Hitler and the Holocaust (Universal History)

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9781842124864: Hitler and the Holocaust (Universal History)
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Robert Wistrich begins by exploring the origins of anti-Semitism in Europe, and especially in Germany, to try to explain how millions of Jews came to be killed systematically by the Third Reich. In the process of relating these events, he provides new and incisive answers to a number of central questions concerning the Shoah that have emerged over recent years: who, inside and outside Nazi Germany, knew that Jews were being murdered; how responsibility for the genocide should be divided between Hitler himself and ordinary Germans; and how historians have tried to make sense of the Holocaust. The book concludes by considering the legacy of Nazi crimes since 1945: the Nuremburg trials, the impact of the Holocaust on Diaspora Jewry (particularly in Israel and America), and the rise of neo-Nazism and Holocaust-denial.

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Review:

In Hitler and the Holocaust, part of the Modern Library Chronicles series, Robert S. Wistrich is less concerned with detailing the "what" and "how" of this century's most infamous genocide than he is in answering the seemingly unanswerable: "Why?"

World War II, Wistrich posits, was not only a German attempt to obtain territorial hegemony but simultaneously (and perhaps more importantly, in Hitler's eyes) a crusade against the "mythical Jewish enemy," those people he felt were the source of "all evils"--internationalism, pacifism, democracy, Marxism, and Christianity among them. Jews were nonpeople--vermin, bacteria, a contagion--and therefore "unworthy of life." This ideology was most immediately a reaction to Germany's defeat in World War I and the economic chaos and national humiliation that followed, but Wistrich suggests, this "apocalyptic theology" was only the ghastly tip of an anti-Jewish iceberg that had floated on European seas for the best part of two millennia. The Nazi agenda was aided and abetted, Wistrich goes on, as much by the indifference toward and abandonment of the Jews by most European Christian religious bodies (both Roman Catholic and Protestant) and American and British political exigencies as it was by modern technology.

This is a grave, dense book, one almost entirely unrelieved by anecdote. It is, as well, rigorous, adamant, and sure to generate controversy. Though it catalogues many individual trees, many of them difficult to behold, its primary value is to look upon the entire Holocaust forest and to describe that disturbing, grotesque panorama in eschatological terms. --H. O'Billovitch

From the Back Cover:

"Everything I have done during the past 56 years and continue to do serves one purpose: The prevention of a repetition of the horrors that I and others survived. This book will continue the important work of inspiring others to pursue that same goal, and will provide them with the understanding upon which any such pursuit must be based."
--Simon Wiesenthal

"Robert Wistrich’s Hitler and the Holocaust is a concise yet distinctly authoritative history of the Holocaust. . . . Anyone who wants to read one book on the state of our understanding of Hitler and the Holocaust as we enter the new century would be well advised to begin with Wistrich. Never polemical and always meticulous, restrained in his prose and fair in his analysis, once again he displays a mastery of his subject and full command of even the most recent of scholarship."
--Michael Berenbaum, author of The World Must Know, former director of the Research Institute of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and former president of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780812968637: Hitler and the Holocaust (Modern Library Chronicles)

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ISBN 10:  0812968638 ISBN 13:  9780812968637
Publisher: Modern Library, 2003
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9780679642220: Hitler and the Holocaust (Modern Library Chronicles)

Modern..., 2001
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9780297643739: Hitler and the Holocaust (Universal History)

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