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Maps provide information on the history, migrations, achievements, and current state of the Jews
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Sir Martin Gilbert, the author of many historical works, was appointed official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill in 1968. He wrote six of the eight volumes of the landmark biographical series and also compiled ten volumes of Churchill documents. In addition, he is the author of a definitive history of the Holocaust, a series of twelve historical atlases, and comprehensive studies of both World War I and World War II. He is married with three children and lives in London. Since 1962, he has been a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford (an Honorary Fellow since 1994). He was knighted in 1995.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
This atlas traces the world-wide Jewish migrations from ancient Mesopotamia to modern Israel. It seeks to follow the diverse-and sometimes obscure-path of a far-ranging people, and to map their strange experiences in good times and bad.
My original concern was to avoid undue emphasis upon the many horrific aspects of Jewish history. 1 wished to portray with equal force the construction, achievements and normalities of Jewish life through almost four thousand years. In part 1 believe that I have succeeded; for there are many maps of traders, philosophers, financiers, settlers and sages. But as my research into Jewish history progressed, I was surprised, depressed, and to some extent overwhelmed by the perpetual and irrational violence which pursued the Jews in every century and to almost every corner of the globe. If, therefore, persecution, expulsion, torture, humiliation, and mass murder haunt these pages, it is because they also haunt the Jewish story.
But not all terrors are unmitigated; and I have felt a great relief in being able also to map the other side of the coin-the Jewish revolts against Roman, Chinese and Persian oppression-the often repeated pattern of mutual self-help and communal charity, the self-defence leagues organized against the Russian and Ukrainian pogroms, the brave if hopeless risings in ghetto and concentration camp during the Nazi era, and the stubborn resistance to Arab pressures by modern Israel.
If this Atlas can help to answer even a small portion of the questions which Jews so often ask about themselves, or can tell Christians something more about the varied experiences of their neighbours, it will have served a purpose. In particular, 1 hope that the maps succeed in portraying the complex comings and goings of many different sorts of Jews, and the extraordinary diversity of the Jewish saga.
In this Atlas I have tried to look at the role of the Jews in their different national settings, and show their reaction to persecution, whether by dispersal, acceptance or defence. Both in resisting the continual pressure of hostile societies and in braving the dangers of flight and exile, the Jewish people have shown high courage and a keen capacity to rise again; "trampled into the dust" as Cardinal Manning described it, "and yet never combining with the dust into which it is trampled."
For those who wish to follow up some of the themes covered by the maps, I have provided a short bibliography. In it 1 have included a few general books, together with a number of specialist works in which I found information for remote or neglected topics.
Many of my maps are intended to make certain obscure episodes in Jewish history better known, if only in outline. There are many equally fascinating problems on which no detailed research has yet been done; and the history of the Jews which most people know is primarily the history of those episodes on which books or monographs have been written. There are still many areas of darkness. But as I hope this Atlas shows, those aspects of Jewish history which can be mapped are full of unusual details and dramatic moments, ranging over every continent and every civilization, and adding a unique dimension to the story of mankind.
Twenty-two years have now passed since the first edition of this atlas. The final maps of this fourth edition show the main developments in Jewish history since then. These include the emigration of more than half a million Jews from the Soviet Union to Israel between 1970 and 1990 (map 122). This map also shows Operation Solomon, which, with Operation Moses (map 119), brought more than 25,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
I have brought up to date the map showing the number of non-Jews who were honoured for saving Jewish lives in the Second World War (map 104), and the map showing the number of Jews worldwide: this shows the Jewish population of Israel reaching four million in 1991 (map 123).
Several of the earlier maps have been redrawn with extra material, including a map showing Blood Libel accusations in the Middle Ages and beyond, and two maps showing the scale of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.
I am grateful in this new edition to the cartographic skills of Tim Aspden, and I should once more welcome any notice of errors, as well as suggestionsfor further maps.
25 October 1991Merton College, Oxford
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