Breaking the Silence

The German Who Exposed the Final Solution

Walter Laqueur and Richard Breitman

Through unparalleled historical detective work, noted scholars Walter Laqueur and Richard Breitman reveal the inspiring tale of Eduard Schulte, the Breslau business leader who risked his life to gather information about such Nazi activities as the revised date of the German attack on Poland and the Nazi plan for mass extermination of European Jews. First published in 1986, Breaking the Silence is reissued with both a new foreword and afterword by the authors.

Paper: $35 | E-book: $34.99
ISBN-13: 9780874516722
Pages: 320 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: June 1, 1994

“This biography may be regarded both as an act of posthumous justice and as a realistic spy thriller.”

The New Yorker


  • A biography of a hero, Eduard Schulte, whose heroism was hidden... This biography may be regarded both as an act of posthumous justice and as a realistic spy thriller.

    The New Yorker
  • None of this would have come to light if it had not been for the pertinacity of Lacqueur and Breitman... Their efforts should arouse the admiration of every historical researcher.

    The New Republic
  • Historians Laqueur (A History of Zionism, etc.) and Breitman here tell the story of the German industrialist, who, at great risk, was the first to inform the world that Hitler had begun a systematic extermination of the Jews. Eduard Schulte, a fierce but secret Nazi-hater, was a non-Jewish, middle-aged, one-legged head of a mining company, whose Polish branch bordered the death camp Auschwitz. Access to top Nazi officials led to his discovery of the "Final Solution" in 1942, but his warnings to the U.S. State Department and American Jewry were delayed for many months through State Department bumbling. By 1943, Schulte was forced to find asylum in Switzerland. Almost as disturbing, and equally absorbing, is the authors' revelation that Schulte was rated disloyal to the Vaterland by postwar German officials, hence his virtual anonymity.

    Publisher's Weekly
  • With exemplary scholarship the authors address an obscure incident in the German resistance to Hitler and in the revelation of Nazi plans for the Final Solution. In July 1942, a prominent German industrialist passed on to Allied intelligence officers the first solid evidence that the Nazi regime was already implementing plans for the eradication of European Jewry. The identity of the mysterious messenger, Edward Schulte, was not discovered until 1983. The authors are equally adept at discovering the secrets of Schulte's clandestine activities and at describing the grim background of wartime conditions. The one piece missing is the riddle of Schulte himself; his personality and motives remain a mystery. This impressive book, written with a rare combination of precision and passion, is recommended for academic and public libraries. History Book Club and Jewish Book Club alternates.

    Library Journal

About the Author

Walter Laqueur

Walter Laqueuris a former director of the Institute of Contemporary History and the Wiener Library in London and founder and editor with George Mosse of the Journal of Contemporary History and of Survey. A professor of history of ideas at Brandeis University and Georgetown University, he has been visiting professor of history and government at Harvard, University of Chicago, Tel Aviv, and Johns Hopkins University. He has authored or co-authored dozens of books, including Generation …

Richard Breitman

Richard Breitman is the author or co-author of twelve books and many articles in German history, US history, and the Holocaust. His books The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution (New York: Knopf, 1991) and Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew (New York: Hill and Wang, 1998), were translated into five foreign languages. FDR and the Jews, co-authored with Allan J. Lichtman, won the 2013 National Jewish Book …