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Dr Nikolaus Wachsmann was born in Munich, Germany. He obtained a PhD in History from Birbeck College at the University of London and was a joint winner of the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History.
Joint Winner of the Wolfson History Prize 2016. The first definitive history of the Nazi concentration camp system, KL will remain an essential read for years to come. Wachsmann explores the practice of institutionalised murder and inmate collaboration with the SS selectively ignored by many historians. Pulling together a wealth of in-depth research, official documents, contemporary studies and the evidence of survivors themselves, KL is a complete but accessible narrative. Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said: "The Wolfson History Prize has for almost half a century recognised historical writing of the highest quality: books based on brilliant scholarship that are written with compelling readability. Robin Lane Fox and Nikolaus Wachsmann bring incisive new perspectives to histories we thought we already knew. They are both worthy winners in this long and eminent tradition, and tackle one of the great perennial issues: the nature of evil."
State prisons played an indispensable part in the terror of the Third Reich, incarcerating many hundreds of thousands of men and women: political opponents, 'racial aliens' and many other social outsiders. For most of the Nazi era, these prisons held more inmates than SS concentration camps. This important book illuminates the previously unknown world of Nazi prisons and their victims, and the judicial and penal officials who built and operated this system of legal terror. Nikolaus Wachsmann describes the operation and function of legal terror in the Third Reich and brings Nazi prisons to life through the harrowing stories of individual inmates. Drawing on a vast array of archival materials, he traces the series of changes in prison policies and practice that led to racial abuse, brutal violence, slave labour, starvation and mass killings. Wachsmann demonstrates that 'ordinary' legal officials were ready collaborators who helped to turn courts and prisons into key components in the Nazi web of terror. He concludes with a discussion of the whitewash of the Nazi legal system in post-war West Germany. 'One of the most important books to be published on Nazi Germany in many years', Richard J. Evans, University of Cambridge 'An outstanding piece of work - one of the best studies of the Third Reich to appear for a long time. No serious future work on the Nazi state will be able to bypass this book.' Sir Ian Kershaw Nikolaus Wachsmann is lecturer in modern history at the University of Sheffield. He was born in Munich and has also taught history at the University of London and at Cambridge University where he was a research fellow. In 2001 he was jointly awarded the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History for his research on German prisons.
Weeks after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, the Nazi regime established the first concentration camps in Germany. Initially used for real and suspected political enemies, the camps increasingly came under SS control and became sites for the repression of social outsiders and German Jews. Terror was central to the Nazi regime from the beginning, and the camps gradually moved toward the center of repression, torture, and mass murder during World War II and the Holocaust. This collection brings together revealing primary documents on the crucial origins of the Nazi concentration camp system in the prewar years between 1933 and 1939, which have been overlooked thus far. Many of the documents are unpublished and have been translated into English for the first time. These documents provide insight into the camps from multiple perspectives, including those of prisoners, Nazi officials, and foreign observers, and shed light on the complex relationship between terror, state, and society in the Third Reich.