20150305

Hitler's First Victims: The Quest for Justice (book review)

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN: 9780385352918

In this biography of Josef Hartinger, the German public prosecutor who brought to justice the first killers of the Holocaust, author Timothy W. Ryback meticulously documents the atrocities suffered by Hitler's first victims at Dachau, both Jews and communists.

Hartinger's quest for justice is inspiring as proof that not all Germans were complicit in the Nazi atrocities.

I am however not going to romanticize this aspect of World War II or apologize for either side.

Overall, the German state police was not complicit in the deaths at the prison camps. Nor were the regular soldiers of the German Army.

Rather, the responsibility for most of the deaths which occurred at Dachau rested on the SA and especially on the SS officers involved, most of whom were not nice men.

Even though World War II ended 60 years ago, this book is required reading for a mature audience to understand the nature of the Holocaust with respect to the treatment of prisoners in Dachau.

Reference:

Dachau concentration camp: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dachau_concentration_camp

Liberation of Dachau: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/Surrender.html

Timothy W. Ryback's article in New York Times, January 3, 2012:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/04/opinion/the-first-killings-of-the-holocaust.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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