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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:40 am

Alcohol and drugs got the better of poor Hunter. His early stuff is terrific and excruciatingly funny - "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," even some of the political stuff. Part of the fun was trying to figure out when he was serious and what he was serious about.

I once met Wills, in odd circumstances; he kept to himself, watched what was going on around him. That was in 1971 or 1972; believe it or not, he and I were working on articles on the same topic - I never finished mine LOL. I prefer early Hunter to Wills, truth be told, but I wouldn't have wanted to meet Hunter (he was grand pals with Pat Buchanan and Jimmy Carter!).
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeff_36 » Fri Mar 25, 2016 2:01 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Alcohol and drugs got the better of poor Hunter. His early stuff is terrific and excruciatingly funny - "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," even some of the political stuff. Part of the fun was trying to figure out when he was serious and what he was serious about.

I once met Wills, in odd circumstances; he kept to himself, watched what was going on around him. That was in 1971 or 1972; believe it or not, he and I were working on articles on the same topic - I never finished mine LOL. I prefer early Hunter to Wills, truth be told, but I wouldn't have wanted to meet Hunter (he was grand pals with Pat Buchanan and Jimmy Carter!).
Early Hunter was indeed great. The man lived an interesting life, but much like Marin Luther before him, what would have been a magnificent legacy was tarnished by a late life bout of irrationality.

I loathe Pat Buchannan. He is the American Julius Striecher in every way. I give huge kudos to William F. Buckley for kicking him out of the National Review and denouncing him as an antisemite.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Mar 25, 2016 2:26 pm

Speaking of '60s legends, the Grauniad ran this item today on Richard Fariña - his book Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me was a crazy piece of writing. With his wife Mimi he made two classic folk-singer-songrwriter LPs - "Reflections in a Crystal Wind" and "Celebrations for a Grey Day." True story. In 1972, Mimi - Richard having died 5 or 6 years before - was scheduled to do a solo performance at the college I was at. That week, a day or so before the concert, my girlfriend was - TMI alert - taking a leak and heard someone singing in the ladies' room. She came out of the stall to find Mimi Fariña standing by a sink and just singing "Pack Up Your Sorrows." They had what I was told was a lovely chat and then, after a bit, went their separate ways. I was also informed that Mimi was as gorgeous as her voice. Anyway, Fariña's book is a great kind of beat, kind of '60s raucous thing.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:56 pm

Cesarani: I forgot to do an update on his book! I've stated previously general pros and cons. The biggest criticism I have concerns how Cesarani frames his argument - he almost detaches anti-Jewish sentiment and Nazi ideology from actions occurring during the war and influenced by the course of the war. I think there's a stronger way to make the point about improvisation on the fly in relation to a world outlook - and I'd argue that Herf (from whom Cesarani picks up a great deal) in The Jewish Enemy and Confino in World Without Jews both accomplish this, and quite well. Confino's phrase - something like, before the Nazis could create a world without Jews, the Nazis had to be able to imagine one - sticks with me (and doesn't mean that imagining such a world equates to creating one). This may be a theoretical matter, and my thinking about it comes from a heavy dose of Levi-Strauss early in life, the insight that between the world and our perception of it is always interposed a conceptual scheme.

Cesarani also, it seems to me, could make a better explanation - more direct - of one of his major themes, which is how even after the decision was made to exterminate Europe's Jews, improvisation and conjunctural factors had important, and at times decisive, influence. Too often, he seems to be writing, as he proceeds, without reference to some of his earlier arguments.

On a more quibbling level, there are, as I've pointed out, some editorial errors (another one: during 1945 Cesarani has the mid-April rescue of Jews from Ravensbrück, to Sweden, resulting from Himmler's negotiations on this in late April! - ouch), which are unfortunate. Complaining about these, given the circumstances of publication, does not go to Cesarani's accomplishment but to the publisher's performance.

All that said, in general, as an integrated history of the course of Nazi Judenpolitik and the implementation of the Final Solution, with special attention to the Jewish experience, I strongly recommend this book. It is filled with "set pieces" mostly very well done, and in a way providing excellent framing for understanding each of many key points and events, along with good summaries of them. Some are handled better than others, of course, but all are at least well handled. Cesarani gets to the main points very nicely, and even where I disagree, I have to say he's made good arguments. The overall narrative of the ebbs/flows and pattern of decision and actions - the way that the Final Solution evolved - is strong. The book also sparkles with thoughts - ones at least I've not had before. Cesarani extracts from what he's read good material I've forgotten or missed. I cannot tell to what extent Cesarani did archival research or read German, Polish, Yiddish, etc works; he says that his citations are to what's available in English. I've read negative and positive reviews (one of the negative reviews struck me as so wrongheaded that it pissed me off). But, again, highly recommended - with the bonus that the narrative implicitly and throughout utterly rubbishes denier strawmen.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:18 pm

nickterry wrote:Does this mean you've started on Gerlach? Because he quotes this precise point from Hilberg.
Gerlach's first couple chapters give me a headache - because the problems he raises are so difficult. Reading on begins the alleviate the pain - because Gerlach clearly can handle the almost impossible questions that are beyond me.

In contrast - Nick Terry is well aware of this so my note here is more general - to Cesarani or Friedlander, Gerlach is looking at the extermination of the Jews, he states, in the context of interdependent developments and policy (war, imperialism and economic issues, different kinds of racial thinking, occupation, security), Europe as a whole, and multiple victims groups - as well as comparatively (through time, across place). Yet the focus remains on the extermination of the Jews within these interrelated elements - stressing "multi-causality," multiple persecutors (including different countries), and mass participation in violence. I'm hugely excited to be reading this book. For now, I will just say that I could probably (this is more for Nick Terry) think about p 38 for five years without getting bored or exhausting the issues raised.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:18 pm

This book by Gerlach is stellar. If Cesarani is a good, useful pull-together of recent scholarship, Gerlach's book does that but much more: he thinks through the historical development of both plans and actions for the solution of the so-called Jewish question showing that there's nothing neat and formulaic in how the extermination of the Jews happened. A strength - alluded to above - is his riffing off other violence/mass murder of the Nazis, e.g., the material on Soviet POWs is illuminating. The book packs about 4-5 normal book pages of thinking into a page - by which I mean Gerlach is dense, precise, and compact in his explanations. He reaches his views using recent literature but much archival material. The labor and hunger chapters stand out. The book, as I've already noted, has a very strong perspective on the crucial months December 1941 through August 1942, which should be interesting for our ongoing Brayard debate (as I've written, Gerlach doesn't directly address Brayard's thesis - but he does insist on and further explicate his own thesis, which is perhaps why the framing - "two accelerations" - and the "implementation" chapters strike me as so strong, in that here is where Gerlach shows how 1942 unfolded in the context of the December 1941 decision and Wannsee). I cannot recommend this book enough. But, ugh, I still have something like 150 pp to read.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Frank Hoffman » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:25 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Cesarani: I've read negative and positive reviews (one of the negative reviews struck me as so wrongheaded that it pissed me off). But, again, highly recommended - with the bonus that the narrative implicitly and throughout utterly rubbishes denier strawmen.
Thanks for posting your review. I have pre-ordered the book on Amazon; it is not available until "8 Nov 2016", but that's fine... it will provide me some useful winter-evening reading.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:44 pm

You're most welcome, I may have ordered from Amazon UK ... I know it has been published because I read it. LOL
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Soldaten/Soldiers

Post by NathanC » Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:35 pm

I just finished reading the English version of Soldaten by Sonke Nietzel and Harald Welzer, Soldiers. Other posters here have mentioned it before, and Hans cited it in an article of his. It's very well written. I've quoted it before to show how unlikely it is that the mean old victors tortured the poor poor Nazis into confessing about the Holocaust. The authors show that the main priority of the interrogators was Military intelligence, not information on war crimes. Any statements about the latter is purely incidental.

I would say that the in between stuff is great too. The authors touch upon some of the same ideas Browning worked on in ordinary men. Though, one of the authors is an actual psychologist, which means that he can describe the same ideas in greater depth. Other than as a historical work, I also like the Authors' main thrust that there was nothing particularly "National Socialist" about the Wehrmacht's crimes - they naturally categorize the Holocaust separately. Their point that the "frames of reference" that defined German Solidiers' behavior also occur in other wars, including the US wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan, is rather chilling. It's a really great read and a lot of food for thought.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:28 pm

Thanks, Nathan, Soldaten reviewed" at RODOH666 in one of Cerdic's threads there.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:14 am

Gerlach's book is really excellent and quite novel in its approach and insights. Among its many themes two seem important to highlight in this subforum: 1) in part it reads like an extended playing out of the implications of Gerlach's research on the December 1941 "decision" - including an explicit discussion of what a political decision is and means in the material world; 2) it also is a bit of a meditation, although indirectly, on the Luther memo so beloved by revisionists, providing background and tools for reading both the Luther memo and critical sections of the Wannsee protocol productively (in context, in the light of both background interests/positions and unfolding actions).

Two more points:
- I like a lot more how Gerlach handles ideology and racism than the way Cesarani does - also in Gerlach's handling of the extermination of the Jews there's no gap, like what I described with Cesarani, between decisions/political dimensions and the zig-zagging of actions and operations (Gerlach ties things together very well); both authors clearly have read and thought about similar material - and Cesarani uses it to develop a really good narrative in basically chronological order; but Gerlach goes more deeply into issues like security, food, labor needs and solutions, housing and economics, despoliation of the Jews, etc - and deepens the insights even further by bringing in comparative material, with an excellent review of antisemitic policies and actions in countries occupied by or allied with Germany, tracing the interaction between autochthonous developments, the war, and German power. All this leads Gerlach into some very interesting points on participatory violence - violence that bypasses (his word) state and party organizations - throughout the war and involving Germans and people from other countries in different ways.
- Without his having read Brayard, Gerlach makes many observations that are pertinent to our debate in the Brayard thread. His treatment of what I called logistical and practical issues (what Gerlach describes better than I did as interrelated constellations of material, economic, ideological, political, ethnic and social factors) makes clear that history is much more than policy, plans, and decisions. In making this argument, and considering the participatory dimensions of the persecution of the Jews and the extermination actions, Gerlach repeatedly emphasizes the diversity of decision-makers, complexity of decision-making, and how actions involving many people; policy and administration; various organizations and jurisdictions; economic, financial, and military factors; etc actually are accomplished.

I can't recommend this book enough.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by nickterry » Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:20 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Gerlach's book is really excellent and quite novel in its approach and insights. Among its many themes two seem important to highlight in this subforum: 1) in part it reads like an extended playing out of the implications of Gerlach's research on the December 1941 "decision" - including an explicit discussion of what a political decision is and means in the material world; 2) it also is a bit of a meditation, although indirectly, on the Luther memo so beloved by revisionists, providing background and tools for reading both the Luther memo and critical sections of the Wannsee protocol productively (in context, in the light of both background interests/positions and unfolding actions).

Two more points:
- I like a lot more how Gerlach handles ideology and racism than the way Cesarani does - also in Gerlach's handling of the extermination of the Jews there's no gap, like what I described with Cesarani, between decisions/political dimensions and the zig-zagging of actions and operations (Gerlach ties things together very well); both authors clearly have read and thought about similar material - and Cesarani uses it to develop a really good narrative in basically chronological order; but Gerlach goes more deeply into issues like security, food, labor needs and solutions, housing and economics, despoliation of the Jews, etc - and deepens the insights even further by bringing in comparative material, with an excellent review of antisemitic policies and actions in countries occupied by and allied with Germany, tracing the interaction between autochthonous developments, the war, and German power. All this leads Gerlach into some very interesting points on participatory violence - violence that bypasses (his word) state and party organizations - throughout the war and involving Germans and people from other countries in different ways.
- Without his having read Brayard, Gerlach makes many observations that are pertinent to our debate in the Brayard thread. His treatment of what I called logistical and practical issues (what Gerlach describes better than I did as interrelated constellations of material, economic, ideological, political, ethnic and social factors) makes clear that history is much more than policy, plans, and decisions. In making this argument, and considering the participatory dimensions of the persecution of the Jews and the extermination actions, Gerlach repeatedly emphasizes the diversity of decision-makers and complexity of decision-making.

I can't recommend this book enough.
I concur; this is absolutely essential reading.

That said, some of the arguments seem much less novel to me, because Gerlach has been making them since 1997, and in places he is offering an English summary of arguments and details already elaborated in the essay collection Krieg Ernaehrung Voelkermord (1998) and in his dissertation Kalkulierte Morde (1999). His book with Goetz Aly on Hungary in 1944, Das letzte Kapitel (2002), is also visible in the way that he argues, especially since it was around this time that Gerlach began evolving his 'extremely violent societies' idea.

What is striking, however, with his reiteration of earlier arguments is how little evidence has come to light to refute the importance of the factors, and combination of factors, that Gerlach emphasised in the 1990s and reasserts in 2016. This applies especially to the significance of economic factors. The same applies to arguments about the evolution of Nazi policy; Gerlach's basic thesis of December 1941 as a turning-point has only been reinforced and confirmed, and not challenged significantly, by subsequent research.

The major evolution is probably in his emphasis on the participatory character of persecution and violence. This aspect was a bit overshadowed in his 1990s work by the analysis of high-level decision-making, but it was present in his dissertation, just not given quite as much prominence. While numerous studies were emphasising this for German persecutors and perpetrators, Gerlach rightly notes that the 2000s saw a strong emphasis on non-German persecutors and perpetrators, and this aspect is indeed nicely reflected in the synthesis of his Part III - which is also where he cites the fewest archival sources. (I don't think any person alive has all the relevant languages to be able to write a mostly-archival account of WWII or the Holocaust.)

I will certainly be insisting that my special subject students next year read Gerlach's book. But I do think they will also need a conventional narrative overview just to make sense of the analyses in Gerlach, since unless one is relatively familiar with the broad contours, then one might misunderstand the nuances. Cesarani's narrative history is certainly a good candidate, especially as it covers international and Jewish reactions that Gerlach leaves out, and it also foregrounds translated primary sources (e.g. the Ehrenburg/Grossman Black Book, and numerous diaries) in a way that Gerlach does not.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:48 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Jeff, the Kitchen book is interesting, with a lot of information that if I have come across before (which I doubt) I've forgotten - the approach is a bit didactic - Kitchen repeatedly uses documents to show how Speer's self-justifications (both how he and Hitler packaged their plans during the Third Reich and how Speer tried postwar to re-tell his role as that of an apolitical technocrat) were outright dishonest - that he knew things he denied, that facts were different to how he stated them. I am in the '30s - Kitchen jumps around a lot - but will post telling examples when I get to Final Solution related issues.
Related, an exhibit ("Mythos Germania") on so-called Germania, the Hitler-Speer plans for reconstruction of Berlin.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:45 am

Very helpful comments, Nick, I have long wished (ugh) I could have read Kalkulierte Morde.

To emphasize what you say about economics, for those who know Aly, Gerlach utilizes a good deal of his work and links the economic to other factors, as we both have written; the material on financing of deportations, corruption, inter-state jockeying for Jewish assets, etc is very good. Gerlach's argument for a "combination of factors" is detailed and well explained. In his final unit, on non-German states and persecutors, Gerlach really brings out some information of which my awareness was at best vague. I also agree with you that this book, which has narrative preceding and following December 1941, as well as deep explorations of themes in the acceleration and development of the murder campaigns, shows the strength of his thesis on the "decision in principle" of 1941. How Evans came to the conclusion that Gerlach had "distanced himself" his earlier interpretation is a bit of a mystery.

I was fortunate to read the Gerlach book and Cesarani book together, as it were. I hope others in this forum will read both. Among their other attributes, both works synthesize the latest scholarship - and, pertinent to this forum, show how out of touch are deniers with the methods used and conclusions drawn by historians of this period.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:54 am

Alex Kay's book on Albert Filbert, commander of Einsatzkommando 9 until October 1941, awaits my return from this extended holiday. (EK-9 was a unit of Einsatzgruppe B - it worked in the Vilnius area in July 1941, carried out killings in Grodno and Biala-Podlaska and in late July relocated to Vitebsk - before IIRC moving toward Moscow.) As Kay's book deals with an Einstazgruppen case study during the critical launch and escalation phases of 1941, and given that Kay's first book (on Nazi planning for Barbarossa and German occupation policy in the East during 1941) was meticulously documented and very well argued, I hope to be able to add some new thoughts to the "Monstrous on the Einsatzgruppen" thread. Along with Filbert's command of EK-9, the book covers Filbert's trial (in 1962 in the Berlin Regional Court) as well as other aspects of his life postwar. I plan on reading it straight away on returning home.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:18 pm

Those who were part of, or followed, the "12-Man" thread at RODOH1.0, where Bunny tried selling his fictional duplication theory regarding German liquidation actions in Vilnius ("it was dated early September"/"it was not dated at all"), will appreciate Alex Kay's stunning and meticulous - I'd say Angrick & Klein-like - reconstruction of the events described in EMs 21 and 24 ("You wait till you see my case against OSR 24!") (pp 49-52). Just sayin'. More to come . . .
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:37 pm

I should add that you have to read Kay's book. Kay is a meticulous researcher whose prose is detailed and sober, rooted in the documentation. Kay doesn't leap to conclusions or make unsupported assumptions. Nearly every point made is carefully sourced, most of them to multiple sources, with references to extensive archival and other research as well as to relevant secondary works. In my mind, this makes for a great read; to some people, of course, Kay's writing may be too patient and precise. That said, you have to read this book - the end of it is hugely surprising and, even with Kay's style, a bizarre and exciting mystery story. I can't do it justice but will say this much: it involves the BND and the CIA in Bolivia, the Red Army Faction and deaths of Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, Jud Süß, experimental cinema, Paris, Nazi children coming to terms with the generation of perpetrators, fabricated resumes, North African Jews, acting, an assault on Filbert, Nelson Mandela's concept of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and forensics. The bastard blew my mind for weirdness. Besides which, the explication of EK9's background, role and activities, and postwar aftermath is superb, as is what Kay makes of Filbert's motivations, commitments and personality.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Mon May 09, 2016 7:25 pm

I have two or so more papers in the Feldman/Seibel collection left to read - I'm working on something else Holocaust related right now on which I want to concentrate, so I'm not sure when I'll finish that up (also a non-H-related project . . . ). After I have absorbed this Holocaust-related material, I plan to go on to one of the following, only the French stuff being directly relevant to recent discussions here:

- Auschwitz: three small primary source collections issued by the Auschwitz museum on medical experiments, daily lives of the SS, punishment in the camp; memoirs by Szmaglewski, de Wijze, Eichenhegen, Wellers; re-read Höss's and Nyiszli's memoirs

- themes from France: Dreyfus & Gensberger, Nazi Labour Camps in Paris (already read an article drawn from this research); Henry, We Only Know Men: The Rescue of Jews in France during the Holocaust (also read an article from this research), Zuccotti, Holocaust Odysseys: The Jews of Saint-Martin-Vésubie and Their Flight through France and Italy, Levendel & Weisz, Hunting Down Jews: Vichy, the Nazis, and Mafia Collaboration in Provence 1942-1944, and perhaps re-read Zuccotti's survey of the Final Solution in France

- southern Europe: Chary, The Bulgarian Jews, Ioanid, The Holocaust in Romania: The Destruction of Jews and Gypsies Under the Antonescu Regime, 1940-1944, Solonari, Purifying the Nation: Population Exchange and Ethnic Cleansing in Nazi-Allied Romania, Sebastian, Journal 1935-1944: The Fascist Years, and Bernstein, The Seamstress: A Memoir of Survival

- depending when they arrive (mail from Poland takes a surprisingly long time) - Banach, Grudzińska, & Lenarczyk, Prisoners of Majdanek; Majdanek: A Historical Outline; They Arrived at the Ghetto... And Went into the Unknown... (exhibition catalog on Einsatz Reinhard - and two pamphlets published by the Majdanek Museum - Sobibór, Bełzec)

- Littman, War Crimes on Trial: Rauca of Kaunas

On the other hand, a book I ordered last night - Gerard Aalders, Nazi Looting: The Plundering of Dutch Jewry during the Second World War may wind up being the next thing I read. "This is no good, we have too many choices"!!!
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Denying-History » Thu May 12, 2016 3:07 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Hey, has anyone seen episodes of The Man in the High Castle? Worth watching?
It's worth watching
« The Terror here is a horrifying fact. There is a fear that reaches down and haunts all sections of the community. No household, however humble, apparently but what lives in constant fear of nocturnal raid by the secret police. . .This particular purge is undoubtedly political. . . It is deliberately projected by the party leaders, who themselves regretted the necessity for it. »
Joseph E. Davies

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu May 12, 2016 3:14 pm

Thanks! I have to re-watch Shoah and I will put that on my list. I love Philip K. Dick's stuff . . .
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Primo Levi's "The Drowned and The Saved"

Post by NathanC » Sat May 14, 2016 3:38 pm

I was fortunate enough to be able to pick up "The Drowned and the Saved" by Primo Levi earlier today. I was able to finish it in one day. He truly was a great man. It amazes me that despite everything he went through - he never hated the Germans. "The Gray Zone" is really a classic. I'd say that the moral analysis he provides of Auschwitz has a lot of applications - e.g. when assessing Rape. Whatever the victim may do or may be forced to do, the ultimate responsibility is on the person with the absolute power, the perpetrator. It's also worth noting that Levi knew the right way to handle eyewitness testimony- he understood the limits of his own experience and makes it clear that he can only talk about his own situation. His answers to the "questions" given to survivors like him - "Why didn't they immigrate, why didn't they escape and why didn't they rebel", were very clear and succinct. While Primo Levi was only one man and our understanding of the Holocaust doesn't hinge on his experience, his insights are truly valuable.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sat May 14, 2016 3:58 pm

One of the earliest books I read - I've re-read it twice - on the Holocaust. Superb. I totally agree with your comments. That this "literary" piece would contribute such a core concept as the "grey zone" is a bit startling. But he was just that good.
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"Remembering Survival" by Christopher Browning

Post by NathanC » Sat May 21, 2016 2:08 pm

This was the first book about the Holocaust that I had ever read and owned. I got it back in 2010, when I was only starting to get interested in the Holocaust and in confronting Holocaust Denial. Before I picked this book up, my main source of information on the Holocaust was the internet - either HC or Nick Terry's or "Lemmy Caution's" ;) posts on JREF. As such, while useful, most of the info I got was geared towards refuting Deniers' BS, rather than general knowledge about the Holocaust, how it started, what happened, and what happened after it ended, etc.

The best thing about this book is that it's a great introduction on the topic. It touches on all the key points - German Anti Jewish Policy, German Labor Policy, the evolution of the Holocaust, and the post war prosecution of Nazi Criminals. Browning's approach is "Microhistory", he focuses specifically on the Jewish community of Starachowice and their experiences both in the ghetto and the labor camps set up there, but he manages to do "Macrohistory", too. He talks about the broader German Policies in Poland and how they impacted the Jewish population of this specific place. For example, in late 1942 to the middle of 1943, the Regime in the Starachowice labor camps was initially very draconian. With the security staff easily killing anyone who was too weak to work especially because of a typhus outbreak. However, this ended up resulting in a labor shortage, which according to Browning was made worse because at the same time, the Germans were carrying out a "second sweep" in the General Government, wiping out Ghettoes whose residents escaped deportation. They could no longer easily replace the people they were killing off so carelessly. Because the Factories in Starachowice were geared towards the production of munitions, Jewish slave labor was crucial, so the regime was changed and the previously draconian killings were eased. Browning sums it up as thus:
Christopher Browning wrote:Murdered Jewish workers could not be replaced easily, but sick Jewish workers could eventually recover and return to productive labor
Concise and straight to the point. A very succinct summary of how flexible German selection policy really was.

The "Microhistory" is great, too. Browning really knows how to handle Eyewitness testimony. He essentially uses the approach Roberto, Dr. Terry, Hans, Dr. Neander and the others cite and follow with regards to eyewitness testimony. He analyzes all the testimonies he has and sifts the wheat from the chaff and comes up with a common trend that can be used to assess the reliability of witness testimony. He knows how to place greater weight on Direct and Clear testimonies, and generally follows the rule that multiple mutually corroborating testimonies are more reliable than those given by just one person. At no point does he take testimony at "face value", like the Deniers accuse. He knows what he's doing.

About Holocaust Denial, his book also refutes a disgusting stereotype. Some deniers, for example Scott Smith and K0nsl have often accused Jews of "Lying" in order to "get revenge" and "demonize" the people who "stole their property" and "arrested" them. About this, Browning shows the following things:

1) Jewish witnesses gave very nuanced testimonies about the Germans that they lived under. As Browning points out, in order to survive, they needed to know which Germans could help and which could harm. They talk about Germans who helped them and who hurt them. About those who, for example, warned them about upcoming "selections", or who helped prepare hiding places for them, and so on. According to Browning, there was even a popular "rumor" among the Jewish witnesses that the reason they didn't undergo a selection upon arriving at Birkenau was because their German Foreman had written a letter to the SS command that said they were "good workers". Hardly something some people "with an axe to grind" would say.

2) Jewish witnesses had a lot of bad things to say about the Jewish Camp Police. They accused them too often of abusing their leadership and authority, and even went as far as to suggest that the head of the Camp Police abused his authority in order to womanize. These comments came especially from "outsiders" - People from other ghettoes or camps shipped to Starachowice.

I've never understood why the Jews would allegedly create a "narrative" that "demonized" the Germans and made themselves look good, and yet add such things as Jews doing bad things to other Jews - in this case, the Camp Police abusing their authority and screwing outsiders over- to this "narrative". Same thing goes for the Sonderkommando. Deniers are unable to comprehend the basic idea that Jews aren't a monolithic evil conspiracy and can actually disagree. I remember when some dumbass called Simon666 on JREF refused to believe Jewish testimony that Czech Jews experienced antisemitism at the hands of other Jews. Dr. Terry rightfully dismissed his rubbish.


I've mentioned this before elsewhere. This is the book that introduced me to the ridiculous approach followed by the West German courts in the aftermath of the Holocaust. He naturally cites the "base motive" requirement in section 211 of the Criminal code, as well as the distinction between the "Perpetrator" and "Accessory", the "Bathtub case", and the ridiculous Idea that the real perpetrators were the Nazi Leadership - Hitler, Himmler, and Heydrich - while the people who did the actual killing were Just "Accessories" because they didn't have any base motives or stake in the killing. Naturally, because of this, most of the German perpetrators Browning talked about got off. And the Judge who got the biggest perpetrator off got promoted. Coincidentally (or not) the Judge used a lot of tricks Deniers use. Including the insinuation that the Jews just wanted go "get revenge" on a German. That says a lot. This puts the lie to Ernst Zundel's disgusting assertion that his BS trial was the first time witnesses were cross examined. The Germans had been doing that since the fifties, and even then, so many defendants got off. West Germany, or Modern Germany for that matter, is neither controlled by the Americans or by Jews.

Finally, Browning reminds the reader that Holocaust survivors were human beings, and not abstract historical concepts or saints. They did whatever they had to do in order to survive. Browning talks about things like Families and parents either abandoning their Children to save themselves during the liquidation of the ghetto, or families staying together and therefore dying together. He also cites an instance of a woman having an abortion because she was afraid to be killed in a selection. And about how "Outsiders" took revenge on the head of the Camp Police by beating him to death in a closed train car. He also cites an interview wherein the subject said he hated a Jewish policeman who "didn't save his sister", when there were "Others" who he could've sent in her stead. All of these were from interviews, either recorded or taken by Prof. Browning himself. You could call them "Admissions". Pursuant to point 2) above, these aren't people making a "narrative" to make themselves look good and gain sympathy for Zionism or something. Far from it. Sometimes in the course of confronting "Revisionism", I find it easy to forget that the actors involved - perpetrators, survivors, etc- were human beings and far more complex than the simple caricatures Deniers or the mainstream like to show.

Prof. Browning really is a great historian. He deserves his reputation.
Last edited by NathanC on Sat May 21, 2016 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sat May 21, 2016 2:16 pm

Thanks very nice summary, excellent book. That Lemmy guy, well, what can one say?
. . . all right we are two nations . . .

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by NathanC » Sat May 21, 2016 2:21 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Thanks very nice summary, excellent book. That Lemmy guy, well, what can one say?
He's a great guy. I hope he's well. I forgot to mention good old Wroclaw. His stuff on JREF was great to read too. Shame we don't hear much from him anymore. I sort of understand, though. Sometimes, you just get tired of all the rubbish and need a break.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeff_36 » Sat May 21, 2016 5:35 pm

NathanC wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:Thanks very nice summary, excellent book. That Lemmy guy, well, what can one say?
He's a great guy. I hope he's well. I forgot to mention good old Wroclaw. His stuff on JREF was great to read too. Shame we don't hear much from him anymore. I sort of understand, though. Sometimes, you just get tired of all the rubbish and need a break.
Wolf-Mann too. He was terrific. Hope this great year finds him sipping a Bloody Mary on a boat somewhere.........

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by psychiatry is a scam » Mon May 23, 2016 1:43 am

not a book but = why were the Nazis so successful at killing six million Jews ?
by Marvin Zuckerman

I think he left out that it was the first documented with pictures and film .
people just did not know what people know today.

also there is a book by lt. col. Dave Grossman - ON KILLING - that explains that people do not want to kill , they have to be taught

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:14 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:I finished the Friedlander 39-45 book. I won't bore you with the new things I picked up along the way. It was great. Thanks.
One of the best books on the Holocaust I've ever read.
Also, Donald Trump is a clownfraud who only got involved in this for the attention.

Deadspin, 2014:
https://deadspin.com/there-are-just-two ... 1613879544

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Matthew Ellard » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:18 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote: One of the best books on the Holocaust I've ever read.
Have you seen the size of Statistical Mechanic's "suggested reading list". I'm two years behind and struggling. :D

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:23 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote: One of the best books on the Holocaust I've ever read.
Have you seen the size of Statistical Mechanic's "suggested reading list". I'm two years behind and struggling. :D

I know how you feel!!!!!!

I resolved not to buy any new books until I've read everything I've purchased or downloaded.

The problem is everything I'm seeing here is putting me in the mood to re-read books people are suggesting.

I'm a working man, too. With a wife and kids who don't take kindly to being ignored!!
Also, Donald Trump is a clownfraud who only got involved in this for the attention.

Deadspin, 2014:
https://deadspin.com/there-are-just-two ... 1613879544

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:25 am

I have Friedlander's book sitting by the bed.
Hhhhhhhmmmmm...no, must stay strong!!!!
Also, Donald Trump is a clownfraud who only got involved in this for the attention.

Deadspin, 2014:
https://deadspin.com/there-are-just-two ... 1613879544

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Matthew Ellard » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:40 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote: I know how you feel!!!!!!!
The only thing, that is possibly concerning, when reading all of this rather grusome human history , is a tiny risk of desensitisation. It is a good idea to have a break now and then, and do other normal things. :D

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:50 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote: I know how you feel!!!!!!!
The only thing, that is possibly concerning, when reading all of this rather grusome human history , is a tiny risk of desensitisation. It is a good idea to have a break now and then, and do other normal things. :D

I balance.
While history is from my favorite subject (WW II in particular) and it is what I read, I watch movies for entertainment. I'm a bit of a geek, to be honest. I do watch history documentaries but the rest of my TV viewing is purely for enjoyment.
I also watch football. We have season passes to both an amusement park and a water park so I also have that going on.
It's good to have lots of interests.
Also, Donald Trump is a clownfraud who only got involved in this for the attention.

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https://deadspin.com/there-are-just-two ... 1613879544

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:03 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Matthew Ellard wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote: One of the best books on the Holocaust I've ever read.
Have you seen the size of Statistical Mechanic's "suggested reading list". I'm two years behind and struggling. :D

I know how you feel!!!!!!

I resolved not to buy any new books until I've read everything I've purchased or downloaded.

The problem is everything I'm seeing here is putting me in the mood to re-read books people are suggesting.

I'm a working man, too. With a wife and kids who don't take kindly to being ignored!!
LOL, my wife has gotten, well, used to this. This actually happened: my wife once, lamenting how books take space over, said, "I really don't think you need 1000 books on the Holocaust." I answered that I didn't have more than 750. But that was 3-4 years ago . . . my problem is that I have a fair number not read - I make a dent in that number, for sure, but either new "must read" books are published, e.g., Kay, Cesarani, Gerlach, or an issue comes up, e.g., Majdanek, and . . . off I go buying and reading something I'd not planned on.

And recently, I think I posted it elsewhere, my son read Evans! And my wife read Lichtman and Breitman FDR and the Jews. It's a bit catching, it seems. I'm fortunate enough to has survived the "wars" and no longer to be working . . . I have to admit I never imagined I'd spend such a high% of my own time, when I got it, talking to Nazis and reading about the Third Reich! But, like Jeffk, I do a lot of other stuff . . . I'm learning a language, I do photography fairly seriously . . . but my reading is basically about this stuff.
. . . all right we are two nations . . .

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:32 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Matthew Ellard wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote: One of the best books on the Holocaust I've ever read.
Have you seen the size of Statistical Mechanic's "suggested reading list". I'm two years behind and struggling. :D

I know how you feel!!!!!!

I resolved not to buy any new books until I've read everything I've purchased or downloaded.

The problem is everything I'm seeing here is putting me in the mood to re-read books people are suggesting.

I'm a working man, too. With a wife and kids who don't take kindly to being ignored!!
LOL, my wife has gotten, well, used to this. This actually happened: my wife once, lamenting how books take space over, said, "I really don't think you need 1000 books on the Holocaust." I answered that I didn't have more than 750. But that was 3-4 years ago . . . my problem is that I have a fair number not read - I make a dent in that number, for sure, but either new "must read" books are published, e.g., Kay, Cesarani, Gerlach, or an issue comes up, e.g., Majdanek, and . . . off I go buying and reading something I'd not planned on.

And recently, I think I posted it elsewhere, my son read Evans! And my wife read Lichtman and Breitman FDR and the Jews. It's a bit catching, it seems. I'm fortunate enough to has survived the "wars" and no longer to be working . . . I have to admit I never imagined I'd spend such a high% of my own time, when I got it, talking to Nazis and reading about the Third Reich! But, like Jeffk, I do a lot of other stuff . . . I'm learning a language, I do photography fairly seriously . . . but my reading is basically about this stuff.
My wife wanted me to go through my library and get rid of a few things.
I told her sure but I also wanted her to go through her candle collection and get rid of some of those items to save space.
Haven't heard a word about it since.

:lol:
Also, Donald Trump is a clownfraud who only got involved in this for the attention.

Deadspin, 2014:
https://deadspin.com/there-are-just-two ... 1613879544

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:40 pm

LOL, I think my wife was more concerned for me, actually, you know, talking to Nazis and so many books on the Third Reich :shock:
. . . all right we are two nations . . .

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:21 pm

My wife is very understanding.
I remember when she first walked into my old apartment and saw some of the titles on my bookshelf. "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" with its swastika on the spine sort of stuck out.
She looked at me and said "You have an interesting taste in reading."
Also, Donald Trump is a clownfraud who only got involved in this for the attention.

Deadspin, 2014:
https://deadspin.com/there-are-just-two ... 1613879544

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeff_36 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:17 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Matthew Ellard wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote: One of the best books on the Holocaust I've ever read.
Have you seen the size of Statistical Mechanic's "suggested reading list". I'm two years behind and struggling. :D

I know how you feel!!!!!!

I resolved not to buy any new books until I've read everything I've purchased or downloaded.

The problem is everything I'm seeing here is putting me in the mood to re-read books people are suggesting.

I'm a working man, too. With a wife and kids who don't take kindly to being ignored!!
LOL, my wife has gotten, well, used to this. This actually happened: my wife once, lamenting how books take space over, said, "I really don't think you need 1000 books on the Holocaust." I answered that I didn't have more than 750. But that was 3-4 years ago . . .

And recently, I think I posted it elsewhere, my son read Evans! And my wife read Lichtman and Breitman FDR and the Jews.

I loaned a copy of RJVP's book on Auschwitz to a friend last summer, he returned it after a week or so basically telling me that it was to depressing for him and that he couldn't understand why I spend so much time arguing with Nazis on the internet. I responded by adopting a thick midwestern accent and stating: "I'm on a mission from God".

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:25 pm

I should have consulted with Balsamo on acceptable behavior in France before reading from my standard fare in a public place in Paris: the Wolff bio debacle.
. . . all right we are two nations . . .

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:00 am

https://cdr.lib.unc.edu/indexableconten ... af2f740592

I just came across this. It is about the Wehrmacht and its role in the Holocaust in Belorussia.

Yes, I'm getting farther and farther behind...
Also, Donald Trump is a clownfraud who only got involved in this for the attention.

Deadspin, 2014:
https://deadspin.com/there-are-just-two ... 1613879544