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Book review of The Holocaust in History by Michael R Marrus - Essay Example

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Name of the of the Concerned Professor History and Political Science 21 November 2011 The Holocaust in History by Michael R Marrus- a Book Review Michael R Marrus is a renowned Canadian historian specializing in the history of the Jews, France and the Holocaust…
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Book review of The Holocaust in History by Michael R Marrus
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Book review of The Holocaust in History by Michael R Marrus

Download file to see previous pages... The Holocaust in History is a book that affiliates to a broad historical perspective, which deserves a good and exhaustive reading by the students of history, if not by the lay people. Its goes without saying that Marrus did resort to an exhaustive research and documentation, to come out with this immaculately contrived introduction as to how the historians tend to write about the Holocaust. The approach of Marrus tends to emphatically highlight the need for demystifying the Holocaust, so that it may be studied as an event in the contemporary Western history. Hence in this book, Marrus has systematically summarized the available authoritative historical writings pertaining to the salient aspects of the Holocaust that are, the pivotal position and scope of anti-Semitism in Nazism, the role played by the Jewish resistance, Jewish leadership and bystanders, and collaborators. To put it simply, The Holocaust in History has less to do with the history of the Holocaust and is more about the historiography of the Holocaust. In The Holocaust in History Marrus does delve on the centrality of anti-Semitism to Nazism, but not in a very polarized perspective as preferred by many other historians. In the preface to this well written book, Marrus classifies the literature pertaining to Holocaust in two categories, one comprising of works drafted “as witness, or in commemoration, or as a sombre warning to future generations”; and the other that were meant to be “the modes of discourse, the scholarly techniques, and the kind of analysis used for all other historical issues.” Marrus’ work, The Holocaust in History primarily focuses on the second type of literature. In this book, Marrus primarily seems to be engrossed in the task of analyzing what the other historians have so far researched and written about the facts pertaining to the Holocaust, to dig out and analyze the details of what actually happened and how it happened, and to delve on the salient causes behind the Holocaust. Though it may certainly surprise the contemporary students and teachers of history, yet, it is a fact that significant parts of the literature that Marrus relied on while writing The Holocaust in History, ascribes to 60s or later times. This is so because Marrus believes that in the aftermath of the Holocaust, either there was a scant interest in the Holocaust, or much historical writing, scholarship and documentation about Holocaust was “ghettoized” and not balanced. It was only in the early 60s or later that the Holocaust as a topic of historical interest experienced a turning point. According to Marrus, the Holocaust claimed the lives of six million Jews, yet to limit the scope and magnitude of Holocaust to the Jewish sufferers would be an immense historical travesty (p.8). To arrive at a total and realistic relevance of the Holocaust, the historians also need to take into account the six million non-Jewish sufferers who also had to bear with the tyranny and consequences of the Holocaust (Marrus p.9). The Holocaust also claimed the lives of millions of Gypsies, Russian POWs, Spanish Republicans, Poles, Czechs, French and homosexuals (Fischel p.38). Though, it is different that the Eastern victims of the Holocaust received a different treatment as compared to the victims from the Western Europe, both from the historians and the Western political leadership. While unravelling ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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