The Holocaust in History

Michael R. Marrus, Author Brandeis University Press $25 (285p) ISBN 978-0-87451-425-4
More suitable for students of the discipline than lay readers, this is a masterly, engrossing assessment of the vast Holocaust literature. In contrast to Lucy Dawidowicz's 1981 The Holocaust and the Historians, which protested the mistreatment of the topic by historians, Marrus (The Unwanted: European Refugees in the Twentieth Century, etc.) nonpolemically applies ""the tools of historical, sociological, and political analysis to the events of the war years and to understand what happened to European Jewry as one would understand any other historical problem.'' Placing the Holocaust in a broad historical perspective, he links the centrality of anti-Semitism in Nazism to Hitler's anti-Jewish commitment and advances the argument that Nazi anti-Jewish policy wasn't set at an early point but evolved, with the plan for European-wide mass murder emerging after the military successes in 1940-41. In a keen effort to enter the minds and sensibilities of those who lived through the Holocaust, he undermines generalizations regarding European public opinion of Jews during the Holocaust, bystanders, Jewish ghetto leadership and Jewish ``passivity'' and ``resistance.'' He evenhandedly surveys the various sources on Nazi offers to suspend the Final Solution and ransom the remaining Jews at the last stages of the war, and other rescue options. History Book Club and Jewish Book Club main selections. (November 9)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1987
Release date: 11/01/1987
Paperback - 267 pages - 978-0-452-00953-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1464-3
Hardcover - 978-0-14-016983-6
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