Digging deeper into the Holocaust | AspenTimes.com

Digging deeper into the Holocaust

Those who attended Sunday’s Holocaust Memorial Day event at the high school campus were reminded of the epically horrible things the Nazis did to the Jews during World War II. For anyone who desires to deepen their knowledge, I urge them to use the resources of the local library and let their fingers do the walking to the library.

I recommend three works that provide historical and cultural context about the German resentment of the economic rise of the Jews in Germany after the Napoleonic Wars.

The first is “Founder: A Portrait of the First Rothschild and his Time” (1996) by Amos Elon. This book has a map of the Frankfurt Ghetto that can stand for ghettos all over Germany to which Jews were shut up every night. Before their emancipation, Jews were prohibited from owning land or businesses outside the ghetto. This book tells the story of one man’s evasion of those restrictions.

The second is “A World without Jews: The Nazi Imagination from Persecution to Genocide” (2014) by Alon Confino. This cultural history describes how average Germans saw Jews as foreigners even if they’d lived as their “neighbors” in their local ghettos for centuries.

The third is “Why the Germans? Why the Jews?: Envy, Race Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust” (2014) by Aly Gotz. Well into the 19th entury, a huge percentage of Germans were illiterate. This backwardness was in great contrast to the newly liberated Jews (the People of the Book) who rose from nothing to 50 percent of the Prussian middle class by 1834.

Our Pitkin County Library is part of a statewide system. When you type your library card number into a request for the book, the local staff will put our copy into the hold shelf under your name and send you an email. If another library statewide has it, it will ship to the Pitkin County Library hold shelf in a few days.

Best of all, if you click on the listed title, you’ll get synopses and reviews of the book that will tell enough about a title for you to decide whether to go to the trouble of borrowing it.

David Bentley


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