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The War Against the Jews: 1933-1945

af Lucy S. Dawidowicz

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874724,808 (4.06)28
A history of how anti-Semitism evolved into the Holocaust in Germany: "If any book can tell what Hitlerism was like, this is it" (Alfred Kazin). Lucy Dawidowicz's groundbreaking The War Against the Jews inspired waves of both acclaim and controversy upon its release in 1975. Dawidowicz argues that genocide was, to the Nazis, as central a war goal as conquering Europe, and was made possible by a combination of political, social, and technological factors. She explores the full history of Hitler's "Final Solution," from the rise of anti-Semitism to the creation of Jewish ghettos to the brutal tactics of mass murder employed by the Nazis.   Written with devastating detail, The War Against the Jews is the definitive and comprehensive book on one of history's darkest chapters.… (mere)
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Contents:

• Acknowledgments
• Introduction to the Tenth Anniversary Edition
• The Subject: Definitions and Contours

Part I: The Final Solution
1. The Jews in Hitler's Mental World
2. Anti-Semitism in Modern Germany
3. Phase One: Anti-Jewish Legislation, 1933-1935
4. The SS: Instrument of the Final Solution
5. Foreign Policy, Race, and War
6. Phase Two: From Internal War to World War
7. The Annihilation Camps: Kingdom of Death
8. A Retrospective view

Part II: The Holocaust
9. Between Freedom and Ghetto: The Jews in Germany, 1933-1938
10. Death and Life in the East European Ghettos
11. The Official Community: From Kehilla to Judenrat
12. The Alternative Community
13. Countercommunity: The Political Underground
14. Who Shall Live, Who Shall Die
15. "For Your Freedom and Ours"
16. Jewish Behavior in Crisis and Extremity

• Appendices
• Notes
• Sources
• Supplementary Sources to the Tenth Anniversary Edition
• Index
  villemezbrown | Mar 4, 2024 |
An idiosyncratic one volume history of the holocaust. I had avoided it previously, but recently read something that gave it a plug (I don't remember what). Somewhat notorious for the negative review by Raul Hilberg author of the multivolume Destruction of the European Jews. The holocaust, being what it was, involving who it involved, being associated with so much guilt in the survivors and being followed by the creation of Israel, seems to commonly have its histories fairly thoroughly criticized (there's a sentence for you). This book is sort of the anti-Hilberg history. He concentrated on the bureaucracy of the Nazi's and gave short shrift to Jewish resistance (some say), while this book quickly summarizes the holocaust from the Nazi's view point, then concentrates on the Jewish response, Jewish political parties, and Jewish resistance, whether successful or not. I learned a great deal from it, although one could get tired of hearing how the Left wing Zionists and the Right wing Zionists differed from the Bund, Dror, the PPR, etc. I found, though, that by enriching my knowledge of the myriad of Jewish parties and groups, it served to make the Jews in that time and place more real and to make it more difficult to make blanket statements about their predicament or what they "should have done". There are a few howlers - p.72 "When he [Himmler] completed agricultural school, he got a job ... at a nitrogen fertilizer company, reflecting, no doubt, a streak of coprophilia." Really! (Not that I doubt his coprophilia, just that I don't think that working at a chemical fertilizer plant could indicate this "without doubt"). ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
The author divides her work into two parts: the first focuses on the Nazis and is fascinating in the same way that a poisonous viper demands your attention. With impeccable and overwhelming research one sees that National Socialism was an outgrowth of centuries of German reaction to liberalism. She argues that the growth of a mythical "Volk" that mixes Teutonic mythology, reactionary ideology, and anti-Semitism stems from resistance to Napoleon's imposition on the fractured German states of French concepts of freedom and equality. Hitler then added a personal obsessional hatred of Jews that borrowed descriptions of them as "vermin" and "bacteria." He globalized the threat he saw posed by the Jews by conflataing Bolshevism and Judaism, with which justified his attack on Russia. The author makes the point that Hitler's spewing in Mein Kampf in the mid-1920s was an accurate forecast of his domestic and foreign policy. It's fascinating, well-written, and repulsive, as the entire Volk takes pride in how many Jews were extirminated. The second half of the book though, which concentrates on how the Jews reacted to the mortal threat upon them I found too pedantic and masochistic. As members of various Jewish organizations in Germany debated doctrinal issues, the Nazis were preparing to kill them all. It reminds me of the Woody Allen line about talking to a Nazi only with a baseball bat. However, the Jews didn't use weapons; they deluded themselves into thinking that rational arguments would win the day. I couldn't read it. ( )
1 stem neddludd | Jun 3, 2011 |
Very comprehensive and detailed account of the Holocaust. ( )
  J.v.d.A. | Jul 3, 2007 |
A classic historical account of the Holocaust, its origins, the response, etc. ( )
  JBD1 | Jan 14, 2006 |
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In memory of
Toba (Tobtsche) Dawidowicz
Warsaw 1924 – Warsaw Ghetto 1943
and
Zarek Dawidowicz
Warsaw 1927 – Treblinka 1942 (?)

Two of six million
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In the ten years since this book first appeared, a vast number of books and articles about the murder of the European Jews have been published. [Introduction to the Tenth Anniversary Edition]
The annihilation of six million Jews, carried out by the German state under Adolf Hitler during World War II, has resisted understanding. [The Subject: Definitions and Contours]
"If at the beginning of the War and during the War," Hitler wrote in the last chapter of Mein Kampf, "twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under poison gas, as happened to hundreds of thousands of our very best German workers in the field, the sacrifice of millions at the front would not have been in vain."
Did the idea of the Final Solution originate in this passage, germinating in Hitler's subconscious for some fifteen years before it was to sprout into practical reality?
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A history of how anti-Semitism evolved into the Holocaust in Germany: "If any book can tell what Hitlerism was like, this is it" (Alfred Kazin). Lucy Dawidowicz's groundbreaking The War Against the Jews inspired waves of both acclaim and controversy upon its release in 1975. Dawidowicz argues that genocide was, to the Nazis, as central a war goal as conquering Europe, and was made possible by a combination of political, social, and technological factors. She explores the full history of Hitler's "Final Solution," from the rise of anti-Semitism to the creation of Jewish ghettos to the brutal tactics of mass murder employed by the Nazis.   Written with devastating detail, The War Against the Jews is the definitive and comprehensive book on one of history's darkest chapters.

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