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June 11, 1982

Survivors, Victims, and Perpetrators: Essays on the Nazi Holocaust

JAMA. 1982;247(22):3138. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320470078043

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This book delineates the social setting and the process of organizing the extermination of millions according to National Socialist philosophy. As Hamburg notes in his foreword, the "level of sophistication in modern organization and technology" that the Germans brought to this work was unique—railway schedules, euphemisms for murder, classifications of Gypsies, Jews, Poles, and political prisoners, the architectural design and chemistry of mass murder. Also detailed are the use of inmates as cards for political negotiation and the resistance of some Italian Fascists and German clergymen.

There is a section on the victims, telling how survivors coped in the camps and afterwards, and about the psychotherapy of survivors and what happens to their children. A general model of stress and coping under extreme conditions is developed by Benner, Roskies, and Lazarus.

A final section deals with the perpetrators. There are diaries and autobiographical material from guards and prominent Nazis, as