HISTORY OF THE SS by G. S. Graber

HISTORY OF THE SS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A compact, broadly aimed, rather archly Written narrative of how the SS was transformed from a small internal party police for the 1920s Nazis into the enforcer of slave labor and genocide in the Greater Reich. Graber focuses on the character of SS chief Heinrich Himmler, the failed chicken farmer, ""anxious, indecisive, and sycophantic,"" who detested the sight of violence. Himmler busied himself with ""ideological claptrap"" such as persuading SS members not to celebrate Christmas while deputies like Heydrich pursued bureaucratic empire-building, and--in Graber's view--he became number two man in the Reich (especially after the 1944 Army purges) sheerly through ""unparelleled loyalty"" to Hitler. The activities of the SS itself are shown in breadth if not full horror, including the ""business enterprises"" set up to profit from camp workers, and the shock-troop fervor of the often non-German Waffen SS military squads. Graber's concluding chapters center around the ""Bettelheim syndrome"" relationship between oppressor and oppressed, the ""banality of evil"" illustrated by Himmler and Adolf Eichmann, and what he considers the historically special aspect of SS monstrosity--its ""attacks on industrial civilization"" of a sort persisting today. A new angle but little new of substance.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1977
Publisher: McKay