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Echoes from the Holocaust
The man the New York Times has called "the preeminent scholar of the Holocaust" tells the stories of those who caused, experienced, and witnessed the great human catastrophe.
Memory Work studies how Jewish children of Holocaust survivors from the English-speaking diaspora explore the past in literary texts. By identifying areas where memory manifests - Objects, Names, Bodies, Food, Passover, 9/11 it shows how the Second Generation engage with the pre-Holocaust family and their parents' survival.
Filip Muller came to Auschwitz with one of the earliest transports from Slovakia in April 1942 and began working in the gassing installations and crematoria in May. He was still alive when the gassings ceased in November 1944. He saw millions come and disappear; by sheer luck he survived. Muller is neither a historian nor a psychologist; he is a source one of the few prisoners who saw the Jewish people die and lived to tell about it. Eyewitness Auschwitz is one of the key documents of the Holocaust. Published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "A shattering, centrally important testimony." from the Foreword by Yehuda Bauer. "A very detailed description of day-to-day life, if we can call it that, in Hell s inmost circle...Having read other books of this kind, I had expected to read this one straight through. But no, Eyewitness Auschwitz is jammed with infernal information too terrible to be taken all at once." Terrence Des Pres, New Republic. "Riveting...It is a tale of unprecedented, incomparable horror. Profoundly, intensely painful; but it is essential reading." Jewish Press Features.
The Exodus 1947 affair was both a political and a human drama. This book presents a number of new facts of the affair based on previously-unused archival material, and new interpretations of some of the events that took place, in a dramatized account.
In 1949, as Cold War tensions in Europe mounted, French intellectual and former Buchenwald inmate David Rousset called upon fellow concentration camp survivors to denounce the Soviet Gulag as a "hallucinatory repetition" of Nazi Germany's most terrible crime. In Political Survivors, Emma Kuby tells the riveting story of what followed his appeal, as prominent members of the wartime Resistance from throughout Western Europe united to campaign against the continued existence of inhumane internment systems around the world. The International Commission against the Concentration Camp Regime brought together those originally deported for acts of anti-Nazi political activity who believed that their unlikely survival incurred a duty to bear witness for other victims. Over the course of the next decade, these pioneering activists crusaded to expose political imprisonment, forced labor, and other crimes against humanity in Franco's Spain, Maoist China, French Algeria, and beyond. Until now, the CIA's secret funding of Rousset's movement has remained in the shadows. Kuby reveals this clandestine arrangement between European camp survivors and American intelligence agents. She also brings to light how Jewish Holocaust victims were systematically excluded from Commission membership - a choice that fueled the group's rise, but also helped lead to its premature downfall. The history that she unearths provides a striking new vision of how wartime memory shaped European intellectual life and ideological struggle after 1945, showing that the key lessons Western Europeans drew from the war centered on "the camp," imagined first and foremost as a site of political repression rather than ethnic genocide. Political Survivors argues that Cold War dogma and acrimony, tied to a distorted understanding of WWII's chief atrocities, overshadowed the humanitarian possibilities of the nascent anti-concentration camp movement as Europe confronted the violent decolonizing struggles of the 1950s.
This original study into the development of the Holocaust witness is a groundbreaking contribution to the scholarship of early Holocaust testimony. From Victim to Survivor challenges the prevailing view that the Eichmann trial in 1961 was the impetus for the public emergence of the Holocaust witness. Through a close reading of diaries, memoirs, reports and chronicles, this book proves that the Holocaust witness emerged long before Eichmann was captured and before the world was ready to acknowledge their role and status. The book argues that witnesses to the Holocaust first strove to give meaning to the events that threatened their existence over a critical eight year period from 1941 until 1949, contributing to a shared understanding of what it meant to be a victim during the onslaught of the Final Solution and what it meant to be a survivor in the immediate post-war period. They confronted an unprecedented threat to their existence that they struggled to comprehend, along with the deliberate attempt by the Nazis to conceal it. After liberation, they encountered a climate of continued anti-Semitism, hostility, and indifference, both from the Allies and the world. By refusing to remain silent, victims and survivors made a meaningful and enduring contribution to their own communities at a time when few others showed an interest in or had an understanding of the Jewish experience of the Holocaust.
On April 4, 1945, United States Army units from the 89th Infantry Division and the 4th Armored Division seized Ohrdruf, the first of many Nazi concentration camps to be liberated in Germany. In the weeks that followed, as more camps were discovered, thousands of soldiers came face to face with the monstrous reality of Hitler's Germany. These men discovered the very depths of human - imposed cruelty and depravity: rail road cars stacked with emaciated, lifeless bodies; ovens full of incinerated human remains; warehouses filled with stolen shoes, clothes, luggage, and even eyeglasses; prison yards littered with implements of torture and dead bodies; and-perhaps most disturbing of all - the half-dead survivors of the camps. For the American soldiers of all ranks who witnessed such powerful evidence of Nazi crimes, the experience was life altering. Almost all were haunted for the rest of their lives by what they had seen, horrified that humans from ostensibly civilized societies were capable of such crimes. Military historian John C. McManus sheds new light on this often overlooked aspect of the Holocaust. Drawing on a rich blend of archival sources and thousands of first hand accounts-including unit journals, interviews, oral histories, memoirs, diaries, letters, and published recollections - Hell Before Their Very Eyes focuses on the experiences of the soldiers who liberated Ohrdruf, Buchenwald, and Dachau and their determination to bear witness to this horrific history.
Few places in the world carry as heavy a burden of history as Auschwitz. Recognized and remembered as the most prominent site of Nazi crimes, Auschwitz has had tremendous symbolic weight in the postwar world. Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration is a history of the Auschwitz memorial site in the years of the Polish People's Republic. Since 1945, Auschwitz has functioned as a memorial and museum. Its monuments, exhibitions, and public spaces have attracted politicians, pilgrims, and countless participants in public demonstrations and commemorative events. Jonathan Huener's study begins with the liberation of the camp and traces the history of the State Museum at Auschwitz from its origins immediately after the war until the 1980s, analyzing the landscape, exhibitions, and public events at the site. Based on extensive research and illustrated with archival photographs, Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration accounts for the development and durability of a Polish commemorative idiom at Auschwitz. Emphasis on Polish national "martyrdom" at Auschwitz, neglect of the Shoah as the most prominent element of the camp's history, political instrumentalization of the grounds and exhibitions-these were some of the more controversial aspects of the camp's postwar landscape. Professor Huener locates these and other public manifestations of memory at Auschwitz in the broad scope of Polish history, in the specific context of postwar Polish politics and culture, and against the background of Polish-Jewish relations. Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration will be of interest to scholars, students, and general readers of the history of modern Poland and the Holocaust.
When one thinks of the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz, Dachau; and when we think of justice for this terrible chapter in history, we think of Nuremberg. Not of Russia or the Ukraine, and certainly not of a city called Kharkov. But in reality, the first war-crimes trial against the Nazis was in this idyllic, peaceful Ukrainian city, which is fitting, because it is also where the Holocaust actually began.Eighteen months before the end of World War II two full years before the opening statement by the prosecution at Nuremberg three Nazi officers and a Ukrainian collaborator were tried and convicted of war crimes and hanged in Kharkov s public square. The trial is symbolic of the larger omission of the Ukraine from the popular history of the Holocaust another deep irony, as most of the first of the six million perished in the Ukraine long before Hitler and his lieutenant seven decided on the formalities of the Final Solution."
Michael Dobkowski and Isidor Wallimann have written a book that, although ominous, is not a fatalistic look into what the future may hold for us in the upcoming century. It lays out the perils of not recognizing the reality of genocide or of acknowledging the full implications of warfare.
Showing how scarcity and surplus populations can lead to disaster, The Coming Age of Scarcity is about evil. It tells of "ethnic cleansing and excavates the world's expanding killing fields. The writers anticipate mass death and genocide in the twenty-first century, even while trying to prevent such atrocities. Present directions indicate that population growth, land resources, energy consumption, and per-capita consumption cannot be sustained without leading to greater catastrophes. What is the solution in the face of mass death and genocide?
Compelling recollections of a Jewish boy in a prewar Polish village, of his incredible scramble to survive the Holocaust, and of his adventures in America.
Told with the inimitable flair of a born storyteller, these stories recall the lost world of small-town Polish Jewry before the Holocaust and the subsequent odyssey of one boy's struggle to stay alive in the face of catastrophe. Brimming with the authenticity and humanity of personal experience, these memoirs are at once persuasive, moving, and universal in appeal.
Packed with rarely divulged details of daily life during the Holocaust, the book provides significant insights into human nature and the roles played by chance and purpose in staying alive. It is a route of dizzying change. First, author Salsitz, an orthodox Jew, becomes a slave laborer. Then he becomes an escapee, then a partisan. In the ultimate irony, he passes as a non-Jew, working in Polish security after the war. In America, Salsitz finds that the very traits that saw him through the war enabled him to prosper in his adopted land.
Jewish radicals manned the barricades on the avenues of Petrograd and the alleys of the Warsaw ghetto; they were in the vanguard of those resisting Franco and the Nazis. They originated in Yiddishland, a vast expanse of Eastern Europe that, before the Holocaust, ran from the Baltic Sea to the western edge of Russia and incorporated hundreds of Jewish communities with a combined population of some 11 million people. Within this territory, revolutionaries arose from the Jewish misery of Eastern and Central Europe; they were raised in the fear of God and taught to respect religious tradition, but were caught up in the great current of revolutionary utopian thinking. Socialists, Communists, Bundists, Zionists, Trotskyists, manual workers and intellectuals, they embodied the multifarious activity and radicalism of a Jewish working class that glimpsed the Messiah in the folds of the red flag. Today, the world from which they came has disappeared, dismantled and destroyed by the Nazi genocide. After this irremediable break, there remain only survivors, and the work of memory for red Yiddishland.This book traces the struggles of these militants, their singular trajectories, their oscillation between great hope and doubt, their lost illusions-a red and Jewish gaze on the history of the twentieth century.
A German Jewish family's struggle to escape from Occupied Europe. * Account of one man's determination to ensure his family's survival against all odds. * Good reviews expected. David and Sophie Goetzel left Germany in 1935 to escape Nazi anti-Semitism. They moved to Warsaw, Poland, and were married. Once there, they planned to move to a safer country, farther away from the Nazi threat. But when their daughter, Micki, was born in 1937, financial constraints forced them to delay those plans. On 1 September 1939, they were awakened at dawn by the rumble of German aircraft. The war had begun, and David was angry with himself for not having already emigrated to a safer country. He vowed he would never again allow his inaction to endanger his loved ones. With dogged determination, help from the people he befriended along the way and luck, he guided his wife and two-year-old daughter through the siege of Warsaw, their separation and hiding on the Aryan side of the city, his application for emigration at the Hotel Polski and their two years of internment in Bergen-Belsen. David never gave up hope. He, Sophie and Micki all survive because of it.
In 1940, the Polish Underground wanted to know what was happening inside the recently opened Auschwitz concentration camp. Polish army officer Witold Pilecki volunteered to be arrested by the Germans and reported from inside the camp. His intelligence reports, smuggled out in 1941, were among the first eyewitness accounts of Auschwitz atrocities: the extermination of Soviet POWs, its function as a camp for Polish political prisoners, and the final solution" for Jews. Pilecki received brutal treatment until he escaped in April 1943; soon after, he wrote a brief report. This book is the first English translation of a 1945 expanded version. In the foreword, Poland's chief rabbi states, If heeded, Pilecki's early warnings might have changed the course of history." Pilecki's story was suppressed for half a century after his 1948 arrest by the Polish Communist regime as a Western spy." He was executed and expunged from Polish history. Pilecki writes in staccato style but also interjects his observations on humankind's lack of progress: We have strayed, my friends, we have strayed dreadfully...we are a whole level of hell worse than animals!" These remarkable revelations are amplified by 40 b&w photos, illus., and maps
The Nazi conscience is not an oxymoron. In fact, the perpetrators of genocide had a powerful sense of right and wrong, based on civic values that exalted the moral righteousness of the ethnic community and denounced outsiders. Claudia Koonz's latest work reveals how racial popularizers developed the infrastructure and rationale for genocide during the so-called normal years before World War II. Her careful reading of the voluminous Nazi writings on race traces the transformation of longtime Nazis' vulgar anti-Semitism into a racial ideology that seemed credible to the vast majority of ordinary Germans who never joined the Nazi Party. Challenging conventional assumptions about Hitler, Koonz locates the source of his charisma not in his summons to hate, but in his appeal to the collective virtue of his people, the Volk. From 1933 to 1939, Nazi public culture was saturated with a blend of racial fear and ethnic pride that Koonz calls ethnic fundamentalism. Ordinary Germans were prepared for wartime atrocities by racial concepts widely disseminated in media not perceived as political: academic research, documentary films, mass-market magazines, racial hygiene and art exhibits, slide lectures, textbooks, and humor. By showing how Germans learned to countenance the everyday persecution of fellow citizens labeled as alien, Koonz makes a major contribution to our understanding of the Holocaust. The Nazi Conscience chronicles the chilling saga of a modern state so powerful that it extinguished neighborliness, respect, and, ultimately, compassion for all those banished from the ethnic majority.
Auschwitz and Birkenau were separate from each other,by about a 45 minute walk. Auschwitz was adapted to hold political prisoners in 1940 and evolved into a killing machine in 1941. Later that year a new site called Birkenau was found to extend the Auschwitz complex. Here a vast complex of buildings were constructed to hold initially Russian POWs and later Jews as a labour pool for the surrounding industries including IG Farben. Following the January 1943 Wannsee Conference, Birkenau evolved into a murder factory using makeshift houses which were adapted to kill Jews and Russian POWs. Later due to sheer volume Birkenau evolved into a mass killing machine using gas chambers and crematoria, while Auschwitz, which still held prisoners, became the administrative centre. The images show first Auschwitz main camp and then Birkenau and are carefully chosen to illustrate specific areas, like the Women's Camp, Gypsy Camp, SS quarters, Commandant's House, railway disembarkation, the 'sauna', disinfection area and the Crematoria. Maps covering Auschwitz and Birkenau explain the layout. This book is shocking proof of the scale of the Holocaust.
‘Taylor has done us a great service in making the personal stories of what it was actually like to live through the most crucial year of the twentieth century vivid, compelling and salutary.’ - Roland Philipps, author of A Spy Named Orphan: The Enigma of Donald Maclean
In the autumn of 1938, Europe believed in the promise of peace. Still reeling from the ravages of the Great War, its people were desperate to rebuild their lives in a newly safe and stable era. But only a year later, the fateful decisions of just a few men had again led Europe to war, a war that would have a profound and lasting impact on millions.
Bestselling historian Frederick Taylor focuses on the day-to-day experiences of British and German people trapped in this disastrous chain of events and not, as is so often the case, the elite. Drawn from original sources, their voices, concerns and experiences reveal a marked disconnect between government and people; few ordinary citizens in either country wanted war.
1939: A People’s History is not only a vivid account of that turbulent year but also an interrogation of our capacity to go to war again. In many ways it serves as a warning; an opportunity for us to learn from our history and a reminder that we must never take peace for granted.
Emil Fackenheim was the last in a long line of Jewish philosophers to emerge from Germany, the modern center of Western philosophy, following Moses Mendelssohn, Leo Baeck, and Martin Buber. In this revealing book, David Patterson explores Fackenheim's rigorous pursuit of a philosophical response to the tragedy of the Holocaust. Fackenheim's writing sheds light on the tensions between Jewish thinking and German philosophy, illustrating how elements of the latter were used by the Nazis to justify Jewish annihilation. In addition, he emphasizes the important implications of defining Jewish philosophy as its own entity, separate from the tenets of the Jewish cultural tradition.
"The definitive study of the topic." --Prof. Antony Polonsky, Emeritus Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University, and Chief Historian, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The incredible story of underground resistance among the prisoners at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. When the Germans opened Auschwitz in June 1940, it was a concentration camp for political prisoners, who were told on arrival that they would live no longer than three months--expanding two years later to also become a death camp for Jews. Underground resistance appeared at Auschwitz very quickly, spearheaded in 1940 by one of the bravest men ever to live, Polish army officer Captain Witold Pilecki. Jozef Garlinski traces the evolution and operations of the principal resistance organizations among the prisoners (including communist as well as non-communist groups). He delves into the relationships among these groups, as well as their relationships with the various political and multinational factions in the prisoner population, including both male and female, and with the underground outside the camp. He describes their efforts against the brutal SS men and informers. In parallel, he documents the growth and evolution of Auschwitz itself, and the horrors of the industrialized death factory for Jews created by the Germans. First published in English in 1975, but out of print for decades, this seminal book is now being released in a new 2nd edition with more than 200 photos and maps, and a new introduction by Prof. Antony Polonsky. Garlinski, a member of the Polish underground during WWII, was himself a prisoner at Auschwitz.With more than 200 photos and maps, five Appendices, extensive Bibliography and detailed Indexes.
Ordinary Men has been admired all over the world and is now published in the UK for the first time. It takes as its basis the detailed records of one squad from the Nazis' extermination groups and explores in detail its composition, its actions, and the methods by which it was trained to perform acts of genocide on an industrial scale. He introduces us to cheerful, friendly, ordinary men who killed without hesitation or apparent remorse for years on end, in docile obedience to an authority they happily accepted as legitimate. It is a valuable corrective to the idea of German uniqueness and offers a much more chilling picture of human beings as avidly suggestible and desperate for an organising purpose in their lives, however disgusting.
Not long after the end of World War II, two suitcases from Terezin, the socalled model ghetto designed by the Nazi propaganda machine to showcase creative endeavors, were delivered to members of what remained of the Jewish community of Prague. The contents of the suitcases included children's drawings, paintings, and collages made at Terezin. Rediscovered in the 1950s, the pictures, by then housed at the Jewish Museum in Prague, were exhibited, and over time some were published. Friedl Dicker-Brandeis was the remarkable woman who taught art to many of Terezin's children before she was killed at Auschwitz. While she has been valorized for her heroic efforts as a teacher, her approach to teaching art has remained unexamined. This book and the accompanying exhibition offer a closer look at the methods and philosophy of Dicker-Brandeis's teaching, the history behind it, and its possible psychological effects on the children interned at Terezin. Besides discussing aesthetic empathy as the basis of her teaching philosophy and practice, the book includes biographical and art historical information on Dicker-Brandeis, who trained at the Weimar Bauhaus, and restores her to her rightful place as an artist, teacher, and heroine behind Nazi lines in the Second World War.
Since 1989, two sites of memory with respect to the deportation and persecution of Jews in France and Germany during the Second World War have received intense public attention: the Velo d'Hiver (Winter Velodrome) in Paris and the Monument for the Murdered Jews of Europe or Holocaust Monument in Berlin. Why is this so? Both monuments, the author argues, are unique in the history of memorial projects. Although they are genuine "sites of memory", neither monument celebrates history, but rather serve as platforms for the deliberation, negotiation and promotion of social consensus over the memorial status of war crimes in France and Germany. The debates over these monuments indicate that it is the communication among members of the public via the mass media, rather than qualities inherent in the sites themselves, which transformed these sites into symbols beyond traditional conceptions of heritage and patriotism.
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