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The War Against the Jews 1933-1945

Front Cover: The War Against the Jews 1933-1945 by Lucy S. Dawidowicz.

Front Cover: The War Against the Jews 1933-1945 by Lucy S. Dawidowicz. Jacket Design by Philip Grushkin.

From the Dust Jacket

The systematic annihilation of six million Jews during World War II is the single most horrifying event of the twentieth century. Though much has been written on this subject of overwhelming terror and tragedy, the basic question persists: how could a modern state carry out the systematic murder of a whole people for no other reason than that they were Jews?

For, never before in modern history had one nation harnessed all the ideological, political, technological, and material means available to carry out a program of the mass murder of another people.

In The War Against the Jews 1933-1945, Lucy Dawidowicz answers this question in a vivid historical narrative, avoiding the moral and metaphysical abstractions that have bedeviled and obscured the subject.

The first part of this book, “The Final Solution,” meticulously records the origins and growth of the virulent ideology that underlay the plan to annihilate the European Jews and shows how, once the National Socialists came to power, Hitler and the SS involved the whole apparatus of the complex German state and party bureaucracies in carrying out this diabolical endeavor.

The Final Solution, the murder of the Jews, was effectuated primarily in the ghettos and the death camps which the Germans established in Eastern Europe.

The second part of this powerful book focuses on “The Holocaust,” the Jewish plight under German terror, describing with the intensity of living experience how the Jews were systematically exposed to hunger and sickness, imprisoned in ghettos, cut off from the outside world, and subjected to inexorable hardship and cruelty. The everyday reality of life and death under German occupation is presented through contemporary eyes.

Dawidowicz carefully examines the development of ghetto institutions, their internal dynamics, and the quality of Jewish leadership, the good and the bad.

The War Against the Jews 1933-1945 takes on intense dramatic momentum as Dawidowicz unfolds the narrative of how the Jews confronted the mass killings.

She shows how the Germans deceived the Jews into believing that they were being “resettled” for work elsewhere, when in fact they were being taken to outdoor execution pits or death cairps. Dawidowicz lays bare the emotional and psychological factors that gripped the Jews in their unimaginable situation and under the unparalleled terror that the Germans exercised to break down all communal structures and destroy Jewish morale.

In scenes that are replete with human suffering, heartrending sacrifice, and unequaled forbearance, Dawidowicz describes how the resistance movement emerged out of the despair and sense of doom of the surviving Jews.

Based on the voluminous documentation left behind by both the Jews and the Germans, this book is the most complete, the most authoritative, and the most nearly definitive ever written on the subject of the destruction of the Jews.

About the Author

Lucy S. Dawidowicz was educated at Hunter College and Columbia University in New York and studied East European Jewish life at first hand at the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, formerly in Vilna, Poland. She now teaches modern Jewish history at Yeshiva University, where she holds the Paul and Leah Lewis Chair in Holocaust Studies. She is the author of The Golden Tradition: Jewish Life and Thought in Eastern Europe (Holt, Rinehart and Winston/Beacon) and the forthcoming Holocaust Reader (Behrman House).

Back Cover: The War Against the Jews 1933-1945

Back Cover: The War Against the Jews 1933-1945 by Lucy S. Dawidowicz. Jacket Design by Philip Grushkin.

From the Back Cover

“It is the great merit of Lucy S. Dawidowicz’s work to stress and make clear the extent to which the destruction of the Jews was Hitler’s main end, and to emphasize the hideous consistency of his policies. As she shows, no other motives—economic, strategic, political—were allowed to modify the lunatic logic of Hitler’s aim for a final solution’ of the Jewish problem.’ This is, therefore, a profoundly necessary as well as moving reminder of a truth which other historians have found almost too irrational, too incredible to handle.”
-GEORGE STEINER

Library of Congress Catalog Listing

  • Personal name: Dawidowicz, Lucy S.\
  • Main title: The war against the Jews, 1933-1945 / Lucy S. Dawidowicz.
  • Edition: 1st ed.
  • Published/Created: New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, [1975]
  • Description: xviii, 460 p. : maps ; 24 cm.
  • ISBN: 003013661X
  • LC classification: D810.J4 D33
  • LC Subjects: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945); Antisemitism--Germany.
  • Notes: Includes index. Bibliography: p. 437-450.
  • LCCN: 74015470
  • Dewey class no. 940.53/15/03924
  • Geographic area code: e-gx---
  • Type of material: Book
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