University of Nebraska Press

Comprehensive History of the Holocaust

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

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Comprehensive History of the Holocaust

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The Jews of Bohemia and Moravia

Facing the Holocaust

Livia Rothkirchen

“We were both small nations whose existence could never be taken for granted,” Vaclav Havel said of the Czechs and the Jews of Israel in 1990, and indeed, the complex and intimate link between the fortunes of these two peoples is unique in European history. This book, by one of the world’s leading authorities on the history of Czech and Slovak Jewry during the Nazi period, is the first to thoroughly document this singular relationship and to trace its impact, both practical and profound, on the fate of the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia during the Holocaust.
 
Livia Rothkirchen provides a detailed and comprehensive history of how Nazi rule in the Czech lands was shaped as much by local culture and circumstances as by military policy. The extraordinary nature of the Czech Jews’ experience emerges clearly in chapters on the role of the Jewish minority in Czech life; the crises of the Munich agreement and the German occupation, the reaction of the local population to the persecution of the Jews, the policies of the London-based government in exile, the question of Jewish resistance, and the special case of the Terezin (Theresienstadt) ghetto. The Jews of Bohemia and Moravia is based on a wealth of primary documents, many uncovered only after the 1989 November Revolution. With an epilogue on the post-1945 period, this richly woven historical narrative supplies information essential to an understanding of the history of the Jews in Europe.

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The Origins of the Final Solution

The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942

Christopher R. Browning

In 1939, the Nazi regime’s plans for redrawing the demographic map of Eastern Europe entailed the expulsion of millions of Jews. By the fall of 1941, these plans had shifted from expulsion to systematic and total mass murder of all Jews within the Nazi grasp. The Origins of the Final Solution is the most detailed and comprehensive analysis ever written of what took place during this crucial period—of how, precisely, the Nazis’ racial policies evolved from persecution and “ethnic cleansing” to the Final Solution of the Holocaust.
 
Focusing on the months between the German conquest of Poland in September 1939–which brought nearly two million additional Jews under Nazi control—and the beginning of the deportation of Jews to the death camps in the spring of 1942, Christopher R. Browning describes how Poland became a laboratory for experiments in racial policies, from expulsion and decimation to ghettoization and exploitation under local occupation authorities. He reveals how the subsequent attack on the Soviet Union opened the door for an immense radicalization of Nazi Jewish policy—and marked the beginning of the Final Solution. Meticulously documenting the process that led to this fatal development, Browning shows that Adolf Hitler was the key decision-maker throughout, approving major escalations in Nazi persecution of the Jews at victory-induced moments of euphoria. Thoroughly researched and lucidly written, this groundbreaking work provides an essential chapter in the history of the Holocaust.

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