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Pack of Thieves: How Hitler and Europe Plundered the Jews and Committed the Greatest Theft in History Hardcover – November 2, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (November 2, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385487630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385487634
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,079,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While Switzerland has borne the brunt of much of the public criticism for serving as "Hitler's banker," Chesnoff makes it abundantly clear that people and governments in many countries took advantage of the plight of the Jews before and during WWII to enrich their coffers. From Swiss bankers to Italian insurance companies and the Swedish industrialist family Wallenberg (the uncles of Raoul), various parties were more than willing to cash in on the financial opportunities provided by the war. Indeed, by laundering money, numerous governments helped Germany prolong the war. Equally disheartening is how eager ordinary people were to move into houses and confiscate property that had been abandoned by Jews. Chesnoff, a senior correspondent with U.S. News & World Report, takes a country-by-country look at the wealth stolen from the Jews. While the looting began has a tool to help "Aryanize" Germany and German-held territory, the theft of Jewish property became an important element in financing the Nazi regime. Even after the war, both latent European anti-Semitism and the spread of communism made it all the more difficult to provide restitution to those who were robbed of their possessions. Chesnoff visited 11 countries, interviewed hundreds of people and examined newly unclassified documents. His diligent research leads to a passionate conclusion in which he argues for restitution and criticizes as perverse those who argue that by demanding reparations Jews are only reviving the stereotype of the money-grubbing Jew. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A disappointingly unfocused and underdocumented attempt to chronicle the seizure of Jewish possessions and assets by the Nazis and their collaborators. Correspondent and columnist Chesnoff did not intend to write an ``encyclopedic'' or ``definitive'' record, but rather a ``journalist's report'' for the general reader. His disclaimer notwithstanding, he has recycled a story that has already been told better elsewhere. Chesnoff adds little new to his coverage of Austria, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, Norway, France, Poland, and Hungary. He has little to say about the most significant issue to emerge in recent days: new revelations regarding the degree to which Swiss banks were accomplices in the seizure and laundering of Jewish assets by the Nazis and of the banks' non-cooperation with survivors inquiring after the assets of their families and their unwillingness to admit their guilt and make restitution to those affected. Chesnoff has not undertaken the task of producing a detailed account of the identity of Jewish depositors, or the specific sums they left behind that were seized by the Nazis and their accomplices. This work, he acknowledges, will be completed by scholars. But a readable, reliable synthesis covering the complicit European countries is needed as well, and despite Chesnoff's claims, this is not it. Although there are frequent citations of scholarly books written about the Holocaust and claims to have consulted classified files, there are no footnotes to document either. Chesnoff has interviewed numerous survivors and other interested parties, but their testimony lends no authority, for example, to his claim (against the arguments of most scholars) that Kristallnacht was enthusiastically greeted by the mass of Germans, rather than embarrassing the decent folk of a so-called civilized country. Readers would be better served by studying the relevant parts of the books by Hilberg, Friedlander, Feliciano, Nicholas, and others that Chesnoff lists in his wannabe bibliography. A disappointing mishmash of emotional narrative and anecdote on a subject that deserves much better. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on June 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I literally shuddered from a combination of amazement, disgust, and anger after reading this well-written and quite readable overview of the plundering of the European Jews by Hitler and others starting in the 1930s and continuing to the present day. This book by Richard Chesnoff carefully details the scope and depth of the continuing final financial insult to those who suffered the "Final Solution" at Hitler's hand in the Second World War. Even after fifty years, the lies, dissembling, vile deceptions and equivocations continue, for literally tens of billions of dollars of gold, valuables, and money plundered as a result of the so-called "Final Solution" are still unaccounted for. For anyone old enough to have fifty such years of conscious experience in the world, it's difficult to actually be moved to disgust, to be amazed by anything people do, but the bold, shameless ways in which Europe's thugs, slugs and other lowlife cowards came slithering out of their damp and furtive hiding places to take full and open advantage of the Jews' persecution before, during and even after WWII is enough to wrench the most strong-stomached among us.
Although this line of investigation is by its very nature disturbing stuff, it is well handled by the author, and his even, professional journalistic tone is solid, seldom bitter or vengeful. Instead, his forte is his ability to systematically describe, detail, and document the multifarious ways in which the Jews were ritually stripped of anything of value by their friends, neighbors, and countrymen, and how so many of those of whom so much better should have been expected used their positions of relative advantage to exploit, extort, and even help to exterminate them.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chilling, captivating, terrifying express some of the emotional responses one will feel when one reads this book. The author has thoroughly researched his topic. In addition he has presented his findings in a very organized and readable fashion. The writing style makes for easy reading. The author has transformed what could have been a very mundane presentation of facts and figures into a captivating story that is impossible to put down once started. A must read for students of the Holocaust.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book. Mr. Chesnoff presents a picture of pure and blatant robbery of the Jews by all Europeans during the Holocaust. Anybody interested in Jewish History, gross injustice and understanding an awful aspect of human nature will find this book a must read.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jane Rosenberg on November 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"Pack of Thieves" is a riveting account of man's greed coupled with a recounting of the worst crime in modern history - the Holocaust. I commend Richard Chesnoff for an insightful and beautifully written book. A must for every family library!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chilling, captivating, terrifying express some of the emotional responses one will feel when one reads this book. The author has thoroughly researched his topic. In addition he has presented his findings in a very organized and readable fashion. The writing style makes for easy reading. The author has transformed what could have been a very mundane presentation of facts and figures into a captivating story that is impossible to put down once started. A must read for students of the Holocaust.
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