A significant, scholarly study that may be arduous for nonacademic readers.

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HUNT FOR THE JEWS

BETRAYAL AND MURDER IN GERMAN-OCCUPIED POLAND

An intensely focused, heavily statistical study of the widespread denunciation of Jewish refugees among Polish gentiles during the Nazi occupation.

The salvation of the Jews who managed to escape the ghettos and the death trains was largely left in the hands of the Poles, “who failed this test of humanity,” writes Grabowski (History/Univ. of Ottawa) in this grim, compelling work of research. He concentrates on the rural county of Dabrowa Tarnowska, just 50 miles east of Krakow, chosen due to the wealth of records available (survival accounts, testimonies, court documents) and its rural character, with a prewar census of 66,678 people, including 4,807 Jews. The author followed the fates of 337 Jews who tried to survive in the county, of which 51 managed to hide until liberation, while 286 died between 1942 and 1945. Grabowski touches on the prewar relations among the Jews, Polish peasants and Catholic clergy, only to suggest that where they once worked alongside each other in small villages, the relations steadily deteriorated with the rise of economic dissatisfaction and anti-Semitic political propaganda. The Nazis introduced “draconian regulations,” and Jews were put into ghettos and terrorized by violence, coinciding with the opening of the Belzec extermination camp in March 1942. Those who escaped ran into the forests or found refuge among Polish neighbors, often protected only until their ability to pay ran out. The next stage in the Jews’ destruction was the horrific Judenjagd, the hunt, during which the German “evacuation commandos,” Polish “blue” police, youth construction service and the Jewish police worked to flush out their victims. Grabowski breaks down each group with meticulous research.

A significant, scholarly study that may be arduous for nonacademic readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-253-01074-2

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Indiana Univ.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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