Jewish Literature Review


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The review of Jewish Literature

Suggested reading:

"Rethinking the Holocaust "
by Yehuda Bauer

352 Pages, Yale University Press, 2000!
First Edition!

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 Friedl"nder 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.

Bauer, director of the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, begins with a short discussion of what exactly historians do. He quite rightly departs from standard practice when he asks such moral and "what if" questions as what could have been done? and what should have been done? Contrary to what he calls Elie Wiesel's "mystification" of the Holocaust, he insists that the catastrophe was a human invention and therefore historically and "rationally" explicable. Separate chapters deal with Jewish armed and unarmed resistance, and with rescue attempts--he examines, for instance, the case of Gisi Fleischmann, a Zionist leader who worked to get as many Jews out of Slovakia as possible, which Bauer uses to discuss issues of gender, arguing that women did not fight for the status of women separately but for collective and individual survival and for honor. Most fascinating for non-Jewish readers are the chapter on Jewish theological attempts to explain the Holocaust and Bauer's valuable synthesis and reexamination of some of the major interpretations of the Holocaust. Bauer ends by looking at how the Holocaust is related to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 (he rejects, for instance, the notion that "a guilt complex" on the part of Western countries led them to vote for partition of British Palestine).

Preface vii
Introduction ix
1 What Was the Holocaust? 1
2 Is the Holocaust Explicable? 14
3 Comparisons with Other Genocides 39
4 Overall Interpretations 68
5 Overall Interpretations 93
6 Jewish Resistance--Myth or Reality? 119
7 Unarmed Resistance and Other Responses 143
8 The Problem of Gender: The Case of Gisi Fleischmann 167
9 Theology, or God the Surgeon 186
10 Rescue Attempts: The Case of the Auschwitz Protocols 213
11 From the Holocaust to the State of Israel 242
Appendix Speech to the Bundestag 261
Notes 275
Bibliography 311
Index 321

plan to read
Suite francaise by Nemirovsky, Irene, 1903-1942
Singer, Isaac Bashevis, 1904-
Famous Jews in Literature

Jewish Laureates of Nobel Prize in Literature (Year Nobel Laureate and Country of birth )
  • 2005 Pinter, Harold (1930 - ) UK
  • 2002 Kertesz, Imre (1929 - ) Hungary
  • 1991 Gordimer, Nadine (1923 - ) South Africa
  • 1987 Brodsky, Joseph (1940 - 1996) Russia
  • 1981 Canetti, Elias (1905 -1994) Bulgaria
  • 1978 Singer, Isaac Bashevis (1911 - 1923) Poland
  • 1976 Bellow, Saul (1915 - 2005) Canada
  • 1966 Agnon, Shmuel Yosef (1888 - 1970) Ukraine (Galicia)
  • 1966 Sachs, Nelly (1891- 1970) Germany - Sweden from 1940
  • 1958 Pasternak, Boris L. (1890 - 1960) Russia
  • 1927 Bergson, Henri (1859-1941) France
  • 1910 Heyse, Paul (1830-1914) Germany

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