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Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solutionby Ian Kershaw
Synopses & Reviews
Terezand#237;n survivor George (Jirand#237;) Brady recalls: and#8220;In the tragic struggle for survival, the Nazi-imposed Terezand#237;n and#8216;self-administrationand#8217; tried to help the imprisoned children. They were placed in buildings where living conditions were better than in the many barracks that were inside the fortress. . . . I was one of these children. And by pure luck I found myself among the boys who were led by Valtr Eisinger. In a small room overcrowded with three-tiered bunks, he created a new, fascinating world for us behind the ghetto walls. The boys developed talents they never dreamed they had, and it was there too that the illegal childrenand#8217;s magazine on which this book is based was founded.and#8221;
From 1942 to 1944, a group of thirteen- to fifteen-year-old Jewish boys secretly produced a weekly magazine called Vedem (In the Lead) at the model concentration camp, Theresienstadt (and#8220;Terezand#237;nand#8221; in Czech). The writers, artists, and editors put together the issues and copied them by hand behind the blackout shades of their cellblock, which they affectionately called the and#8220;Republic of Shkid.and#8221; Although the material was saved by one of the handful of boys who survived the Holocaust, it was suppressed for fifty years in Czechoslovakia until 1995, when these works were published simultaneously in English, Czech, and German.
Vedem provides a poignant glimpse into the world of boys torn from their comfortable childhoods and separated from their families, ultimately to perish in the Nazi death machine. This edition includes a new preface and epilogue.
Memory is about choice. We can choose to remember the past in ways that provoke pain and stir our anger, or we can remember in ways that help us create the kind of world in which we most want to live.
Nowhere is this choice more important than in connection to the Holocaust. And never has it been more important than now, because we are the first generation that will live without the presence of those who can tell us in their own words what they saw with their own eyes.
These seventy-one firsthand stories from survivors of the Holocaust teach us to choose to remember for life, for their words are not about hatred and death but about ethics, decency, and love.
Although the stories are arranged to accompany the weekly Torah readings and many of the Jewish holidays, they are just as meaningful when read on their own, in any sequence. The themes—journey, identity, resistance, community, refuge, and righteousness, to name but a few—are universal. And the lessons—about how to live more fully the life we are given—shine through.
This book is the culmination of more than three decades of meticulous historiographic research on Nazi Germany by one of the periodand#8217;s most distinguished historians. The volume brings together the most important and influential aspects of Ian Kershawand#8217;s research on the Holocaust for the first time. The writings are arranged in three sectionsand#151;Hitler and the Final Solution, popular opinion and the Jews in Nazi Germany, and the Final Solution in historiographyand#151;and Kershaw provides an introduction and a closingand#160;section on the uniqueness of Nazism.
Kershaw was a founding historian of the social history of the Third Reich, and he has throughout his career conducted pioneering research on the societal causes and consequences of Nazi policy. His work has brought much to light concerning the ways in which the attitudes of the German populace shaped and did not shape Nazi policy. This volume presents a comprehensive, multifaceted picture both of the destructive dynamic of the Nazi leadership and of the attitudes and behavior of ordinary Germans as the persecution of the Jews spiraled into total genocide.
About the Author
Ian Kershaw is a highly acclaimed historian and professor of modern history at the University of Sheffield. He is well known for his writings on Nazi Germany, especially his definitive two-volume biography of Adolf Hitler, Hitler, 1889and#150;1936: Hubris and Hitler, 1936and#150;1945: Nemesis. He lives in Manchester, GB.
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