Goldhagen, Daniel


I am interested in reading comments or discussion of Goldhagen's book "Hitler's Willing Executioners." Perhaps you know where they are available. Thank you.

Richard J. Green answers:


As you no doubt are aware, this book has generated considerable controversy. Some of my colleagues may be able to point you to other sources, but I thought you might find interesting a review I wrote of Birn and Finkelsteins critique of Goldhagen.

You can find it at


Rich Green


I am interested in any material other than your short answers regarding the Goldhagen theory and "Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust" I would very much appreciate any references to publications, or indeed direct answers, to questions regarding the willingness of Germans to murder Jews from 1938 to 1945

Marty Kelley answers:

I am one of the volunteers who answers questions for the Holocaust History Project.

I recently acquired, but have not yet had the chance to read, a collection of essays titled Unwilling Germans? The Goldhagen Debate, edited by Robert R. Shandley (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press, 1998). This book collects a wide range of articles originally published between 1996 and 1997 (mostly in Germany, though many were also translated and republished elsewhere) debating various aspects of Goldhagen's book. It also includes a number of replies by Goldhagen to his critics. On the basis of a brief look at the table of contents, I'd say it looks quite good.

On the web, of course, a search for "Goldhagen Willing Executioners" or similar terms will turn up endless hits, which I am unable to provide any comprehensive assessnment of. Most links are to individual reviews of the book. You might take a look at the suggested bibliography for a Macquarie University (Australia) Political Science course on genocide, at This list includes only citations, however, not the full text of any articles. What appears to be a fairly balanced assortment of online discussions of Ruth Bettina Birn's critique of Goldhagen (which is discussed in the link from THHP), though far from exhaustive, is compiled at

Finally, I found what looks like a potentially interesting 1-1/2 hour audio file, a University of South Florida Library panel discussion of Goldhagen, titled "Explaining the Perpertrators: Ordinary Germans, Ordinary Men, and the Goldhagen Controversy," featuring Dr. Christopher Browning, Dr. Jacob Neusner, and Sam Fustukjian, at

Good luck with your research! This is among the thorniest questions in Holocaust studies, and will probably never be completely resolved to everyone's satisfaction. I hope that these references will be of some help to you; please feel free to write us again if we can assist you with further questions.


Marty Kelley, Ph.D.

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