Doron Rabinovici

Eichmann's Jews - The Jewish Administration of Holocaust Vienna, 1938-1945

Lit. translation of original title: Authorities of Powerlessness. The Path to the Jewish Council
(German title: Instanzen der Ohnmacht)
ca. 496 pages
Doron Rabinovici
Foto: Doron Rabinovici
© Lukas Beck

Doron Rabinovici, writer, essayist, historian, born in 1961 in Tel Aviv. He lives in Vienna since 1964 and has been awarded numerous literature prizes, most recently the Clemens-Brentano-Prize and the Jean-Améry-Prize, both in 2002.

»Rabinovici’s prose strikes a rare balance: it is entertaining, elegant and light, but at the same time full of artistry, genius and nuance.« Tages-Anzeiger

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English world rights (Polity), Israel (Yad Vashem Publications)


»The question of the collaboration of Jews with the Nazi regime during the persecution and extermination of European Jewry is one of the most difficult and sensitive issues surrounding the Holocaust. How could people be forced to cooperate in their own destruction? Why would they help the Nazi authorities round up their own people for deportation, manage the 'collection points' and supervise the people being deported until the last moment?

This book is a major new study of the role of the Jews, and more specifically the ›Judenrat‹ or Jewish Council, in Holocaust Vienna. It was in Vienna that Eichmann developed and tested his model for a Nazi Jewish policy from 1938 onwards, and the leaders of the Viennese Jewish community were the prototypes for all subsequent Jewish councils. By studying the situation in Vienna, it is possible to gain a unique insight into the way that the Nazi regime incorporated the Jewish community into its machinery of destruction.

Drawing on recently discovered archives and extensive interviews, Doron Rabinovici explores in detail the actions of individual Jews and Jewish organizations and shows how all of their strategies to protect themselves and others were ultimately doomed to failure. His rich and insightful account enables us to understand in a new way the terrible reality of the victims' plight: faced with the stark choice of death or cooperation, many chose to cooperate with the authorities in the hope that their actions might turn out to be the lesser evil.« (book description of the English edition published by Polity Press)


»An important and moving depiction of how Jewish leaders coped with Nazi oppression.« American Historical Review

»Rabinovici's judgments are sensitive and evidence-based. He concludes that the myth of Jewish collaboration and individual self-preservation was part of a post-Holocaust identity resting on the comforting fantasy that those who did not co-operate had resisted. In fact, the Jewish leaders inevitably shared the hopes and delusions of their communities and it was this common fate that makes their role so tragic.« Jewish Chronicle

»A calm and careful analysis of what happened in one major centre of Jewish life.« Birmingham Jewish Recorder

»A unique and candid account of the internal workings of the Jewish community in Vienna during the war. Doron Rabinovici has the courage and the gall to address directly the question of how much Eichmann's Jews facilitated the Holocaust.« Peter Goodrich, Cardozo School of Law, New York

»An extremely well-researched and well-documented book.« H-Net Reviews

»Rabinovici's Eichmann's Jews, together with Hannah Arendt's book on Eichmann, belong among the fundamental texts of political philosophy of the 20th and 21st centuries.« taz. die tageszeitung

»Rabinovici is not only an historian but also a great stylist and essayist [...] His wonderful prose is complemented by the meticulousness of his research. For the reader it is a stroke of luck not only that he knows how to report the facts but also that he is able to express their psychological ambivalence in a literary fashion.« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Other publications

Die Außerirdischen/Extraterrestrials – Novel (2017)

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Hungary (Magvetö), Bulgaria (Elias Canetti Society)

Film Rights (Chromosom)

Andernorts/Elsewhere (2010)

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English world rights (Haus Publishing), Italy (La Giuntina), Czech Republic (Archa), Bulgaria (Elias Canetti Society)

Ohnehin/Anyway (2004)

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Bulgaria (Maga Welding)

Suche nach M/The Search for M (1997)

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France (Denoel), Italy (La Giuntina), Bulgaria (Elias Canetti Society), Israel (Zmora Bitan); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: English world rights (Ariadne Press)

Papirnik/Papirn­ik (1994)

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Italy (Il Saggiatore), Poland (Atut)