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Holocaust Journey 0th Edition

18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231109642
ISBN-10: 0231109644
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Gilbert (Holocaust studies, Univ. of London; History of the Twentieth Century, LJ 9/15/97) has added an interesting dimension to Holocaust studies by chronicling a tour of Holocaust sites that he conducted with a dozen students and friends; the text of documents they studied at each stop is included. Gilbert not only describes their itinerary and the problems of conducting a tour but integrates the history of European Jewry into his narrative. He then details the specific events of the Holocaust associated with each location. Although many of his stories are well known to students of the Shoah, the result is more than a chronicle of his tour, for the book provides a window into how more than a millennium of Jewish history came to an end and in many cases almost vanished. Recommended for all Judaica collections and Holocaust libraries.?Frederic Krome, Northern Kentucky Univ., Highland Heights
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Gilbert.... is a dedicated guide to this difficult material. We can be grateful for his thoroughness, courage and guidance.

(Los Angeles Times Book Review)

The achievement of Gilbert's Holocaust Journey is to reduce to comprehensible, human terms, the scale of genocide that to many is still unimaginable.

(Literary Review (UK))

A powerfully moving narrative that reveals the deepest thoughts and feelings of 13 travelers during the summer of 1996.... Without overpowering his readers, [Gilbert] juxtaposes the histories of the places visited with descriptions of what they look like today. The overall effect is to make the past live by transferring it to the present, where it can be handled and evaluated anew.


A travelogue, spanning two weeks, of the essential sites of the Holocaust, by the venerable historian and author of many books.... [Gilbert] guides one of his classes on an extraordinary field trip.... He lectures at the most significant sights--of desecrated synagogues, book burnings, and gas chambers.... To these moving testaments Gilbert here adds the voices of his fellow travelers, both Jews and non-Jews, who draw closer as the trip progresses and they relive the terrible history.... The very best book for any Jew, or any human being, planning the same soul-searching trip.

(Kirkus Reviews)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (March 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231109644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231109642
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,888,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sir Martin Gilbert is one of the leading historians of his generation. An Honorary Fellow of Merton College, Oxford - of which he was a fellow for thirty years - he is the official biographer of Churchill and the author of eighty books, among them Churchill - A Life and The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust. For more information please visit http://www.martingilbert

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By ransome22 on January 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Although reading Martin Gilbert's book will do no harm if you are just beginning to study the Holocaust, it will certainly be more difficult to appreciate. What you are buying in this book is a detailed travel journal, not meat-and-potatoes Holocaust history. It is a rich vitamin supplement of insights and prepared readings delivered during a 1996 excursion which Gilbert and his students took to former sites of Jewish deportation, genocide, and Nazi occupation. Roughly outlined, the journey starts in London and passes through Brussels, Berlin, Theresienstadt, Prague, Auschwitz, Krakow, Belzec, Sobibor, Lublin, Majdanek, Treblinka, Warsaw, and Chelmno. The travel entries, while thoughtful and considered, do not lack spontaneity and can even be startlingly raw.
While this book has much to offer, how to most benefit from it is something of a conundrum. It is likely best to refer to "Holocaust Journey" after having read about or visited a particular site mentioned in the travelogue. Basic background and history should be gotten elsewhere, as what Gilbert largely documents here are impressions, feelings, and observations. Reading Gilbert prior to confronting these geographic locales ourselves, either in person or via the printed word, may well taint our own first impressions and rob us of a more pristine emotional state from which to experience our own responses. My now-dilapidated hardcover copy of "Holocaust Journey" traveled with me to the Jewish quarters of Warsaw, Lublin, and Krakow, and to the concentration camps and memorials of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek, and Treblinka in early 2002. When I read Gilbert's book prior to my arrival at a site, I found myself wanting to experience what Gilbert experienced, as impossible as that clearly is.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Mandel on November 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This volume is atypical amongst Sir Martin Gilbert's profusion of histories, documentary collections and historical atlases. It is an account of a journey Gilbert undertook with students to the locales of the Holocaust.
Gilbert uses no cunning literary devices to conjure up the time and place of little pieces of the holocaust puzzle - unless, terse and authoritative commentary is such a device. He charts the journey from the sites of Berlin's government ministries and residences, synagogues, hospitals and other sites which, for one reason or another, became associated with the Nazi policy, to the stark fields, hamlets, townships, woodlands and camps in Poland, where much of the killing was carried out.
Throughout much of the book, Gilbert simply recounts the journey, often reproducing in extenso diary entries he made along the way, together with accounts of various survivors. This proves sometimes too much to bear especially accounts of indescribable and incredible Nazi brutality and sadism.
The most mystifying and disturbing feature is the unbridled sadism of the killers, leaving Gilbert's companions to wonder, as at least some victims and survivors did, whether these men had children of their own. This conundrum is, in effect, the subject of the controversial book by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners, and it would be premature to say that the matter of `willing executioners' has been cleared up. One remains as mystified as ever after reading this book.
Many of the stories are not new - Kristallnacht, the burning of books, the Wannsee Conference, slave labour camps and extermination centres - but some are less well known, as for example, the demonstration of several thousand German women in Berlin's Rosen Strasse in March 1943.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Beeblebrox on April 10, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Until reading this book, I really didn't understand the true scope of the Holocaust. As a kid, I learned about Anne Frank and the Jews who were required to wear yellow stars; later on, in high school, when we were deemed able to handle such things, we watched "Night and Fog" with its graphic images of those murdered by the Nazis. These experiences were all somewhat clinical, really. The true human cost of the Shoah takes a while for one to fathom.

Gilbert's book does that through his readings of eyewitness accounts, usually on the scenes of their occurrences, of the unspeakable horrors which the Nazis committed. (Readers who are easily shocked should be warned that many of the stories are indescribably gruesome and will haunt one's dreams, as they did mine.)

But apart from the toll in human flesh which the Shoah exacted, the spiritual cost becomes clear through this book. Gilbert, through his readings and observations, paints a portrait of a country which was literally raped of its vitality and life by the Nazis through the indiscriminate murder of Jews and Gentiles alike. Especially poignant are the descriptions of the pre-war Jewish neighborhoods, alive with activity, commerce, and religion, all completely decimated.

It's fashionable for one to claim they are against anti-Semitism and radical nationalism; it's a much more complicated affair for one to understand why these are bad things. This book goes a long way towards reaching that understanding.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By on March 31, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The strength of this book, as is the case of all of Professor Gilbert's books, is his ability to take one to that time and place. Further, he has the unique ability to convey man's inhumanity to man through the telling of individual histories, be they short or long. I wish that I had been privileged to go along on this journey with him and his students, as somehow The Holocaust became alive for me in a manner I have not heretofore felt. I hope some day to make the journey myself and see where these momentous events occurred. Every person, of Jewish roots or not, should read this book and remember how easy it is for racial hatred to occur. When this book becomes available in paperback, I will use it in my Honors Seminar on Medical Ethics and The Holocaust. This is a 10 star book, a must read.
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