One of our most eminent historians presents a powerful look at the buildup to and aftermath of one of the most decisive moments of the Second World War - Kristallnacht - not only for the Jewish population suddenly identified as a group to be destroyed, but also in terms of the international response it inspired and its larger implications. In ...
One of our most eminent historians presents a powerful look at the buildup to and aftermath of one of the most decisive moments of the Second World War - Kristallnacht - not only for the Jewish population suddenly identified as a group to be destroyed, but also in terms of the international response it inspired and its larger implications. In "Kristallnacht," Martin Gilbert seamlessly combines a moving account of the suffering of the victims of the Nazi regime with a sophisticated analysis of the gradual process, which made the horrors of the Third Reich possible. Broadening his canvas, Gilbert also powerfully depicts how the rest of the world failed Europe's increasingly desperate Jewish population: in the aftermath to Kristallnacht almost every country was asked to help; most would not do so, despite the transport of a staggering 10,000 German Jewish children to Britain. This international indifference had direct implications for future German policy, while the events of Kristallnacht went on to radically influence the attitudes of governments - and people - outside Germany towards Nazism. This is the third book to be published in the illustrious "Making History Series" edited by Lisa Jardine and Amanda Foreman, which examines a broad and eclectic range of history's most crucial turning points. Eminent guest writers have been invited to write on subjects about which they feel particularly passionate to create a collection of provocative and enlightening essays that provides a sweeping panorama of the past. The series sheds new light on familiar topics - Waterloo, Mussolini, the fall of the Aztecs - as well as uncovering more subtle shifts of fortune which went on to turn subsequent events on their head.
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-04-17 An acclaimed Churchill biographer and Holocaust scholar, Gilbert makes a strong case in this elegant volume that Kristallnacht was the watershed moment that laid the groundwork for the Holocaust. Known as "the Night of Broken Glass," the "coordinated, comprehensive rampage" that began on the night of November 9, 1938, saw Nazi-inspired thugs ransack synagogues and Jewish-owned property across Germany and Austria. Gilbert maintains a tight focus on the individual experiences of Jewish men, women and children during the 24-hour spree of destruction, as well as on Germans and Austrians who rioted, opposed the riot or simply looked the other way. The book begins with a harrowing account of that night's events, using accounts from news sources of the day: "`Terrified children were turned sobbing out of their beds, which were then smashed to pieces.'" Gilbert devotes a chapter each to eyewitness accounts from Berlin and Vienna, where some of the worst destruction occurred. As Felix Rinde, then an Austrian-Jewish teenager, later wrote, "Jewish life in Vienna came to a virtual end." A third chapter offers similar accounts from other cities. Gilbert's commanding account then traces the origins of Kristallnacht in the years of mounting Jewish discrimination that began when Hitler came to power in 1933, and shows how Kristallnacht pointed the way toward the events to come. 8 pages of b&w photos; maps. (June 13) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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