Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Destruction of the European Jews

The Destruction of the European Jews: Third Edition

RAUL HILBERG
Copyright Date: 2003
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 1426
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vkrf9
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Destruction of the European Jews
    Book Description:

    The Destruction of the European Jewsis widely considered the landmark study of the Holocaust. First published in 1961, Raul Hilberg's comprehensive account of how Germany annihilated the Jewish community of Europe spurred discussion, galvanized further research, and shaped the entire field of Holocaust studies. This revised and expanded edition of Hilberg's classic work extends the scope of his study and includes 80,000 words of new material, particularly from recently opened archives in eastern Europe, added over a lifetime of research. It is the work of a scholar who has devoted more than fifty years to exploring and analyzing the realities of the Holocaust.Spanning the twelve-year period of anti-Jewish actions from 1933 to 1945, Hilberg's study encompasses Germany and all the territories under German rule or influence. Its principal focus is on the large number of perpetrators-civil servants, military personnel, Nazi party functionaries, SS men, and representatives of private enterprises-in the machinery of death.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-14913-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. VOLUME I

    • PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION
      (pp. ix-x)
    • PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION
      (pp. xi-xiv)
    • PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION
      (pp. xv-xviii)
    • CHAPTER ONE PRECEDENTS
      (pp. 1-28)

      The German destruction of the European Jews was a tour de force; the Jewish collapse under the German assault was a manifestation of failure. Both of these phenomena were the final product of an earlier age.

      Anti-Jewish policies and actions did not have their beginning in 1933. For many centuries, and in many countries, the Jews had been victims of destructive action. What was the object of these activities? What were the aims of those who persisted in anti-Jewish deeds? Throughout Western history, three consecutive policies have been applied against Jewry in its dispersion.

      The first anti-Jewish policy started in...

    • CHAPTER TWO ANTECEDENTS
      (pp. 29-48)

      The first chapter has dealt with historical parallels, with events and patterns of pre-Nazi times which were repeated in the years 1933–45. These events were the precedents of the destruction process. Now a word should be said about the climate in which the destruction process began. The activities that were designed to create this climate we shall call the antecedents.

      The specific question to be addressed in this chapter is this: What was the state of readiness for anti-Jewish action in 1933? The antagonistic conception of Jewry, the portrait in which the Jew was painted as an enemy, a...

    • CHAPTER THREE THE STRUCTURE OF DESTRUCTION
      (pp. 49-60)

      At first sight the destruction of the Jews may have the appearance of an indivisible, monolithic, and impenetrable event. Upon closer observation it is revealed to be a process of sequential steps that were taken at the initiative of countless decision makers in a far-flung bureaucratic machine. An underlying characteristic of this upheaval is therefore its structure: a logic of development, a mechanism for arriving at decisions, and an organization involved in daily administrative action.

      The process of destruction unfolded in a definite pattern.¹ It did not, however, proceed from a basic plan. No bureaucrat in 1933 could have predicted...

    • CHAPTER FOUR DEFINITION BY DECREE
      (pp. 61-78)

      A destruction process is a series of administrative measures that must be aimed at a definite group. The German bureaucracy knew with whom it had to deal: the target of its measures was Jewry. But what, precisely, was Jewry? Who was a member of that group? The answer to this question had to be worked out by an agency that dealt with general problems of administration—the Interior Ministry. In the course of the definition making, several other offices from the civil service and the party became interested in the problem. For purposes of orientation, therefore, Tables 4-1 to 4-3...

    • CHAPTER FIVE EXPROPRIATION
      (pp. 79-154)

      The first step in the destruction process consisted only of a set of definitions. However, that step was very important. It amounted to creating a target that could be bombarded at will. The Jews were trapped at this range. Initially they could still emigrate, but later they could only brace themselves for what was to come.

      In the course of the next few years, the machinery of destruction was turned on Jewish “wealth.” In increasing numbers, one Jewish family after another discovered that it was impoverished. More and more was taken from the Jews; less and less was given in...

    • CHAPTER SIX CONCENTRATION
      (pp. 155-274)

      The third step of the destruction process was the concentration of the Jewish community. In Germany concentration comprised two developments: the crowding of the Jews into large cities and the separation of the Jews from the German population. The urbanization process was a consequence of the anti-Jewish economic measures discussed in the previous chapter. The ghettoization process was deliberately planned, measure for measure.

      Even before the Nazis came to power, the Jewish community in Germany had already been highly urbanized, but after 1933 a further crowding into the cities became noticeable. Isolated Jewish families departed from villages to towns. From...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN MOBILE KILLING OPERATIONS
      (pp. 275-408)

      When the bureaucracy had completed all those measures that comprised the definition of the Jews, the expropriation of their property, and their concentration in ghettos, it had reached a dividing line. Any further step would put an end to Jewish existence in Nazi Europe. In German correspondence the crossing of this threshold was referred to as “the final solution of the Jewish question [die Endlösung der Judenfrage].” The wordfinalharbored two connotations. In a narrow sense it signified that the aim of the destruction process had now been clarified. If the concentration stage had been a transition to an...

  4. VOLUME II

    • Middle Matter
      (pp. i-iv)
    • CONTENTS
      (pp. v-x)
    • CHAPTER EIGHT DEPORTATIONS
      (pp. 409-920)

      The mobile killing operations in the occupied USSR were a prelude to a greater undertaking in the remainder of Axis Europe. A “final solution” was going to be launched in every region under German control.

      The idea of killing the Jews had its shrouded beginnings in the far-distant past. There is a hint of killing in Martin Luther’s long speech against the Jews. Luther likened the Jews to the obstinate Egyptian Pharaoh of the Old Testament: “Moses,” said Luther, “could improve Pharaoh neither with plagues nor with miracles, neither with threats nor with prayers; he had to let him drown...

  5. VOLUME III

    • Middle Matter
      (pp. i-iv)
    • CONTENTS
      (pp. v-ix)
    • CHAPTER NINE KILLING CENTER OPERATIONS
      (pp. 921-1058)

      The most secret operations of the destruction process were carried out in six camps located in Poland in an area stretching from the incorporated areas to the Bug. These camps were the collecting points for thousands of transports converging from all directions. In three years the incoming traffic reached a total of close to three million Jews. As the transports turned back empty, their passengers disappeared inside.

      The killing centers worked quickly and efficiently. A man would step off a train in the morning, and in the evening his corpse would be burned and his clothes packed away for shipment...

    • CHAPTER TEN REFLECTIONS
      (pp. 1059-1126)

      The Germans killed five million Jews. The onslaught did not come from the void; it was brought into being because it had meaning to its perpetrators. It was not a narrow strategy for the attainment of some ulterior goal, but an undertaking for its own sake, an event experienced asErlebnis, lived and lived through by its participants.

      The German bureaucrats who contributed their skills to the destruction of the Jews all shared in this experience, some in the technical work of drafting a decree or dispatching a train, others starkly at the door of a gas chamber. They could...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN CONSEQUENCES
      (pp. 1127-1288)

      The destruction of the European Jews was a major upheaval and its impact was felt in the first instance by the Jewish community, secondly by Germany, and ultimately also by those outside the destructive arena who watched it come to pass.

      For the Jews, the consequences were pervasive. Physically, the dimensions of Jewish population, its distribution, and even its character underwent a permanent change. The statistics in Table 11-1 reveal in rough outline what happened: World Jewry lost one-third of its number. It declined from an all-time high of more than 16,000,000 people to about 11,000,000. The geographic concentration of...

    • CHAPTER TWELVE IMPLICATIONS
      (pp. 1289-1296)

      The destruction of the Jews ended in 1945, but while the perpetration was over the phenomenon remained. The postwar world was cognizant of what had happened and it was conscious of a need to create mechanisms in the form of treaties, laws, and public actions that would at the very least place all nations on record as recognizing the possibility of a recurrence and doing something to confront this danger. The watchword of the newly liberated concentration camp inmates was “never again.” They had in mind primarily a revived Nazi Germany or a European imitator learning from the Germans just...

  6. APPENDIX A GERMAN RANKS
    (pp. 1297-1300)
  7. APPENDIX B STATISTICS OF JEWISH DEAD
    (pp. 1301-1322)
  8. APPENDIX C NOTATION ON SOURCES
    (pp. 1323-1332)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 1333-1388)