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The Kings and the Pawns
Collaboration in Byelorussia during World War II
458 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-84545-776-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 2011)
ISBN 978-1-78238-047-4 $39.95/£31.95 Pb Published (September 2013)
eISBN 978-0-85745-043-2 eBook
“Rein provides an enormous quantity of detail making the book a slow read and a specialist’s study. It is, however, extremely valuable for an understanding of a less known Eastern European area of German occupation and has much to tell us about ethnic relations in the former Soviet Union and the Holocaust as well.” · European History Quarterly
“Rein presents the phenomenon of collaboration in Byelorussia in all its facets. His results are even more astonishing in that he could not use any archives or libraries in Byelorussia but instead relied on a broad basis of sources from archives in Germany, the USA and Israel. Without doubt, Rein’s study presents a new standard work on the history of national-socialist occupation of Byelorussia.” · H-Soz-u-Kult
“Rein’s thorough study of collaboration in Byelorussia is an important contribution to studies on collaboration, German occupation, and our understanding of the war Nazi Germany unleashed against the Soviet Union, but as the author himself explains, this is far from the final word on the subject... Rein’s text reinforces the fact that compared to Germany, which has opened its archives and continues to critically examine the Nazi period, the former states of the Soviet Union that suffered under occupation have a long road ahead of them.” · Slavic Military Studies Review
For many years, the history of Byelorussia under Nazi occupation was written primarily from the perspective of the resistance movement. This movement, a reaction to the brutal occupation policies, was very strong indeed. Still, as the author shows, there existed in Byelorussia a whole web of local institutions and organizations which, some willingly, others with reservations, participated in the implementation of various aspects of occupation policies. The very sensitivity of the topic of collaboration has prevented researchers from approaching it for many years, not least because in the former Soviet territories ideological considerations have played an important role in preserving the topic’s “untouchable” status. Focusing on the attitude of German authorities toward the Byelorussians, marked by their anti-Slavic and particularly anti-Byelorussian prejudices on the one hand and the motives of Byelorussian collaborators on the other, the author clearly shows that notwithstanding the postwar trend to marginalize the phenomenon of collaboration or to silence it altogether, the local collaboration in Byelorussia was clearly visible and pervaded all spheres of life under the occupation.
Leonid Rein was born in Byelorussia (then part of the USSR) and graduated from Haifa University. While studying for his Ph.D. he received the Wolf Foundation’s student grant of excellence and his dissertation was awarded a prize by the Norbert and Lisa Schechter Foundation. He is currently a Senior Researcher at the International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem (Israel), specializing in Nazi occupation policies, local collaboration, and the Holocaust in the Soviet territories.
Area: Central/Eastern Europe
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