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With an Afterword to the 1997 Vintage paperback edition. This groundbreaking international bestseller lays to rest many myths about the Holocaust: that Germans were ignorant of the mass destruction of Jews, that the killers were all SS men, and that those who slaughtered Jews did so reluctantly. Hitler's Willing Executioners provides conclusive evidence that the extermination of European Jewry engaged the energies and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of ordinary Germans. Goldhagen reconstructs the climate of "eliminationist anti-Semitism" that made Hitler's pursuit of his genocidal goals possible and the radical persecution of the Jews during the 1930s popular. Drawing on a wealth of unused archival materials, principally the testimony of the killers themselves, Goldhagen takes us into the killing fields where Germans voluntarily hunted Jews like animals, tortured them wantonly, and then posed cheerfully for snapshots with their victims. From mobile killing units, to the camps, to the death marches, Goldhagen shows how ordinary Germans, nurtured in a society where Jews were seen as unalterable evil and dangerous, willingly followed their beliefs to their logical conclusion.
"Hitler's Willing Executioner's is an original, indeed brilliant contribution to the...literature on the Holocaust."
--New York Review of Books
"The most important book ever published about the Holocaust...Eloquently written, meticulously documented, impassioned...A model of moral and scholarly integrity."
--The Philadelphia Inquirer
Introduction: Reconceiving Central Aspects of the Holocaust
Part One: Understanding German Antisemitism: The Elimination Mind-set
1. Recasting the View of Antisemitism: A Framework for Analysis
2. The Evolution of Eliminationist Antisemitism
3. Eliminationist Antisemitism: The "Common Sense" of German Society During the Nazi Period
Part Two: The Eliminationist Program and Institutions
4. The Nazi's Assault on the Jews: Its Character and Evolution
5. The Agents and Machinery of Destruction
Part Three: Police Battalions: Ordinary Germans, Willing Killers
6. Police Battalions: Agents of Genocide
7. Police Battalions: The Men's Deeds
8. Police Battalion 101: Assessing the Men's Motives
9. Police Battalions: Lives, Killings, and Motives
Part Four: Jewish "Work" is Annihilation
10. The Sources and Patterns of Jewish "Work"
11. Life in the "Work" Camps
12. Work and Death
Part Five: Death Machines: To the Final Days
13. The Deadly Way
14. Marching to What End?
Part Six: Eliminationist Antisemitism, Ordinary Germans, Willing Executioners
15. Explaining the Perpetrator's Actions: Assessing the Competing Explanations
16. The Nazi Revolution
Afterword to the Vintage Edition