The history of the Holocaust is a subject that continues to engage both readers and historians. However, most accounts have focussed on the story of the horrors endured by inmates in concentration and slave labour camps or on the evil deeds of those who created, controlled and guarded them. As a result, there is one element of the story which is often missing – the story of the liberation.
In this ground breaking history, the concentration camp story is told instead from the liberators’ perspective. Although the book also covers the experiences of the Red Army, the emphasis is on the personal experiences of the British and American liberators and how they reacted to the horrors they witnessed. It looks at the long term psychological effect on them of having witnessed mass murder, and in particular, how witnessing the holocaust changed the behaviour of soldiers in the final weeks of the war in Europe. It details and explains the acts of retribution carried out by those who were appalled by what they had seen.
The book also includes the observations of the concentration camp inmates , their memories of their liberators and how they reacted to what they witnessed. There is a particular emphasis on the experiences of Jewish soldiers who were liberators and how they reacted to the realisation Europe’s Jewish population had been the main target of the holocaust.
Also covered are the reactions of soldiers to the post-war trials of the perpetrators, and the sense of satisfaction it gave them to see those responsible for the Holocaust face justice for their crimes. The book also explains how veterans dealt with their experience and examines the long-term psychological impact on them.
Born in Bedford in 1965, Sean Longden first became interested in history as a child listening to his grandfather’s tales of Gallipoli. He went on to study history at the School of Slavonic and East European studies, University of London. After graduation he worked in a number of photographic archives and press agencies. During this period he worked as a picture editor, indexer and caption writer.It was working with archives of World War Two photographs that sparked his interest in the period and inspired him to write books that look beyond basic military history and into the lives of ...
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