Birds of Prey: Hitler's Luftwaffe, Ordinary Soldiers and the Holocaust in Poland
'This is the smoking gun of all your research.’
Professor Richard E. Holmes (18 February 2001).
Birds of Prey is a microhistory of the Nazi occupation of Białowieźa Forest, Poland’s national park. The narrative stretches from Göring’s palatial lifestyle to the common soldier on the ground killing Jews, partisans and civilians. Based entirely on previously unpublished sources, the book is the synthesis of six fields of research – Hitler’s Luftwaffe, the hunt and environmental history, military geography, Colonialism and Nazi Lebensraum, the Holocaust, and the war in the east. By weaving together, a narrative about Hermann Göring, his inner circle and ordinary soldiers, the book reveals the Nazi ambition to draw together East Prussia, the Bialystok region and the Ukraine into a common eastern frontier of the Greater German state. This reveals how the Luftwaffe, the German hunt and the state forestry were institutional perpetrators of Lebensraum and genocide. Up until now the Luftwaffe had not been identified in specific acts of genocide or placed at large scale killings of Jews, civilians and partisans. This gap in the historical record had been facilitated by the destruction of the Luftwaffe’s records in 1945. Through a forensic and painstaking process of piecing together scraps of evidence and making use of Geographical Information System software it has been possible to decipher previously obscure reports and reveal patterns of Nazi brutality. The acquisition of evidence, the scientific research and the book has taken ten years to complete.