The Meaning of the Holocaust in a Changing World

Peter Hayes, Designed by Northwestern University Press $54.95 (373p) ISBN 978-0-8101-0955-1
Based on papers presented by Holocaust scholars at a conference held at Northwestern University in 1989, this earnest, valuable survey challenges the notion that the Holocaust is incomprehensible, alien and distant. Comparing the Holocaust with medieval anti-Semitism, the witch-hunts of the 15th to 18th centuries and the Gulag, Steven T. Katz demonstrates why the latter three were not genocidal and why the Nazi Final Solution was ``unprecedented and unparalleled.'' Alvin H. Rosenfeld questions if the dramatic and film versions of the enormously popular diary are a faithful portrayal of the image of Anne Frank and that of the larger Jewish tragedy she symbolizes, or if these media cheapen and distort, converting Anne Frank into a ``ready-at-hand formula for easy forgiveness.'' Nechama Tec's 10-year study of the nature of altruistic Polish Christians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust shows that these Poles overwhelmingly emphasize that they had responded to the persecution and suffering of the victims and not to their Jewishness. Hayes wrote Industry and Ideology: IG Farben in the Nazi Era. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
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