THE HOLOCAUST AND HISTORY by Michael Berenbaum

THE HOLOCAUST AND HISTORY

The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined

KIRKUS REVIEW

A huge and hugely significant collection of much of the best Holocaust scholarship to appear in the last half-century. This immense, one-volume tome is published in association with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, where editor Berenbaum was formerly director of the Research Institute. Assisting him is Abraham Peck, the executive director of Houston’s Holocaust Museum and the editor of two volumes in the series Archives of the Holocaust. Researchers of this controversial event argue here over the timing of the Nazi decision to commit genocide (Martin Broszat vs. Eberhard Jackel), the reasons why it happened, how unique the Holocaust was (Yehuda Bauer), and how ordinary the killers were (Gordon J. Horwitz and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen). Nazi policy was carried out differently in each country; thus, scholars examine the cases of victims, survivors, and perpetrators in Britain (Louise London), France (Susan S. Zuccotti), Hungary (Paul A. Levine and Randolph L. Braham), Italy (Meir Michaelis), Romania (Jean Ancel), and even Turkey (Mark Epstein). Despite the words —disputed and reexamined— in the subtitle, the extent of the victim count isn—t questioned, nor are Holocaust deniers given a forum. However, the collection tolerates adamant differences of opinion and controversial theories, such as Gerhard L. Weinberg’s defense of London’s closing of Palestine to Jewish refugees and his contention that only “a tiny number” of Jews would have been rescued had the Western Allies bombed the gas chambers. The complexities of Holocaust survivors are well covered by Marjorie Allard, Dori Laub, Dalia Ofer, and Dina Porat. Non-Jewish victims and rescuers of the Holocaust are also well represented. With this one weighty volume of 54 chapters (and extensive notes), a reader can learn how far Holocaust scholarship has progressed and what areas will be discussed for generations to come.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-253-33374-1
Page count: 1024pp
Publisher: Indiana Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1998




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