THE INCOMPARABLE CRIME by Roger & Heinrich Fraenkel Manvell


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The fifth volume in the series of biographies of Nazi leaders and studies of life during the Third Reich by these authors deals with the mass extermination of several million Jews, Poles, Russians and Gipsies in Europe during World War II. The authors have tried to describe ""the extraordinary nature of the hidden communities in which this work was done"" and to assess the effect of this great crime on the conscience of the German people. They delineate a background to genocide and describe the mass murderers (Hitler and Heydrich, autocrats, Himmler and Hoess, bureaucrats), those extraordinary ""ordinary"" men, including Eichmann, Frank of Poland, Kramer of Birkenau, Ilse Koch and Irma Grese and many less highly placed individuals. They detail the efforts on the part of Vrba and Wetzler to save the Hungarian Jews, remark on the stance of the Vatican (Plus XII was too concerned with Bolshevism), the activities of the Red Cross. But ""the only action that effectively saved the Jews from further destruction was the final defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945."" Genocide left a legacy of guilt, not only for the Germans but for others, indicated by refusal to absorb a threatened population by the U.S. and Britain, etc. Devastating in its simplicity, its totality of destructive commitment, ""the incomparable crime"" sets off a complex of reactions, gives rise to a series of questions that the authors consider and convey with scope and objectivity. Somewhere between a source book and Peter Weiss.

Pub Date: July 11th, 1967
Publisher: Putnam