Lessons and Lega­cies, Vol. VI: New Cur­rents in Holo­caust Research

Jef­frey M. Diefendorf, ed.
  • Review
By – August 15, 2012
The Holo­caust con­tin­ues to draw increas­ing atten­tion from researchers apply­ing a vari­ety of approach­es and dis­ci­plines. This book presents a wor­thy array of 25 chap­ters orig­i­nal­ly deliv­ered in 2000 at one of a series of inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ences spon­sored by the Holo­caust Edu­ca­tion Foun­da­tion. The anno­tat­ed chap­ters pro­vide a use­ful guide to the state of research and writ­ing on many issues and themes. The chap­ters are orga­nized into six sec­tions: Rethink­ing Nazi Poli­cies; Resis­tance and Res­cue; Ger­man Schol­ars and the Holo­caust; His­to­ri­og­ra­phy and the Chal­lenges to His­to­ri­ans; Tri­als, Com­pen­sa­tion, and Jew­ish Assets; and Con­fronting the Past. 

Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est are the con­tri­bu­tions by two promi­nent Israelis. Yehu­da Bauer address­es The Prob­lem of Non- Armed Jew­ish Reac­tions to Nazi Rule in East­ern Europe,” empha­siz­ing the need for more detailed, local stud­ies of how the Jews in many local­i­ties respond­ed to the Nazi onslaught. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, observes Bauer, both North Amer­i­ca and Israel are lack­ing in a min­i­mal crit­i­cal mass of researchers who can read the nec­es­sary lan­guages and are inter­est­ed in the sub­ject of East­ern Euro­pean Jew­ry dur­ing the Holo­caust.” Dan Mich­man in turn exam­ines Amer­i­can Christo­pher Browning’s con­cept of eupho­ria of vic­to­ry” as a tool for under­stand­ing how the Nazi Ger­mans under­took ever more rad­i­cal poli­cies toward the Jews between 1939 and 1942

The reviewed vol­ume will be of use and inter­est to both gen­er­al read­ers and seri­ous schol­ars. So much has been writ­ten; so much more must be ana­lyzed, digest­ed and understood.
Robert Moses Shapiro teach­es mod­ern Jew­ish his­to­ry, Holo­caust stud­ies, and Yid­dish lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture at Brook­lyn Col­lege of the City Uni­ver­si­ty of New York. His most recent book is The War­saw Ghet­to Oyneg Shabes-Ringel­blum Archive: Cat­a­log and Guide (Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty Press in asso­ci­a­tion with the U.S. Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al Library and the Jew­ish His­tor­i­cal Insti­tute in War­saw, 2009). He is cur­rent­ly engaged in trans­lat­ing Pol­ish and Yid­dish diaries from the Łódź ghet­to and the Yid­dish Son­derkom­man­do doc­u­ments found buried in the ash pits at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Discussion Questions