Following the 1940 invasion of Poland, the Nazis established ghettos in cities and towns across the country with the initial aim of segregating and isolating the Jewish community. These closed sectors were referred to as Judischer Wohnbezirk or Wohngebiet der Juden (Jewish Quarters).
Using contemporary images this well researched and inevitably harrowing book shows the harsh and deteriorating conditions of daily life in these restricted areas. In reality the ghettos were holding areas prior to the transportation to concentration, extermination and work camps, such as Auschwitz-Birkenau and Belzec. Aware of their imminent fate including the threat of family separation, enslavement and death, underground resistance groups sprung up and promoted numerous uprisings which were brutally and callously suppressed.
The Nazis’ ultimate aim was the liquidation of the ghettos and the extermination of their inhabitants in furtherance of The Final Solution. This may seem unthinkable today but, as this book graphically reveals, they worked to achieve their objective regardless of human suffering.
I have read quite a few books in this series and this for me was one that has had the biggest impact.
The book is one that anyone with an interest of the atrocities of World War II and the social impact that this had on communities, families and even religions and countries needs to read.
The book is not an easy read in places at all with the fate of millions of people affected by the actions of the Nazi’s through these ghettos which were often used to round up the Jews in the area and contain them, with a view of extraditing them to the work, and ultimately death camps that had been set up.
I thought that the book had a great introduction and it was broken down to relevant chapters which made it one that you could pick up and put down if needed, but I did read it over the course of an evening in one sitting, it is not long in length and the images tell the story of what happened, there are images of executions and the aftermath of these and other deaths featured, but they are needed as they are part of the story of what some of these poor people faced.
I have read quite a few books in this series now and this is another great addition. The text is easy to read and informative throughout and the images that have been chosen are excellent, they are poignant and the book did leave me feeling a little bereft at the loss of life and knowing what was likely to have happened to some of those features in the images.
The book is fine to read as a stand-alone, or it can also be used to encourage the reader to look in to more around the subject, and that is what I like most about this series. It is 5 stars from me, it was an emotive read and one that will stay with me, very highly recommended.