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The Holocaust, in which 11 million people died, was the largest atrocity of the 20th century and perhaps the hardest to understand.
Approximately 6 million Jews and 5 million others including Roma people, Poles, Russian prisoners of war, political prisoners, homosexuals, people of colour, Jehovah's Witnesses, and various other minorities were first persecuted and then murdered.
How, both morally and logistically, had this came to happen? From received sentiments of anti-Semitism at the beginning of the 20th century, through the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party, to the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 and finally Second World War, the victimisation of these minorities intensified beyond precedent.
With the complicity of a nation hatred became policy. Under the control of sadists, bureaucrats and even ordinary soldiers, irrational acts were then enacted on an industrial scale, and with the use of concentration camps, Western Europe witnessed its most shocking treatment of humanity in modern history.
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour...
©2013 Jemma J. Saunders (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
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As a History Graduate, and I can't recommend this series of audio downloads enough! They are so full of facts and at £1.75 are the best value around. The only criticism is there are not enough of them in this series!
"A decent enough basic review but let down by bias."
Whilst this book is decent enough as a brief synopsis of the general themes of the Holocaust it's limitations tend to bring it down.The information given is competent enough.If I was an O Level examiner and this was a response to the question
'Examine the broad themes of the Nazi Holocaust in Europe between 1933 and 1945'
I would give it a C- grade.However the piece's limitations become apparent very soon into the narrative and continue to undermine it until the end.
The attempt to impute the development of anti-Semitic feeling in Germany to the works of Martin Luther is spurious.Nowhere in any of Luther's written works or speeches did he advocate any kind of genocide against the Jews.The Nazis simply cherry picked certain parts of Luther's works that challenged certain aspects of Judaism and bowdlerized and misrepresented then so they appeared to back up their theories,though in reality the original meaning of the words had been changed and/or obscured.
The author then compounds this anti-Luther bias by failing to mention the activities of several Clerico-Fascists in Europe and Eire.Many Roman Catholic clergy embraced fascism for two basic reasons.The Roman Church has a long history of blaming the Jews for crucifying Jesus(based upon an erroneous interpretation of Mark's Gospel) and a fear of Communism as it opposed religion.These clerics added greatly to the anti-Semitic atmosphere before,during(and in some cases after) the war by issuing pro=fascist and even out and out anti-Semitic speeches and written works that aided the rise of fascism(especially in Germany).
Jozef Tiso,the leader of Slovakia from 1939 to 1945 was an active war criminal who sent thousands of his own countrymen to Nazi death camps to be murdered.Alois Hudal,the 'Brown Bishop'(an Austrian) was openly pro Nazi and anti-Semitic.In 1937 he published the notorious book 'The foundations of National Socialism' in which he openly advocated the virtues of Nazism.The wartime Pope,Eugenio Pacelli(Pius XII) has been criticized by Roman Catholic authors for not doing enough to aid the Jews.
It is also apposite to mention the activities of Amin al-Husseini,the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.He is quoted as saying
'Kill the Jew wherever you find him,this pleases God,history and religion'.
He lived in Germany(and was funded generously by the Nazis) during the war and his vile highly anti-Semitic Muslim views greatly encouraged the development of the Nazis attitude towards Judaism.
All in all a fair basic survey of some of the facts but great caution must be taken due to the obvious author bias.
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