This is a gripping depiction of the Nazi occupation of the Ukraine during the height of World War II. The book covers all aspects of Nazi persecution, in 12 thematic chapters. A separate chapter is dedicated to the extermination of Jews and Gypsies in the Ukraine. To an extent, Berkhoff’s focus provides an interesting comparative perspective. At the same time, however, the comparative focus waters down the impact of some of his data, specifically by seeming to equate the murder of the Jews — a premeditated act of genocide — with the famine in the Ukrainian cities under Nazi occupation, which resulted from Nazi exploitation policies but was not premeditated. With such comparisons, Berkhoff lays himself open to (unfair) charges of relativizing the Holocaust. I do also believe that Berkhoff underestimates the significance of Ukrainian collaboration with the Nazi régime, but he is correct in placing much of the blame for what happened in Nazi – occupied Ukraine to the pervasive impact of Soviet misgovernance repression. On balance, therefore, this is an important work on a complex subject and deserves to be read by most readers interested in Eastern Europe. Biblio., illus.; index; notes.
Abraham J. Edelheit is an associate professor of history at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY) and the author, co-author, or editor of eleven books on the Holocaust, Zionism, Jewish and European history, and Military affairs. His most recent publication appeared in Armor magazine, the official journal of the US Army Armor and Cavalry Command.