This issue highlights local attitudes to the Jews during and after the Holocaust and the extensive use of oral history as a primary source. Among its articles: Jan Grabowski and Dariusz Libionka deconstruct the new museum in Markowa on Poles who saved Jews during the Holocaust; Yuri Radchenko on Ukrainian memory of local participation in the Holocaust in the Donbas region; Bart van der Boom challenges some recent research on Dutch attitudes to the Holocaust; Jiří Friedl on Czechoslovakian attitudes toward Jews fleeing postwar Poland; and Anna Maria Droumpouki on the modest successes and significant failures of Holocaust restitution efforts in Greece. The issue also includes review articles by Omer Bartov on Christian Gerlach’s attempt at a new comprehensive history of the Holocaust; Amos Goldberg on Lea Prais’s book on Jewish refugees in the Warsaw ghetto; and Efraim Zuroff on Michael Bazyler and Frank Turkheimer’s book on forgotten Holocaust trials.
Alexander Korb, Yeshayahu A. Jelinek (1933–2016). Pioneer Historian of Central Europe and the Holocaust
Jan Grabowski and Dariusz Libionka, Distorting and Rewriting the History of the Holocaust in Poland: The Case of the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews During World War II in Markowa
In March 2016, The Ulma Family Museum of Poles Who Saved the Jews in Markowa was opened and thus was added to the long list of institutions involved in the commemoration of the Polish “Righteous Among the Nations.” However, the museum in Markowa, in pursuit of a “feel-good” myth, leaves out entire segments of wartime Jewish and Polish experiences. Markowa was a village in which some Poles exhibited great sacrifice and courage in order to rescue Jews, but Markowa was also a village where some Poles murdered Jews with great zeal. Indeed, sometimes the very same people both saved and murdered Jews. In all these respects Markowa was a village like many other villages across occupied Poland. The absence of these aspects of the wartime experience—in which greed, ill will, antisemitism, and murder trumped virtue and sacrifice—allows the museum audience to avoid the cognitive dissonance usually associated with an attempt to digest more demanding, more difficult, and hence more plausible, representations of history. This elimination, however, constitutes historical fraud.
Yuri Radchenko, “Two Policemen Came…”: The Auxiliary Police, the Local Administration, and the Holocaust in the Recollections of Non-Jewish Residents of the Donbas
This article explores how the local Christian population in Donbas characterizes its pre-war relationship with the Jews. Which antisemitic clichés are employed by local Christians—be they Ukrainians, Russians, or others? How are the police and administrative bodies described by the local Christian population of the Donbas region? Do the locals perceive the collaborator as “one of them,” or as “one of us?” Nowadays, more than seventy years after the end of the German occupation, what does the local population say about the involvement of the police and the local administration in the Holocaust in the Donbas region? What was the pre-war profile of the policemen and the local administrators? What was their postwar fate? This article uses new, unpublished sources from German, Ukrainian, American, and Israeli archives in order to expose what present-day inhabitants of the Donbas say about the wartime activities of Ukrainian nationalists in the region.
International historiography generally characterizes the attitude of European bystanders to the Holocaust as indifference and acceptance. Based on an analysis of wartime diaries and opinion reports, this article argues that this description does not fit the attitude of ordinary Dutchmen during the German occupation. Dutch bystanders, while passive in the face of the persecution of the Jews, considered it one of the major crimes the occupier inflicted on the Dutch nation and a violation of the supposedly Dutch value of tolerance.
Jiří Friedl, “Before the Exodus: Czechoslovakia as a Transit Country for Jewish Refugees from Poland until the Pogrom in Kielce, 1945-1946”
This article focuses on the flight of Polish Jews to Czechoslovakia from the end of World War II to the pogrom in Kielce on July 4, 1946. Most previous studies on the postwar emigration of Jews from Poland emphasize the period following the Kielce pogrom, when the large-scale exodus of Jews from Poland essentially began, and they very rarely utilized relevant and available sources from the Czech and Polish archives. This article, based on Polish and Czechoslovak documents, analyzes the different positions taken by Czechoslovak administrative departments. It shows that the Polish Jews’ westward movement through Czechoslovakia and to Palestine began just after the end of the war, when there was still no general agreement on how to proceed with these refugees. An additional factor was that the standing Czechoslovak policy that Polish Jews without valid documents should be sent back over the border persisted for a long time. However, in June 1946 a plan for organizing care for Jewish refugees was worked out, and it was put into action after the Kielce pogrom.
The purpose of this article is to explain the Holocaust restitution movement in Greece as a legal story and a human drama, its long-delayed genesis, its small successes, and its large failures. The restitution story in Greece remains an “unknown chapter” in the historiography of the Greek Jews. Over the last years there has been an emerging restitution saga in Greece, and a campaign concerning German reparations has become a major political issue. However, Greece as a society has failed to discuss the Holocaust restitution issue, with the exception of Nazi cold, which has acquired mythical dimensions. As reparations are part of the history of twentieth-century politics—and that actually proves that memory matters politically—the author’s aim is to research the impact of German reparations on the rehabilitation of Jewish life, on Greek Jewish communities, and on Jewish cultural activities in the post-Holocaust generation.
Review of Christian Gerlach, The Extermination of the European Jews
This essay argues that Christian Gerlach’s study positions the murder of the Jews within the contexts of the Germans’ mindsets and interests, mass violence against non-Jews, the policies of other states, and the behavior of other societies. It concludes that, while Gerlach provides much-needed information on murderous policies by Germany and its partners against non-Jews, he fails to state clearly whether the Holocaust was merely one of many other crimes committed by Germans and others, or was a driving force of German policy, and whether Germans were motivated by a general chauvinistic racism, or were especially intent on killing Jews.
Review of Lea Prais, Displaced Persons at Home: Refugees in the Fabric of Jewish Life in Warsaw, September 1939-July 1942
Lea Prais’s Displaced Persons at Home: Refugees in the Fabric of Jewish Life in Warsaw, September 1939-July 1942 is an outstanding investigation of the Warsaw ghetto refugee ship. In this review the author also compares Prais’s study on Jewish refugees in Warsaw with Hannah Arendt’s influential writings on refugee ship during and after the war. Such a comparison accents the uniqueness of the phenomenon that Prais discusses, as well as the uniqueness of her study.
On Michael J. Bazyler and Frank M. Tuerkheimer, Forgotten Trials of the Holocaust. New York and London: New York University Press, 2014, 374 pp.
In view of the regrettable paucity of research regarding the efforts to bring Nazi war criminals and collaborators to justice, American law professors Michael Bazyler and Frank Tuerkheimer undertook to present a summary analysis of ten trials of Holocaust perpetrators which they considered to be of importance, yet in their opinion have been "forgotten." The trials chosen span the years 1943 to 1999, and were conducted on three continents, in seven countries which operated under different legal systems and very diverse political circumstances, and against a broad gamut of Nazi offenders, thereby providing a representative cross-section of the worldwide legal efforts to hold Nazi war criminals accountable.
The Destruction of Jews in the Carpathians and the Broader Frame of Genocide
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