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International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, established by the United Nations General Assembly, is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jews, 1 million Gypsies, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

 

January 27th, 2015 also marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazis’ most notorious concentration camp, Auschwitz, also known as Auschwitz-Birkenau. Most of about 1.1 million people that passed through the gates between 1940 and 1945 never left, many of them murdered in the camp’s gas chambers. Only some 200,000 are believed to have survived that fate. No one knows how many of the survivors remain alive today, but it’s a group that is dwindling as age takes its toll. To mark the liberation’s anniversary, about 300 former Auschwitz prisoners are travelling to Oświęcim, Poland, to pay tribute on Jan. 27 at Birkenau’s Gate of Death, the unloading ramp at the camp’s rail entrance.

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In honor of the UN’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, Berghahn has made several relevant journal articles freely available through a special virtual issue. You may access the issue through this link: bit.ly/Holocaust-Remembrance-Day

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Berhahn Books would also like to present a selection of relevant titles on the history of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

 

JEWISH HISTORIES OF THE HOLOCAUST
New Transnational Approaches
Edited by Norman J. W. Goda

 

For many years, histories of the Holocaust focused on its perpetrators, and only recently have more scholars begun to consider in detail the experiences of victims and survivors, as well as the documents they left behind. This volume contains new research from internationally established scholars. It provides an introduction to and overview of Jewish narratives of the Holocaust. The essays include new considerations of sources ranging from diaries and oral testimony to the hidden Oyneg Shabbes archive of the Warsaw Ghetto; arguments regarding Jewish narratives and how they fit into the larger fields of Holocaust and Genocide studies; and new assessments of Jewish responses to mass murder ranging from ghetto leadership to resistance and memory.

 

 

 

HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS
Resettlement, Memories, Identities
Edited by Dalia Ofer, Françoise S. Ouzan, and Judy Tydor Baumel-Schwartz

 

Many books on Holocaust survivors deal with their lives in the Displaced Persons camps, with memory and remembrance, and with the nature of their testimonies. Representing scholars from different countries and different disciplines such as history, sociology, demography, psychology, anthropology, and literature, this collection explores the survivors’ return to everyday life and how their experience of Nazi persecution and the Holocaust impacted their process of integration into various European countries, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and Israel. Thus, it offers a rich mix of perspectives, disciplines, and communities.

 

 

 

 

VANISHED HISTORY
The Holocaust in Czech and Slovak Historical Culture
Tomas Sniegon

 

About 270,000 out of the 360,000 Czech and Slovak casualties of World War II were victims of the Holocaust. Despite these statistics, the Holocaust vanished almost entirely from post-war Czechoslovak, and later Czech and Slovak, historical cultures. The communist dictatorship carried the main responsibility for this disappearance, yet the situation has not changed much since the fall of the communist regime. The main questions of this study are how and why the Holocaust was excluded from the Czech and Slovak history.

 

 

 

 

 

JEWISH MEDICAL RESISTANCE IN THE HOLOCAUST
Edited by Michael A. Grodin

 

Faced with infectious diseases, starvation, lack of medicines, lack of clean water, and safe sewage, Jewish physicians practiced medicine under severe conditions in the ghettos and concentration camps of the Holocaust. Despite the odds against them, physicians managed to supply public health education, enforce hygiene protocols, inspect buildings and latrines, enact quarantine, and perform triage. Many gave their lives to help fellow prisoners. Based on archival materials and featuring memoirs of Holocaust survivors, this volume offers a rich array of both tragic and inspiring studies of the sanctification of life as practiced by Jewish medical professionals. More than simply a medical story, these histories represent the finest exemplification of a humanist moral imperative during a dark hour of recent history.

 

 

 

 

 

THE GREATER GERMAN REICH AND THE JEWS
Nazi Persecution Policies in the Annexed Territories 1935-1945
Edited by Wolf Gruner and Jörg Osterloh

 

Between 1935 and 1940, the Nazis incorporated large portions of Europe into the German Reich. The contributors to this volume analyze the evolving anti-Jewish policies in the annexed territories and their impact on the Jewish population, as well as the attitudes and actions of non-Jews, Germans, and indigenous populations. They demonstrate that diverse anti-Jewish policies developed in the different territories, which in turn affected practices in other regions and even influenced Berlin’s decisions. Having these systematic studies together in one volume enables a comparison – based on the most recent research – between anti-Jewish policies in the areas annexed by the Nazi state. The results of this prizewinning book call into question the common assumption that one central plan for persecution extended across Nazi-occupied Europe, shifting the focus onto differing regional German initiatives and illuminating the cooperation of indigenous institutions.

 

 

 

 

A FATAL BALANCING ACT
The Dilemma of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany, 1939-1945
Beate Meyer
Translated from the German by William Templer

 

In 1939 all German Jews had to become members of a newly founded Reich Association. The Jewish functionaries of this organization were faced with circumstances and events that forced them to walk a fine line between responsible action and collaboration. They had hoped to support mass emigration, mitigate the consequences of the anti-Jewish measures, and take care of the remaining community. When the Nazis forbade emigration and started mass deportations in 1941, the functionaries decided to cooperate to prevent the “worst.” In choosing to cooperate, they came into direct opposition with the interests of their members, who were then deported. In June 1943 all unprotected Jews were deported along with their representatives, and the so-called intermediaries supplied the rest of the community, which consisted of Jews living in mixed marriages. The study deals with the tasks of these men, the fate of the Jews in mixed marriages, and what happened to the survivors after the war.

 

 

 

THE HOLOCAUST AND HISTORICAL METHODOLOGY
Edited by Dan Stone

 

In the last two decades our empirical knowledge of the Holocaust has been vastly expanded. Yet this empirical blossoming has not been accompanied by much theoretical reflection on the historiography. This volume argues that reflection on the historical process of (re)constructing the past is as important for understanding the Holocaust—and, by extension, any past event—as is archival research. It aims to go beyond the dominant paradigm of political history and describe the emergence of methods now being used to reconstruct the past in the context of Holocaust historiography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forthcoming in Paperback! 

JUDGING ‘PRIVILEGED’ JEWS
Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the ‘Grey Zone’
Adam Brown

 

The Nazis’ persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust included the creation of prisoner hierarchies that forced victims to cooperate with their persecutors. Many in the camps and ghettos came to hold so-called “privileged” positions, and their behavior has often been judged as self-serving and harmful to fellow inmates. Such controversial figures constitute an intrinsically important, frequently misunderstood, and often taboo aspect of the Holocaust. Drawing on Primo Levi’s concept of the “grey zone,” this study analyzes the passing of moral judgment on “privileged” Jews as represented by writers, such as Raul Hilberg, and in films, including Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah and Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Negotiating the problems and potentialities of “representing the unrepresentable,” this book engages with issues that are fundamental to present-day attempts to understand the Holocaust and deeply relevant to reflections on human nature.

 

 

 

NAZI LABOUR CAMPS IN PARIS
Austerlitz, Lévitan, Bassano, July 1943-August 1944
Jean-Marc Dreyfus and Sarah Gensburger
Translated by Jonathan Hensher

 

On 18 July 1943, one-hundred and twenty Jews were transported from the concentration camp at Drancy to the Lévitan furniture store building in the middle of Paris. These were the first detainees of three satellite camps (Lévitan, Austerlitz, Bassano) in Paris. Between July 1943 and August 1944, nearly eight hundred prisoners spent a few weeks to a year in one of these buildings, previously been used to store furniture, and were subjected to forced labor. Although the history of the persecution and deportation of France’s Jews is well known, the three Parisian satellite camps have been subjected to the silence of both memory and history. This lack of attention by the most authoritative voices on the subject can perhaps be explained by the absence of a collective memory or by the marginal status of the Parisian detainees – the spouses of Aryans, wives of prisoners of war, half-Jews. Still, the Parisian camps did, and continue to this day, lack simple and straightforward descriptions. This book is a much needed study of these camps and is witness to how, sixty years after the events, expressing this memory remains a complex, sometimes painful process, and speaking about it a struggle.

 

 

THE TRAIN JOURNEY
Transit, Captivity, and Witnessing in the Holocaust
Simone Gigliotti

 

Deportations by train were critical in the Nazis’ genocidal vision of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” Historians have estimated that between 1941 and 1944 up to three million Jews were transported to their deaths in concentration and extermination camps. In his writings on the “Final Solution,” Raul Hilberg pondered the role of trains: “How can railways be regarded as anything more than physical equipment that was used, when the time came, to transport the Jews from various cities to shooting grounds and gas chambers in Eastern Europe?” This book explores the question by analyzing the victims’ experiences at each stage of forced relocation: the round-ups and departures from the ghettos, the captivity in trains, and finally, the arrival at the camps. Utilizing a variety of published memoirs and unpublished testimonies, the book argues that victims experienced the train journeys as mobile chambers, comparable in importance to the more studied, fixed locations of persecution, such as ghettos and camps.

 

 

 

THE ‘FINAL SOLUTION’ IN RIGA
Exploitation and Annihilation, 1941-1944
Andrej Angrick and Peter Klein
Translated from the German by Ray Brandon

 

Ghetto, forced labor camp, concentration camp: All of the elements of the National Socialists’ policies of annihilation were to be found in Riga. This first analysis of the Riga ghetto and the nearby camps of Salaspils and Jungfernhof addresses all aspects of German occupation policy during the Second World War. Drawing upon a broad array of sources that includes previously inaccessible Soviet archives, postwar criminal investigations, and trial records of alleged perpetrators, and the records of the Society of Survivors of the Riga Ghetto, the authors have produced an in-depth study of the Riga ghetto that never loses sight of the Latvian capital’s place within the overall design of Nazi policy and the all-of-Europe dimension of the Holocaust.

 

 

 

THE NAZI GENOCIDE OF THE ROMA
Reassessment and Commemoration
Edited by Anton Weiss-Wendt

 

Using the framework of genocide, this volume analyzes the patterns of persecution of the Roma in Nazi-dominated Europe. Detailed case studies of France, Austria, Romania, Croatia, Ukraine, and Russia generate a critical mass of evidence that indicates criminal intent on the part of the Nazi regime to destroy the Roma as a distinct group. Other chapters examine the failure of the West German State to deliver justice, the Romani collective memory of the genocide, and the current political and historical debates. As this revealing volume shows, however inconsistent or geographically limited, over time, the mass murder acquired a systematic character and came to include ever larger segments of the Romani population regardless of the social status of individual members of the community.

 

 

 

 

JEWISH LIFE IN NAZI GERMANY
Dilemmas and Responses
Edited by Francis R. Nicosia and David Scrase

 

German Jews faced harsh dilemmas in their responses to Nazi persecution, partly a result of Nazi cruelty and brutality but also a result of an understanding of their history and rightful place in Germany. This volume addresses the impact of the anti-Jewish policies of Hitler’s regime on Jewish family life, Jewish women, and the existence of Jewish organizations and institutions and considers some of the Jewish responses to Nazi anti-Semitism and persecution. This volume offers scholars, students, and interested readers a highly accessible but focused introduction to Jewish life under National Socialism, the often painful dilemmas that it produced, and the varied Jewish responses to those dilemmas.

 

 

 

 

POLISH FILM AND THE HOLOCAUST
Politics and Memory
Marek Haltof

 

During World War II Poland lost more than six million people, including about three million Polish Jews who perished in the ghettos and extermination camps built by Nazi Germany in occupied Polish territories. This book is the first to address the representation of the Holocaust in Polish film and does so through a detailed treatment of several films, which the author frames in relation to the political, ideological, and cultural contexts of the times in which they were created. Following the chronological development of Polish Holocaust films, the book begins with two early classics: Wanda Jakubowska’s The Last Stage (1948) and Aleksander Ford’s Border Street (1949), and next explores the Polish School period, represented by Andrzej Wajda’s A Generation (1955) and Andrzej Munk’s The Passenger (1963). Between 1965 and 1980 there was an “organized silence” regarding sensitive Polish-Jewish relations resulting in only a few relevant films until the return of democracy in 1989 when an increasing number were made, among them Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Decalogue 8 (1988), Andrzej Wajda’s Korczak (1990), Jan Jakub Kolski’s Keep Away from the Window (2000), and Roman Polański’s The Pianist (2002). An important contribution to film studies, this book has wider relevance in addressing the issue of Poland’s national memory.

 

 

 

CONCENTRATIONARY CINEMA
Aesthetics as Political Resistance in Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog
Edited By Griselda Pollock and Max Silverman

 

Since its completion in 1955, Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog (Nuit et Brouillard) has been considered one of the most important films to confront the catastrophe and atrocities of the Nazi era. But was it a film about the Holocaust that failed to recognize the racist genocide? Or was the film not about the Holocaust as we know it today but a political and aesthetic response to what David Rousset, the French political prisoner from Buchenwald, identified on his return in 1945 as the ‘concentrationary universe’ which, now actualized, might release its totalitarian plague any time and anywhere? What kind of memory does the film create to warn us of the continued presence of this concentrationary universe? This international collection re-examines Resnais’s benchmark film in terms of both its political and historical context of representation of the camps and of other instances of the concentrationary in contemporary cinema. Through a range of critical readings, Concentrationary Cinema explores the cinematic aesthetics of political resistance not to the Holocaust as such but to the political novelty of absolute power represented by the concentrationary system and its assault on the human condition.

 

 

 

Forthcoming in May 2015

MARKING EVIL
Holocaust Memory in the Global Age
Edited by Amos Goldberg and Haim Hazan

 

Talking about the Holocaust has provided an international language for ethics, victimization, political claims, and constructions of collective identity. As part of a worldwide vocabulary, that language helps set the tenor of the era of globalization. This volume addresses manifestations of Holocaust-engendered global discourse by critically examining their function and inherent dilemmas, and the ways in which Holocaust related matters still instigate public debate and academic deliberation. It contends that the contradiction between the totalizing logic of globalization and the assumed uniqueness of the Holocaust generates continued intellectual and practical discontent.

 

 

 

HITLER’S VOLKSGEMEINSCHAFT AND THE DYNAMICS OF RACIAL EXCLUSION
Violence against Jews in Provincial Germany, 1919–1939
Michael Wildt
Translated from the German by Bernard Heise

 

In the spring of 1933, German society was deeply divided – in the Reichstag elections on 5 March, only a small percentage voted for Hitler. Yet, once he seized power, his creation of a socially inclusive Volksgemeinschaft, promising equality, economic prosperity and the restoration of honor and pride after the humiliating ending of World War I persuaded many Germans to support him and to shut their eyes to dictatorial coercion, concentration camps, secret state police, and the exclusion of large sections of the population. The author argues however, that the everyday practice of exclusion changed German society itself: bureaucratic discrimination and violent anti-Jewish actions destroyed the civil and constitutional order and transformed the German nation into an aggressive and racist society. Based on rich source material, this book offers one of the most comprehensive accounts of this transformation as it traces continuities and discontinuities and the replacement of a legal order with a violent one, the extent of which may not have been intended by those involved.

 

For a full list of Genocide Studies title please visit Genocide Studies subject page.