Harvest of Despair

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, Mar 15, 2008 - History - 480 pages
Berkhoff provides a searing portrait of life in the Third Reich's largest colony. Under the Nazis, a blend of German nationalism, anti-Semitism, and racist notions about the Slavs produced a reign of terror and genocide. Berkhoff also shows how a pervasive Soviet mentality worked against solidarity, which helps explain why the vast majority of the population did not resist the Germans.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Harvest of despair: life and death in Ukraine under Nazi rule

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Berkhoff (Ctr. for Holocaust & Genocide Studies, Univ. of Amsterdam) has produced a remarkable chronicle of murderous brutality carried out between 1941 and 1943 in the Reichskomissariat of the ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

My grandfather lived through the famines of 1932 and 1933; he, a young Ukrainian at the time, lost much of his family and nearly starved. From him, I have heard some incredible and depressing stories. He was forced to serve in the German army and left with awe-inspiring stories of life-altering heroism, as well as memories that pain him to this day. Mrs. Berkhoff's book combines similar stories with an interesting historical background to clarify. 


Soviet Ukraine and the German Invasion
The Reichskommissariat Ukraine
The Holocaust of the Jews and Roma
Prisoners of War
Life in the Countryside
Conditions in the Cities
Famine in Kiev
Deportations and Forced Migrations
Toward the End of Nazi Rule

Popular Culture
Ethnic Identity and Political Loyalties
Religion and Popular Piety

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 47 - We are a master race, which must remember that the lowliest German worker is racially and biologically a thousand times more valuable than the population here.
Page 9 - Now Poland is in the position in which I wanted her ... I am only afraid that at the last moment some swine or other will yet submit to me a plan for mediation."6 He need not have worried.
Page 428 - Norman M. Naimark, Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), p. 28. 10. Ronald Grigor Suny, "Empire and Nation: Armenians, Turks, and the End of the Ottoman Empire," Armenian Forum 1, 2 (1998): 17.
Page 123 - Some of these were working for forty-five cents a day from six o'clock in the morning to six o'clock in the evening...
Page 47 - The attitude of the Germans . . . must be governed by the fact that we deal with a people which is inferior in every respect." The object of the occupation wasn't "to bring blessings on the Ukraine but to secure for Germany the necessary living space and a source of food." None of this was empty rhetoric. Hitler's pronouncement on forgetting the concept of comradeship between soldiers led to the infamous Commissar Decree — the order to execute all political officers in Red Army units, even if they...
Page 432 - Generalplan Ost'. Hauptlinien der nationalsozialistischen Planungs- und Vernichtungspolitik (Berlin, 1993), pp. 12-19. 34. Ereignismeldung UdSSR, Nr. 86, 17 September 1941, on this see Longerich, "Massenmord,
Page 168 - This year between twenty and thirty million persons will die of hunger in Russia. Perhaps it is well that it should be so, for certain nations must be decimated. But even if it were not, nothing can be done about it. It is obvious that if humanity is condemned to die of hunger, the last to die will be our two...
Page 168 - The food situation at home makes it essential that the troops should be fed off the land, and the largest possible stocks should be placed at the disposal of the homeland. In enemy cities, a large part of the population will have to go hungry. Nothing, out of a misguided sense of humanity, may be given to...
Page 334 - Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog'.

About the author (2008)

Karel C. Berkhoff is Senior Researcher at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Bibliographic information