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In Erased, Omer Bartov uncovers the rapidly disappearing vestiges of the Jews of western Ukraine, who were rounded up and murdered by the Nazis during World War II with help from the local populace. What begins as a deeply personal chronicle of the Holocaust in his mother's hometown of Buchach--in former Eastern Galicia--carries him on a journey across the region and back through history. This poignant travelogue reveals the complete erasure of the Jews and their removal from public memory, a blatant act of forgetting done in the service of a fiercely aggressive Ukrainian nationalism. Bartov, a leading Holocaust scholar, discovers that to make sense of the heartbreaking events of the war, he must first grapple with the complex interethnic relationships and conflicts that have existed there for centuries. Visiting twenty Ukrainian towns, he recreates the histories of the vibrant Jewish and Polish communities who once lived there-and describes what is left today following their brutal and complete destruction. Bartov encounters Jewish cemeteries turned into marketplaces, synagogues made into garbage dumps, and unmarked burial pits from the mass killings. He bears witness to the hastily erected monuments following Ukraine's independence in 1991, memorials that glorify leaders who collaborated with the Nazis in the murder of Jews. He finds that the newly independent Ukraine-with its ethnically cleansed and deeply anti-Semitic population--has recreated its past by suppressing all memory of its victims. Illustrated with dozens of hauntingly beautiful photographs from Bartov's travels, Erased forces us to recognize the shocking intimacy of genocide.
While attempts to come to terms with past catastrophe . . . can help prevent its recurrence, they may also provide arguments for . . . actions against the real or imagined perpetrators of previous disasters. The confrontation with . . . catastrophe can help us understand the roots and nature of this century's destructive urges, as well as humanity's extraordinary recuperative capacities; but it can also legitimize the perpetuation of violence and aggression. -from the Introduction Omer Bartov, a leading scholar of the Wehrmacht and the Holocaust, provides a critical analysis of various recent ways to understand the genocidal policies of the Nazi regime and the reconstruction of German and Jewish identities in the wake of World War II. Germany's War and the Holocaust both deepens our understanding of a crucial period in history and serves as an invaluable introduction to the vast body of literature in the field of Holocaust studies. Drawing on his background as a military historian to probe the nature of German warfare, Bartov considers the postwar myth of army resistance to Hitler and investigates the image of Blitzkrieg as a means to glorify war, debilitate the enemy, and hide the realities of mass destruction. The author also addresses several new analyses of the roots and nature of Nazi extermination policies, including revisionist views of the concentration camps. Finally, Bartov examines some paradigmatic interpretations of the Nazi period and its aftermath: the changing American, European, and Israeli discourses on the Holocaust; Victor Klemperer's view of Nazi Germany from within; and Germany's perception of its own victimhood.
Shatterzone of Empires is a comprehensive analysis of interethnic relations, coexistence, and violence in Europe's eastern borderlands over the past two centuries. In this vast territory, extending from the Baltic to the Black Sea, four major empires with ethnically and religiously diverse populations encountered each other along often changing and contested borders. Examining this geographically widespread, multicultural region at several levels--local, national, transnational, and empire--and through multiple approaches--social, cultural, political, and economic--this volume offers informed and dispassionate analyses of how the many populations of these borderlands managed to coexist in a previous era and how and why the areas eventually descended into violence. An understanding of this specific region will help readers grasp the preconditions of interethnic coexistence and the causes of ethnic violence and war in many of the world's other borderlands both past and present.