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Holocaust Forgotten - Five Million Non-Jewish Victims (Volume 1) Paperback – May 21, 2012
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About the Author
Born in Wildfecken, Germany - in a displaced persons camp after the Second World War, Ms. Schwartz emigrated to the U.S.A. with her parents and younger sister when she was two years old. She was raised in Michigan and attended Michigan State University where she studied journalism and communication arts. She moved to California in her early twenties, where she married and raised a family. Schwartz began doing research on the subject of non-Jewish Holocaust victims after she converted to Judaism, and in 1997 she published a highly acclaimed website, www.holocaustforgotten.com. Ms. Schwartz is also an artist and fine art photographer, and a juried member of the Thousand Oaks Art Association. The history of the Holocaust - especially related to the non-Jewish victims, continues to be of great interest to her. She is currently working on a second and more expanded volume on the non-Jewish victims.
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Top customer reviews
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Details of non-Jewish victims of the Nazis were were well documented after the war, history professors and other scholars have written about them, and concentration camp museums, as well as other museums have accounts of them. They have not been forgotten and their suffering and victimization are subjects that are not new. It may be important to document individual accounts and to reinforce the knowledge of the non-Jewish Holocaust, but this is not some obscure, unknown subject.
I grew up in a small rural community with functionally illiterate parents and did not attend university until I was an adult. I make this point to show that I was not raised amongst the intelligentsia. I learned about non-Jewish Holocaust victims in my one room elementary school, my small local secondary school, and from members of my community. I learned more in-depth details of this topic when I studied history at university, but I already knew the basic framework. I specifically chose coursework to learn more about the topic, because I knew the basics and wanted to learn more about it. I also built upon my initial framework and later course studies by visiting various museums and Dachau. However, the framework was there and many of my generation, at least, were fully cognizant of the other groups targeted by the Nazis for extermination. Therefore, I find the many references to the fact that this information is not known to be extremely spurious and irritating. Maybe university students in California aren't very knowledgable about world events and history, but there is a whole world out there, filled with people who do keep informed.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I got this book when it was offered for free, but I thought it was going to be a scholarly work, which it isn't. That is not a bad thing, so there is no criticism implied. I did think that the author's observations could have used footnotes in a couple of places. Maybe nit-picking, but what can I say?; I have a history degree so footnotes are in my blood.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the first person accounts, and think that we need more of them so future generations can put a human face on the stark framework. My husband is from the Netherlands and has uncles who were sent away to be slave labourers and he had family who almost starved to death during the German occupation. They had friends shot by the Germans for being in the Dutch Resistance. One of his uncles married a Polish woman who was found in bad shape and wandering in Poland after the liberation. It took a while for her to remember her own name and she never did remember what happened to her during the war years. She was the only surviving member of both her nuclear and extended family. She may not have consciously remembered what happened to her, but the fact that she became an alcoholic suggests that she never really recovered.
I commend the author for trying document these kind of accounts, because they are important. I hope she is able to collect more. I recommend this book for those who want a brief overview comprised mainly of first person accounts. The author is clear about the fact that this short book is based on articles on her blog, so it does not pretend to be a scholarly history. It is an accessible book, easy to read and perhaps something to whet the appetite for an in-depth look at the topic. It is a fascinating subject. (A little tidbit: one of Goebbel's daughters was mentally defective but was not exterminated, and supposedly Hitler enjoyed her company.)
General Edward L. Rowny, United States Army (retired)
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