The Liberation of the Camps


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The End of the Holocaust and Its Aftermath

Dan Stone

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A moving, deeply researched account of survivors’ experiences of liberation from Nazi death camps and the long, difficult years that followed
When tortured inmates of Hitler’s concentration and extermination camps were liberated in 1944 and 1945, the horror of the atrocities came fully to light. It was easy for others to imagine the joyful relief of freed prisoners, yet for those who had survived the unimaginable, the experience of liberation was a slow, grueling journey back to life. In this unprecedented inquiry into the days, months, and years following the arrival of Allied forces at the Nazi camps, a foremost historian of the Holocaust draws on archival sources and especially on eyewitness testimonies to reveal the complex challenges liberated victims faced and the daunting tasks their liberators undertook to help them reclaim their shattered lives.
Historian Dan Stone focuses on the survivors—their feelings of guilt, exhaustion, fear, shame for having survived, and devastating grief for lost family members; their immense medical problems; and their later demands to be released from Displaced Persons camps and resettled in countries of their own choosing. Stone also tracks the efforts of British, American, Canadian, and Russian liberators as they contended with survivors’ immediate needs, then grappled with longer-term issues that shaped the postwar world and ushered in the first chill of the Cold War years ahead.

Dan Stone is professor of modern history, Royal Holloway, University of London. He has published twenty books on the Holocaust, genocide, and twentieth-century European history, including The Holocaust: An Unfinished History.

“[An] engrossing and illuminating book—the first full and comparative study of the subject.”—Richard J. Evans, New York Review of Books

“Dan Stone has written an engrossing book that is incredibly rich in survivor testimony, weaving a tapestry that covers a lot of ground and grips the reader because of the moving and raw character of the stories.”—Rainier Schulze, Reviews in History

“Dan Stone’s latest book shows that liberation was not the end of the story. . . . This important book fills in the gaps left in most Holocaust histories.”—Ross Bradshaw, Jewish Renaissance

“[A] vivacious portrait of the ambiguities and complexities of the encounter between liberators and liberated, a story that had not been told in such a comprehensive way.”—Laura Jockusch, Journal of German History

“Stone navigates this debate sensitively and always from the survivors’ perspective. One of his most important contributions is his portrayal of the obstacles to Jewish thriving and his deep empathy.”—Carolyn J. Dean, Journal of Modern History

“Dan Stone’s history of the liberation of the camps is remarkable for the vast array of its sources, its extremely detailed inquiry and, nonetheless, for its highly readable narrative. It will remain a reference for years to come.”—Saul Friedländer, author of Nazi Germany and the Jews

“The liberation of the camps in 1944–45 can be seen as a merciful release by Allied armies dedicated to eliminating the cruelties of Hitler’s Reich. Dan Stone in this searingly honest account of the liberation and its aftermath shows how many paradoxes and ambiguities there were in the whole process. This is the story of an awful human tragedy told with sympathy and understanding. There are lessons here for our own age.”—Richard Overy, author of Why the Allies Won

The Liberation of the Camps should become the most important and widely read book on its subject.”—Geoff Eley, author of Nazism as Fascism: Violence, Ideology, and the Ground of Consent in Germany 1930–1945

“This is the best book on the liberation of Jews from the Nazi camps—important and insightful. Drawing on many deeply moving testimonies, Dan Stone expertly charts the long and painful path from prisoner to survivor.”—Nikolaus Wachsmann, author of KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps
ISBN: 9780300204575
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
288 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
24 b/w illus.