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The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution (Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry) Paperback – September 15, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry (Book 14)
  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Brandeis; 1st edition (September 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874515963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874515961
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This decisively important book should serve for years to come as required reading for all who wish to make sense of the Holocaust.”—The Nation

Review

“Breitman’s book is decisively important... [It] should serve for years to come as required reading for all who wish to make sense of the Holocaust.” (Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, The New Republic)

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Customer Reviews

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A good read for the student of genocide.
Russell A. Rohde MD
Breitman goes through the progressive steps of Heinrich Himmler's ideas as well as his involvement in the "Final Solution" while keeping his readers full attention.
kelly
The author was very honest about any biases, hypothesis, and lack of information (i.e. paper trails or interviews).
Margaret E Gerdes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Danny Parker on November 21, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Heinrich Himmler, one of the most reviled personalities in modern history comes fully to light in this insightful study. What is it that makes a person evil? That is at the heart of Breitman's absorbing book. Unlike a devilish Faustian caricature, the narrative shows the SS Reichsfuehrer, a mundane, pedantic organizer who came terrifyingly close to translating Hitler's vision of of a "racially-pure" Europe into reality.
Heinrich Himmler may be the personification of Hannah Arendt's "banality of evil." A man who fawned over children, stopped to pick flowers and was every thoughtful with those under him, quietly and efficiently produced the machinery to send millions to their death.
(...) Breitman's book is not a "popular biography" in the modern sense, but rather a scholarly and academic treatment. However, this is a weighty subject and the author accomplishes much more with this approach through a fascinating narrative that assures the reader that this is an exquisititely researched picture of one of the most dispised personalities of modern time. Highly recommended.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By John Barry Kenyon on July 25, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not a biography of the Reichsfuhrer, but a carefully researched and annotated analysis of his role in the final solution. Himmler's own office logs and appointment books, where extant, are convincingly used. The most thorough account to date of the so called Madagscar proposal which preoccupied the nazis in the late 1930s as a way of exiling Jews. Himmler's often mutually suspicious dealings with underlings such as Heydrich and Eichmann are particularly well portrayed, although his relationship with Hitler is sometimes sketchy. The years 1944 and 1945 are treated rather briefly, presumably because Himmler's initiatives were mainly restricted to trying to arrange coverup of the atrocities. But Breitman has done a first rate job in showing us how Himmler's bureaucratic mind ticked. The book illustrates that you don't need to be a personal sadist to organize murder on a massive scale.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By kelly on April 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
A common misconception regarding "The Final Solution" is that it was constructed and sought out under the leadership of one man, Adolph Hitler. Richard Breitman, in his well written book, clearly shows his readers the involvement of several brilliant minds that eventually created the horrific answer to the Jewish question. Breitman goes through the progressive steps of Heinrich Himmler's ideas as well as his involvement in the "Final Solution" while keeping his readers full attention. Unlike many authors writing about this issue, Breitman seemed as if he, through his work, was attempting to see Himmler's view points instead of labeling him simply as a "sadist barbarian" as many would do. His ability to put aside the atrocities performed by the Nazi's and give his reader's an alternate route of understanding is just one of the reasons why I consider this book a success and a pleasure to read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jan Peczkis on November 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Unfortunately, Breitman repeats the Nazi-propaganda canard of Poles killing several thousand Germans, at Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) as fact (p. 70). Otherwise, this book seems to be free of obvious errors. The author traces Nazi German policies against various groups, with especial attention paid to the Jews. He also provides information relevant to the Jedwabne massacre without mentioning it. He shows that the Germans tried to disguise their first wave of murders of Jews, at the start of Operation Barbarossa, as the work of locals acting alone (p. 172, 207).

Breitman (pp. 19-21) addresses the debate as to whether the term Holocaust should refer only to the Jewish or to all the victims of the Nazis. He believes that the extermination of the Jews is sui generis in many ways (p. 21), for example, because: "The Nazis are not known to have spoken of the Final Solution of the Polish problem or of the gypsy problem." (p. 20). Yet he demolishes his own argument in several ways. To begin with, he elsewhere tacitly acknowledges that his is an argument from silence: "Other cases of genocide in history have not left much evidence of advance plans either." (p. 27). There is also the problem of semantics: "Could one really say that Hitler had already decided upon genocide? A lot depends on what constitutes a decision. Is it a decision if a person keeps an idea firmly in his mind but tells no one about it and does nothing about it? Or is the decision made only when the individual begins to commit himself--not necessarily to start the executions, but at least to commit time and resources to the preparations?" (p. 27). Finally, there is the question of earnestness: "With mass murder or even genocide, however, there is a huge gulf between talk and action." (p. 63).
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