An Economic and Social History of Europe From 1939 to the by Frank B. Tipton, Robert Aldrich

By Frank B. Tipton, Robert Aldrich

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Caseby-case dispositions eventually were authorised by Adolf Eichmann, acting as the official in charge of such organisations. Similarly, since non -Jews at the killing centres 34 AN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL HISTORY OF EUROPE could only die of 'natural causes', the problem of overcrowding had to be periodically relieved by forced marches, denial of medical attention and occasionally by fatal injections. Several camp commanders were tried and convicted of 'corruption' the murder of Jews was the purpose of the camps, and brutality and even torture beyond that authorised as part of ongoing 'medical' experiments could be overlooked, but individual profiteering, sexual relations with Jewish women, or habitual drunkenness could not be tolerated.

Under 'trustee' agreements local owners were forced to 'lease' their property to Germans at bargain rates. Nazi leaders and German firms with government connections scrambled for the spoils . Under German administration central control over industry increased, and new plants were constructed. However, though output of armaments and capital goods rose, consumer industries and agriculture stagnated. Nazi ideology dictated that the racially 'inferior' nations of Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria and the puppet state of Slovakia should produce only agricultural products and raw materials for consumption in the Aryan industrial heartland, but the exigencies of war forced their development into a pattern similar to that of Austria and Czechoslovakia.

Hoss already had extensive experience in the camp system before his Auschwitz appointment. Finally, and most importantly, the perpetrators relied on superior authority. As Himmler himself said : 'The Fuhrer has charged me with carrying out this very difficult task'. And so it seemed to many who were involved - a difficult, unpleasant task undertaken by very ordinary human beings in the course of very ordinary careers. And this, perhaps, is the ultimate horror. 38 AN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL HISTORY OF EUROPE THE DEFEAT OF THE AXIS The Allied war economies From its peak in 1942 the Nazi empire collapsed in three short years.

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