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The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders

4.6 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1568521336
ISBN-10: 1568521332
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The title refers to a caption in the scrapbook of Kurt Franz, the commandant of the Treblinka concentration camp. Underneath the heading "Those Were the Days," and reproduced here, are pictures of smiling officers at a site where some 700,000 people were exterminated in the gas chambers. To refute revisionist historians who negate the testimony of Holocaust survivors, and to disprove those Germans who said they were coerced into murdering Jews, the German authors--Klee is a journalist, Dressen a lawyer and Riess a historian--present the damning and harrowing diaries, letters, photo albums and official reports of Germans who willingly participated in the Final Solution. A member of a unit that killed 33,771 Jews in the Ukranian Babi Yar ravine boasts: "It's almost impossible to imagine what nerves of steel it took to carry out that dirty work down there." Of the annihilation of thousands of Jews in White Russia, a commander says, "The action rid me of unneccessary mouths to feed." And wagging its tail for the camera is Franz's dog, which on numerous occasions was set upon Jews to bite off their genitals.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

As the first sentence of the foreword states, "This is a horrible book to read, and yet one that should be read." Klee, Willi Dresen, and Volker Riess have compiled a brutal and chilling rebuttal to the revisionist historians who question the statistics on, as well as the very existence of, the "final solution." This book is a collection of interviews, photographs, diary entries, and reports from German eyewitnesses, including members of the SS. They offer frightening insight into the mindset of the people who carried out the attempted extermination of an entire race. A disturbing, necessary reminder of the past and a warning for the future, this is recommended for larger public libraries as well as special collections.
- D.L. Braddock, Corbit-Calloway Memorial Lib., Odessa, Del.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William S. Konecky Associates (March 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568521332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568521336
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John G. Hilliard on April 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book really makes one shiver. I have read a number of books on the holocaust and World War 2 and this book absolute is the rawest of the books covering the genocide. That is not to say the book had a blow by blow account of the methods of killing, but just the history of this group of solders and the off handed way the mass killing was described. The people doing this killing were just normal guys, not unlike friends, family or myself. Wow, it is just amazing to me the way they try to justify what they were in charge of, the crimes against humanity that they committed. That is what was so disturbing to me. It is much easier to think that the mass killing was done by some group of homicidal maniacs let out of the asylum and given guns that that is not the case.
The details you get here are very hard to take once you have finished the book and think about it. This is one of the few books that for weeks after I finished it I would continue to think about it I do not think I can recommend this book enough; it really gives you a feel for the tremendous crime that took place. You will not be able to stop reading the book until you have completed it. I could go on and on. Even if you are not overly interested in WW 2 or the Holocaust you should read this book, there is no way you will not be griped by it.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Good Old Days" is a haunting and disturbing glimpse into the Holocaust. This book chronicles a number of events associated with the Nazi attempts to exterminate the entire Jewish people from the globe. Certainly any story of the Holocaust is disturbing to a rational person but "The Good Old Days" presents these events through the words/tales of people who were there - soldiers, killers, non-Jewish citizenry. Most of the events described are related through several people (making the reading a bit tedious) and in all cases the stories, while slightly different in detail - and almost always apologetic when told after the passage of time - would make my stomach wrench at how indifferently the waste of human life was taken. This is especially true in cases where stories are supported by diaries written at the time of the events. It is a oft used generalization that the Germans are a people of exactness and precision. This has never been more true than in assiocation with the Holocaust. The SS and its minions went about their gruesome business with the efficiency stereotypically expected of the Germans - they kept exacting notes, approached it impassively as to not become emotionally attached to the situation (or they were removed from the situation - generally voluntarily, or so it is claimed), and strove to generate more efficient, quick and "humane" ways to dispose of those felt inferior. The passages in this book are presented without any candy coating and thus this text is not for the faint of heart. Yet in doing so the reader is truly left with a feeling of collective human guilt that any culture could perpetrate such acts and in such a detacted fashion.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
"The Good Old Days" caught my eye upon seeing the cover photo. It depicts several Germans in WWII uniforms at a "Gasthaus" enjoying a few beers, with relaxed and unconcerned expressions. The title was perfect for the content.
Being in the military, and stationed in Germany when I purchased the book, I was interested in the subject that was never talked about by my closest German friends. Now, I know why my German friends never discussed the war.
This book is a collection of diaries, official and personal letters, and eyewitness accounts of answers to the "Jewish Question". There is no hearsay or rumors. It is a cold, hard, and blunt account of the extreme cruelty that people are capable of.
This is an excellent piece of history that is rarely seen in the U.S. It doesn't contradict the facts regarding the Jewish extermination. Rather, it makes you understand what it was like to be the "bad guy".
The old "I was only following orders" defense is put to rest. A common theme was that the people who took part in the extermination knew that they could refuse. Without any punishment. However, the persons portrayed in the book, felt it was their duty. And some even enjoyed it. The majority of the documents used in this book appear to be written with no emotion. As if accounting for the number of dead, was just another boring task of completing the daily "red tape".
It makes you wonder. If you were in their shoes, would you do the same?
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Format: Hardcover
This book is basically a gamut of diaries, testimonies, reports, statements, and affidavits from German officers, soldiers, gas-van drivers and others who participated or witnessed the atrocities committed against defenseless and innocent men, women and children, mostly Jews, during WWII. Among the perpetrators were not just German Nazis but also Lithuanians and Ukrainians who had clubbed to death thousands of Jews. The photographic records, taken by SS officers and other German functionaries, reflect how cruel and tragic the Holocaust had been. I personally saw Germans looting, beating, torturing, shooting and hanging innocent Jewish people. At the age of 13, the Nazis foisted upon me and my loved ones unimaginable acts of extreme wickedness. However, I have never witnessed or read about so many horrific violent acts as narrated and illustrated in "The Good Old Days." The description how the murder of Jews became a public spectacle; a popular entertainment is shocking and abhorring. The most notorious and the best documented of those massacres took place on September 29-30, 1941, wherein 33,771 Jews were shot in a single operation, at a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. On page 10 we read how a loudspeaker announced the time when Jews will be shot in a market place. At the age of fifteen, I was forced to witness the hanging of seven Jews in my town; I shall never forget that "spectacle." It was abominable; I was utterly shattered and horrified. SS men involved in the extermination of the Jews always celebrated their "accomplishments" with plenty of alcohol. We read how most Germans, especially the Nazis, truly believed what they were doing was for the good of their Nation: "A deed done for the People and the Homeland is a deed well done (p.3).Read more ›
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