The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War

Martin Gilbert, Author
Martin Gilbert, Author Holt McDougal $24.95 (959p) ISBN 978-0-03-062416-2
Reviewed on: 02/01/1986
Release date: 02/01/1986
A poignant introduction by the author (official biographer of Winston Churchill) is followed by his instructive analysis of anti-Semitism in Europe, from Martin Luther's venomous fulminations against Jews to the motivating power of anti-Semitism in the National Socialist movement. Hitler's ""final solution'' began formally within hours of the German invasion of Russia, a campaign that, as Gilbert shows, provided an opportunity for genocide hitherto lacking. With a relentless accumulation of detail and eyewitness accounts, he writes of the systematic efficiency of the Nazi attempt to destroy European Jewry and the widespread disbelief that such could be happening. Though the figure of Adolf Hitler remains in the background, such executives as Himmler, Eichmann and Mengele are very much in evidence throughout the gripping narrative (there is new material on the latter's labors at Auschwitz). An element in the historical tragedy that Gilbert stresses is the deliberate destruction of childrenone of Mengele's principal interestswhich the author calls ``the new barbarism.'' The narrative reaches its dreadful climax with the convergence on the death camps of the Allied and Soviet armies, a time when ``rescue and slaughter marched hand in hand.'' A particularly disturbing section deals with outbreaks of anti-Semitism after the German surrender. On July 4, 1946, for instancemore than a year after V-E Day42 Jews were massacred by Poles in the town of Kielce. Gilbert brings within the pages of this volume all the major substantiated evidence of Jewish resistance throughout the war, plus many examples of Gentiles risking their lives to protect Hitler's prey. Photos. Major ad/promo. January
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