Cover image for Seduced by Hitler : the choices of a nation and the ethics of survival
Seduced by Hitler : the choices of a nation and the ethics of survival
LeBor, Adam.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks, 2001.

Physical Description:
xi, 356 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Surviving Hitler. United Kingdom : Simon & Schuster, 2000.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DD256.7 .L43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
DD256.7 .L43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Two British journalists draw on recent research and declassified documents for a new perspective on the Third Reich: the ways that average people living in Germany, its allies and occupied territories, and neutral European nations made everyday choices which had consequences for the rise of Adolf Hitler. By exploiting German dissatisfaction, both ideological and practical, and by being all things to all "racially pure" Germans, the Nazis corrupted and seduced an entire nation; LeBor and Boyes portray a world of continual ethical and moral compromise by citizens of the Reich that led to their complicity in the Holocaust. First published in the UK as Surviving Hitler (2000). c. Book News Inc.

Author Notes

Adam LeBor is a British journalist based in Budapest and writes for the Independent, the Jewish Chronicle and Literary Review.
Roger Boyes is The Times' German correspondent and lives in Berlin.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

This is a macabrely fascinating work on the flexibility of human morality when people are faced with sinister and seductive alternatives. The authors not only explore how great numbers of people accommodated the horrors of the Third Reich but also how others worked to resist its bloody machinations. Much of the German middle class seemed to be bought off cheaply through buying Jewish property that was seized by the Nazis and then sold at cut-rate prices. They were also given inexpensive vacations that had previously only been available to the wealthy. Among those who worked to thwart Hitler's Final Solution was Albert Goring, the brother of Reichsmarschal Hermann Goring. Albert worked openly to assist Jews in escaping Germany. Perhaps the most curious of those who assisted Hitler were the Judenraete: local Jewish civic leaders who either were coerced or volunteered to keep Jewish civilians under control. Although this book is informative and thought-provoking, it is also curiously ill focused and disorganized. But recommended, nevertheless, for the information it contains. --Eric Robbins

Publisher's Weekly Review

Two British journalists who lived and worked in Eastern Europe, LeBor (Hitler's Secret Bankers) and Boyes (The Naked President) are sensitive to the myriad moral choices made by ordinary and extraordinary Germans in the face of evil. As the authors and others have pointed out, "few knew everything, millions knew something" about the vast project to exterminate the Jews. Although their theory of seduction is neither new nor original, LeBor and Boyes do offer (without crediting him) a Gramscian model of hegemony: that power is never only the simple threat of force, but a combination of the threat of force along with consensus. It is the consensus that concerns them more than the violence per se of National Socialism. In short, they explain, there were choices to be made and most people made the "wrong" ones, for various reasons (fear, greed, etc.). Although the book opens up new avenues of inquiry and questions, it diminishes somewhat the role of ideology and anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe. Small vignettes embedded in each chapter are revealing: jokes, miniature biographies, micro-episodes of the Reich. LeBor and Boyes's claim that "historians have mainly constructed a world inhabited only by victims and criminals" demonstrates a lack of familiarity with some recent work in the field, such as Tzvetan Todorov's Facing the Extreme: Life in the Concentration Camps. Undeniably, Hitler and his propaganda machine were masters at mass, public seduction. But this is only one facet of a dark era in history. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Hitler has been dead for 56 years, but the "Hitler industry" is alive and well, and these two new books get to the heart of it. German-born Wyden (who previously explored the horrors of Nazism in Stella, LJ 10/15/92) was consumed with his mission to document the "Hitler virus" he found prevalent in modern Germany but died in 1998 before his work was finished. His publisher, identified only as "R.W.S.," completed the research and frames the book with introductory and concluding essays. Wyden constructs his case slowly, describing instances of neo-Nazi sentiment, skinhead terror, and acts of violence against immigrants. He chillingly details a festive trek by tourists to Berchtesgaden, Hitler's mountain retreat, and worries about the still-powerful significance of Hitler's birthday to many Germans. He also investigates the comfortable fates of Nazi leaders and dissects the Holocaust deniers. Perhaps the most effective portion of Wyden's indictment is his depiction of intellectual support for new right-wing movements in Germany. Yet, despite the accumulation of evidence, the book feels fragmented and lacks the kind of kick that Wyden might have provided had he lived a bit longer. In Seduced by Hitler, first published a year ago in England, British journalists LeBor and Boyes examine daily life in Nazi Germany and in German-occupied countries. Describing in vivid detail the choices people made to survive, the authors seek to learn why so few Germans made the choice to resist the state. Although most ordinary Germans were not affected by surveillance or terror, many of them had to compromise certain moral principles. An atmosphere of mistrust and accusation festered beneath the surface of daily routine. The authors find no clear-cut answers to their question, but the personal stories presented here make for compelling--and disturbing--readreading. Both works are useful additions to the World War II and modern German collections in academic and large public libraries.Thomas A. Karel, Franklin and Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Journalists LeBor and Boyes claim to reveal the intimate secrets of daily life in Nazi Germany, focusing on how ordinary and not so ordinary people coped with the regime. This part of their book encompasses six chapters. First, a general chapter covers a variety of topics. The next chapters are devoted to establishing the relationship between Adolph Hitler and the general population, women, and the generals. Another, entitled "The Triumph of Kitsch," suggests ways in which the Nazis covered up inconsistencies and maintained their popularity. This chapter is followed by one devoted to big business, the men who ran it, and how both benefited from the roles they played in the Third Reich. The remaining chapters focus on how governments and people in occupied and neutral countries, as well as Jews, mostly in Poland, dealt with Nazi Germany. The chapters in this confusing book are broken by insertions describing particular issues or telling specific stories, making it difficult to maintain continuity. The bibliography reveals that the authors used only some of the relevant sources available to them. General readers. H. D. Andrews emeritus, Towson University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
1 From Cradle to Gravep. 22
2 The Fuhrer and His Peoplep. 51
3 The Fuhrer and His Womenp. 75
4 The Fuhrer and His Generalsp. 92
5 The Triumph of Kitschp. 101
6 From Boardroom to Birkenaup. 129
7 Occupiers and Occupiedp. 165
8 Rescuers and Rescuedp. 205
9 Neutral Collaborationp. 240
10 Impossible Choicesp. 274
Afterwordp. 314
Notesp. 331
Bibliographyp. 339
Indexp. 350