The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust

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The Seventh Million is the first book to show the decisive impact of the Holocaust on the identity, ideology, and politics of Israel. Drawing on diaries, interviews, and thousands of declassified documents, Segev reconsiders the major struggles and personalities of Israel's past, including Ben-Gurion, Begin, and Nahum Goldmann, and argues that the nation's legacy has, at critical moments—the Exodus affair, the Eichmann trial, the case of John Demjanjuk—have been molded and manipulated in accordance with the ideological requirements of the state. The Seventh Million uncovers a vast and complex story and reveals how the bitter events of decades past continue to shape the experiences not just of individuals but of a nation. Translated by Haim Watzman.

A controversial and powerful work, this monumental history is the first to show the decisive impact of the Holocaust on the identity, ideology, and politics of Israel. Drawing on thousands of pages of newly declassified documents as well as diaries and interviews, Segev tells the dramatic story of how the Jewish community confronted the rise of the Nazis and have dealt with the consequences. Photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Superb . . . Throws new light on the central trauma of Israeli society, and the uses and abuses of this trauma for political manipulation. I, for one, learned from this book that, in order to survive, societies must learn not only to remember but also to forget."—Amos Elon, author of Founders and Sons

"This book is indispensable reading for anyone interested in Israel's self-image and identity . . . Any further discussion of the Holocaust must confront Tom Segev's work."—George L. Mosse, author of Nazi Culture

"Frank and eye-opening . . . A valuable addition."—Lawrence L. Langer, The New York Times Book Review

"Richly documented and written with great passion."—Elie Wiesel, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Jewish community of pre-Israel Palestine had a ``less than compassionate response'' to the destruction of European Jewry, charges Segev, an Israeli journalist, in this blockbuster. Palestine's Zionist establishment stereotyped German Jewish immigrants fleeing Nazism as yekkes --cold, blockheaded and alienated from Judaism. The Zionist community's first pained, uncomprehending encounter with the Holocaust survivors, according to Segev, gave rise to the silence that surrounded the Holocaust through the 1950s. Drawing on a trove of newly declassified Israeli documents, Segev ( 1949: The First Israelis ) illuminates secret 1951 German-Israeli negotiations over reparation payments, the ``vengeance operations'' of militant Holocaust survivors against Germany, and controversy over Israel's nuclear weapons program. With great sensitivity, he explores how the collective memory of the Holocaust has shaped Israel's response to a host of issues, from the Adolf Eichmann trial to the Persian Gulf war. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Segev ( 1949: The First Israelis , LJ 2/1/86), a highly respected Israeli journalist-historian, presents a compelling work of scholarship. This tour de force draws on previously untapped archival sources, including thousands of unpublished and recently declassified documents and scores of personal interviews. Segev belongs to the generation of Israelis about which, in part, he writes. He portrays dramatically how the Yishuv (the Jewish community in Palestine prior to 1948) faced the challenges of Nazi Germany and wartime Zionist politics as well as the subsequent impact of the Holocaust on Israeli society. Segev unearths and probes a range of disturbing and delicate historical issues, raising important questions about the use and misuse of Holocaust instruction to today's Israeli youth--a generation born after the Yom Kippur War of 1973. This path-breaking volume will enrich any public or academic collection on Israel, Zionism, or the Holocaust.-- Mark A. Raider, Brandeis Univ., Waltham, Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805066609
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Series: History Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 1,475,499
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Segev is a columnist for Ha'aretz, Israel's leading newspaper, and author of three works on the history of Israel, 1949: The First Israelis, The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust, and One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate. He lives in Jerusalem.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Ka-Tzetnik's Trip 3
Pt. I Hitler: The Yekkes Are Coming
1 "The Streets Are Paved with Money" 15
2 "A Son of Europe" 35
Pt. II Holocaust: It Was in the Papers
3 "Rommel, Rommel, How Are You?" 67
4 "Happy Is the Match" 82
5 "A Warm Jewish Heart" 97
Pt. III Israel: The Last Jews
6 "At First I Thought They Were Animals" 113
7 "A Certain Distance" 123
8 "Six Million Germans" 140
9 "A Barrier of Blood and Silence" 153
Pt. IV Restitution: How Much Will We Get for Grandma and Grandpa?
10 "Add a Few Moral Arguments" 189
11 "Gas against Jews" 211
12 "The Baby Went for Free" 227
Pt. V Politics: The Kastner Affair
13 "It Is Hard for Us, the Judges of Israel" 255
14 "His Soul to the Devil" 276
15 "The Walls Are Beginning to Crack" 285
16 "Jeremiah the Prophet, for Example" 296
17 "There Is No Certainty That Our Children Will Remain Alive" 311
Pt. VI Trial: Eichmann in Jerusalem
18 "Let Them Hate, and Let Them Go to Hell" 323
19 "Six Million Times No!" 345
20 "Gloom Shall Not Prevail" 367
Pt. VII Growing Up: From War to War
21 "Everyone Thought about It" 387
22 "Hitler Is Already Dead, Mr. Prime Ministers" 396
23 "Deep in Our Souls" 405
Pt. VIII Memory: The Struggle to Shape the Past
24 "Holocaust and Heroism" 421
25 "The Rest of Your Life with Monik and Frieda" 446
26 "What Is There to Understand? They Died and That's It" 458
27 "When You See a Graveyard" 477
28 "What Does it Do to Me?" 487
Epilogue 509
Notes 519
Index 581
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