Synopses & Reviews
Tracing the rise of racist and eugenic ideologies, 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. He describes how the so-called euthanasia of the handicapped provided a practical model for the later mass murder, thereby initiating the Holocaust. The Nazi regime pursued the extermination of Jews, Gypsies, and the handicapped based on a belief in the biological, and thus absolute, inferiority of those groups. To document the connection between the assault on the handicapped and the Final Solution, Friedlander shows how the legal restrictions and exclusionary policies of the 1930s, including mass sterilization, led to mass murder during the war. He also makes clear that the killing centers where the handicapped were gassed and cremated served as the models for the extermination camps.
Based on extensive archival research, the book also analyzes the involvement of the German bureaucracy and judiciary, the participation of physicians and scientists, and the nature of popular opposition.
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.
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
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.
About the Author
Henry Friedlander is 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. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
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