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No Anonymous Desk-Murderers

Reviewed by David Silberklang

  1. See for example, Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men; Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (New York: HarperCollins, 1992); Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing Executioners; Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (New York: Knopf, 1996); Dieter Pohl, Von der “Judenpolitik” zum Judenmord. Der Distrikt Lublin des Generalgouvernements 1939-1944 (Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 1993); idem, Nationalsozialistischer Judenverfolgung in Ostgalizien 1941-1944. Organisation und Durchführung eines staatlichen Massenverbrechens (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1996); Thomas Sandkühler, “Endlösung” in Galizien; Der Judenmord in Ostpolen und die Rettungsinitiativen von Berthold Beitz 1941-1944 (Bonn: Dietz, 1996); Hans Safrian, Eichmann und seine Gehilfer (Frankfurt/Main: Fischer Taschenbuch, 1995); Yaacov Lozowick, Hitler’s Bürokraten (Zurich: Pendo, 2000).
  2. The quote has been attributed to historian Raul Hilberg by philosopher Emil Fackenheim from a conversation during a 1975 conference, in response to the latter’s question, “Why did they do it?” Fackenheim related it to this reviewer in numerous conversations, October 1981 – July 1987.
  3. See, for example, Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka; The Operation Reinhard Death Camps (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983).
  4. See Pohl, Von der “Judenpolitik.”
  5. Musial has developed this argument and analyzed Globocnik’s role in the decision-making process in his article, “The Origins of ‘Operation Reinhard’: The Decision-Making Process for the Mass Murder of the Jews in the Generalgouvernement,” Yad Vashem Studies 28 (2000), pp. 113-153.
  6. Richard Breitman, The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution (New York: Knopf, 1991), pp. 152, 156, 184-190. Breitman’s book is not even in Musial’s bibliography. Musial surprisingly does not make use of Dieter Pohl’s counter-argument to Breitman, although he cites Pohl extensively elsewhere; see Pohl, Von der “Judenpolitik,” pp. 99-102.
  7. Jüdische Unterstützungshilfe, or Jewish Aid Center, which replaced the JSS – Jüdische Soziale Selbsthilfe (ŻSS in Polish) in October 1942. This was a German-recognized and closely watched Jewish social-welfare organization based in Kraków, which tried to reach all the GG.
  8. See for example, Israel Gutman, The Jews of Warsaw 1939-1943 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), p. 140; Ruth Zariz, Letters of Halutzim from Occupied Poland 1940-1944 (Hebrew) (Ramat Ef’al: Yad Tabenkin, 1994), pp. 81-82, 85-88; Abraham Lewin, A Cup of Tears: A Diary of the Warsaw Ghetto, edited by Antony Polonsky (Oxford: Blackwell, 1988), May 23, 1942, pp. 91-93.
  9. See, for example, Klajnman-Fradkof testimony (in German), Yad Vashem Archives, 033/1134.
  10. “Konterrevolutionäre Elemente sind zu erschiessen.” Die Brutalisierung des deutschsowjetischen Krieges im Sommer 1941 (Berlin: Propyläen, 2000).
  11. See, for example, reviews by Peter Longerich, “Inspirierte Gewalt,” Frankfurter Rundschau, August 11, 2000; Klaus Wiegrefe, Der Spiegel, August 7, 2000; Cora Stephan, Die Welt, August 27, 2000; Musial’s brief response to Longerich in a letter to the editor, Frankfurter Rundschau, August 17, 2000; and his detailed rebuttal, “Täter und Tabu Kein Perspektivenwechsel, sondern eine Perspektivenerweiterung – eine Antwort an die Kritiker meines neusten Buches,” Frankfurter Rundschau, October 6, 2000. I thank Professor Dan Michman for bringing these to my attention.
  12. Wiegrefe, ibid., reports that Musial is now a German citizen, although he has returned to his native Poland, and implies that some form of German nationalism also colors Musial’s new book.
  13. On this subject, see the excellent book by Jan Tomasz Gross, Polish Society under German Occupation; The Generalgouvernement 1939-1944 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979).