The Unknown Black Book

The Unknown Black Book

The Holocaust in the German-Occupied Soviet Territories
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/25/2010
Format: Paperback 20 b&w illus., 2 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-22267-1
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The Unknown Black Book provides a revelatory compilation of testimonies from Jews who survived open-air massacres and other atrocities carried out by the Germans and their allies in the occupied Soviet territories during World War II—Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Crimea. These documents are first-hand accounts by survivors of work camps, ghettos, forced marches, beatings, starvation, and disease. Collected under the direction of two renowned Soviet Jewish journalists, Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman, they tell of Jews who lived in pits, walled-off corners of apartments, attics, and basement dugouts, unable to emerge due to fear that their neighbors would betray them, as often happened.

Author Bio

Joshua Rubenstein is Northeast Regional Director of Amnesty International USA. He is author of Tangled Loyalties: The Life and Times of Ilya Ehrenburg, and editor (with Vladimir Naumov) of Stalin's Secret Pogrom: The Postwar Inquisition of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee.

Ilya Altman is Director of the Center for Holocaust Research and Education in Moscow and Editor-in-Chief of Encyclopedia of the Holocaust in the USSR (in Russian).


“A revelatory compilation of testimonies from Jews who survived work camps, ghettos, forced marches, beatings, starvation, and disease in the occupied Soviet territories during World War II, unable to emerge due to fear that their neighbors would betray them.”

“The most comprehensive English collection of wartime and early postwar diaries, letters, testimonies, and other documents penned by Jewish victims and survivors of the Holocaust in the territories of Ukraine, Belorussia, Russia, and the Baltics. Anyone interested in studying and trying to make sense of the cruelty, collective violence, inhumane suffering, and trauma of genocide should read this unfiltered, detailed evidence of the Holocaust's impact on individuals and society.”
 — Wendy Lower, author of Nazi Empire Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine

“The Unknown Black Book invites the reader to enter an almost unimaginable world where atrocity became a way of life and survival a miracle. . . . Killing on the Eastern front was raw and unmediated violence. 'The Unknown Black Book' captures that grim reality of rave murder and at the same time disarms denial.”
 — Richard Overy, author of The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia

“A unique source for a fuller understanding of the tragic events during these dark years.”
 — Walter Laqueur, editor of The Holocaust Encyclopedia

“The book offers a great many insights to the reader. . . . It is impossible here to give a full account of the wealth of material contained in the book. March 19, 2010”
 — Journal of Modern Jewish Studies

“These accounts from those who saw what happened convey what we cannot learn from official documents about the nature of this vast criminal enterprise, in which hundreds of thousands were transformed into monsters . . . and millions of others became helpless, dehumanized, mutilated, and finally forgotten victims.”
 — Wall Street Journal

“An essential work for anyone who wants to explore the depth of German and collaborationist crimes against the Jews.”
 — Holocaust and Genocide Studies

“The Unknown Black Book's main contribution is in exposing the English-speaking audience, for the first time, to one of the most terrible chapters of the Holocaust, as well as in challenging the current trend of presenting the Holocaust as merely another crime against humanity. ”
 — Russian Review

“One of the most important sources on the Holocaust . . . [T]he editors and Indiana University Press have performed an invaluable service by preparing an English-language edition of The Unknown Black Book.”
 — Timothy Snyder, Yale University

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Table of Contents

The Destruction of the Jews in German-Occupied Territories of the Soviet Union Yitzhak Arad
The History and Fate of The Black Book and The Unknown Black Book Ilya Altman
Note on Translation

The War and the Final Solution on the Russian Front Joshua Rubenstein
I. Ukraine
II. Belorussia
III. Lithuania
IV. Latvia
V. Estonia
VI. The Crimea
VII. Russia
VIII. Prisoners of War

Detailed Table of Contents

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