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Publisher's Summary

On April Fourth, 1945, United States Army units from the 89th Infantry Division and the Fourth Armored Division seized Ohrdruf, the first of many Nazi concentration camps to be liberated in Germany. In the weeks that followed, as more camps were discovered, thousands of soldiers came face to face with the monstrous reality of Hitler's Germany.

These men discovered the very depths of human-imposed cruelty and depravity: railroad cars stacked with emaciated, lifeless bodies; ovens full of incinerated human remains; warehouses filled with stolen shoes, clothes, luggage, and even eyeglasses; prison yards littered with implements of torture and dead bodies; and - perhaps most disturbing of all - the half-dead survivors of the camps. For the American soldiers of all ranks who witnessed such powerful evidence of Nazi crimes, the experience was life altering. Almost all were haunted for the rest of their lives by what they had seen, horrified that humans from ostensibly civilized societies were capable of such crimes.

Military historian John C. McManus sheds new light on this often-overlooked aspect of the Holocaust. Drawing on a rich blend of archival sources and thousands of firsthand accounts - including unit journals, interviews, oral histories, memoirs, diaries, letters, and published recollections - Hell before Their Very Eyes focuses on the experiences of the soldiers who liberated Ohrdruf, Buchenwald, and Dachau and their determination to bear witness to this horrific history.

©2018 John C. McManus (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Hell Before Their Very Eyes

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  • Overall
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loved it

it is an interesting view from the soilders view instead of the inmates. I have read many memoirs from survivors and even accounts of the guards, but to liberators shine a new light on the camps. very well written.

3 people found this helpful

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Too bad it's a rough draft

There is great information in this book from an important viewpoint. The soldiers' perspective might even help the some of the right-wing holocaust deniers , who claim to support the military, see the truth. There is also some good writing in this rough draft, and it truly is a rough draft.

the book is sometimes disjointed. There are more than a few places were the information repeats itself. That's understandable in a rough draft, but this is supposed to be a finished book. In the beginning when this occurred, I thought imy phone had been jarred causing it to move back. Toward the end , when I again listened to the same information about a Nazi wife, my eye rolling was producing some muscle pain.

Editing the book would have brought it down to a long article, but it probably would have been a well-written, valuable piece.

1 person found this helpful

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Good.

Worthwhile. Brought me closer to my deceased parents experience of Germany in WW II. Thanks.

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well written

the collective memories within this story are well worth hearing. there was a raspy quality to the narration that made listening difficult.

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important book

Interesting view points from those who came upon something that was really beyond reality.stunning.good production.

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#MyNonFictionAddiction

I only can say it was a challenge to my emotional homeostasis. Such a revelation can never be endured without some Kleenex & maybe a friendly drink. The barbaric evils are hard to know; truth doesn't change though upon its impact. The human heart holds the tears of far too many tragedies. To tell it is necessary, and to read it, an obligation to the dead. 🔍🗝😢

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History Through US Troups

this was the history through the eyes of soldiers who freed the consecration camps experience. non fiction! a different point of view through real history

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Compelling story well told

This was a compelling story very well written and the narration by Joe Barrett was a pleasure to listen to.