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I can t really add than what the critics have written other than to say it was a very compelling, articulate and complete history of the beginning to the conclusion of the assault and extermination of our people in Nazi Germany and the countries under its control.There are similarities about the rise of authoritarianism to our current political situation Hitler was elected too. One of those rare books I m awarding 5 stars, because of the profound impact it had on me.As you can see, this book took me some time to read, both because it was long but mainly because the content is extremely distressing It traces Nazi persecution of Jews from its ideological roots in the aftermath of the First World War, right through to the late 1940s, as the few survivors of the Holocaust attempted to rebuild their lives We all know the basics of what happened, but the level of sheer brutality this book describes is truly astonishing I am left in no doubt that this was the greatest crime in history Even those that survived lost everything their homes, livelihoods, families and health Truly evil things were done on a scale that is almost impossible to comprehend.This book follows real people through the war and the way they suffered and died through Nazi persecution The author writes in an admirably readable and concise way, without editorialising it s really not necessary, the facts speak for themselves Moving, shocking, important and an extremely relevant book for our times Anyone who insists on racial or religious inferiority for any group is starting off on the road that ends at the gas chambers, and we need to make a stand against them.Sadly the author died before this book was published, but he s left us a work that will hopefully make many fully aware of what happened shockingly recently An essential read. [Read Pdf] ☿ Final Solution ☫ The Holocaust Has Never Been So Widely Commemorated, But Our Understanding Of The Accepted Narrative Has Rarely, If Ever, Been QuestionedDavid Cesarani S Sweeping Reappraisal Challenges Accepted Explanations For The Anti Jewish Politics Of Nazi Germany And The Inevitability Of The Final Solution The Persecution Of The Jews Was Not Always The Nazis Central Preoccupation, Nor Was It An Inevitable Process Cesarani Also Reveals That In German Occupied Countries It Unfolded Erratically, Often Due To Local Initiatives Ghettos Were Improvised While The Mass Shooting Of Jews During The Invasion Of Russia Owed As Much To The Security Situation As To Anti SemitismIn This New Interpretation, War Is Critical To The Jewish Fate Military Failure Denied The Germans Opportunities To Expel Jews Into A Distant Territory And Created A Crisis Of Resources That Led To Starvation Of The Ghettos And Intensified Anti Jewish Measures It Was Global War That Eventually Triggered Genocide In EuropeCesarani Disputes The Iconic Role Of Railways, Deportation Trains And Even Auschwitz, And Reveals That Plunder Was A Cause Of Anti Jewish Feeling Than A Consequence Of It Using Diaries And Reports Written In Ghettos And Camps, He Exposes The Extent Of Sexual Violence And Abuse Of Jewish Women By The Germans, Their Collaborators And, Shockingly, By Jews Themselves But Cesarani Also Reveals The Courage And Ingenuity Of Those Who Struggled To Evade Capture And Fought Back Wherever They Could And Unlike Previous Histories, He Follows The Jews Journey To The Displaced Persons Camps Camps Which Have So Often Been Merely A Footnote In The Story But Where Jews Languished Behind Barbed Wire For Years After Liberation This Moving And Dramatic Account Captures The Fate Of The Jews, The Horror And The Heroism, In Their Own Words Resting On Decades Of Scholarship It Is Compelling, Authoritative, And Profoundly Disturbing It took me approximately 3 weeks to finish this massive tome The subject matter is one I ve always been weirdly fascinated by I went on a 3 week hey, look at that tour around Europe in 2013 and two of the stops in our itinerary included Amsterdam and Berlin A visit to the Anne Frank museum in Prinsengracht got me to finally buy and read her diary which started this whole fascination with all things related to the Holocaust A visit to the Holocaust memorial in Berlin and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp further cemented it It just defies all understanding how one man and one nation could have carried out genocide on such a scale and no one thought to intervene This book really drove that point home It was like a maternal rebuke to the great powers saying you could have done something, but you didn t It seemed to me that the fate of an entire people was deliberated so coldly, and tied together with deliberations over the outcomes of war and military strategies No one ever stopped to think that this was about human lives It just further underscores my belief about politics, that it is something I would never understand I don t know how everyone is able to justify the destruction of an entire race for the benefit of the greater good.And Hitler I hope he is writhing in hell somewhere A hell that I hope entails a daily experience of what the Jews experienced in Auschwitz Birkenau, starting with the roll call, labor, food deprivations, exposure to extreme weather, abuse and degradation then culminating with a shower in one of the gas chambers In fact, i hope he experiences a never ending groundhog day of these horrors in hell He is the most despicable person in history and i cannot believe he was allowed to lead a nation I am ashamed to say he is a member of the human race.Someone once told me that the germans would forever be apologising for the holocaust I dont think that lot falls solely to the Germans There are a few hypocrites exposed by this book I think the british and americans deserve a slice of the blame as well In fact, as members of the human race we should all spend the rest of our lives apologising for the holocaust Anyway, i know im supposed to review the book and not the subject matter It was well written but daunting There were so many names to remember and it wasnt exactly written in a linear fashion It didnt follow a timeline but like a theme It often went back and forth so you never quite know whether this happened before that happened or whatever What the book is is detailed, atmospheric and relentless in its account of the fate that befelled the Jews Its profoundly disturbing and something that i wont be forgetting anytime soon. A staggering and detailed chronicle of the murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis Cesarani s examination of the Holocaust is depressing, frightening and essential and a major work of scholarship from the late historian Let it stand as a warning to all of us, as well as an appropriate memorial to its author. I am starting a sabbatical next month, during which I hope to finish writing a play about one specific event during the Shoah That said, this has been a lifelong interest As a theatre director, I have done multiple plays dealing with the events that engulfed first Germany and then the world Good, A Shayna Maidel, The Diary of Anne Frank, I Never Saw Another Butterfly and others You might call these microcosmic views of the event.Cesarani has written an almost unbearable macrocosmic treatment that easily takes its place alongside Lucy Dawidowicz s The War Against the Jews, Martin Gilbert s works and others His writing style is prosaic, but as he moves easily from one part of Europe to another, covering the way in which the Jews were exterminated and what the Nazis themselves thought they were doing it beggars description that human beings could have 1 done this to other human beings and 2 collaborated with the various Germans to ensure that they were successful The idea that the Polish resistance avoided helping the Warsaw Ghetto s struggle is horrifying And Cesarani is even handed, bringing attention to the various Jewish councils who also aided the process of their own communities destruction.This was a very difficult book to read through But it is undeniably one of the most successful studies of the Shoah, and should be an indispensable starting point for anyone studying it.Highly recommend. This is very informative and exhaustive at times exhausting account of the Holocaust from the rise of the Nazis until the post war situation with DPs Displaced Persons had been worked out.Cesarani argues that the Holocaust was not simply a case of anti Semitism, though clearly that was a huge factor It also stemmed from the war itself Hitler and the Nazis were always heavily anti Semitic but they rarely had clear long range plans, and created policies on what was often an ad hoc, seemingly spur of the moment basis The key turning point, he argues, was when the war began to go South for the Nazis That led to a harder line on Jews It s not a coincidence the Wannsee Conference came shortly after they were checked in Russia This was largely because Hitler always saw the war in terms of Aryans vs world Jewry, so if the war is going poorly, take a harsher line on Jews in revenge At a certain point in time, Cesarani s argument seems muddled to me He argues the Holocaust isn t just anti Semitism, but the other factors that led to it are also caused by anti Semitism It s thus a combination of direct anti Semitism and indirect anti Semitism, but I think he pushes his point too far.Sometimes he does a decent job For instance, on pages 700 701, he looks at the 1944 invasion of Hungary, a move scholars have long found insane Why attack an ally in order to kill some of its people when the war s going so poorly Ceesarani notes practical benefits it ensured Hungary stayed an ally it gave Germany access to Jewish wealth and labor much forcefully that had been the case, and it did strengthen the overall German case for the war that it was to fight world Jewry Armies need a motive, no matter how perverse the motive might sound.Looking over the book itself Many Germans found an appeal to Hitler s talk of Aryan unity Boycotts by England and the US in response to Nazi anti Semitism just convinced Hitler of the international power of Jews France wasn t happy with Jews entering there.From 1934 to the middle of 1935, not much was done with Germany s Jews Then came the Nuremberg Laws 1936 was quiet on the surface, but with Nazis gaining power though Belligerence went up after the Olympics The Palestinians began an uprising there Jews kept leaving Germany The economy for Jews collapsed in Germany By early 1938, those left felt helpless and isolated, with suicides increasing.War preparation led to persecution Then Austria was taken, led to sudden brutality The Nazis were convinced Jews were unpopular everywhere Anti Semitism was also taken up by the governments of Romania, Italy, and Hungary Polish Jews were mass expelled from Germany Night of the Broken Glass happened, and thousands went to camps Jewish businesses came to a complete end German Jews were now in penury War came Hitler saw it as a continuation of anti Jewish policies Polish Jews were treated as part of a conspiracy against Germany Soldiers had grown up under Nazi rule and were primed to hate Jews Hazy plans existed to put Jews on a reservation, like the Navajo Ghettos were built, with Lodz as the model They were overcrowded, had little food, bad sanitation, crime, and winteres were hell Social solidarity collapsed and even cannibalism occurred There was no privacy Killing of handicapped Germans began, but then ended but it was a step to mass murder of Jews UK and exile Polish governments both downplay the murder of Jews Germany wins in the west No plans for the countries taken There was talk of putting Jews in Madagascar, but it was never a serious idea Anti Semitism was up in France A Dutch general strike ended up hurting Jews Hitler invades the USSR, and that was the key turning point for the Holocaust The invasion was in part caused by a lack of food in Europe It was a war of colonial extraction, among other things Lithuanians aided the mass murder of Jews Romania killed Jews As partisans began and Russia was an issue, the Nazi policy towards Jews became murderous The massacred peaked at Kiev in late September Jews in many towns were nearly wiped out Property was confiscated Anti Semitic propoganda was constant after June 1941 Out came the yellow stars, and Germany deported its Jews French Jews went to ghettos Havoc existed for Balkan Jews A vague goal of putting all Jews in the USSR s interior faded as the invasion failed There was a food crisis and a security crisis The US was becoming a possible enemy Hitler felt it was now time for an out an out destruction of the Jews The Wannsee Conference took place as the war went badly Death camps went up Jews were sorted into groups based on war needs Ghetto deportations happened Moral standards went down and Jews were robbed of all dignity Political communal, and even family solidiarities broken down in the ghettos Stalingrad brought hope to Jews and hurt German morale But the Germans just saw Jews as of a threat and hatred of Jews became a defining feature of their wartime alliances Goebbels played up fear of Jewish revenge and fears of German defeat Jews were deported from southern France The Warsaw Ghetto uprising was put down Cesarani says that wiping out Jews wasn t just ideology but also security Again, I think this just displaces the ideology It s BECAUSE of the ideology that Jews became a security issue.The Allies stumbled late in the war, and that extended the Holocaust, leading to that many killings For instance, Hungary was occupied When camps were closed down, it led to death marches which weren t intended as such, but became as such under the conditions By the way, Hungarians supported the round up for their Jews The last ghettos were liquidated The continued killings were a reason Hitler wouldn t surrender if the war is against world Jewry, then he was still making some progress as long as Jews were being killed The war ended Jews were in DP camps, but often no place to go There were some massacres of Jews after the war The US still had its quota laws, and the UK didn t want to put them in Palestine for fears of giving credence to Zionism But many ended up going there anyway Few Jews received any compensation for their financial losses A lot of good points, but I think Cesarani pushes his argument too far Much of the non ideological reasons he gives the for Holoaust were still at least partially driven by ideology. A remarkably well written book about the fate of the jews between 1933 and 1949 Also about as complete as can be expected.At about a third in the book almost becomes unbearable, and that is before operation Barbarossa has even started, after which things become much worse It is not an easy read.The book follows, by design, eyewitnesses from the time and not all survive This makes it somewhat different from eyewitness accounts created by survivors afterwards as this also shows attitudes at the time through that particular lens Most people, especially in the early years, had no idea what was coming And even at the end it s shown as almost unbelievable through contemporary eyes It is a chronological read, but the different chapters are well set up and can be read and understood individually I kept a phone nearby to be able to read some background info, and to look up whether the perpetrators were brought to justice.Review is for the dutch version. I have an extensive library on the Holocaust or the Shoah or whatever you wish to call one of the most unpleasant and cruel episodes in human history It has fascinated me ever since I was almost physically sick at the age of 12 when I came across the story of Nazi medical experimentation.But my interest has never been ghoulish nor, at the other extreme, a search for meaning where there is none Nor am I Jewish where identity itself makes objectivity difficult, almost inhuman To be an objective Jewish historian of the events of 1933 to 1949 is in itself a triumph of the spirit.My interest is fundamentally political Not simply about a pompous assertion that it should never happen again, as if stating things were the same as things actually happening, but about how this thing came to be and what it tells us about our species.From this perspective, the late David Cesarani s 800 or so page history is easily the book I would most recommend others to read It is a triumph of the spirit to which I referred earlier, both objective as good history should be and humane.His thesis has long been my thesis not so much from my researches into this story but arising from my own experience of practical politics things get out of control, people do not question their condition and the obsessions of the powerful becomes the careers of the middling sort.At the centre of the narrative is war and imperialism The mythology of the Nazi era is that everything is about the Jews To add insult to injury, it turns out that it wasn t, at least until quite late in the day Hitler was viciously antisemitic but his prior concern was Germany s greatness.In this story, the Jews are simply in the way and, tragically, increasingly trapped in a total war that could not be won It went on for far too long under conditions where history had positioned vast numbers of innocent people as the enemy within.The best of the book is in the first third which tells a story less often told about a people the German Jews who were drawn into hell like a frog in water that slowly boils Their position was not made easier by the lack of clarity in Nazi policy.The official line, well beyond the foundation of the first ghettos after the invasion of Poland, was emigration not extermination Extermination emerged as a crisis of food, as a specific rage by the Fuhrer and as a security fear and competed to the end with the desire for slave labour.Cesarani is convincing on the sheer ramshackle nature of the horror, its marginality, its clumsiness and its chaos Anyone who holds to the myth of German efficiency will be disabused by this book What the Germans had was a demonic destructive will to survive.I say Germans advisedly because they were drawn by circumstances into complicity with horror just like the Jews as frogs in slowly boiling water with an additional disturbing aspect of the case, the propensity of the young to jump the queue of life through a narcissistic radicalism.I have elsewhere produced a fairly detailed essay on one modern issue the alleged collaboration between Zionism and Nazism which can be found at and which draws a great deal on this book.I refer you to that essay for on the trajectory that Cesarani describes until roughly 1940 and the immediate aftermath of the brutal invasion of Poland where Jews were murdered politically rather than racially as suspected communists though the two categories were conflated by Nazis.From this point on, the book becomes very grim reading indeed, to the point where listening to Remainers accuse their opponents of being Nazis merely for short term political advantage in the recent Brexit debate strikes one as an utterly obscene and ignorant use of history.The catalogue of horrors is not unbelievable unless you are a very stupid observer of human nature but it is all staggeringly callous and cruel The levels of human suffering involved in the continental war, not just Jews of course, suggests nothing less than species breakdown.And breakdown is what this is all about A turn of the century German promoted beyond his administrative and intellectual capacity but with enormous will and native intelligence seized control of a militaristic culture and turned it into a machine for imperial aggrandisement.He was trying to do what the British Empire had done over 400 years in four He relied on shock tactics which in turn used a sort of defensive deluded brutality, wiping out any threat before it could mobilise What he did not reckon on was the resilence of his Soviet enemy.A war expected to be over within a year dragged on for four and the Jews, already positioned as the cultural enemy, were trapped, their only value being slave labour as radical Nazis in the SS seized control of the agenda and developed a strategy of selective and then total extermination.These monsters, bureaucrats, ideologues and corrupt businessmen in equal proportion, made use of barbarian Eastern European ethnic militia, turned Jews on Jews to exploit their labour value and organise the transports to death camps, and slaughtered civilians like farm animals.So much is well known and the book makes hard reading even to a tough old observer of human folly such as myself but Cesarani usefully contextualises everything so we do not fall into the trap of being voyeurs in a theatre of death in which sentiment overwhelms our analysis of causation.He places the death camps in the context of the ghetto and exploitative labour system, the fear of partisans, the failure of emigration strategies actually the preferred Nazi option which has lead to the confusion over alleged Zionist complicity and Western democratic politics and military failuresHe gives us the story of the fate of individual Jews under every area of occupation, eliminating some of the myths along the way the heroic Danish evacuation is not actually at all what it seems and showing the complexity of individual national responses.Some come out of it better than others the Italians were lazy enough to resist Nazi claims for quite a while, the Slovak fascists seemed to be unexpectedly protective of their own Jews, the Hungarians too seemed to have resisted for as long as possible attacks on their sovereignty.The Belgians did their best, the Romanians acted like thieving maniacs and then reversed policy later and the Poles could be as antisemitic as their occupiers and so on and so forth the point is that the Nazis were trying to cope with an occupation that drained them from within.The Wehrmacht was simply a machine for war with no particular interest in the Jews either way They just wanted to be sure that the SS nut cases did not redirect resources and have negative effects on the war effort and Hitler tended to agree The book tends to confirm me in my view that all these horrors happened because Hitler and his ravings sent a signal that permitted and encouraged extermination or slave labour if useful but, even to him, the Jewish problem was only one facet of the conduct of imperial war.Cesarani does not end his book with liberation because liberation scarcely took place He takes the story of the Jews in Europe through to 1949 At one point, the British had Jews in camps than the Nazis had in 1938 1939 albeit under generally better conditions.The tragic push to Palestine, of no interest to most Jews under Nazi rule, became a necessity There was no home left for Jews The Western Powers were not exactly callous but rather preoccupied with coping with the aftermath of war and with new enmities and barely gave Jews a thought.A gap in the book is the experience of the Jews who fled to the Soviet Union and then returned in force to Poland after the war Their experience of Polish anti semitism made them a driving element in the creation of Israel but many had never had experience of ghettos and death camps.The Soviet exiled Jews had a harsh time of it but they were not enslaved or murdered as Jews were under the Nazis and we could have done with as much space being given to Soviet liberation of the East as Western liberation of the Jews in Germany The Red Army, as so often, gets forgotten.There is one other aspect of the book that is worth noting its treatment of the claim that the Jews were weak in their response to the Nazi threat I have referred twice to the slowly boiling frog analogy but the Nazis were immensely good at deception and manipulation.They controlled resources and information the key to power and used fear and reward to ensure that Jews selected other Jews for death until only the fit young men were left The Nazi strategy in this respect was never very clear to the victims.Most Jews simply had no weapons, limited or no means of survival outside the camps escapers might live less long than the inmates of the ghetto or even the camps , little information and were concerned with protecting immediate family and simply getting enough food.Eventually the remaining fit young men with sufficient resource figured out strategies for revolt in the Warsaw Ghetto 1943 , Treblinka and Sobibor 1944 These revolts may have been failures but they frightened the Nazis who began to see that their strategies were unsustainable.The real monstrosity lies not just in the killing, the rapes, the cruelties but in what I started with the politics of the situation, the pot in which the poor frogs, Jewish and German, were being boiled It is the politics in this book that bears scrutiny than the horrors.Two societies lived in a state of false consciousness about each other German Jews considered themselves part of what it was to be German and so were excessively tolerant of the bad treatment of Ostjuden the French Jews were similarly dismissive of German Jewish and other refugees.The Germans developed a mental map of the Jews as threat that had some small basis in history, as we have discussed in the link above, but generalised it from the historical abstract to encompass an entire people, effectively innocent of the claims made against them.Before the war, most Germans seem to have been happy to discriminate yet disliked obvious cruelty or maltreatment Kristallnacht nearly back fired on the regime Hitler was not enthusiastic about it it was a typical bit of theatre from Goebbels.With war everything changed The soldiery witnessed and participated in mass murder for security reasons , the sheer number of Ostjuden on new German territory unnerved the population and the opportunity for plunder began to become generalised within German society.At a certain point, the war switched from a war of empire in which the Jews were to be pushed out of Reich territory eastwards into a war of survival in which the Jews came to be seen as a race that would exact an awful revenge if Germany was defeated.But the original war on the Jews was less about their extermination and about their total despoliation to deal with budgetary and then German welfare problems From there, their poverty became a burden on a State that was suffering shortages as well as a perceived security risk.Killing off burdensome mouths and enslaving the fit albeit to the point of becoming unfit became logical as did handing over Jewish clothing and property to the victims of Allied bombing Ideology necessity and chaos are the stuff of such nightmares.The politics lies in the complete collapse of order other than the order of bribery and terror Plunder and greed seem to have been influential even than race hate Nazi occupation became part half baked chaotic pogrom, part exploitative business racket and part lunacy.So there we have it all the committees against anti semitism are probably worth very little against the business of avoiding war, maintaining the rule of law under conditions of equality for all and ensuring that there are enough resources to go around.Cesarani is right to draw our attention to the way that the exigencies of war turned something distinctly unpleasant into murderous savagery, rape and plunder I am right to draw your attention to the role of young ideologues in creating the justifications for hell All in all, a sound introduction to the subject that avoids the trap of allowing the horror to overwehelm the need to understand As a result, the horror hits home all the harder for not being based on anything rational or organised at all This is our species up against the wall. In the waning days of the Obama administration and the beginning of the Trump era uncharted territory , it is understandable if overly pessimistic that I picked up this title The book gets a feel from the inside of the collapse of the Weimar Republic as the Nazis installed their brand of totalitarianism and one party rule behind a charismatic leader It in the beginning, was a murky and confused time with dark forebodings about the future for many In 1933 people would not have a true sense of the horror to come The Nazis bit by bit dispensed with the political enemies and began to strip the sense of any shared humanity with Jews and other designated undesirables Like a frog in a hot bath before any good people could fathom what was to come, they were rendered helpless and marginalized while the worst instincts of the population were unleashed on dissent and people considered unfit This book captures the twists and turns of the developments in the 30s and 40s and captures the uncertainty of the actors on the ground at the time of course with our present hindsight knowing how horrible it was we can feel the anguish as things go from bad to worse for the Jewish people in the Nazi s path It is eery reading this book in November of 2016 The old parlor question of what would you have done if you were in Germany takes on an ominous ring nowadays of not being a moot academic exercise.