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The Holocaust and the Historians Revised ed. Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674405677
ISBN-10: 0674405676
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Editorial Reviews


Professor Dawidowicz’s work embodies high standards of scholarship. The analysis is shrewd and generally fair, and the comparisons often brilliantly perceptive... A valuable contribution to the literature of the Second World War and the Holocaust. (New York Times Book Review)

Marshalling an impressive array of scholarship, [Dawidowicz] takes the reader through a careful examination of the writings about the holocaust in England and the US, Germany, the USSR, and Poland. (Review of Books and Religion)

Ms. Dawidowicz is always incisive, sharp, analytical and honest... Her analysis especially of German historiography is fascinating. (American Jewish History)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Revised ed. edition (August 15, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674405676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674405677
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,754,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Glenn M. Harden on July 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
At the outset of her historiography, Dawidowicz argues that the murder of 6 million Jews is distinctive, not because they suffered more than other peoples during the war, but "because of the differentiative intent of the murderers and the unique effect of the murders" (14). The murder of Jews and the destruction of the European Jewish community were "ends in themselves, ultimate goals of" Nazism (13). Consequently, she takes to task historians and others who deny the uniqueness of the Jewish experience. "By equating the destruction of the European Jews with other events, they succeed in obscuring the role of anti-Semitism in accomplishing that murder" (17). Even good-natured attempts to recognize the potential of terrible evil within every nation or society hide the reality of virulent racism as a causal factor in the case of the Holocaust. For her, the ideal history of the Holocaust would include three components: "(1) an exposition of how and by whom the European Jews were annihilated; (2) an explanation of why they were annihilated, with reference to the history of anti-Semitism; and (3) an appropriate account of their history before the rise of Hitler" (25). Unfortunately, she found few works that did justice to their subject. I recommend this books to students and teachers of the Holocaust. In particular, secondary school teachers may find it helpful in searching for bias within their own lessons and their students' assigned texts.
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Format: Paperback
This work covers many subjects, a few of which I address. One major theme of Dawidowicz is the supposed specialness of the Nazi German genocide of Jews. [For an alternate viewpoint, please see the Peczkis Listmania: HOLOCAUST MISCONCEPTIONS].

Not surprisingly, the author repeatedly tries to depreciate Polish suffering under the Nazis (e. g, p. 10, 13, 103, 119). Contrary to her assertions, the Nazis did have a long-term plan to exterminate, and not merely resettle, most Poles [See the Peczkis Listmanias: FORGOTTEN HOLOCAUST..., and NAZI GERMAN GENOCIDE OF POLES AND OTHER SLAVS.]

However, Dawidowicz, to her credit, repudiates one common Polonophobic insinuation, as she comments, (quote) The Germans used Poland as their gigantic laboratory for mass murder, not (as has sometimes been wrongly charged) because the Nazis counted on Polish anti-Semitism, but because that was where most of Europe's Jews were concentrated and where the Germans expected to settle for a long time. (unquote). (pp. 92-93).

Dawidowicz has a chapter on the treatment of the Holocaust in Communist-ruled Poland. She realizes that Jewish Communist author Bernard Mark falsified history, in order to glorify the Communists. (pp. 101-102, 106, 170).

The author discusses the Judenrat controversy. Although she tries to belittle Hannah Arendt and her conclusion in EICHMANN IN JERUSALEM, Dawidowicz tacitly admits that the role of the Judenrat and the Jewish ghetto police are legitimate issues, (quote) Perhaps in another generation, when the suppurating wounds which the Holocaust inflicted on all Jews will have closed, it will be possible for Jews to confront Holocaust history. (unquote). (p. 139).
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