The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust

The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust

The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust

The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust

Synopsis

Offering a multidimensional approach to one of the most important episodes of the twentieth century, The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust offers readers and researchers a general history of the Holocaust while delving into the core issues and debates in the study of the Holocaust today. Each of the book's five distinct parts stands on its own as valuable research aids; together, they constitute an integrated whole. Part I provides a narrative overview of the Holocaust, placing it within the larger context of Nazi Germany and World War II. Part II examines eight critical issues or controversies in the study of the Holocaust, including the following questions: Were the Jews the sole targets of Nazi genocide, or must other groups, such as homosexuals, the handicapped, Gypsies, and political dissenters, also be included? What are the historical roots of the Holocaust? How and why did the "Final Solution" come about? Why did bystanders extend or withhold aid? Part III consists of a concise chronology of major events and developments that took place surrounding the Holocaust, including the armistice ending World War I, the opening of the first major concentration camp at Dachau, Germany's invasion of Poland, the failed assassination attempt against Hitler, and the formation of Israel. Part IV contains short descriptive articles on more than two hundred key people, places, terms, and institutions central to a thorough understanding of the Holocaust. Entries include Adolf Eichmann, Anne Frank, the Warsaw Ghetto, Aryanization, the SS, Kristallnacht, and the Catholic Church. Part V presents an annotated guide to the best print, video, electronic, and institutional resources in English for further study. Armed with the tools contained in this volume, students or researchers investigating this vast and complicated topic will gain an informed understanding of one of the greatest tragedies in world history.

Excerpt

This book provides a general introduction for readers coming to the study of the Holocaust for the first time, as well as a guide to specialized studies and controversial issues for those wishing to delve more deeply into the subject. It is divided into five parts.

Part I offers a concise summary of the factual history, placing the Holocaust within the larger context of Nazi Germany and World War II.

Part II is divided into eight chapters devoted to more detailed explorations of issues and problems that interest scholars and laypersons alike. The first chapter ponders how best to define the Holocaust. Were the Jews the sole targets of Nazi genocide, or must other groups, such as Gypsies, handicapped people, Eastern European civilians and prisoners of war, political and religious dissenters, and homosexuals, be included? The second chapter examines the trends in modern European history that made Nazi genocide possible. It also explores the historical developments and social situations of the various victim groups and examines the history of prejudice, giving special attention to conflicting views on the relationship between pre-Nazi racism and antisemitism and the Holocaust. The third chapter delves into debates about why the Nazi leaders abandoned emigration and deportation of the Jews in 1941 in favor of genocide, while the fourth chapter considers the motivations of those who tormented and killed vast numbers of innocent civilians during the Holocaust. The fifth chapter explores the Jews' resistance to Nazi policies and their survival strategies in ghettos and camps and in hiding. The sixth chapter probes the reactions of ordinary Germans, Poles, Hungarians, and other Europeans as the victims were being persecuted and deported. The seventh chapter examines charges that the Allied powers and neutral countries failed to seize opportunities to save the victims. The eighth chapter considers the legacy of genocide for survivors, perpetrators, bystanders, and everyone . . .

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