A HISTORY OF THE HOLOCAUST by Yehuda with Nili Keren Bauer


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No substitute, certainly, for Lucy Dawidowicz--but a simplified treatment of the Holocaust, against the background of traditional and modern anti-Semitism, that could serve less ambitious readers: Bauer is a Hebrew University specialist in Holocaust studies and the author of American Jewry and the Holocaust, among many other volumes. And while he has his biases (in this area, who doesn't?), they are openly displayed: chiefly, what many would consider undue tolerance of the Juden-rat leaders who supplied Jewish labor, or Jewish hostages, to the Nazis. ""The moral question: to resist evil at whatever cost or to suffer evil to prevent, perhaps, extinction?"" There is a corresponding stress on the unknowability of Germans' intentions (even, on the Germans' uncertainty), and an analogous disinclination to speak harshly of those--be they Polish nationals or the Vichy French--who were implicated in the Jews' destruction. The good little section on ""Christianity and the Nazis""--the new official dispensation vs. NiemÖller, Barth, Bonhoeffer, and the German Catholics--omits mention, except glancingly, of the Pope. Yet there is also much explanatory material for readers who may know only TV dramatizations: on pre-Hitlerite German anti-Semitism (and the origin of the term); on Zionism and Palestine; the prefigurative Armenian massacres; the inter-war situation of American, and other, Jewry. On Hitlerite Germany and the Jews, this is mere synopsis. But with the 1939 German invasion of Poland, the book begins to close in on the fate of East European Jewish communities: the ghettoization; the Judenraete; life within; sporadic resistance and rebellion. ""The Final Solution"" brings brief descriptions--with excerpts from survivors--of the concentration camps and death camps; and a good deal, proportionately, on the various rescue attempts (based on the Germans' apparent willingness to expel, or to ""sell,"" the Jews). One thing that Bauer doesn't flinch from is the unwillingness of anyone else to take them. As capsule histories go, informed and steady-on.

Pub Date: May 10th, 1982
ISBN: 0531155765
Publisher: Watts