The War Against the Jews

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The War Against the Jews is a book written by Lucy Dawidowicz and published in 1975 (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, ISBN 003013661X). The book researches the Holocaust of the European Jewry during World War II.

The author contends that Hitler pursued his policies to eliminate Jewish populations throughout Europe even to the detriment of pragmatic wartime actions such as moving troops and securing supply lines. As an example, Dawidowicz notes that Hitler delayed railcars providing supplies to front line troops in the Soviet Union so that Jews could be deported by rail from the USSR to death camps. She uses records of "one-way" rail tickets as additional documentation of those sent to camps.

Dawidowicz also draws a line of "anti-Semitic descent" from Martin Luther to Hitler, writing that both men were obsessed by the "demonologized universe" inhabited by Jews. She contents that similarities between Luther's anti-Jewish writings, especially On the Jews and Their Lies, and modern anti-Semitism are no coincidence, because they derived from a common history of Judenhass (Jew-hatred), which she traces back to the biblical Haman's advice to Ahasuerus. She argues that though modern anti-Semitism has its roots in German nationalism, the foundation of Christian anti-Semitism was laid by the Catholic Church and "upon which Luther built."[1]

The book also provides detailed listings by country of the number of Jews killed in World War II. Dawidowicz researched birth and death records in many cities of prewar Europe to come up with a death toll of 5,933,900 Jews.

Criticism by Raul Hilberg[edit]

Raul Hilberg, widely considered to be one of the world's preeminent Holocaust scholars,[2][3][4] published his three-volume, 1,273-page magnum opus, The Destruction of the European Jews, in 1961; this work is regarded today as a seminal study of the Nazi Final Solution. Hilberg notes that Dawidowicz not only ignored The Destruction's findings in The War Against the Jews, but also went on to exclude mention of him in her historiographic work, The Holocaust and the Historians, published in 1981. Hilberg's work, running as it did against the grain of intentionalist thinking, was widely unpopular among many early scholars, a contrast to later views. It is argued that Davidowicz, a renowned intentionalist, simply ignored Hilberg's work in order to follow an academically safer path, avoiding controversy by avoiding functionalist conclusions like those drawn by Hilberg. "She wanted preeminence," Hilberg writes.

Jewish population listing[edit]

Dawidowicz's listing of Jews killed in World War II
Country Estimated Pre-War Jewish population Estimated Jewish population killed Percent killed
Poland 3,300,000 3,000,000 91
Baltic countries 253,000 228,000 90
Germany & Austria 240,000 210,000 88
Bohemia & Moravia 90,000 80,000 89
Slovakia 90,000 75,000 83
Greece 70,000 54,000 77
Netherlands 140,000 105,000 75
Hungary 650,000 450,000 70
Belorussian SSR 375,000 245,000 65
Ukrainian SSR 1,500,000 900,000 60
Belgium 65,000 40,000 60
Yugoslavia 43,000 26,000 60
Romania 600,000 300,000 50
Norway 1,800 900 50
France 350,000 90,000 26
Bulgaria 64,000 14,000 22
Italy 40,000 8,000 20
Luxembourg 5,000 1,000 20
Russian SFSR 975,000 107,000 11
Denmark 8,000 120 2
Finland 2,000 ? ?
Total 8,861,800 5,933,900 67

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Bantam edition 1986, p.23. ISBN 0-553-34532-X
  2. ^ Joffe, Lawrence (2007-09-25), Obituary: Raul Hilberg, The Guardian, retrieved 2010-01-09 
  3. ^ Wyman, David (1985-08-11), Managing the Death Machine, The New York Times, retrieved 2010-01-09 
  4. ^ Woo, Elaine (2007-08-07), Raul Hilberg, 81; scholar was an authority on the Holocaust, Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2010-01-09