- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press (March 15, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0231112149
- ISBN-13: 978-0231112147
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,060,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Holocaust Hardcover – March 15, 1999
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The Holocaust: A German Historian Examines the Genocide by Wolfgang Benz is a dark flash of a book--156 astringent pages, describing the events and individuals who determined the fate of millions of Jews. The author is a German, not a Jew, and his task is analytical, not explanatory. The Holocaust avoids the questions that drive most books about its subject. It does not delve into the origins of National Socialism or the question of why Germans allowed the Holocaust to happen. Instead, Benz begins by describing the Wannsee Conference, which planned "to rid all German territory of Jews by legal means," and then describes the laws that allowed discrimination against Jews, the destruction of civil rights for Jews, and the creation of ghettos and concentration camps. His nonideological analysis of the genocide is far from amoral, however. Every page of this German's account of the holocaust rings with the mournfulness of a man who must take stock of the hardest parts of his history, in preparation for understanding that history. And although some scholars may argue there is no such thing as objectivity, Benz's account of the political genesis of genocide comes awfully close. "Not a single line of this book can be contested or argued out of existence," says Jewish historian Arthur Hertzberg in his introduction to The Holocaust. "All of these events took place, and they happened in the order in which he puts them." Simply having these facts so clearly and succinctly described will help many readers prepare to grapple with the raging moral questions raised by the Holocaust. That is cause for hope. --Michael Joseph Gross
From Library Journal
Benz (anti-Semitism research, Technical Univ. of Berlin) is the author or editor of over 100 volumes, most available only in German. In this book, first published in 1995 and ably translated here, Benz provides a remarkable overview of the Holocaust in under 175 pages, covering a wide variety of topics, from the initial discrimination against German Jews and "Gypsies" to extermination by Einsatzgruppen and in the death camps. Benz shows an easy mastery of the primary-source material, although the book disappointingly lacks footnotes. He deliberately avoids many of the historical controversies, refusing, for example, to be drawn into the debate between functionalists and internationalists, although he does take a somewhat unpopular position by defending some of the leaders of the Judenr?te. While this book is obviously not comprehensive in its coverage, it is a highly cogent introduction to the subject, sparking a hope that more of the author's publications will likewise be translated into English.AJohn A. Drobnicki, York Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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