Perspectives on the Holocaust


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The Ordinary Men of the Holocaust

Nor are these the only salutary contributions that Cesarani makes. He bravely challenges prevailing piety about survivor testimony and the taboos it upholds, many related to humiliating, often sexual situations [End Page ] pp. He correctly reminds us that "the current narrative is lopsided" in favor of events in Western Europe, as opposed to those in the East where most Jews died p.

And he is—again appropriately in my view—adamant that the Holocaust was primarily about Jews because only they "were characterized as an implacable, powerful, global enemy that had to be fought at every turn and finally eliminated" p. Finally, in particularly strong passages, he vividly recreates the excruciating dilemmas of the Jewish Councils and the ultimate futility of any reaction they chose; shows how Nazi pressures shattered Jews' solidarity and often their moral standards; makes clear that most German perpetrators were both aware of what they were doing and convinced of its rightness; and exposes the extensive collaboration provided by numerous Poles in identifying, attacking, and helping to kill Jews.

But key interpretations strike me as overdone. The general argument that developments in the war dictated the fate of the Jews is true with regard to the growing reluctance of the Reich's allies to surrender their Jews to Himmler as the tide turned against Germany.

The Impact of Modern Perspectives on the Holocaust

The point also holds with regard to the Jews of France, who might have died if the invasion and breakout from Normandy had been delayed. Conversely, of course, the duration of the war—the time it took the Allies to win—extended the massacre.


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But the claim p. With regard to the onset of the Final Solution, Cesarani makes two other war-related arguments that I find unconvincing. First, he contends that the murder of the Polish intelligentsia Operation Tannenberg was a more important "bridge" to the Final Solution than the massacre of the mentally and physically handicapped in German institutions Aktion T4; p.

Making sense of Auschwitz: New perspectives on the Holocaust | The British Academy

But I can see no reason to choose between them: Tannenberg was a harbinger of mass shooting by the Einsatzgruppen, but T4 heralded and supplied the personnel for the mass gassing of Jews. Second, Cesarani asserts that the decision for the Final Solution occurred at the end of as "the result of Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

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Holocaust Sources in Context

Padilla and Miguel Montiel. New Perspectives on the Holocaust. Public monuments and memorials to the victims of the Holocaust have been built in various cities throughout the world, museums the largest and best-known of which is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC have been constructed to house both permanent exhibits and education programs, and curricula such as Facing History and Ourselves have been developed both to educate students in the elementary through high school grades about the causes, events, and effects of the Holocaust and to stimulate discussion of these topics among students and teachers today.

Holocaust survivor interview, 2017

Films have been a means for the populace to learn about the Holocaust, and Hollywood has long struggled with how to present and represent the Holocaust on screen. Benigni relegated the Holocaust and those suffering through it to the background as he played the comic fool in the foreground. While Benigni claimed he was trying to find hope and optimism within the most desperate of circumstances, his ahistorical buffoonery teaches exactly the wrong lesson.

The Holocaust is no laughing matter, and mass dehumanization should not be seen as a comedic challenge. Against this backdrop of continued efforts to teach the Holocaust responsibly to succeeding generations, New Perspectives on the Holocaust: A Guide for Teachers and Scholars is a welcome addition to the educational literature.

Multi-volumed work

Millen, along with Timothy A. This collection is valuable in at least two important ways: first, for its attention to the complexities of both the Holocaust and the teaching and learning of the Holocaust, and second, for its inclusion of papers that approach the teaching and learning of the Holocaust from multiple perspectives and with varied points of focus. The chapters in this volume are controversial, risk-taking, thoughtful, and thought provoking.

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