Conversations with the Defendants and Witnesses
A remarkable insight into the Nazi mentality and the nature of evil
The Nuremberg Interviews reveals the chilling innermost thoughts of the former Nazi officials under indictment at the famous postwar trial. The architects of one of history's greatest atrocities speak out about their lives, their careers in the Nazi Party and their views on the Holocaust. Their reflections are recorded in a set of interviews conducted by a U.S. Army psychiatrist. Dr Leon Goldensohn was entrusted with monitoring the mental health of the two dozen German leaders charged with carrying out genocide, as well as that of many of the defence and prosecution witnesses. These recorded conversations have gone largely unexamined for more than fifty years.
Here are interviews with some of the highest-ranking Nazi officials in the Nuremberg jails, including Hans Frank, Hermann Goering, Ernest Kaltenbrunner, and Joachim von Ribbentrop. Here, too, are interviews with lesser-known officials who were, nonetheless, essential to the workings of the Third Reich. Goldensohn was a particularly astute interviewer, his training as a psychiatrist leading him to probe the motives, the rationales, and the skewing of morality that allowed these men to enact an unfathomable evil. Candid and often shockingly truthful, these interviews are deeply disturbing in their illumination of an ideology gone mad.
Each interview is annotated with biographical information and footnotes that place the man and his actions in their historical context and are a profoundly important addition to our understanding of the Nazi mind and mission.
“'A gripping work of history, a series of oral narratives that drag the reader, almost by force, into the nightmarish mental landscape of the Third Reich.'”
William Grimes, New York Times
“'A rare document...striking proof of the banality of evil.'”
“Goldensohn serves as a down-to-earth Dante in these anterooms to hell, getting one damned soul after another to reveal himself in his own words...as Goldensohn made his rounds, he mostly kept his astonishment and dismay under control. It's more than readers will be able to do.”
“'Goldensohn's conversations with these men are perturbing because most of the them seem like many of us except for the circumstances that lured them into opportunistic deviance. Goldensohn may not have left a headline-making legacy of belated revelations, but he has complicated further the tapestry of evil.'”
“Virtually all the top Nazi officials tried at Nuremberg are interviewed here, and their responses make for fascinating yet chilling reading... Without necessarily intending to do so, these men reveal how easily totalitarian systems can induce acquiescence to or even enthusiastic participation in evil.”