A History of the Holocaust: From Ideology to Annihilation (2nd Edition)

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9780130112859: A History of the Holocaust: From Ideology to Annihilation (2nd Edition)

A History of the Holocaust, Second Edition is more than just a recounting of the horrors of the Holocaust. It is an attempt to explain the forces that gave rise to it, the motives of those who conceived it, and the culture that was destroyed by it. This book will motivate readers to ask disturbing questions and, hopefully, seek answers to them. Rita S. Botwinick provides the reader with background on the nature of prejudice, the history of anti-Semitism, as well as information about German and Jewish life during this time period. She discusses the Nazi rise to power and the effects of propaganda in fostering the attitudes that allowed hatred and fear to overcome reason and charity. The author also devotes an entire chapter to those people who resisted the Nazi regime. This updated edition includes: *A new epilogue section *Information about what happened to the concentration camp survivors *Discussion about what happened to the Nazi criminals *An extensive bibliography that introduces other definitive works on the Holocaust

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About the Author:

Rita Steinhardt Botwinick Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

This text is the product of four decades of teaching the history of the Holocaust. It is intended to meet the need for a single volume on the topic and intended for use by the average university student. Although most high schools require some instruction on the fate of the Jews during the Nazi era, most can only devote a few hours to the subject. As a result, students are left with some superficial notions on the causes and implications of the Holocaust. This book seeks to explain the sequence of events that ended with mass graves and mounds of human ashes. Questions that arose in class discussions provided insight to specific insufficiencies or difficulties experienced by the students and whenever possible, relevant material was incorporated into the course material.

Why a new edition? The purpose of a revision is to update a text so that it may reflect new research, new approaches, new ideas. The publisher aids in this process by providing the author with the views and criticism of several professors who are experts in the field. These are thoughtfully considered in composing a new edition. Also, the author has the opportunity to make improvements in style, correct errors which inevitably occur, and update the bibliography. Most importantly, a revision offers the opportunity to include new considerations on the needs of students who use this text.

The second edition A History of the Holocaust included a summary on the fate 9f the Jewish survivors. Students were invariably concerned about their lives immediately after liberation from the camps. This, the third edition, considers another issue which is raised in nearly every class: Can it happen again? The ensuing discussion soon turns to instances of man's inhumanity to man which have occurred since the end of the Second World War. Whether called tribal warfare, ethnic cleansing, or political restructuring, the suffering of innocent victims is equally tragic. The picture which emerges is pessimistic at best, despairing at worst. But the ability to learn from the past is not a totally bleak picture; the current history of Germany allows us to hope that change is possible.

The new material in this edition deals with the present-day relationship between Jews and Germans. Some readers might object that this inclusion is extraneous to a history of the Shoah, the death of the six million Jews. That is true, nevertheless it has been included. Our young people need to see evidence that the human capacity for shame and regret can result in an effort to fulfill the biblical command to be our brother's keeper. Why are we teaching about the Holocaust? Whatever other aims any one of us may have, the Holocaust is a warning: these are the consequences of . . . A glimpse at contemporary Germany does not imply willingness to forgive, surely not to forget, but it speaks to the ability of people to learn. And that is very much to the point. Finally, a word on two words. First, a commonly used description of the murder of six million Jews during the twelve years of Nazi control of Germany is "extermination". This, the author believes, carries the unfortunate connotation of killing vermin and unwanted pests and should not be used to describe the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children. Second, not everyone agrees that `Holocaust' adequately designates the events that culminated in the gas chambers. "Holocaust" is a word derived from Greek and is usually translated as "wholly burn" or "devoured by fire." When spelled with a capital H, it has become accepted as the Jewish genocide. In recent years the word Shoah has grown in usage. Shoah is a Hebrew word interpreted as calamity/devastation/ ruin. In this text both terms are used.

This book is not a history of all Nazi atrocities, but rather confines itself to the devastation of Jewish life in most of Europe. There were some five million non-Jewish civilian victims of Hitler. Their stories await a comprehensive history of their own. Unhappily, it is not possible to do justice to their sacrifices within these pages.

Finally, it is hoped that this book will provide the incentive to seek more knowledge, deeper insights. The amount of available material is enormous. Let this be the springboard to greater scholarship on a topic which continues to be critical to understanding ourselves and our world.

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