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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:34 am

I am just getting to that, but no, his argument is that, whilst they were an anti-Semitic party, the Nazis did not run and come to power on anti-Semitism, that their appeal was more about the unity of Germans (their vision of a Volksgemeinschaft), that people supported them for different reasons and they thus had broad appeal, that their intentions were not yet formed, and that keen observers couldn't have foreseen where the Nazis were headed because the Nazis themselves didn't have a focused intention . . . I think he's trying to argue against any linearity from the 1920s to 1933, and from the 1930s to the war-time, but is on the verge of going too far.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeff_36 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:45 pm

the facts don't match up. There were SA boycotts of Jewish businesses in the early 30's as well as numerous antisemetic statements by Hitler going back at least a decade.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:05 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:the facts don't match up. There were SA boycotts of Jewish businesses in the early 30's as well as numerous antisemetic statements by Hitler going back at least a decade.
After writing about how marginal the Nazis were, Cesarani spends about half a dozen pages, in a good narrative bit, disproving his point. It is odd, to say the least.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Feb 17, 2016 2:13 am

further discussion of "Judea declares war" and 1933 anti-Jewish boycott in Germany is here
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Feb 17, 2016 2:50 am

Turning to early Nazi legislation and programs, following his review of the anti-Jewish boycott - in which Cesarani wrote of a core outcome of the boycott of Jewish businesses as the Nazis' successfully "drawing the lines between 'them' [Jews] and 'us,'" with the Jews "fair game" - Cesarani concludes on p 53, "Crucially, Germans were not being asked to hate Jews; they were being asked to love other Germans." I cannot square this comment with his earlier description of the boycott, its lead-up, and its results. What Cesarani has shown is that Germans were being asked to fear and reject Jews (and other "non-Germans") and to love Germans as two parts of a single process.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Matthew Ellard » Wed Feb 17, 2016 5:29 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Turning to early Nazi legislation and programs, following his review of the anti-Jewish boycott - in which Cesarani wrote of a core outcome of the boycott of Jewish businesses as the Nazis' successfully "drawing the lines between 'them' [Jews] and 'us,'" with the Jews "fair game" - Cesarani concludes on p 53, "Crucially, Germans were not being asked to hate Jews; they were being asked to love other Germans." I cannot square this comment with his earlier description of the boycott, its lead-up, and its results. What Cesarani has shown is that Germans were being asked to fear and reject Jews (and other "non-Germans") and to love Germans as two parts of a single process.
OK. Frankly, I'm with you. Communists and Jews were also German. If the aim was to have "Germans loving Germans", then picking on German communists and German Jews does the exact opposite. Thinking about other political campaigns, the "unifying" enemy has to be a foreigner, not one of the locals. ( Perhaps because Hitler was a foreigner himself, he didn't take this tact, however as the bloke was a bit mad, I don't expect logical thought processes from Hitler.)

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:54 pm

Matthew Ellard wrote:Thinking about other political campaigns, the "unifying" enemy has to be a foreigner, not one of the locals.
Cesarani has two strawmen going on here:

First, he opposes "love for Germany" to "hatred for Jews." Relying on Peter Fritschke and others like him, and overstating the reality of the Volksgemeinschaft, he writes, as above, "it would be a mistake to equate Nazi values with hatred." But the dominant trend in historiography for decades has been, er, to not equate Nazi values with hatred, whatever is meant by hatred. It has been a long time since historians considered the Nazis to be little but crazed anti-Semites filled with sadistic loathing. But just as it would be a mistake to equate Nazi values with hatred, something historians aren't in the habit of doing, it is a mistake to equate Nazi values with love and "a magical glow" of some sort (p 54) and the people's community with positive values.

For example, Cesarani himself makes note, in the context of his lyrical appreciation of the magical Volksgemeinschaft, of the large apparatus developed early in the Third Reich specifically to define boundaries and ensure the exclusion of racially undesirable and unsuitable elements, including the Jews; the politically unreliable; and even those who demur going along with the claims of community and state over the individual. Even as he lays out the stakes clearly - positive embrace of "Germans," rejection and even antipathy for "non-Germans," he keeps drawing conclusions that are one-sided. For {!#%@}'s sake, people do not work themselves into paroxysms of hatred for Colorado potato beetles or parasites, but they have antipathy for them and negative desires concerning what should be done about them. If you follow my drift . . . by overstating one aspect of Nazism's appeal, Cesarani seems to miss another, equally as important aspect - sounding at times almost as though he's yet to come across a Hitler speech or a Goebbels editorial.

Second, Cesarani consistently writes against another strawman - that historians imagine a straight line from anti-Semitism to the Final Solution and that they conceive Nazi Jewish policy in the early 1930s as fully formed and consistent. In his view, anti-Semitism played mainly a functional role in creating and preserving the people's community - and even with this he warns not to "over-interpret the instrumentality and coherence of Judenpolitik. . . . It was improvised, unplanned, and, hence, unpredictable. . . . what emerged was confused, contradictory, half-baked and usually temporary." (p 56) Without signing on to his functional interpretation (I think he is seriously underestimating the root ideology of the Nazis as well as their long view), I don't see the point of how he frames his case: again, it is decades since historians explained Judenpolitik as fully baked, planned, predictable, linear, and coherent (for crissakes, as long ago as 1970 Karl Schleunes wrote The Twisted Road to Auschwitz and so on). In this sense, so far, Cesarani's book is a bit frustrating - with the framing and some of the conclusions not holding up against a very nice narrative peppered with insights and good finds.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:41 pm

Despite my quibbles, I am really enjoying Cesarani's book (the quibbles continue but I'm sparing you since they are in the same vein as already expressed!). Here's a gem, which I will first put into context.

One denier gambit concerning Third Reich racial legislation and practices is tu quoque - in particular, to go on about race in the US during the period, in effect excusing the Nazis because, you know, it was a different time and besides which the US practiced widespread and appalling racial discrimination. Cue the old material on sterilization and eugenics, segregation, etc. (I was shocked - shocked I tell you - last week when a woman came over to where I was reading in a café and asked about "that Nazi book you have"; she immediately explained that she had read recently that the Nazis simply copied US practices and put them into effect, and that was that! And, yes I was truly shocked . . . what had she been reading?)

Related are deniers like been-there, with his mega-silly ploy to support Hitler on account of his self-proclaimed anti-racism - because, well, hell yeah, the US had segregation, lynching, and widespread violence against African Americans and was the very worst racist country ever on any planet. I am not 100% sure been-there said exactly that - but he came close.

So Cesarani quotes NAACP founder WEB DuBois, who visited Germany between July and December 1935 and thus witnessed the impact of the anti-Jewish campaigns in the country as well as the first effects of the Nuremberg Laws. DuBois, a courageous opponent to racism in the US and a brilliant social theorist, had of course seen US racial discrimination up close and at its ugliness. His observations of life in the Third Reich expose the vicious dishonesty of deniers on this topic.

"The campaign of racial prejudice" against German Jews, DuBois wrote in the Pittsburgh Courier
surpasses in vindictive cruelty and public insult anything I have ever seen; and I have seen much.
Nazi racism, wrote DuBois, was "an attack on civilization." He gave some specifics:
Jews jailed for sexual relations with German women; a marriage disallowed because a Jewish person witnessed it; Masons excluded from office, because Jews are Masons; advertisements excluding Jews; the total disenfranchisement of all Jews; deprivation of civil rights and inability to remain or become German citizens; limited rights of education; and narrowly limited right to work in trades and professions and the civil service; the threat of boycott, loss of work and even mob violence for any German who trades with a Jew, and above all, the continued circulation of Julius Streicher's Der Stürmer, the most shameless, lying advocate of race hate in the world, not excluding Florida.
And this was what DubBois saw and concluded in 1935 - before Kristallnacht and the escalation of anti-Jewish measures that followed, before full-scale Aryanization, before the war years and deportations.

Gambit crushed. Give it up, been-there and the rest of you Nazi wannabes.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:11 pm

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.
Matthew, for Cesarani, think Friedlander in a single (1,000-page) volume with more focus on international aspects and Jewish experiences, leadership, and responses.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeff_36 » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:29 am

Masons excluded from office, because Jews are Masons
That's idiotic.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:40 pm

Cesarani's discussion of the Nuremberg Laws is serviceable, but the material on the period following and through 1936 comes alive. It's terrific and engaging, as he describes maturing Nazi geopolitical understanding - including the supposed role of international Jewry in Nazi thinking along with the USSR and Germany's special position. He does a very good job with the Nazi self-conception that the Jews were a mortal world danger, that they'd taken over the USSR and were on the attack using Bolshevism, that Germany was in a position (geographically and by virtue of its National Socialist "awareness") to fight the Jewish threat, and, finally, that a permanent state of war against Jewry existed. German economic and military policy (the 4 Year Plan), internal security measures (the continued reform of policing by Himmler and Heydrich), evolving and escalating Jewish policy, emigration prospects, daily life in town and country, the '36 Olympics, and diplomacy are presented in the light of Nazi core beliefs and in the context of world events. It is definitely good stuff and doesn't, as I felt with some of the earlier sections of the book, glide over ideology (understood as the conceptual scheme governing people's understanding and actions or as their lived relation to the world).
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:50 pm

Two nice (succinctly representative) documents from the SD in 1937 which Cesarani references:

SD paper January 1937 (pp 127-128): "On the Jewish Problem" (probably authored by Eichmann) said that
the Jew is one of the most dangerous of all enemies, because he is elusive and never completely within reach.

Aim of SD is to destroy the economic basis for Jewish life in Germany and to drive Jews out of the country. Forced emigration - to undeveloped, poor parts of the world, not only to Palestine. British policy and Arab riots give reason for a broader view than working with Zionists. The SD says there's a need to raise among German people an awareness of, and commitment to, anti-Semitic goals.
The most effective way to deprive the Jews of a feeling of security is the wrath of the people as manifested in violence.
Recommendation for creation of "central office" to develop technical solutions for emigration of Jews from Germany.

Paper by Dieter Wisliceny head of SD Jewish bureau, "Guidelines on the Jewish Question" April 1937 (p 128):
The struggle against the Jews is from the outset a basic principle of National Socialism. . . . [T]he possibility of any compromise is closed. The adversarial position of the NSDAP against the Jews runs through the whole Party programme. The Jew is for the National Socialist simply the enemy. . . .The solution of the Jewish question can only lie in the total dejewification of Germany

which was to be accomplished said Wisliceny
only through the Zionist emigration.
Apparently Wisliceny was no more familiar with the Party Program than Himmler - or, in Monstrous's view, here is another forgery.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:26 pm

I like Cesarani's coverage of the meeting at the Air Ministry on 12 November 1938, following Kristallnacht. I can add more later (he's noticed some interesting details), but here is how Cesarani sums it up, after having explained the conference in the context of chaotic Jewish measures run amok and foreshadowing Wannsee, describing the meeting as "the first great 'conference' on Judenpoliti" and as marking "a new era," with more centralized direction to and control over Jewish policy (p 208): "Göring was now firmly in control of Jewish affairs; Heydrich was his executive arm." (p 208)
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeff_36 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:50 pm

Goring would lose said control at some point in 1941 iirc

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:13 pm

Marek Bem, Sobibor Extermination Camp 1942-1943 (2015) - PDF here

When I finally finish Cesarani, I plan to read this. Bem's also published archaeological notes on the camp, which I will read finally in full at the same time.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeff_36 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:46 am

FINALLY! A NEW SOURCE ON AR!!!!

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:02 pm

Long parts of Cesarani's book are a meditation on the phantasm of international Jewry. He grapples directly with the Nazi worldview, propaganda, socialization of youth and mobilization of the country, and foreign and domestic policies on this matter. In addressing Nazi thinking on international Jewry, Cesarani's book also serves as a long trashing of been-there's inane repetition of Nazi cliches at RODOH, in his international Jewry and Untermyer threads. Parts of the book are almost direct demolition of that little {!#%@}.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeff_36 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:29 pm

Excellent. Been-there was never much of a reader. His WUF stuff never really impressed me.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:31 pm

I'm enjoying the book more and more, reading it very slowly . . . when I get to '41 I am pretty sure I will have things to share :)
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by scrmbldggs » Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:47 pm

I'll never make it to 41. :purplex:
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:51 pm

scrmbldggs wrote:I'll never make it to 41. :purplex:
'41, not plain ole 41 LOL
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by scrmbldggs » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:48 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
scrmbldggs wrote:I'll never make it to 41. :purplex:
'41, not plain ole 41 LOL
:shock: Are you predicting my untimely demise?



:-P
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:59 am

I thought you were! It had me worried ...
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeff_36 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:03 am

if not demise than what?

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:47 pm

I am finding Cesarani's explanation of the escalation of killing of Jews during 1941, and his contentions about relationship of the mass murder to the course of the war, strangely self-contradictory. He writes about the July crisis in the military campaign, which he says had become an impasse by "mid-August"; he argues that by October Hitler and his satraps knew that their war plan was broken and that victory would not be achieved on the German time line.

Cesarani characterizes the radicalization of Jewish policy during these months less as continuous escalation and more as a new direction taken because of the "conjunctural crisis" faced by the Reich leadership in the conduct of the war, including the invasion of the Soviet Union turning into a longer term prospect and the emergence of partisan activity during 1941.

But alongside these military developments Cesarani reviews the escalation in the mass murder - including its widening net to include entire Jewish communities, the targeting of women and children along with Jewish men, and extermination sweeps to make territory free of Jews except those confined in ghettos temporarily for labor. The thrust of Cesarani's argument is that the Germans turned harder against the Jews because they saw them as an integral part of the Soviet military effort, which had by October 1941 proved itself a more obdurate opponent than the Germans had reckoned it would be. Of course, however, Cesarani (as he must) dates the radicalization of Jewish policy to Himmler's late July and early August trips to meet with Einsatzgruppen commanders and press them to speed up and expand the murder of Jews, for which he assigned the SS Cavalry Brigade and the 1st SS Infantry Brigade (19,000 men). He also cites the famous Mogilev anti-partisan meeting - which took place in September - but, again, well after the radicalization of the anti-Jewish policy.

I think the chronology pretty much undermines Cesarani's offer of a new interpretation here. I plan to re-read the section to see what I'm missing but I don't think he's followed through with his promise of a new conceptual framework here. The campaign went awry from August to October, but the escalation of the mass murder of the Jews followed on the heels of Hitler's 16 July meeting, with Himmler's late July and early August trip to the occupied east. That said, I agree with Cesarani that the security threat = Jews equation was not some kind of tactical camouflage but, in the German view of things, real. I just fail to see how the strategic impasse in the war, beginning at the end of July and becoming clear by mid-fall, can explain radicalization of Jewish policy in late July.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:02 am

More on this later . . . I like Cesarani's discussion of December 1941 through to Wannsee: he does a good job describing the logistical and planning challenges; the lack of time and resources for the enormity of the new Jewish policy adopted in December; and the haphazard, poorly conceived, ad hoc and "blasé" approach for the FS, which ignored tough issues and operational imperatives.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:39 pm

The deportation of our good friend Heinz Rosenberg from Hamburg to Minsk is covered on p 430 of Cesarani. Matthew Ellard showed how Eric Hunt lied about where Rosenberg worked in a steam room to make it sound like there were showers for "transiting" Jews at Treblinka, and I showed that it is 95% likely that Rosenberg never even went to Treblinka but instead was taken to Sobibór. Another major fail for Hunt. Cesarani notes that of the Jews on his transport to Minsk only Rosenberg survived the war.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeff_36 » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:33 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:The deportation of our good friend Heinz Rosenberg from Hamburg to Minsk is covered on p 430 of Cesarani. Matthew Ellard showed how Eric Hunt lied about where Rosenberg worked in a steam room to make it sound like there were showers for "transiting" Jews at Treblinka, and I showed that it is 95% likely that Rosenberg never even went to Treblinka but instead was taken to Sobibór. Another major fail for Hunt. Cesarani notes that of the Jews on his transport to Minsk only Rosenberg survived the war.
Hunt really seemed to truly believe his BS about "jooo steeem wooms". Part of me thinks he was not dishonest but rather just plain idiotic or deeply insane.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Frank Hoffman » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:20 am

I have placed this post under "General Books / Reading Discussion", because (at least for now) newspapers are still "reading", and this thread was the closest that seemed appropriate.

Subject: Newspaper article, "The oldest man in the world survived Auschwitz" by Adam Taylor, The Washington Post, March 12 2016

There was the following comment made about the article:
---------------------------------
The term "Holocaust" is viciously anti-Jewish. "Holocaust" means to sacrifice by fire. Under the Law Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai, even the appearance of human sacrifice is to be avoided. The few remaining Nazis must chuckle, when they hear the term "Holocaust". Use of that term suggests acceptance of the Nazi view, that Jews (and Roma) indeed were subhumans, to be sacificed in furtherance of the Nazis' agenda.
"Shoah" is a short Hebrew word meaning "catastrophe". That is both accurate and does not convey acceptance of the Nazis' ideas.
---------------------------------

Question: Is the comment accurate?

Side note about Mr. Israel Kristal (112 years and 178 days old).
The mayor of his village declared, "...and next year, God willing, we'll be here to celebrate your next birthday!"
"I don't see why not," the guest of honor replied. "You look healthy to me."

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:52 pm

Frank Hoffman wrote:I have placed this post under "General Books / Reading Discussion", because (at least for now) newspapers are still "reading", and this thread was the closest that seemed appropriate.

Subject: Newspaper article, "The oldest man in the world survived Auschwitz" by Adam Taylor, The Washington Post, March 12 2016

There was the following comment made about the article:
---------------------------------
The term "Holocaust" is viciously anti-Jewish. "Holocaust" means to sacrifice by fire. Under the Law Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai, even the appearance of human sacrifice is to be avoided. The few remaining Nazis must chuckle, when they hear the term "Holocaust". Use of that term suggests acceptance of the Nazi view, that Jews (and Roma) indeed were subhumans, to be sacificed in furtherance of the Nazis' agenda.
"Shoah" is a short Hebrew word meaning "catastrophe". That is both accurate and does not convey acceptance of the Nazis' ideas.
---------------------------------

Question: Is the comment accurate?

Side note about Mr. Israel Kristal (112 years and 178 days old).
The mayor of his village declared, "...and next year, God willing, we'll be here to celebrate your next birthday!"
"I don't see why not," the guest of honor replied. "You look healthy to me."
I don't know of a negative connotation for Holocaust, but, yes, Shoah is the Hebrew word preferred by many writers. Yad Vashem has a brief article on this here.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:09 pm

as promised, whether you're up for it or not, summary of Cesarani on Wannsee is posted here in the Brayard thread; easy to ignore
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:46 pm

Next week I will receive Christian Gerlach, The Extermination of the European Jews, just published. Rather than go onto reading in-depth on Sobibór, I will pair Gerlach's book with Cesarani's, as two up-to-date syntheses of the Final Solution.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by nickterry » Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:13 am

HC blog has been revamped a fair bit, with top-menu pages dedicated to different thematic areas. One of these pages is dedicated to open-access online sources and secondary literature for the Holocaust. There are no language restrictions on the listings. English-language sources include a number of online PhDs from various repositories.
http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot. ... s-and.html

There is much still to incorporate into this bibliography, and no doubt it will evolve and be refined, but I hope it will be of wide use. All links will be open-access and legal.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by nickterry » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:34 am

My university library already has ebook access to Christian Gerlach's The Extermination of the European Jews (CUP, 2016), I'd just pre-ordered the paperback so was very pleased to see I had advance access - the dead-tree order will not be cancelled, as both formats have their virtues.

I've not been able to do more than read the introduction and skim a few other chapters, but it looks extremely good. Like Cesarani, Gerlach rejects the terms Holocaust and Shoah for his argument; unlike Cesarani, Gerlach has part of his eye on non-Jewish victim groups, without dumping them into separate chapters/sections as such, something that follows the line of argument in Extremely Violent Societies and the journal articles that piloted his earlier book on mass violence.

Some of the great advantages of Gerlach's book over other contenders are (a) there are footnotes not endnotes and (b) he cites archival documents quite extensively*, probably to the same or a greater extent than Longerich's Holocaust, without trying to reinvent the wheel, especially since he can cite another five years' worth of literature. The chapter breakdown shows he will cover more ground than Longerich or Bloxham, and is more focused on what he calls 'persecutors' (rejecting the term perpetrator as too legalistic) than Cesarani's admirable attempt at integrating the Jewish perspective more thoroughly.

1. Introduction; Part I. Persecution by Germans: 2. Before 1933; 3. From enforced emigration to territorial schemes: 1933–41; 4. From mass murder to comprehensive annihilation: 1941–2; 5. Extending mass destruction: 1942–5; 6. Structures and agents of violence; Part II. Logics of Persecution: 7. Racism and anti-Jewish thought; 8. Forced labor, German violence and Jews; 9. Hunger policies and mass murder; 10. The economics of separation, expropriation, crowding and removal; 11. Fighting resistance and the persecution of Jews; Part III. The European Dimension: 12. Legislation against Jews in Europe: a comparison; 13. Divided societies: popular input to the persecution of Jews; 14. Beyond legislation: non-German policies of violence; 15. In the labyrinths of persecution: survival attempts; 16. Conclusion: group destruction in extremely violent societies; Bibliography; Index.

It will be interesting to see how the more analytical structure - Part I does offer a broad chronological outline, and from the parts sampled a perceptive one, with e.g. remarks about the context for Wannsee that will be very germane to debates elsewhere on this forum - works over the length of the full book, but from a teaching perspective having chapters on themes like expropriation or anti-Jewish legislation will be a godsend.

*from the skim-through, Gerlach has cited sources he has not used before, building on an already colossal archival research effort for his first three books.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:40 am

I just got my copy of Gerlach - thanks for this post, I was going to post on the very interesting TOC/book structure myself - it's intriguing and I am looking forward to getting into it. I am reading Cesarani very slowly, as I am going to relevant documents and other sources as I read. When I am finished with Cesarani, I plan to read Gerlach, probably slowly with the same sort of consultation of sources as I've done with Cesarani, and to post my thoughts here on that book as well.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Mar 22, 2016 3:20 pm

nickterry wrote:. . . remarks about the context for Wannsee that will be very germane to debates elsewhere on this forum . . .
I couldn't help peeking and noticed that Gerlach sticks with his familiar interpretation of Wannsee - he states this explicitly (more to come when I actually read the book instead of skimming a bit!) - and mentions documents not cited previously, one posted here* some seven years ago (!) at the HC reference forum. It appears that Gerlach doesn't discuss Brayard's 2012 Auschwitz, enquête sur un complot nazi (La Solution finale de la question juive from 2004 is listed in the bibliography). Ok, I am putting this down and returning to Cesarani.


- - - - - -

* ". . . Zusaetzlich war dem Einsatzkommando, naemlich in Zusammenarbeit mit eigens dafuer aufgestellten Einheiten der Polizei (Ordnungs-) und der Wehrmacht die Partisanenbekaempfung uebertragen worden. Schon seit der Zeit beginnen auf Befehl der Fuehrung des Reiches grosse Aktionen zur Ausrottung der gesamten Ostjuden (z.B. in Galizien) und vollkommener Freimachung gewisser Landesstriche von der russischen Bevoelkerung. Nach dem Kriegseintritt Amerikas wurde auf Fuehrerbefehl die Ausrottung saemtlicher europaeischer Juden veranlasst. Zwar wurden vorerst, um diese Aktionen zu tarnen, den vom Fuehrer beauftragten Stellen erklaert, es handle sich um einen Arbeitseinsatz der Juden, z.B. vom Lager Auschwitz (in Oberschlesien) fuer die Kohlenbergwerke. Tatsaechlich wurden auch gewisse Juden (nach aerztl. Untersuchung) dazu herangezogen. Jedoch konnte der eigentliche Zweck nur kurze Zeit verheimlicht werden. (...)"
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:36 am

One thing bothering me as I continue through Cesarani's book: In a work entitled Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews 1933-49, Cesarani doesn’t rigorously define final solution or even trace the evolving meaning/usage of the term among the Nazis. He writes “Final Solution” or “final solution,” always in quotation marks. By inference, I take that FS for Cesarani refers to the broad intent and policy decided in December 1941 and coordinated at the Wannsee Conference, covering in theory 11 million European Jews and subjecting them to eventual extermination. But the term is used loosely, sometimes without difference to Holocaust, other times to refer to mass murder after Wannsee. Much as I'm enjoying the book, I think that this sort of thing is endemic to it, and I continue to be concerned, as I noted in my first few posts on the book (I think I did!), that Cesarani overplays the idea of chaotic and haphazard policy development and implementation in the Third Reich along with the argument that the impetus for the FS was conjunctural and non-ideological.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by nickterry » Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:25 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:One thing bothering me as I continue through Cesarani's book: In a work entitled Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews 1933-49, Cesarani doesn’t rigorously define final solution or even trace the evolving meaning/usage of the term among the Nazis. He writes “Final Solution” or “final solution,” always in quotation marks. By inference, I take that FS for Cesarani refers to the broad intent and policy decided in December 1941 and coordinated at the Wannsee Conference, covering in theory 11 million European Jews and subjecting them to eventual extermination. But the term is used loosely, sometimes without difference to Holocaust, other times to refer to mass murder after Wannsee. Much as I'm enjoying the book, I think that this sort of thing is endemic to it, and I continue to be concerned, as I noted in my first few posts on the book (I think I did!), that Cesarani overplays the idea of chaotic and haphazard policy development and implementation in the Third Reich along with the argument that the impetus for the FS was conjunctural and non-ideological.
This is fair criticism, and it is especially important in relation to the transnational character of persecution and mass murder of Jews in wartime Europe. Gerlach's book is structured to give much more attention to this transnational dimension, but he rejects using Final Solution as a metonym for the entire bundle, for precisely this reason. Both Cesarani and Gerlach reject Holocaust, and both manage to avoid using the term in their main texts.

I don't think anyone has assembled literally every example of the use of the term 'final solution' in the Nazi paper trail, although a number of authors have probably come close. The term was largely restricted to the RSHA and the Foreign Office, and was virtually unknown outside these circles. I don't think it appears even once in the Warthegau paper-trail, for example. Katzmann used it for Galicia in his report, and there are a few other non-RSHA uses in other parts of the GG, but it was never used by the civil administration. Heydrich and the RSHA used it when corresponding with other agencies in 1942, but of the agencies invited to Wannsee and the follow-up conferences, few seem to have adopted it as a standard term, with the conspicuous exception of the Foreign Office.

It's worth adding that Heydrich used Endloesung not only to the inner circle of Wannsee and follow-up invitees, but also sent out the Goering tasking of 31.7.41 to some other agencies that were not invited directly, e.g. to Karl Hermann Frank on 25.1.42 (Narodni Archiv 109-4-978, p.4), which is the same day that BdS Ostland also received a photocopy of the Goering-Heydrich tasking of 31.7.41. Presumably some other agencies did as well, but the relevant files might well have been destroyed - indeed, we don't have the invitations to Wannsee for most of the participants, and one presumes the Ostministerium (for example) would have received such a written invitation.

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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:30 am

It might be fun to re-read Garry Wills' Nixon Agonistes (1970) followed by Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971) whilst cranking "Combination of the Two" by Big Brother & the Holding Company and other such songs. Choice of refreshment is censored.
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Re: General Books/Reading Discussion

Post by Jeff_36 » Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:33 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:It might be fun to re-read Garry Wills' Nixon Agonistes (1970) followed by Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971) whilst cranking "Combination of the Two" by Big Brother & the Holding Company and other such songs. Choice of refreshment is censored.
Wills is great, great writer, great American, great thinker. Thompson is overrated. Hilarious at times but subscribed to 9/11 conspiracy BS late in life. Jeff_36 has little patience for such tomfoolery.