Arad, Yitzhad, ed. Documents on the Holocaust: Selected Sources on the Destruction of the Jews of Germany and Austria, Poland and the Soviet Union.  Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1981.

By: Leah Bergner

Interested in the history of the Holocaust?  This book covers a lot of ground—it’s like a mini history lesson all in a matter of a couple hours…Germany, Austria, Poland and the Soviet Union were occupied by Germany in WWII.  This book includes a compilation of material of its time and it provides the reader with a compact idea of a long and complex history by examining the documents of many participants in the war.  The evolution of a nation is bound to be better understood after reading this book

TOPICS DISCUSSED (as taken from the book forward):

“…The crystallization of the principles of Nazi anti-semitism, the policies of the Third Reich towards the Jews, the period of segregation and enclosed ghettos, and the stages through which the “final solution” was implemented, on the one hand, and the Jewish public activities, the struggle for life, and the organization of the Underground and Jewish self-defense on the other.”

PART ONE (Germany and Austria):

A)    Basic elements of National-Socialist anti-semitism—the evolution of a mind-set

B)     Policy lines of the Third Reich/Jewish response from 1933-45

*Documents included of plans before and after Nazi takeover including excerpts of Hitler’s speeches/followers documentation of events and newspaper coverage

PART TWO (Poland): beginning in 1939-ending with the “final solution” and with the evacuation and liquidation of the concentration camps


1)      political and legislative trends and policy employed by Germans against Jews

2)    struggle of Jews to survive and the organizations they formed

3)      the Jewish Underground

4)      the Polish Underground and the attitudes toward Jews

5)      descriptive reality of the concentration/extermination camps and the revolts that took place in them

--good documentation of regulations on Jews

--some excerpts from Jews affected by the harsh treatment

--many documents from Jewish Underground and ghetto uprisings

PART THREE (Soviet Union): from the preparations for German invasion in 1941 to Nazi occupation

--a good resource on ghetto life and mass executions

--almost all of the documents are on the extermination of the Jews