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Book Reviews 171 benches issues also add to the general picture presented in most accounts of interwar Polish-Jewish history. The major focus of this book is the Jewish community itself, according to the subtitle, and the book could have focused more clearly on Jewish society; most of the book presents a general picture of Polish-Jewish political relations. While the author needed to establish the Polish side ofthe equation clearly, he should have explored the Jewish side in greater depth. The internal workings ofJewish political parties are rarely examined, and leading personalities such as Gruenbaum, Ehrlich, Dubnow, and Jabotinsky are not discussed at length. Their overall ideologies and policies need to be established to provide a context for their handling of the issues of the day. One ofMelzer's most interesting assertions is that the 1934 Polish-German NonAggression pact had a "profound effect" on Polish government policies towards the Jews. Jews have often suspected collaboration between German and Polish antisemites, regardless of their other differences, while Polish historians see the Pilsudskiite government as deeply anti-German and the National Democrats as fiercely nationalistic (i.e., at least as anti-German as anti-Jewish). Melzer makes a better case than most but still fails to convince this reader that Poland danced to Germany's tune. With some justice, Pilsudski considered Poland to be the senior partner in the 1934 detente with Germany, while his successors foolishly persisted in that opinion because they totally failed to recognize how significantly Germany had outstripped Poland in military might. Thus, the 1934 German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact did not unleash Polish antisemitism . That "honor" was reserved for domestic politics and ideology. Daniel Stone Department of History University of Winnipeg Heidegger's Silence, by Beryl Lang. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996. 129 pp. $19.95. How does one interpret silence? Can one attribute meaning not only to what one says, writes, and thinks, but also to that about which one indicates nothing? Such are the questions thatunderlie Beryl Lang's provocative study ofthe twentieth-century German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, and his virtual silence on the so-called Jewish Question. While admitting that Heidegger may have had little interest in this subject, or avoided it lest it lead to issues he preferred not to address, Lang's contention is that the omission was deliberate, rooted in a metaphysical racism that led Heidegger to see Jews as other than, and inferior to, Germans. Thus, before the war, Heidegger did not engage in ongoing discussions ofhow Jews might best be integrated into German society (the so- 172 SHOFAR Fall 1999 Vol. 18, No.1 called Jewish Question) because he believed that, by nature, Jews were of a different Being than that out of which the collective identity of the German people, or Volk, emerged. The Jewish Question simply was nonexistent for Heidegger, because he saw it as resting upon the false philosophical presupposition that Jews could become German. Similarly, he chose not to address the "Jewish Question" as it was understood after the war, because to him, the death of six million Jews was not a "final solution" to a previously articulated question (which he had never acknowledged to begin with), but rather a reflection ofNational Socialism's failure to live up to its own ideals. By Lang's own admission, Heidegger's Silence offers little biographical information that is new. Heidegger's long-held conviction that Adolph Hitler and National Socialism represented the future of Germany, his membership in the Nazi Party, and his denazification after the war have all been well documented and discussed by others. Rather, the importance ofthis book rests in the insight Lang provides into the relationship between Heidegger's personal history and the "central themes and implications" of his philosophical thinking. Strongly disagreeing with those who, like Richard Rorty, insist that one can separate Heidegger's Nazism from his philosophy, Lang argues that Heidegger's private thought and public action were very much connected to one another. Indeed, he contends, Heidegger's silence on the Jewish Questions can be found embedded within his understanding of Being and NonBeing, the nature and disclosure ofTruth, and the relationship between individual and collective...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 171-173
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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