The German Historians: Hitler's Willing Executioners and Daniel Goldhagen

Description

190 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
$24.99
ISBN 1-55164-212-3
DDC 940.53'18'072043

Author

Publisher

Year

2003

Contributor

Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein, Distinguished Research Professor of History Emeritus,
York University, served as Director of the Canadian War Museum from 1998
to 2000. His latest works are Who Killed Canadian History?, Who Killed
the Canadian Military, and Hell’s Cor

Review

This is a strange, repellent book. Kautz intends to demonstrate how and
why the response in Germany to Daniel Goldhagen’s book Hitler’s
Willing Executioners took form. That is a laudable goal, for Goldhagen
challenged the German view that only diehard Nazis participated in the
Holocaust; instead, he demonstrated that ordinary Germans did their
share. Certainly Kautz is correct when he illustrates that German
historians were cool to this argument, many pointing to research and
methodological flaws in Goldhagen’s work. Good, as far as it goes.

But to Kautz, this is all a great conspiracy by Nazi historians or
those trained by such men. Even worse, it is a conspiracy directed at
Kautz who has had trouble finding a job and even in getting the German
edition of this work reviewed. And when Kautz, finally did get a review,
by the distinguished York University historian Michael Kater, it was
scathingly critical. I realize all too clearly that by noting this, I
myself became part of the great global conspiracy directed at Kautz,
for—dare I say it?—Kater was a colleague for years at York
University.

This is a paranoiac work. The prose is terrible, the use of evidence
wobbly, and the attacks on individuals such as to be the stuff of libel
suits. The great wonder is that it was published in Germany and then
deemed worth publishing in English by a hitherto respectable publisher.

Citation

Kautz, Fred., “The German Historians: Hitler's Willing Executioners and Daniel Goldhagen,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/31803.