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The Extermination of the European Jews
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This major reinterpretation of the Holocaust surveys the destruction of the European Jews within the broader context of Nazi violence against other victim groups. Christian Gerlach offers a unique social history of mass violence which reveals why particular groups were persecuted and what it was that connected the fate of these groups and the policies against them. He explores the diverse ideological, political and economic motivations which lay behind the murder of the Jews and charts the changing dynamics of persecution during the course of the war. The book brings together both German actions and those of non-German states and societies, shedding new light on the different groups and vested interests involved and their role in the persecution of non-Jews as well. Ranging across continental Europe, it reveals that popular notions of race were often more important in shaping persecution than scientific racism or Nazi dogma.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; Part I. Persecution by Germans: 2. Before 1933; 3. From enforced emigration to territorial schemes: 1933-41; 4. From mass murder to comprehensive annihilation: 1941-2; 5. Extending mass destruction: 1942-5; 6. Structures and agents of violence; Part II. Logics of Persecution: 7. Racism and anti-Jewish thought; 8. Forced labor, German violence and Jews; 9. Hunger policies and mass murder; 10. The economics of separation, expropriation, crowding and removal; 11. Fighting resistance and the persecution of Jews; Part III. The European Dimension: 12. Legislation against Jews in Europe: a comparison; 13. Divided societies: popular input to the persecution of Jews; 14. Beyond legislation: non-German policies of violence; 15. In the labyrinths of persecution: survival attempts; 16. Conclusion: group destruction in extremely violent societies; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Christian Gerlach has published several award-winning books that deal with the persecution and murder of Jews and non-Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. His works have been published in ten languages. He is also the author of Extremely Violent Societies: Mass Violence in the Twentieth Century World (Cambridge, 2010), which includes case studies from around the world. Further fields of his research include the world hunger problem, international development policies and international organizations. Having taught in Germany, the USA, Singapore and Switzerland, he developed an interest in global history that is also reflected in the transnational and comparative elements of this volume.

Reviews

'This ambitious study delivers breadth of coverage without sacrificing depth or complexity. As well as ranging widely thematically, geographically and chronologically, the book is impressive in its attempt to integrate the experiences of victims, 'bystanders' and collaborators into the narrative as well as examining the multiple motivations of perpetrators.' Tim Cole, University of Bristol 'Christian Gerlach is a rare exception in a field all too sharply divided between archival hyper-specialists and grand narrativisers. The Extermination of the European Jews exemplifies his capacity to combine innovative conceptualisation - original thought - with deep empirical expertise. It is structured like a textbook, and if there is any justice will attract a textbook's scale of readership, but the greatest experts on the Holocaust stand to gain from reading it. The book is superb, placing the 'final solution of the Jewish question' into a wide range of contexts and masterfully elucidating the complex dynamics of perpetration.' Donald Bloxham, University of Edinburgh 'Building on his earlier research, Christian Gerlach situates his sweeping analysis within the context of state-sponsored mass violence in twentieth-century Europe. A valuable resource for anyone interested in the Holocaust, this important study broadens our understanding of the structural and mental processes that facilitate genocide within and across societies.' Jurgen Matthaus, co-author of The Political Diary of Alfred Rosenberg and the Onset of the Holocaust 'Written by one of the leading younger scholars of the field, The Extermination of the European Jews stands out from the many other comprehensive accounts on the Holocaust. Gerlach masterly explores and interweaves the ideologies, emotions, and choices, the political structures, economic interests, and emotional worlds that propelled the dynamic of Nazi violence in Europe and eventually made the Final Solution possible - a brilliant survey that will intrigue readers new to the field as well [as] specialists.' Thomas Kuhne, Clark University 'Gerlach argues that the destruction of European Jews cannot be fully understood in isolation from other acts of mass violence by Germans and non-Germans ... This ambitious book certainly does not simplify its subject matter, yet its revisionism is a necessary task undertaken responsibly and usefully ... Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.' R. S. Levy, Choice 'A first-rate discussion of the Holocaust ... Gerlach, Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Bern, devotes due attention [to] non-German states and societies, notably Romania, and throws light on popular notions of race. Overlong for many sixth formers but a valuable account for those willing to devote the time.' Jeremy Black, Historical Association 'Gerlach makes a strong case for an interdependent and fluctuating relationship between the persecution and murder of the Jews on the one hand and economic concerns about labor, food, housing, and transportation on the other.' Christopher R. Browning, The New York Review of Books 'This book is a welcome addition to the already voluminous Anglophone literature on the Holocaust, primarily because it takes on the existing ... explanations for the killing of six million Jews and forces the reader to confront the much wider prevailing climate of mass violence that engulfed not just the Jews but other minority groups as well. It should become core reading for students of the period ... Gerlach has done us all an enormous service by synthesizing a much wider body of literature from across Europe than is commonly consulted on this issue and providing us with thought-provoking questions about the multiplicity of factors that created the genocide.' Bob Moore, H-Nationalism 'Over the past twenty years, Christian Gerlach has created a body of work on the Nazi Final Solution and on genocide more generally that challenges conventional judgment. The Extermination of the European Jews synthesizes his thinking while integrating the work of other German scholars of his generation who have used similar approaches. Because this research has heavily influenced this field and because most of it is only available in German, this volume is a helpful addition to the scholarship on the Holocaust and on mass killing more generally.' Norman J. W. Goda, Journal of Modern History

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