Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Classic history of Holocaust updated

The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945 by Lucy S. Dawidowicz. Tenth Anniversary Edition, With a New Introduction and Updated Bibliography. New York and London: Seth Press, dist. by The Free Press/Macmillan. 466 pp. $$22.95. Lucy Dawidowicz's classic account of the Nazis' destruction of European Jewry was first published in 1975. In contrast to a surprising number of books about the period that present this genocide as an unfortunate excess of wartime, Dawidowicz's meticulously researched and strongly argued history provides definitive proof of the extent to which elimination of Jews was an integral part of Hitler's master plan. The first section of her book deals with the ``Final Solution'' from the vantage point of those who planned and implemented it. The second section deals with the Holocaust as experienced by the Jews who were its primary - though not its only - victims.

In her new and very timely introduction to the 10th anniversary edition, Dawidowicz makes short work of the notorious pseudo-research of extremist groups and persons putting forward the myth that the mass killings never occurred. She pays tribute to the integrity and moral passion of such German historians as Fritz Fischer, Ernst J"ackel, and Karl Dietrich Bracher, who courageously and unflinchingly confronted their country's shameful past, in contrast to the ``neorevisionist'' scholarship of some recent Germany historians whose ``structuralist'' approach, she believes, undermines the very notion of moral responsibility by seeking to explain events as manifestations of structural determinants rather than as consequences of human choices. Dawidowicz perceives the jargon of the structuralists as yet another attempt to sidestep accountability.

About these ads

Dawidowicz's commitment to giving us the ``inner dimension'' that is also the moral dimension of human events has made her classic history a living testament to the power of ideas and the ability of men and women to choose between good and evil.

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.