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Book Reviews 137 1941 Eichmann himself certainly played a hand in planning the massacres ofJews in Serbia and the destruction of "superfluous" Jews from Lodz at Chelmno. Noting that leading Nazis expressed themselves in ways that suggest ignorance of plans for genocide even late in 1941, he doubts that any could have been made before German forces were well and truly bogged down in Russia. Like other functionalists, Safrian has little trouble discrediting postwar recollections of prominent Nazis that routinely have been used to date the decision for mass murder. However, Safrian's documentation of bureaucratic initiatives against the Jews, his most original contribution on this topic, will scarcely impress those who doubt that genocide could have happened without early involvement by Nazi officials at the highest level. The search for the genocidal "smoking gun" goes on. Hence this volume is likely to prove more useful to the general reader than to scholars. Safrian has diligently combed archives in five countries and enhanced our knowledge of the lesser-known figures in Eichmann's entourage. Distinguishing this volume, however, is its skillful synthesis of the secondary literature and its effective use of survivors' accounts to illuminate the deportation process. It is particularly strong on events in Eastern Europe and Greece where Safrian depicts representatives of the German Army and the Foreign Office cheerfully cooperating with the SS in sending Jews to their doom. There is much less material on Western Europe, and nothing at all on Holland. That is odd, given the prominence of Austrian Nazis in running the occupied Netherlands and the role of Eichmann's old Vienna associate Erich Rajakowitsch in initiating the deportations from Amsterdam. Donald L. Niewyk Department of History Southern Methodist University God and Humanity in Auschwitz: Jewish-Christian Relations and Sanctioned Murder, by Donald]. Dietrich. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1995. 355 pp. $34.95. In this new volume Professor Dietrich, chairman of the Department ofTheology at Boston College and author ofCatholic Citizens in the Third Reich, offers us perhaps the best single summary of current thinking on Christian antisemitism, the theological dimensions of the Jewish-Christian relationship, and the impact of the Holocaust on religious faith today for 138 SHOFAR Summer 1996 Vol. 14, No.4 both the Jew and the Christian as well as on political theology and foundational values. The first seven chapters of the book are largely an overview of the perspectives of other scholars, done exceedingly well in my judgment. Being one of the people whose views Dietrich has chosen to highlight, I can say that he has captured in a succinct, clear fashion the basics of my outlook. I believe this applies as well to the other scholars whose views he has delineated. As a result, the volume serves as a concise, well written introduction to the entire field of Christian-Jewish relations. No better work of its kind is to be found on the market at present. The volume also contains an extensive bibliography which testifies to Professor Dietrich's broad acquaintance with the literature ofthe Christian-Jewish dialogue and the Holocaust. In his Introduction Dietrich sets the tone and parameters for the remainder of his study. While he recognizes the Holocaust as what he terms "a discrete, unique event in the death, now life of the Jewish people" (p. 3), its meaning cannot be restricted solely to the Jewish people. Otherwise the Holocaust will lose its profoundly universal message. Understanding the Nazi policy of extermination in its full ramifications which included the extermination ofcertain non-Jews as well can aid in the understanding of the full significance of the Holocaust and its meaning for the Jewish people, according to Dietrich. For the churches today the Holocaust demands a major re-evaluation of Christian theology, a reconsideration that will remove any remaining vestiges of Christian triumphalism. For all people the Holocaust carries profound moral and theological significance that cannot be ignored especially in the realm of public ethics. As for the question of antisemitism, Dietrich's perspective is that antisemitism, particularly its religious form, was not in itself the principal cause of the Holocaust but nonetheless played a decisive role in its development. In the end, says Dietrich...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 137-140
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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