Why?: Explaining the Holocaust

Why?: Explaining the Holocaust

by Peter Hayes


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Why?: Explaining the Holocaust by Peter Hayes

“Superbly written and researched, synthesizing the classics while digging deep into a vast repository of primary sources.” —Josef Joffe, Wall Street Journal Why? explores one of the most tragic events in human history by addressing eight of the most commonly asked questions about the Holocaust: Why the Jews? Why the Germans? Why murder? Why this swift and sweeping? Why didn’t more Jews fight back more often? Why did survival rates diverge? Why such limited help from outside? What legacies, what lessons? An internationally acclaimed scholar, Peter Hayes brings a wealth of research and experience to bear on conventional views of the Holocaust, dispelling many misconceptions and challenging some of the most prominent recent interpretations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393355468
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/02/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 124,303
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Peter Hayes is professor of history and German and Theodore Zev Weiss Holocaust Educational Foundation Professor of Holocaust Studies Emeritus at Northwestern University, and chair of the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Another Book on the Holocaust? xiii

1 Targets: Why the Jews? 3

Antisemitism 3

Emancipation and Backlash 20

2 Attackers: Why the Germans? 36

Nation and Volk 36

Hitler's Opportunity 55

3 Escalation: Why Murder? 73

From Aryanization to Atrocity 75

Gentile and Jewish Responses 91

4 Annihilation: Why This Swift and Sweeping? 114

From Bullets to Gas 116

Perpetrators: the "generation without limits" 137

Enslavement 160

5 Victims: Why Didn't More Jews Fight Back More Often? 176

Compliance and Resistance 177

The World of the Camps 202

6 Homelands: Why Did Survival Rates Diverge? 218

Varieties of Behavior 219

The Case of Poland 240

7 Onlookers: Why Such Limited Help from Outside? 259

Prewar Evasions 260

Wartime Priorities 278

8 Aftermath: What Legacies, What Lessons? 300

Return, Resettlement, Retribution, and Restitution 300

Memory, Myths, and Meanings 324

Acknowledgments 345

Notes 347

Selected Bibliography 367

Index 391

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