The Liberation of the Camps The End of the Holocaust and Its Aftermath Dan Stone

Publication date:
23 Apr 2015
Yale University Press
288 pages: 235 x 156 x 25mm
24 b-w illus.
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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

Seventy years have passed since the tortured inmates of Hitler’s concentration and extermination camps were liberated. When 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.

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Dan Stone is professor of modern history, Royal Holloway, University of London. He has published fifteen books on the Holocaust, genocide, and twentieth-century European history, including most recently Goodbye to All That? The Story of Europe Since 1945. He lives in London.

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

'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

'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

'Thoroughly researched, carefully conceived, wisely guided, and beautifully executed, 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