mystery and explain how it was that on a snowy day, fifteen well-educated young men met to talk murder.

About the Author

Author of A Past in Hiding and winner of the Fraenkel Prize in contemporary history, Mark Roseman teaches at the University of Southampton and has published widely on German history. He lives in Southampton, England.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312422349
Author:
Roseman, Mark
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Europe - Germany
Subject:
Germany
Subject:
Holocaust
Subject:
Holocaust, jewish (1939-1945)
Subject:
War criminals
Subject:
Germany
Subject:
World History-Germany
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20030731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.27 x 5.46 x 0.605 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Germany » Nazi Germany
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » General
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » Nazi Germany
Religion » Judaism » History
Religion » Judaism » Jewish History

The Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution: A Reconsideration New Trade Paper
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Product details 224 pages Picador USA - English 9780312422349 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
On January 20, 1942, in a grand villa on the shore of Berlins Lake Wannsee, a conference of Nazi officers produced a paper known as the “Wannsee Protocol,” which laid the groundwork for a “final solution to the Jewish Question.” This Protocol has always mystified us. How should we understand this calm, business-like discussion of holocaust? And why was the meeting necessary? Hundreds of thousands of Jews had already been shot by squads in Russia or gassed in the camp at Chelmno. Mark Roseman seeks to unravel this double mystery and explain how it was that on a snowy day, fifteen well-educated young men met to talk murder.

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