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The War Against the Jews: 1933-1945 Paperback – March 1, 1986

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About the Author

Lucy S. Dawidowicz was educated at Hunter College and Columbia University in New York and studied East European Jewish life firsthand at the Yivo Institute of Jewish Research, formerly in Vilna, Poland. She has taught modern Jewish history at Yeshiva University, Stanford University, and the State University of New York at Albany.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 467 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (March 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055334532X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553345322
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on July 10, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This seminal classic historical work by scholar and teacher Lucy Dawidowicz is a stunning book that both graphically and systematically spells out the details of the horrifying war of annihilation forged against the European Jews by the Third Reich. In a world that seen so much published regarding this subject, this work stands as benchmark. Ms. Dawidowicz addresses herself to the most fundamental of questions regarding this unspeakable policy of ritual race murder; how could a modern, sophisticated and industrial country such as Germany have perpetrated such a deliberate reign of horror against a whole people simply because they were Jewish? And, although we have seen recent books such as "Problem From Hell" that deal more systematically with the issue of modern examples of state sponsored genocide, the simple fact is that the Holocaust seems to have occurred because, for the first time in modern history, it was both politically and logistically possible. In other words, the Nazis had both the method and the impetus to do the unspeakable.
Seen in this fashion, the equation becomes at once political, social, and technological; given the irrational impulse to do so, the modern Nazi regime was able to harness all of its energies, spiritual, political and material, into such a devastating and sustained campaign against the Jews, and was therefore uniquely able to forge the most bloody of final results. The author's approach winds the reader through several phases of the Holocaust phenomenon with a careful, meticulous and methodical consideration of the social, economic, and political influences swirling through this witches' brew of evil.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Ms. Dawidowiczs managed to hold me through the grim realities of the shoa as no other author has. I believe it to be the definative text on the development of European, and particularly German anti-semitism. I wish I had read it twenty years ago. She explains how the enlightenment notions of individual autonomy challanged the notions of the clan and ethnic nationalism held so tightly by the Nazis. Hitler reject his own Catholic background, from which the enlightenment had arisen. He replaced the God of the Jews and Christians with the Gods of Nordic mythology. Individuals were of no importance in Hitler's world view only the tribe mattered. Dawidowiczs explains how Hitler found fertile territory for his avowed hatred of Jewry in Europes long history of anti-semitism. She explains in frightening detail how Hitler took anti-semitism into the land of terror. Hitler, as she explains, used the ideals of ethnicity and tribalism to convince Germans that they were under attack from within by a virus called Judaism that would destroy them if they did not destroy the Jews first. Hence "the final solution". Dawidowiczs style is reader friendly. She manages to pull the reader along through horrible subject matter with clear and precise prose. The use of charts and graphs to show the decline in pre and post war Jewry is staggering and a great illustration of the ferocity of Natzi hatred and fear. How ironic that the Nazi motive for the murder of Jews was that they were afraid of them. Nordic supermen notwithstanding, their pathological fear lead to slaughter. All serious students of the 20th century should read this book.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By John G. Hilliard on April 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book provides a good detail of how the German leadership convinced itself that genocide was not only correct and legal, but a necessity for their survival. I thought the book was going to be a description of one atrocity after another, but it provides the reader with more of the details of why it was happening. Don't get me wrong, there is enough of the horror represented here. I would have liked a larger review of all of the holocaust crimes across Europe, but there are limits to the size of any one book. This book is a good start to find out why it happened.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on February 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
Hitler. The very name seems to invoke black and white images of a charasmatic madman pushing his country to global domination. But the story goes much deeper than that. His intense hatred of the Jews pushed him to implement his "Final Solution". To exploit and then kill every Jew in Europe before they, in his twisted mind, did the same to every one else.
Thankfully, his "appointed" task was never completed. But not before nearly six million Jews and countless others who either resisted or simply didn't conform to his Ideas of the perfect human were destroyed.
This is the story of those Jews who died and those survived the largest mass murder in recorded history. These are the things they didn't show or talk about in Public School. This book shows the strength and weakness of a people on the edge of anihalation. It doesn't show the Jews as a strong race overcoming their problems, or as a weak race sniveling and grovelling, waiting to die. It shows them as any other group of humans reacting to their circumstances in a wide variety of ways.
This is probably the longest time I have ever spent reading a book. After reading a page or two (especially in the second half of the book), I would generally have to put it down for a few days to read some lighter material. Overall I think it took me about nine to ten months to read. But I would definatly put it in the best books I have read.
So, if you are looking to understand what was happening to the Jews during WW2, or if you are just looking to fill in some of the gaps from history class, then I would heartily recomend this brilliant work.
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