Thursday, November 4, 2010

Model Nazi: Arthur Greisler and the Occupation of Western Poland by Catherine Epstein

This is a book that needed to be written. Yet, somewhat surprisingly, over sixty years after a crowd of 15,000 turned out to witness his execution, this is the first full biography of Arthur Greiser to appear in English. It is, I would suggest, a resounding success. Read the rest of my review on the History Today website.

1 comment:

  1. Epstein might be onto something here. Greiser was "an example of a particular kind of perpetrator: one shaped by a volkisch nationalism rooted in the ethnic tensions of borderland regions". Also there were "feelings of inadequacy and vulnerability, the need to prove himself as a model Nazi, combined with a newly found fanatical nationalism". And I suppose Greiser was an ambitious man, one who wanted to have a successful career.

    But what about the millions of ordinary citizens who had no need to prove themselves as model Nazis, who were never going to have success military careers. Why did they burn the homes and synagogues of their school mates and neighbours?

    And not just in Nazi Germany. Consider Serbs putting thousands of Muslim and Croat males into pits and machine gunning them. Or ordinary Americans gaoling and torturing thousands of Iraqis and Afghanistanis in Cuba etc without trial. Or Australians allowing desperate Asian refugees to drown en route to our northern coastline.

    There is a widespread, racist and murderous madness taking hold... that Epstein may have underestimated.