Rethinking the Holocaust


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Yehuda Bauer

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Yehuda Bauer, one of the world’s premier historians of the Holocaust, here presents an insightful overview and reconsideration of its history and meaning. Drawing on research he and other historians have done in recent years, he offers fresh opinions on such basic issues as how to define and explain the Holocaust; whether it can be compared with other genocides; how Jews reacted to the murder campaign against them; and what the relationship is between the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel.

The Holocaust says something terribly important about humanity, says Bauer. He analyzes explanations of the Holocaust by Zygmunt Bauman, Jeffrey Herf, Goetz Aly, Daniel Goldhagen, John Weiss, and Saul Friedländer and then offers his own interpretation of how the Holocaust could occur. Providing fascinating narratives as examples, he deals with reactions of Jewish men and women during the Holocaust and tells of several attempts at rescue operations. He also explores Jewish theology of the Holocaust, arguing that our view of the Holocaust should not be clouded by mysticism: it was an action by humans against other humans and is therefore an explicable event that we can prevent from recurring.

Yehuda Bauer is director of the International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. He is the author of many books, including Jews for Sale? published by Yale University Press.

“In this original and compelling book Bauer considers all the major issues of Holocaust historiography. Everything Bauer touches he illuminates.”—Michael Berenbaum

"In this authoritative survey, the Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer reflects upon why the Holocaust has become a world issue, and how to make sense of it. To meet these objectives, we need the guide of a master scholar. As one of the world’s great authorities on this subject, Bauer admirably fits this bill. This book brings together his mature, long-considered and up-to-date reflections, based not only on the latest research but also on his sparkling and critical intelligence."—Michael R. Marrus, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and the Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies, University of Toronto

“Bauer . . . has written a book of extraordinary scope, depth, and power.”—Booklist

“[A] compelling, conceptually sophisticated historiographic analysis of the critical issues debated by historians in the field. Demonstrating prodigious learning and persistent intellectual clarity, grounded in his own prior research yet thoughtfully considerate and accepting of nuanced newer approaches, Bauer persuasively distinguishes other genocides from the unprecedented Jewish Holocaust. . . . [T]his enormously illuminating tome, reflecting a humanistically motivated lifetime of engaged scholarship into the Holocaust, deserves the undivided attention of scholars and laypersons alike.”—Choice

“For those seeking an all-embracing and penetrating analysis of the Holocaust, this brilliant work by the former director of Yad Vashem’s research institute is unparalleled. . . . Rethinking the Holocaust is a stimulating and compelling work. If a reader seeks a comprehensive and subtle interpretation of the Holocaust, its place in history, this is the book you would want to read.”—William Korey, Hadassah Magazine

Rethinking the Holocaust very ably sums up the progress made in Holocaust scholarship to date and points to some under-explored avenues of inquiry. With an erudite accessibility that commends itself to both professional scholars and educated lay readers, Bauer’s new book should find a place in every Holocaust library.”—Richard F. Crane, History: Reviews of New Books

“[A] major contribution to Holocaust studies and a powerful summary of current issues and scholarship. It should be read by everyone who continues to wonder whether the Holocaust could ever be explained or understood.”—Stephen Mark Dobbs, Jewish Bulletin

“Eloquent. . . . An eye-opening synthesis of the whole historiography of the Shoah. . . . The meat of the book is a brilliant review of vexed issues like Jewish resistance (armed and unarmed), the role of the Judenräte, or Nazi-imposed Jewish Councils, and the plans to rescue Jews by buying their freedom. . . . With the skill of a sleuth and the assiduous patience of a born scholar, Bauer reconstructs the schemes, characters and motives in a spirit of factual inquiry, keen empathy and, of all unlikely things, common sense. . . . Impatient with the scruples of postmodern skepticism, which reminds us of the limits of our knowledge, Bauer in Rethinking the Holocaust makes a strong case for the tact and insight of the historical imagination as it confronts the unimaginable.”—Morris Dickstein, New York Times Book Review

“Bauer is the preeminent student of Jewish resistance and rescue efforts. . . . Bauer’s book also reaches beyond issues of rescue, offering a strong introduction to many of the analytic debates on Nazi genocide.”—Paul Breines, Washington Post Book World

"One of the ’founding fathers’ of Holocaust Studies and a giant in the field, Yehuda Bauer is unrivalled in the astonishing breadth of issues upon which he offers his latest reflections and insights in Rethinking the Holocaust."—Christopher R. Browning, Frank Porter Grahm Professor of History, UNC-Chapel Hill

Finalist for the 2001-02 National Jewish Book Award given by the Jewish Book Council
ISBN: 9780300093001
Publication Date: February 8, 2002
352 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
Jews for Sale?

Nazi-Jewish Negotiations, 1933-1945

Yehuda Bauer

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