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Less Than Slaves: Jewish Forced Labor and the Quest for Compensation by Benjamin B. Ferencz (foreword by Telford Taylor; 107,000 words, 2 illustrations)

“[T]his [2002] reprint of Benjamin B. Ferencz’s 1979 book on Jewish forced labor under the Third Reich and the attempt by various Jewish organizations to win compensation for former slave laborers from private corporations in West Germany after the war is very welcome... This book tells two related stories — as the subtitle indicates. The first is the story of the use of slave labor by German industry during the Third Reich. The second is the story of the dedicated individuals, many of them Jewish lawyers, most of them working for the various interrelated Jewish agencies created to administer the German government’s compensation to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, to win compensation from these firms... this book is as much a memoir as it is a history. It is a story told very much from the perspective of a participant, for Ferencz was the guiding light behind the efforts to win compensation... Constructed as a series of case studies, the book tells the story of five major firms or conglomerates (I.G. Farben, Krupp, the electric companies AEG, Telefunken, and Siemens, Rheinmetall Berlin A.G., and the Flick concern) and a number of smaller concerns. In each of his case studies, Ferencz intertwines the history of the firm’s use of slave labor with that of the efforts by survivor organizations and individual survivors to win compensation after the war... All in all, this book tells the story of great courage and determination by survivors and their allies to try to compel German companies to make at least partial amends for the use of slave labor during the war. Yet it is also a story of an equally determined refusal to see that past honestly, to own up to it, and to voluntarily try to make it right. As such... it will undoubtedly continue to serve as a valuable starting point for thinking about the efforts to make good again the harm done during the Third Reich.” — Devin O. Pendas,
H-German

“This short book is of extreme importance... This is a book to ponder.” — Martin Gilbert,
The New York Times

“[A] deeply disturbing book... Mr. Ferencz’s book is most impressive because it is meticulous in its evidence and exact in its sources, like a good lawyer’s brief. Nothing is left to the imagination.” — Leonard Silk,
The New York Times

“Ferencz, with fascinating clarity, supported by German documents, describes the exploitation and murder of human beings for German industrial profit...
Less Than Slaves is a major contribution to Holocaust history.” — Josephine Z. Knopp, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

“As Telford Taylor says in his impressive foreword, this is a ‘moving, melancholy, and altogether unique’ book.” — John H. E. Fried,
The American Journal of International Law

Less Than Slaves is an appropriate title for a volume describing an industrial labor system in which the work became the means of execution. The book is a meticulously documented account of former Jewish laborers seeking compensation for the work they were forced to do for German industrialists. Benjamin B. Ferencz, an attorney specializing in international law was a war crimes investigator who later aided Jewish claimants. He describes how I.G. Farben, Krupp, AEG, Telefunken, Siemens, and Rheinmetall attempted to elude payment and morally exonerate themselves from responsibility for the slave labor system.” — Alan M. Kraut, The Business History Review

“This is an essential book... Ferencz... served as American prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials and then director of the worldwide restitution action on behalf of Jewish survivors. His presentation of the painful procedure, the procrastination of officialdom, the remorselessness of the German companies and their lack of humaneness even after the war make one wonder about the decency of the human race.” — Vera Laska,
Social Science

“[T]he story [Ferencz] unfolds is not only remarkable, it is revolting... [a] grisly but unforgettable chronicle.” — Ronald Lewin,
International Affairs