This is a book of quotations about the Holocaust. In this collection, spanning from early anti-Semitic teachings to post-Holocaust observations, and arranged chronologically, Howard Langer attempts to untangle the complexities of the Holocaust through the words of its perpetrators, victims, survivors, rescues, and diplomats. "The History of the Holocaust: A Chronology of Quotations" is unlike most books on the subject for several reasons. First, its writings are culled from a wide variety of sources, including speeches, laws, public opinion polls, diplomatic conferences, and firsthand accounts. In using such a wide variety of source material, Langer portrays the Holocaust from several perspectives and provides a well-rounded portrait of the Final Solution, as well as the reactions of those involved and those who chose to be uninvolved. Excerpts also document the rise of the Nazi movement in Germany, beginning in 1919 with the formation of the German Workers Party, later to change its name to the National Socialist Party, through the end of the war and the Nuremberg and Eichmann trials. Party propaganda, official government documents, and media reports are drawn upon to verify the doctrines and methods of Hitler, his cohorts, and supporters. This compilation is also unique in that it does not begin with the year World War ll started, or the year Hitler came to power in Germany. It provides references from many earlier sources of anti-Semitism that helped create an atmosphere in which the Holocaust could occur. Included in the first section, titled, "Prelude," are citations from early religious teachings, background on the blood libel superstition and the Inquisition, and reports from several anti-Semitically motivated criminal trials, such as the Dreyfuss case in France, the Beilis case in Russia and the Leo Frank case in the U.S. In the "Aftermath" section, quotes are gathered from prominent Holocaust writers and commentators, responses of the world community, and interviews with survivors and German citizens. Langer also provides a "Who's Who" section with brief descriptions of everyone quoted, and an extensive bibliography. The author writes, "This was not an easy book to put together. The material was all there, but it was very, very heavy...Perhaps the real story is many centuries away, when there are no descendents of the six million. What will that world be like?" Important as both a comprehensive reference work and as a moving testament to the millions who lost their lives under the Third Reich, "The History of the Holocaust" is more than a book of quotations. It is, as Howard Langer writes, "a book of clues to the greatest murder mystery in world history."
by Howard J. Langer
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