The Unknown Black Book: The Holocaust in the German-Occupied Soviet TerritoriesThe 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, the Crimea, and large parts of Russia itself. These documents, from residents of cities, small towns, and rural areas, are raw, 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, fearful that their neighbors would betray them, as often happened. In his introduction to the volume, Joshua Rubenstein examines the Final Solution on the Russian Front, how the Soviet regime responded to the slaughter of its own citizens, and the postwar trial of the perpetrators at Nuremberg. (Published by Indiana University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2008. A paperback edition is now available.)

“The Unknown Black Book invites the reader to enter an almost unimaginable world where atrocity became a way of life and survival a miracle.”

– Richard Overy, author of Russia’s War: A History of the Soviet Effort, 1941-1945

“The most comprehensive English collection of wartime and early postwar diaries, letters, testimonies, and other documents penned by Jewish victims and survivors in the territories of Ukraine, Belorussia, and the Baltics.”

– Wendy Lower, author of Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine

The Unknown Black Book reveals the sheer barbarity on the individual level – the tortures and rapes, the looting and destruction, and, not least, the glee and humor, as well as the hatred and contempt, expressed by the killers. It makes for very disturbing reading. But 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 – mostly returning home after the war as ‘ordinary men’ – and millions of others became helpless, dehumanized, mutilated and finally forgotten victims.”

– Omer Bartov, author of Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine