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ghost wrote:Format: Hardback
Foreword, Acknowledgements, Sources, Methodology, Introduction,
main topics: Disciplinary punishment of SS men, “Strafvollzugslager der SS und Polizei”, Origin, Structure and Activities, “Strafvollzugslager der SS und Polizei Danzig-Matzkau,, SS-Richter and Beurkundungsführer, and Front Probation Units of the SS and Polizei”.
Appendix1: SS rank comparison chart
Appendix 2: Lexicon,
Appendix 3: Abbreviations
Select Bibliography, Institutions, Internet resources, private archives,
Since I first opened the cover of Alexander Dallin’s magnificent book German Rule in Russia I must admit to having developed an unashamed soft spot for anyone who has undertaken a similar research project on such a colossal scale. When completed, similar ‘seminal projects’ like John P.Moore’s Führerliste der Waffen-SS become a landmark in historical research, the value, contribution and legacy of which ultimately far exceeds the author’s original intended remit. The production of any such work inevitably takes many years and requires inordinate amounts of dedication, effort, research skill and of course significant amounts of money which the author is seldom, if ever, able to recoup. In my view Stuart B.T.Emmett’s book “Strafvollzugslager der SS und Polizei” should fall squarely into this category. Before continuing, I must however acknowledge that in this instance there is however an ‘elephant in the room’ which has compromised the potential of this otherwise outstanding work- and that is the finished book has clearly not been subjected to any copy editing. In any large and complex work such as this, minor mistakes are inevitable. With such a vast amount of detailed and factual information gleaned from numerous and varied international sources in multiple languages which requires very precise presentation, occasional translation, grammar and spelling mistakes, will most likely find their way into the work despite the best efforts to eradicate them. That said, it is clear that even basic copy editing is noticeable by its total absence. In my personal view the author’s primary objective should be to collate, establish and present the ‘facts’ with reference to suitable evidence, and this the author has clearly accomplished. At the same time whilst some of the responsibility for the presentation can be attributed to the author, to my mind the resultant obvious problems with grammar, syntax, and formatting which should never have appeared in the final book, could and should have been rectified by the publishers. Notwithstanding this, I find the entire subject fascinating and despite the mistakes mentioned above it is evident that 'factual' errors are not in evidence, hence the book still serves as a good reference. The diagrams and maps which are included are clear and well laid out and the printing quality is good. Likewise the rare unpublished photographs chosen for inclusion are useful, clear and informative. This book provides the reader with valuable exhaustively referenced and accurate data collected from an impressive variety of archives, institutions, libraries and private collections about the development, structure, and organisation of the SS and Polizei penal system, along with pertinent information about all the key senior members involved in its administration, headed by the Reichsführer Himmler who attempted to control every single aspect of it, and reserved the right to personally review all disciplinary cases. It charts the evolution of the SS/Polizei penal system prior to the war and how criminal and disobedient soldiers were punished with demotion and incarceration, to in some cases ultimate redemption and potential rehabilitation by way of field probation in specially formed penal units, including the notorious Dirlwanger Brigade. Numerous individual case studies are presented for offenses committed by in some cases brave and highly decorated soldiers, NCOs and officers such as desertion, murder, homosexuality, disobedience, cowardice, theft, fraud, embezzlement, threatening behaviour against a superior, returning late from leave drunkenness, rape etc Personally I was fascinated to read about the parolees assigned to the Verlorenen Haufen (the lost bunch/ forlorn hope) in order to earn their ‘rehabilitation’ (often posthumously) as well as small details such as the Dutch volunteers who were incarcerated for refusing to swear an oath to Hitler. I can only imagine how bitterly disappointed the author must feel with the book which does not reflect the enormous amount of time, and resources which have clearly been invested into this project and which deserves much better. In my view, the author has been let down partly by circumstances beyond his control, but at the same time the essence of the work has been preserved and the factual element remains uncompromised and valid, because of which this book gets a three star rating.