Bookbeat

Bookbeat: September 2014

Jewish Histories of the Holocaust:
New Transnational Approaches

Jewish Histories of the Holocaust

Norman J.W. Goda, Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies in the Center for Jewish Studies. Available from Berghahn Books.

For many years, histories of the Holocaust focused on its perpetrators, and only recently have more scholars begun to consider in detail the experiences of victims and survivors, as well as the documents they left behind. This volume contains new research from internationally established scholars. It provides an introduction to and overview of Jewish narratives of the Holocaust. The essays include new considerations of sources ranging from diaries and oral testimony to the hidden Oyneg Shabbes archive of the Warsaw Ghetto; arguments regarding Jewish narratives and how they fit into the larger fields of Holocaust and Genocide studies; and new assessments of Jewish responses to mass murder ranging from ghetto leadership to resistance and memory.

"Goda has done a first class service to the field…This history surveys a remarkably broad range of victim experiences in Holocaust history, moving Europe's Jews from objects of the Holocaust 'to center stage.' Viewing perpetrators through their victim's eyes brings into focus the tragic inability of many victims to 'suspend their disbelief' about the perpetrators while also presenting new perspectives for compassion toward those faced with 'choiceless choices,' as Lawrence Langer described them."Nathan Stoltzfus, Florida State University

"…for historiographical reasons and because of difficulties with sources, Jewish perspectives on the Holocaust have been neglected or marred by substantial gaps. The authors seek to remedy that situation, either through historiographical critiques, through case studies using Jewish sources, through addressing topics previously avoided for psychological reasons, or through their own reset of perspectives."Richard Breitman, American University

To the Gates of Jerusalem: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald, 1945-1947

To the Gates of Jerusalem

Norman J.W. Goda, Professor of Holocaust Studies in the Center for Jewish Studies. Available from Amazon.

This volume, the third in a series of James G. McDonald's edited diaries and papers, covers his work from 1945, with the formation of the Anglo-American Committee, through 1947, with the United Nations' decision to partition Palestine between Jews and Arabs. The "Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry Regarding the Problems of European Jewry and Palestine" was a group charged with finding a solution to the problem of European Jewish Refugees in the context of the increasingly unstable British Mandate in Palestine. McDonald's diaries and papers offer the most thorough personal account we have of the Committee and the politics surrounding it. His diary is part travelogue through the desolation of postwar Europe and a Middle East being transformed by new Jewish settlements and growing Arab intransigence. McDonald maintained discreet contact with Zionist and moderate Arab leaders throughout the Committee's hearings and deliberations. He was instrumental in the recommendation that 100,000 Jewish refugees enter Palestine and won President Truman's trust in order to counter attempts to nullify the report's recommendations.

"For anyone interested in the history of the Middle East and how things came to be as they are To the Gates of Jerusalem is indispensable reading. But it also far more than just that. It provides an insight into the rarefied world of the international diplomat as it was in the wake of World War II. One sees how both international considerations and idiosyncratic personalities played a role in the decisions that were made. Thanks to wonderful editing and the interspersing of historical information which provides an important context, this book is not just for the specialist in this field. It makes for fascinating reading."Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, Emory University

"The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry profoundly shaped the international diplomacy that led to the U.N. resolution to partition Palestine in 1947 and the foundation of Israel in 1948. The American James G. McDonald exercised considerable influence on the committee's deliberations and recommendations. This volume superbly captures the mind of McDonald as he engaged in such work of profound consequence. Focusing on the 1945-1947 era, this collection of diary entries and other materials from McDonald's papers is excellently edited, presented, and enhanced with supporting information. Thus, this collection is a must-see for students and scholars researching the origins of Israeli statehood, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the decolonization of the Middle East, and other important topics."Peter L. Hahn, The Ohio State University

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