provided them a second chance with a career in the SS. In contrast to Hitler, Himmler preferred to have first-hand information about any decision he made. He travelled extensively and even took the time to read the applications for admission to the SS. The biographic aspects, however, are pushed aside by extensive discussion of the structure of the SS and its role in the occupation of Eastern Europe and the genocide in the course of World War II. The reader is confronted with extensive biographical data about the leadership team of the SS, a look at the generational characteristics of the men who joined the SS in the 1930s, a discussion of the ethnic cleansing in Poland, and of course about the Holocaust. And while these events are undoubtedly part of Himmler's life, Himmler seems to disappear behind the story. The reader feels somehow cheated when, after reading 758 pages, he is confronted with Longerich's conclusion. Himmler's actions in the Third Reich, Longerich contends, could not be explained from his early childhood experience and his growing up ("fehlgeschlagene Persönlichkeitsentwicklung") or from the environment in which he grew up. If that is the case one wonders why the author
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Jun 1, 2011
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