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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1Poles and Jews: Renewing the Dialogue$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113171

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113171.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 01 December 2021

Raul Hilberg. The Destruction of the European Jews. 2nd edn., 3 vols. New York: Holmes and Meier. 1985. Pp. xii, 1223.

Raul Hilberg. The Destruction of the European Jews. 2nd edn., 3 vols. New York: Holmes and Meier. 1985. Pp. xii, 1223.

Chapter:
Raul Hilberg. The Destruction of the European Jews. 2nd edn., 3 vols. New York: Holmes and Meier. 1985. Pp. xii, 1223.
Source:
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1
Author(s):

Richard I. Cohen

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781904113171.003.0047

This chapter explores Raul Hilberg's The Destruction of the European Jews (1985). Hilberg's predominant concern in 1961 and again in 1985 was to fully disentangle the labyrinth of the intricate Nazi bureaucracy, which remains for him the clue to understanding how the mass murder of some 5,200,000, according to Hilberg's calculation, was possible. Thus, Hilberg has fully preserved the structure, the method of inquiry, and the interpretation embedded in the first edition and rarely sees the need to deviate from his earlier presentation. The prism of the German bureaucracy serves Hilberg to view the evolution of the destruction process and it is through its horrifying success that the tragic failure of the Jews to counter effectively the destruction process is assessed. As such, Hilberg looms as the functionalist par excellence. Save for his opening chapter, where he pits Nazi anti-semitism against previous anti-semitic regulations to show the ideological and legalistic parallels and divergencies, Hilberg shies away from some of the major questions which have attracted historical enquiry in the last quarter of a century.

Keywords:   Raul Hilberg, European Jews, Nazi bureaucracy, destruction process, Nazi anti-semitism, anti-semitic regulations

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