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The Unknown Black Book: The Holocaust in the German-Occupied Soviet Territories FIRST EDITION, 2nd PRINTING Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0253349613
ISBN-10: 0253349613
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Editorial Reviews


"These accounts from those who saw what happened convey what we cannot learn from official documents about the nature of this vast criminal enterprise, in which hundreds of thousands were transformed into monsters... and millions of others became helpless, dehumanized, mutilated, and finally forgotten victims." -- Wall Street Journal

"An essential work for anyone who wants to explore the depth of German and collaborationist crimes against the Jews." -- Holocaust and Genocide Studies

"The Unknown Black Book's main contribution is in exposing the English-speaking audience, for the first time, to one of the most terrible chapters of the Holocaust, as well as in challenging the current trend of presenting the Holocaust as merely another crime against humanity." -- Russian Review

"One of the most important sources on the Holocaust... [T]he editors and Indiana University Press have performed an invaluable service by preparing an English-language edition of The Unknown Black Book." -- Timothy Snyder, Yale University

"The book offers a great many insights to the reader.... It is impossible here to give a full account of the wealth of material contained in the book." -- Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, March 19, 2010

"The most comprehensive English collection of wartime and early postwar diaries, letters, testimonies, and other documents penned by Jewish victims and survivors of the Holocaust in the territories of Ukraine, Belorussia, Russia, and the Baltics. Anyone interested in studying and trying to make sense of the cruelty, collective violence, inhumane suffering, and trauma of genocide should read this unfiltered, detailed evidence of the Holocaust's impact on individuals and society." -- Wendy Lower, author of Nazi Empire Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine

"A unique source for a fuller understanding of the tragic events during these dark years." -- Walter Laqueur, editor of The Holocaust Encyclopedia

From the Publisher

Published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 446 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; FIRST EDITION, 2nd PRINTING edition (December 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253349613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253349613
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,471,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on February 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It's a rare reader who'll be able to get through The Unknown Black Book without having to walk away from it several times. The tragedies it documents are just too horrible to bear except in small doses. Both text and photographs stun the imagination and freeze the heart.

The UBB is a narrative history of Nazi atrocities against the Jews in the German-occupied Soviet territories (Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, The Crimea, and Russia) during WWII. It contains 93 documents, almost half of which are written by eyewitnesses. The rest are compilations of various eyewitness accounts by the editors, a couple of Soviet Jewish journalists, Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman, who began collecting material as early as 1942. The eyewitness accounts include diaries, letters, and testimonies of those Russian Jews who managed to survive the wholescale exterminations carried out by the Eastern Front Einsatzgruppen (one of which was commanded by a direct descendant of the composer Franz Schubert).

What can one possibly say that makes sense of the horrors described by the survivors? Tsodik Yakovlevich Bleyman, the sole survivor of the shtetl of Utyan, tells of being driven into the forest with dozens of men and women, who were then sprayed with machine gun fire by Lithuanian fascist collaborators (p. 310). Yevgenia Shendels tells of her father, a physician, being gunned down in the streets of Kursk because he resisted the Nazi murder of medical patients (p. 401). Tatyana Taranova, a student, remembers that one Jew was ill and in seclusion when an Einsatzgruppe exterminated everyone in his village. When he was told of their fate, he was simply unable to believe the fantastic tale.
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Format: Hardcover
The Unknown Black Book begins to fill in a long overdue gap in our understanding of the Holocaust. While most Americans associate the Holocaust with the fate of Anne Frank in Holland, or the death camps in Poland, this book reminds us that nearly half of the Jewish victims were living in Soviet territory when the Germans invaded in June 1941. Perhaps people have heard of Babi Yar, a ravine outside of Kiev where the Nazis, with the help of Ukrainians, killed more than 33,000 Jews in two days of continuous shooting in September 1941. But this book confirms that there were hundreds, probably thousands of such massacres, big and small, throughout Ukraine, Belorussia, and the Baltic States. This is a grim history, as grim as it gets. But it needs to be told.

I also want to commend the fine introduction by Joshua Rubenstein which places this aspect of the Holocaust within the general history of the Final Solution. The author also explores what happened to the perpetrators at Nuremberg. There was actually a trial at Nuremberg for the SS commanders of the shooting units who carried out the killings in German-Occupied Soviet territory. Even though 14 were sentenced to death, only four were actually executed and the rest were released by the Americans after only a few years.
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By DSA on January 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading The Unknown Black Book. It was emotionally exhausting. I have read many books about the Holocaust and seen my share of movies, both documentary films and features. This book, with its emphasis on how ordinary people treated their Jewish neighbors once the Germans invaded, was particularly compelling. No wonder the Kremlin refused to allow the Soviet journalist Ilya Ehrenburg to publish this material at the time. In the future, when I hear the phrase "the Germans and their allies," I will not only think about the governments that colluded in mass murder. I will also have to consider the otherwise ordinary citizens-in Ukraine, Belorussia, and the Baltic Region-who actively participated in genocide.
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Format: Hardcover
In this amazing and original history we learn, finally, the first person accounts of the Nazi genocide perpetrated in Belarus, Ukraine and the Soviet Union by the Nazis during the Second World War. This part of the Holocaust has been only touched on elsewhereOrdinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. Despite the fact that Holocaust Museums such as Yad Vashem have documented the Nazi road of terror and death in the Ukraine, few histories have examined this from the point of view of the people involved.

This book bridges this gap, taking the reader deep into the land that was once flowing with Jewish Shtetle life. Soviet eye-witnesses such as Vasily Grossman, one of Russia's most celebrated journalists, show us the eyewitness accounts of Nazi atrocities and reminds us that almost half of the victims of the Holocaust were murdered here.

An amazing story that turns the heart and will shock the reader and one that fills in this gap of history.

Seth J. Frantzman
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Informative, fascinating, sad, the veneer of civilization is thin. Thugs are among us all, and but for the opportuninty...
This book can be repetitive but that's in line with its mission and source. If one does not need to be convinced how and where and to whom this happened, a myriad of witnesses is not necessary but I found it interesting nonetheless. This book is not for the squeamish or the warm-fuzzy types. I always cringe whenever I hear anyone bash the Jews today including using Israel as the excuse. It's not complicated. A Jew hater is a Jew hater. Dress it intellectually how you will. Human nature does not change. We must be ever vigilant.
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