Publication Date

May 1, 1993

Perspectives Section


AHA Topic

Teaching & Learning

The other day I picked up a book that was waiting for me at the University of Toronto Library’s Interlibrary Loan Department. Voluntary Hostages of the S.S. (1979) by Drago Arsenijevic is a well written, journalistic account of the rescue activity of the International Red Cross during the last phases of the Holocaust. It rests upon solid research, and while a bit too uncritical for my taste, I think it provides a worthwhile look at a neglected subject: the last phase of the ordeal of European Jewry. But the cover, at least of the volume I received, is appalling. It is blood red, with black letters, framed in gold. Emblazoned on the front is a stylized Nazi eagle, grasping in its claws a black disk, ringed in gold, on which is a large, golden swastika.

It may well be that this ghastly Nazi motif comes not from Arsenijevic’s Swiss publisher, but rather from an overly imaginative worker in some library classification department, who turned an original, benign paperback into an offensively covered hardback. Or it may be that this is just a publisher’s egregious lapse of taste and judgment. But what I want to consider for a moment is a quite different issue: my experience on picking up the book. For this is a good starting point for these reflections on university teaching of the Holocaust, as well as how the subject fits into our history curricula.

I think the librarian who handed the book to me was suspicious. “Clearly it’s no accident we don’t have books like this in our collection,” I imagined her thinking. “Who is this fellow?” she might have continued, “and what is he doing with this stuff anyway?” I turned the book over quickly and departed. At the periodicals desk, where I had an additional transaction, another librarian commented on what clearly appeared to be a Nazi tract, from which the green interlibrary loan flag was now flying. “We keep those books in a special section,” she told me in a low voice, without any preliminary discussion. “And it’s a good thing, too, because otherwise the students would take them—as has certainly happened in the past.” Now it was my turn to be suspicious. Just what did she mean by taking the Nazi books? Were these Jewish students objecting to Nazi works in the collection or their classification as nonfiction? (We have had such protests at the University of Toronto.) Or were these neo-Nazi students, “liberating” works of their own canon from the liberal-bourgeois, Jewish-dominated university? And which side was the librarian criticizing? Not having the patience to pursue this issue, and preoccupied with my hunt for periodicals, I pressed on without seeking any answers.

Now, the point I draw from this story is that the subject of this essay, teaching the Holocaust, is not quite a “normal” one, for even book jackets can raise questions that are quite disturbing, can set people on edge, and (almost certainly unnecessarily) can put them on guard against each other. Researching and teaching the Holocaust, to point out the obvious, is not quite like researching and teaching everything else. And yet for all of that, I believe Holocaust history is on a path of “normalization,” that it is gradually entering the mainstream of historical understanding. Particularly over the past two decades, when the literature on the subject has grown substantially, an entire new field has been created—one in which historians of other fields will immediately feel at home with the sources, methodology, and investigatory agendas with which specialists in the subject spend their time. So in what concrete ways does Holocaust history still stand out, and has this had any effect on the kind of scholarship students encounter?

What I want to suggest here is that Holocaust history remains special in a way that is not commonly discussed. For a variety of reasons, among them the fact that this is an emotionally charged topic, Holocaust history has become one of the most sophisticated and methodologically self-conscious fields of historical study. The questions historians put about it tend to become broad, rather than narrow, and require the making of distinctions that are frequently avoided in other fields of study. Far from having to apologize for cutting corners, for making concessions to the nearness of the event, or for deferring to nonprofessional considerations, Holocaust history has become exemplary in the demands it makes upon researchers, teachers, and students alike. And the results are impressive, not only for those who seek historical understanding of the destruction of European Jews, but for curious onlookers from other historical fields as well. And so, quite apart from the moral imperatives that are usually advanced for inclusion in the curriculum, these particular qualities constitute additional reasons to champion the study of the Holocaust.

Let me begin with definitions—the troublesome intellectual distinctions that preoccupy so many other disciplines but which historians seem to evade or treat perfunctorily on the way to what they do best, formulating descriptions. Definitions stalk Holocaust history, and in many cases are essential prerequisites for study. Without them, one could hardly begin. To start, what do we mean by “Holocaust”? Does the term itself obscure, by virtue of its etymological origins? Are we better served by “Shoah,” as Claude Lanzmann and many others insist, “Judeocide,” as Arno Mayer argues, or a variant of “le génocide des Juifs,” as French scholars prefer? Does “the Holocaust” include the persecution and massacre of groups beside Jews, as Simon Wiesenthal, among others, has suggested? And when did it begin? Nineteen thirty-three, with the coming to power of Nazism? Nineteen thirty-eight, as was said at the fiftieth anniversary of the Kristallnacht riots in Germany? Nineteen forty-one, with the beginning of mass killings in the Soviet Union? Nineteen forty-two, with the Wannsee Conference and the functioning of death camps in Poland? Answers to these questions rest on definitions, and these depend in turn upon a careful sifting and a coherent assessment of the evidence. The process of definition itself, spurred by the urgency many feel to press one case or the other, helps to clarify historical argument.

One example of how Holocaust historians are forced to define is the much-discussed issue of Jewish resistance. Jews first defined resistance during the events themselves, when the mainly young, mainly Bundist or Zionist youth who championed armed uprisings in the ghettos of Poland and the Soviet Union first charged that their fellow Jews were going to their deaths “like sheep to the slaughter.” In the view of these youthful zealots, there was only one honorable response to the Nazis for people in their position: violent attack upon their oppressors, notwithstanding the terrible consequences to themselves and their fellow Jews. In practical terms, the Jewish revolt they urged was to be suicidal—and even worse, in the eyes of many, it would trigger an immediate, furious retaliation upon other Jews who had managed, against all odds, to survive to that point. But the activists’ eyes were on history, to be read by people like ourselves. “What will posterity say about us if we go to our deaths without any attempt at resistance?” some of the earliest organizers of revolt in the Warsaw Ghetto asked an elder of the Jewish Council.

Raul Hilberg, the dean of Holocaust historians, argued strenuously in his Destruction of the European Jews (1961) that traditional patterns of Jewish life militated against this kind of response, and indeed conditioned Jews to comply with their murderers. The Jews’ “reaction pattern,” he wrote, “is characterized by almost complete lack of resistance.” Its relative insignificance, in his view, was demonstrated in terms of German casualties: “It is doubtful that the Germans and their collaborators lost more than a few hundred men, dead and wounded, in the course of the destruction process. The number of men who dropped out because of disease, nervous breakdowns, or court martial proceedings was probably greater. The Jewish resistance effort could not seriously impede or retard the progress of destructive operations. The Germans brushed that resistance aside as a minor obstacle, and in the totality of the destruction process it was of no consequence.” Thirty years later, Hilberg has qualified his views. In Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe 1933–1945 (1992) he acknowledges the heroic disposition of a small number of youthful resistors who took up arms against crushing odds. But importantly, he considers them among the “unadjusted,” those who refused to conform to the general pattern of “accommodation” to the Nazis and their demands. Resistance, in his perspective, what Hilberg defines implicitly as “pitting oneself against the oppressor,” remains the resistance of the young idealists who challenged the Warsaw Jewish Council.

Another approach is to consider “resistance” all of those efforts, as Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer once put it, to keep “body and soul together” under circumstances of unimaginable privation and brutalization.1 Such efforts include smuggling, ministering to the weak and the ill, cultural organization, and a tenacious commitment to communal values. Historians who looked closely at the experience of Jews facing Nazi persecution, at ghetto life, or even at the camps in which Jews met their end, have testified to a considerable range of such activity, often of the most heroic kind. Those for whom the concept of resistance extends to such behavior insist on the Nazis’ intention to humiliate Jews, to extinguish their spirit as well as their lives. Resistance, to them, includes any and all efforts to oppose the Nazis by maintaining Jewish dignity and social cohesion. And so from this perspective Warsaw resistors must include not only Mordechai Aneliewicz, the fiery young Zionist leader of the armed ghetto uprising, but also the gentle physician Janusz Korczak, who sheltered two hundred children in his orphanage and in the end, refusing a proferred exemption for himself from the deportations of the summer of 1942, led a dignified procession of his little charges to the Umshchlagplaz and their doom: “bare-headed, with a leather belt around his coat, with tall boots [Korczak] bent, held the youngest child by the hand and went on ahead.”

Definition here is crucial, and points the way to alternative visions. Roger Gottlieb’s careful examination of approaches to resistance during the Holocaust suggests there is more at stake in this discussion than the determination of what actions qualify as resistance.2 At issue in the final analysis is how we look at certain Jewish behavior, how we evaluate and ultimately understand it in historical perspective. Gottlieb himself takes the wider view of resistance, arguing that such acts are “motivated by the intention to thwart, limit, or end the exercise of power of the oppressor group over the oppressed.” With this definition, attention frequently centers not only on the character of Nazi persecution, but also on Jewish perceptions of the assault against them, and hence their own intentions in responding as they did—frequently, to thwart, limit, and so on. Starting with a philosophical meditation on resistance, Gottlieb is led to a close investigation of the historical record.

Without entering into the substance, I want simply to point out how in this case an obviously emotionally charged debate has refined, rather than obscured, understanding. For many Jews, there is much at stake in the controversy over Jewish resistance. For some, there remains a pool of anger at the apparent ease with which the Nazis carried out their plans, and a related anger at the failure of Jewish leadership to motivate or organize a violent response. Their instinct is to accuse both Jews and Nazis, albeit in radically different ways. In practice, they minimize the extent of Jewish resistance. For others there is an urge to relate the Jews’ capacity for self-assertion, taken in much of contemporary culture as a validation of communal worth. Their tendency is to accent both the incidence and significance of resistance activity. Given the intensity of research on the Jewish victims now available, writers on both sides of the debate on Jewish resistance have been forced back upon definitions as a way of justifying the inclusion or exclusion of certain material—with the ultimate effect, I believe, that their history has been clarified considerably. The two sides do not agree in the end, but for outsiders to the debate, and for students who first encounter it, the differences over Jewish resistance are far more clear than they would have been otherwise.

I have also said that questions raised about Holocaust history tend to become broader, rather than narrower, as specialists press alternative points of view upon students of the subject. Let me illustrate with the exploration of the origins of the Final Solution itself. Readers may be familiar with the debate between the so-called intentionalists and functionalists, between those who see the decision to murder the Jews of Europe as deriving from a long-nurtured plan for the physical annihilation of the Jews worked out by Hitler himself, to be launched at the propitious moment; and those who see the Nazis’ policy as evolving gradually, radicalizing within the context of a Hitler-inspired antisemitism and the changing circumstances of war, particularly the early evolution of the German campaign against the Soviet Union.3

Without venturing deeply into the substance of this issue, and simply by way of illustration, I want to stress the way in which this controversy takes us quickly into one of the most difficult historiographical issues in the history of the Third Reich: the question of how Nazi government and society actually worked. Holocaust historians on both sides have been forced to explore the nature of Hitlerian politics—the role of the Führer and his antisemitic obsession—and at the same time to assess how, both in general terms and in particular with respect to the murder of Jews, personal and ideological obsessions were translated into policy, and then actually carried out.

There are weaknesses on both sides of the debate over origins. Because of Hitler’s notorious disinclination to put his orders in writing, as well as the Nazis’ reluctance to air publicly their murderous anti-Jewish objectives, intentionalists lack a “smoking gun”: that is, explicit, written orders or directions from the Führer to murder the Jews of Europe. At the same time, because of the sometimes chaotic processes of decisionmaking in the Third Reich, functionalists are unable to reconstruct precisely the timing and the circumstances of the transition to European-wide mass murder. Because our sources are inadequate, partisans of one hypothesis or the other have been constantly on the lookout for a crucial, missing document or for new evidence of the radicalization of the Third Reich under the impact of Operation Barbarossa, the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Most scholars in the field, I believe, have tired of the sharply opposed points of view and have hesitated to opt entirely for one side or the other. But they can hardly abandon interest in the origins of the Final Solution—one of the most troubling historical issues, I would venture to think, a historian can raise. So what they have done is to broaden the perspective. Ian Kershaw points in the direction many have taken, seeking understanding through a more extensive examination of how Nazi Germany operated: “Hitler’s ‘intention’ was certainly a fundamental factor in the process of radicalization in anti-Jewish policy which culminated in extermination,” he writes in The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Historical Interpretation (1985). “But even more important to an explanation of the Holocaust is the nature of ‘charismatic’ rule in the Third Reich and the way it functioned in sustaining the momentum of escalating radicalization around ‘heroic’ chimeric goals while corroding and fragmenting the structure of government. This was the essential framework within which Hitler’s lunacy could be turned into practical politics.”

On the other side of the debate is Richard Breitman, who, in The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution (1991), sees Hitler making “a fundamental decision to exterminate the Jews” as early as March 1941—far earlier than most historians on the subject would accept. But much of Breitman’s work illustrates the effect on Jewish policy of a more general question, how decisions of many kinds were reached in the Third Reich. The most valuable part of his book describes the intense rivalry between Himmler and other paladins of the Third Reich: the S.A. leadership, particularly at the time of Kristallnacht; General Johannes Blaskowitz and the Army during the Polish campaign and later; Hans Frank during 1940–41, over policies in Poland; Alfred Rosenberg and his Ministry for Occupied Eastern Territories; and various Gauleiter who governed in the East. An issue crucial to Holocaust history, once again, is illuminated as the perspective has been broadened, and as matters not directly related to Nazi Jewish policy are taken into account.

The same point could be made about other aspects of the debate over the origins of the Final Solution. As Robert Koehl and Martin Broszat pointed out some time ago, and as Christopher Browning has demonstrated more recently, the timing of the Nazis’ decisions with respect to the Jews in Eastern Europe was crucially tied to the development of Nazi occupation in Poland.4 Andreas Hillgruber, Jürgen Förster, and others stressed for many years the connection with Operation Barbarossa.5 And closely related to this is the systematic killing by the Einsatzgruppen in the early phase of that campaign. Here too there is disagreement upon the degree to which the planning process was vague or specific with respect to Jews, upon whether men alone or all Jews were targeted for murder at the beginning, upon the widening frenzy of murder during the course of the summer of 1941, and upon whether these murders represent a clear turn to European-wide killing. But the connection with Barbarossa and the accompanying radicalization of the Third Reich is now widely accepted.

And finally, there is the challenge of relating the Nazis’ attack on Jews to their policy toward other victimized groups in the Third Reich. In their recent The Racial State: Germany 1933–1945 (1991), Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman assemble a very considerable body of material linking the Nazis’ attack on Jews and the attempted construction of a vast racial utopia in which persecution extended to all kinds of “racially impure” or “undesirable” elements. None of this broadening of perspective, I might add, necessarily detracts from the uniqueness of the Nazis’ objectives for Jews. It does, however, put it in a context that makes them easier to understand.

Public opinion is a theme in which Holocaust history moves on a much more sophisticated level than may be the case with many other fields of history. Some questions are obvious. What did people in various countries think about Jews, about Germans? How powerful was wartime antisemitism? What did people know about the Holocaust? On each of these questions, research has been extensive and controversy continues. Because the emotional fallout from such questions can be quite intense, historians who have turned their minds to them have refined the object of study considerably. There is widespread agreement, I believe, that terms have to be carefully defined, that both Nazi sources and memoirs must be used with great care, making due allowance for their respective biases, that we have a lot to learn about how public opinion actually works, and that the process of “knowing” about an unprecedented historical event is much more difficult than meets the eye.

Consider antisemitism. Nothing could be easier, one might think, than to demonstrate its salience in Germany before and during the Hitler era, and hence its relevance to the events examined here. Yet for more than a decade historians have been putting such generalizations to the test, with results that sometimes go against the grain of conventional wisdom. Some still assume the existence of “a profoundly anti-Semitic, hallucinatory image of [Jews]” which was rampant in German society and which largely explains the willingness of so many Germans, not only to look the other way, but actually to murder Jews themselves.6 Yet these are a distinct minority, in my estimation. Most historians seem to be aware of how perilous are such generalizations.

Problems arise the moment one makes comparisons. For the pre-Hitler period, it is difficult to make the case that Germany was an antisemitic country par excellence—something implied in at least some writing on the subject. To the contrary, to the general observer the level of anti-Jewish feeling in Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, Hungary, and Romania, seems unquestionably higher.7 Looking back to the 1890s, George Mosse used to point out how, once one excluded the Tsarist Empire, it was France rather than Germany that seemed to be heading for a bloody reckoning with Jews. Investigations of interwar antisemitism, rising to very high intensity during the Depression in various West European countries, show levels in many respects comparable to Germany before Hitler. During the war one can also point to well-documented, widespread popular antisemitism in Britain, Canada, and the United States.8 Such studies are a reminder of how careful one must be in generalizing on the subject. At the very least, historians must distinguish gradations of antisemitism—extending from social snobbery, to prejudice, to the kind of pathological, murderous Jew-hatred one associates with Hitler and the Nazis. Comparative history, the object of periodic admonition on the part of historians of other subjects, has in this case sharpened critical appreciation and has forced historians to put the entire question of antisemitism into broader perspective.

Comparative history imposes itself as well with questions about the variable incidence of the Holocaust. These are sometimes burning questions, posed at the very end of the war by those seeking to condemn or defend collaborationist governments, and sometimes put today in the form of anguished explorations of what “might have been.” Why were proportionally fewer Jews deported from France than from Belgium or the Netherlands, as some Vichy collaborators protested at their postwar trials? Did some forms of collaboration provide a screen of protection, as Lucjan Dobroszycki suggested not long ago?9 As historian István Deák boldly asked in a review of Randolph Braham’s important book on the subject, The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary (1981), could the Jews of Hungary have been saved? From the start, those who posed such questions needed a comparative perspective, and sought explanations for the remarkable differences among the countries of occupied Europe.

Several writers have proposed models or frameworks for analysis. The uninitiated may be surprised at the range of variables, prompting at least one specialist in this problem, the sociologist Helen Fein, to tabulate them usefully for a computer-assisted analysis in her Accounting for Genocide: National Responses and Jewish Victimization during the Holocaust (1979). Needless to say, difficulties abound, familiar enough to practitioners of quantitative history. Not least among these is the problem of isolating and quantifying diverse characteristics that we sometimes amalgamate in some conception of “national character”: religious traditions, forms of government, social organization, and so on. Most difficult of all, German policy must also be taken into account. For notwithstanding their obsessive concerns to murder as many Jews as they could find, the Nazis had entirely different priorities when it came, for example, to the few hundred Jews of Finland, and to the almost 900,000 Jews of Hungary.

A final illustration of the refinements of Holocaust history is the matter of what was known about the massacre of European Jews. Here, Holocaust historians from the start faced seemingly contradictory evidence. Some first-hand testimony suggests that from an early point victims or bystanders penetrated the ruse with which the Nazis attempted to deceive people about the Final Solution. Reports of the Polish Home Army or the Jewish Bund, newspaper articles, and the eloquent testimony of eyewitnesses all tell us that information about the killings seeped out of Eastern Europe and that those who wanted to know, “knew.” Yet on the other hand, there is abundant, persuasive, and sometimes equally compelling evidence indicating various reasons for the reverse: distraction, a refusal to believe the “unbelievable,” the acceptance of false rumors, continued acceptance of the story that Jews were being deported to work camps, hope against hope, and indifference. With this issue, vitally important to those who pursue the emotionally salient issues of resistance or rescue, Holocaust historians find themselves plunged almost immediately into a reflection on the value of sources, how information is transmitted, how facts register upon the mind, and how mind and memory can play tricks upon people in different circumstances.

These considerations, vital in a sense for all historical testimony and relevant to all fields of historical enquiry, have come to the surface more quickly with Holocaust history than with other fields. Several books have been written about the subject—notably by Walter Laqueur, The Terrible Secret: An Investigation into the Suppression of Information about Hitler’s “Final Solution” (1980); Martin Gilbert, Auschwitz and the Allies (1981); Deborah Lipstadt, Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust 1933–1945 (1986)—and there have been numerous studies treating particular situations and aspects of the problem. Once again, one could not say that all this work has produced agreement, and differences persist. Even after the most intense critical review of the sources, historians will “tilt” one way or another on the question of what was known, by whom, and when. But they will do so, I think, with a degree of critical awareness of the problems associated with the issue of knowledge that is very high.

Therein my conclusion. Holocaust history is a remarkably complex, advanced field of historical inquiry and needs no other reason than that to command the close attention of scholars and students. I have avoided reference to the more familiar admonitions that it be studied for reasons of social policy: that study of the Holocaust imparts lessons about the dangers of antisemitism or intolerance, that it is a basis for good citizenship, and that it contributes to a fight against racism. I do not quarrel with these views, which have their place in primary or secondary school exposure to the subject and may also be relevant to Holocaust studies at the university level. But I am not sure about them, and would point out some dissenting opinions.

To some, the “lessons” of the Holocaust are so simple as to be banal, and hardly warrant an elaborate investigation. The late I. F. Stone once summed it up: “The lesson of the Holocaust,” he said, “is that if you treat people like things it can end up in the gas chambers.” From this viewpoint, there is no need for an elaborate academic enterprise, for the “lesson” is the moral equivalent of common sense. Alternatively, the lessons may be, as some religious people believe, beyond our understanding altogether. As they have it, no amount of secular study will get to the bottom of the matter, and vital truths about the massacre of European Jewry will always elude those who presume to understand. Different again is the view of many who consider that there has been “too much” preoccupation with the Holocaust. It has been suggested that Holocaust studies have risen in popularity as part of a wider vogue of “oppression studies” in a politically correct curriculum. Through the study of the Holocaust, it is said, Jewish students are able to participate in what has been called a “vast and murky cult of victimhood” that permeates the culture of many on the academic left. In a related view, the Jewish studies specialist Lionel Kochan has worried that people actually draw the “wrong” lessons: not only that they derive from Holocaust study a morbid view of the Jews as victims, but also that such study stimulates the imagination of those who seek to renew this and other victimizations.

As a historian, I confess to having always been skeptical about the so-called “lessons” of history, which seem continually to elude my colleagues, even when they are operating at their peak. Individuals may claim from time to time that they have discovered such lessons, or admonish people to heed them, but invariably other historians within earshot divide among themselves like angry parliamentarians, and are unable to agree. And so I conclude that if good history revealed commonly agreed upon, useful lessons, we would have extracted and put them to use long ago. What we can say is that good history deepens and extends our appreciation of human reality, and that in a general sense its study can make us more mature, wiser, more “experienced” observers of the human scene. Historians are far more likely to agree upon what is good history than they are upon the conclusions of particular historical works. That key is “good” history: accounts of the past that challenge received wisdom by deepening understanding, standing up to intense critical enquiry, posing challenging questions and reaching plausible answers, firmly grounded in evidence. This has always been the challenge to historians of the Holocaust, who attempt to explain events most of us have difficulty even imagining. What I have argued here is that they have succeeded remarkably well.



  1. They Chose Life: Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust (1973). []
  2. “The Concept of Resistance: Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust,” Social Theory and Practice 9 (1983), 31–49. []
  3. The terms “intentionalist” and “functionalist” were first used in this connection by Tim Mason, “Intention and Explanation: A Current Controversy about the Interpretation of National Socialism,” in Gerhard Hirschfeld and Lothar Kettenacker, eds., Der Führerstaat: Mythos und Realität (1981), 21–40. Christopher Browning was first to apply these to the study of the Holocaust. For an up-to-date summary of his views, see his The Path to Genocide: Essays on the Launching of the Final Solution (1992), esp. Chap. 5, “Beyond ‘Intentionalism’ and ‘Functionalism’: The Decision for the Final Solution Reconsidered.” []
  4. Robert L. Koehl, RKFVD: German Resettlement and Population Policy, 1939–1945 (1957); Martin Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik, 1939–1945 (1961); Christopher Browning, “Nazi Resettlement Policy and the Search for the Final Solution to the Jewish Question, 1939–1941,” German Studies Review 9 (1986), 497–519. []
  5. Andreas Hillgruber, “Die Endlösung und dans deutsche Ostimiperium als Kernstuck des rassenideologischen Programs des Nationalsozialismus,” Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 20 (1972), 133–53; and idem, “Die ideologisch-dogmatische Grundlage der Nationalsozialistischen Politik der Ausrottung der Juden in den besetzten Gebeiten der Sowjetunion und ihre Durchführung, 1941–1944,” German Studies Review 2 (1979), 263–96; Jürgen Förster, “The Wehrmacht and the War of Extermination Against the Soviet Union,” Yad Vashem Studies 14 (1981), 413–47; and idem, Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg, vol. VI, Der Angriff auf der Sowjetunion (1983), 413–47, 1030–1078. []
  6. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, “The Evil of Banality,” The New Republic (July 13 & 20, 1992), 52. []
  7. The outstanding background survey for the entire region is Ezra Mendelsohn, The Jews of East Central Europe Between the Wars (1983). On Poland, see the recent collection edited by Yisrael Gutman, Ezra Mendelsohn, Jehuda Reinharz, and Chone Shmeruk, The Jews of Poland Between the Wars (1989). []
  8. Anthony Kushner, “Ambivalence or Antisemitism: Christian Attitudes and Responses in Britain to the Crisis of European Jewry during the Second World War,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 5 (1990), 175–89. U.S. polling data is summarized in David S. Wyman, The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941–1945 (1984), 14–15. On Canada see Irving Abella and Harold Trooper, None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933–1948 (1982). []
  9. “Jewish Elites under German Rule,” in Henry Friedlander and Sybil Milton, eds., The Holocaust: Ideology, Bureaucracy, and Genocide: The San José Papers (1980), 221–30. []

Michael R. Marrus is professor of history at the University of Toronto and the author of several books, including The Holocaust in History (1987). His most recent work is Samuel Bronfman: The Life of Seagram's Mr. Sam (1992). An earlier version of this paper was presented at the conference "Lessons and Legacies Part II: Teaching the Holocaust," Holocaust Educational Foundation and Department of History, Northwestern University, October 24–26, 1992.