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Documenting Life and Destruction

Holocaust Sources in Context

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The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies and Rowman & Littlefield are proud to present this groundbreaking series of source volumes that provide firsthand accounts of the lives of those who suffered through the Holocaust, those who perpetrated it, and those who witnessed it as bystanders.

Documenting Life and Destruction combines a wide range of documents from different archival holdings with additional information to enhance the understanding of the events in this crucial period. 

Volumes

Documenting Life and Destruction consists of 13 volumes:

  1. Jewish Responses to Persecution, Volume I, 1933–1938, Jürgen Matthäus and Mark Roseman (2010)
  2. Children during the Holocaust, Patricia Heberer (2011)
  3. Jewish Responses to Persecution, Volume II, 1938–1940, Alexandra Garbarini with Emil Kerenji, Jan Lambertz, and Avinoam Patt (2011)
  4. The Diary of Samuel Golfard and the Holocaust in Galicia, Wendy Lower (2011)
  5. Jewish Responses to Persecution, Volume III, 1941–1942, Jürgen Matthäus with Emil Kerenji, Jan Lambertz, and Leah Wolfson (2013)
  6. The Holocaust in Hungary: Evolution of a Genocide, Zoltán Vági, László Csősz, and Gábor Kádár (2013)
  7. War, Pacification, and Mass Murder, 1939: The Einsatzgruppen in Poland, Jürgen Matthäus, Jochen Böhler, and Klaus-Michael Mallman (2014)
  8. Jewish Responses to Persecution, Volume IV, 1942–1943, Emil Kerenji (2015)
  9. Jewish Responses to Persecution, Volume V, 1944–1946, Leah Wolfson (2015)
  10. The Political Diary of Alfred Rosenberg and the Onset of the Holocaust, Jürgen Matthäus and Frank Bajohr (2015)
  11. Nazi Persecution and Postwar Repercussions: The International Tracing Service Archive and Holocaust Research, Suzanne Brown-Fleming (2016)
  12. Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1933—1946: A Source Reader, Jürgen Matthäus with Emil Kerenji (2017)
  13. Predicting the Holocaust: Jewish Organizations Report from Geneva on the Emergence of the “Final Solution,” 1939—1942, Jürgen Matthäus (2018)

“Were we dreaming or was it real? Could people really do this to each other? And why, why?”

Excerpt from the diary of Mally Dienemann, a rabbi’s wife in Offenbach, Germany, 1933, in Jewish Responses to Persecution, Volume I, 1933–1938 

Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1933–1946

Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1933–1946 presents documentation that describes the manifestations and meanings of Nazi Germany’s “final solution” from the Jewish perspective. This principal publication in the Documenting Life and Destruction series consists of five volumes.

Volume I, covering the period 1933–1938, takes us from Hitler’s rise to power through the aftermath of Kristallnacht and vividly reveals the increasing devastation and confusion wrought in Jewish communities in and beyond Germany at the time. It features period photographs and reproductions of original documents with translations and annotations as well as a chronology, glossary, bibliography, and index.

Volume II, which covers the period between 1938 and 1940, brings together a broad range of documents–including diaries, letters, speeches, newspaper articles, reports, Jewish identity cards, and personal photographs–from Jews in Nazi-dominated Europe and beyond Europe’s borders. It illuminates the daily lives of a diverse range of Jews who suffered under Nazism, their coping strategies, and their efforts to assess the implications for the persecution they faced during this period. Volume II begins with Kristallnacht in 1938 and continues through Jewish flight out of Germany, the onset of World War II, the forced relocation of the Jews of Europe eastward, and the formation of Jewish ghettos, particularly in Poland.

Volume III, which covers the period between 1941 and 1942, sheds light on the personal and public lives of Jews during a time when Hitler’s triumph in Europe seemed assured, and the mass murder of millions had begun in earnest.

Volume IV covers the peak years of the Nazi “Final Solution,” tracing the Jewish struggle for survival, which became increasingly urgent during this period, including armed resistance and organized escape attempts.

Volume V covers the final year of Nazi destruction and the immediate postwar years, tracing the increasingly urgent Jewish struggle for survival and for documenting the Holocaust.

Standalone Volumes

Predicting the Holocaust: Jewish Organizations Report from Geneva on the Emergence of the “Final Solution,” 1939–1942

By Jürgen Matthäus

This profoundly informed volume provides an in-depth overview of Jewish assessments of the evolving Nazi Judenpolitik in the early years of World War II. The author showcases the perceptive reports compiled by two Geneva-based offices, among the first to predict the threat to millions of Jews with the rising tide of Nazi rule over Europe.

Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1933–1946

By Jürgen Matthäus with Emil Kerenji

Combining rich documentation selected from the five-volume series on Jewish Responses to Persecution, this text presents a carefully curated collection of primary sources together with basic background information to illuminate key aspects of Jewish life during the Holocaust. These letters, reports, and testimonies, as well as photographs and other visual documents, provide an array of first-hand contemporaneous accounts by victims. With its focus on highlighting the diversity of Jewish experiences, insights, and actions, the books calls into question prevailing perceptions of Jews as a homogenous, faceless, or passive group and helps broaden students’ understanding of the Holocaust.

Nazi Persecution and Postwar Repercussions: The International Tracing Service Archive and Holocaust Research

By Suzanne Brown-Fleming
Forward: Paul A. Shapiro

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Germany, is home to tens of millions of documents containing information on over 17 million people who were subject to incarceration, forced labor, displacement, or death as a consequence of World War II. This volume offers a point of entry into this complex and often misunderstood collection with great potential to advance scholarship and education on the Holocaust and its aftermath.

The Political Diary of Alfred Rosenberg and the Onset of the Holocaust

By Jürgen Matthäus and Frank Bajohr

By combining his diary notes with additional key documents and in-depth analysis, this book shows Alfred Rosenberg’s crucial role in the Nazi regime’s anti-Jewish policy. In the second half of 1941 the territory administered by Rosenberg became the region where the mass murder of Jewish men, women, and children first became a systematic pattern. Indeed, months before the emergence of German death camps in Poland, Nazi leaders perceived the occupied Soviet Union as the area where the “final solution of the Jewish question” could be executed on a European scale. Covering almost the entire duration of the Third Reich, these previously inaccessible sources throw new light on the thoughts and actions of the leading men around Hitler during critical junctures that led to war, genocide, and Nazi Germany’s final defeat.

War, Pacification, and Mass Murder, 1939: The Einsatzgruppen in Poland

By Jürgen Matthäus, Jochen Böhler, and Klaus-Michael Mallmann

This invaluable work traces the role of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and SD (Sicherheitsdienst), the core group of Himmler’s murder units involved in the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question,” during and immediately after the German campaign in Poland in 1939. With carefully selected primary sources contextualized by the authors’ clear narrative, this work fills an important gap in our understanding of a crucial period in the evolution of policies directed against Jews, Poles, and others deemed dangerous or inferior by the Third Reich. Supplemented by maps, photographs, and a chronology, this book will be an essential reference and research tool.

The Holocaust in Hungary: Evolution of a Genocide

By Zoltán Vági, László Csősz, and Gábor Kádár
Forward: by Randolph L. Braham

Features sources on the causes, stages, and consequences of the destruction of the largest Jewish community left intact in German-dominated Europe in 1944. The volume shows how after the German occupation of Hungary the complete disenfranchisement, plunder, ghettoization, and deportation of the Jews was implemented at an almost unprecedented speed.

Children During the Holocaust

By Patricia Heberer 
Introduction: Nechama Tec

Explores the wide range of experiences of those under the age of 18 who found themselves caught in the war. While the volume focuses on the struggle of victims (Jews, Roma and Sinti, people with disabilities, and others) to survive, it also explores the role of children as bystanders and persecutors. Read more

The Diary of Samuel Golfard and the Holocaust in Galicia

By Wendy Lower

Combines a fascinating account written in the town of Peremyshliany, western Ukraine, in 1942–1943 with a selection of postwar testimonies, and wartime German documentation on the persecution and mass murder of Jews in this under-researched region.

How to Order

Most Mandel Center-sponsored books can be purchased at our Museum Shop and from other booksellers. The Museum Shop also offers select foreign-language versions, which can be purchased by calling 800.259.9998.

Contact Information

Jürgen Matthäus, PhD
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC 20024
Email: jmatthaus@ushmm.org
Tel.: 202.314.0378

Rowman & Littlefield
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200
Lanham, MD 20706
Tel.: 800.462.6420