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Golden Harvest Hardcover – 28 Jun 2012

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Frequently Bought Together

Golden Harvest + Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz: An Essay in Historical Interpretation + Neighbours: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland
Price For All Three: £37.39

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (28 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199731675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199731671
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 517,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By socrates on 12 Sep 2013
Format: Hardcover
Despite some reviews (one of which is nothing less than an anti-Semitic rant), this is a superb book. It focuses us on deeply disturbing aspects of issues within the Holocaust, and reminds us of how the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jewish people was not a single-dimensional one. Like the painful truth of some French co-operation with the Germans in the destruction of Jewish communities in that country, so too we cannot ignore the enthusiasm for and co-operation of some people in Poland for what happened to the Jews. (Neither of these points ignores the heroism and sacrifice of some French and Polish people in protecting Jewish people.) This book, like 'Neighbours', can't be dismissed because it provides uncomfortable interpretations of uncomfortable evidence. It raises fundamental questions and deserves to be widely read.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful By EJJonAmazon on 10 Sep 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this just before I read 'Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold' by Chodakiewicz and Muszynski. Gross has previously written two controversial books, 'Neighbours' (about the massacre at Jedwabne in 1941), and 'Fear' (about Polish antisemitism).

I cannot say I am a real expert in this field in terms of being in a position to really weigh evidence. Golden Harvest focusses on a recently published photograph which purports to show a group of peasants and security personal posing in front of a pile of ashes near Treblinka concentration camp in Poland in 1945. In front of them are bones and skulls. The photo allegedly records a communal break from raking through the ashes to find dental gold and other precious items left over from incinerating Jewish corpses, and missed by the Germans.

The photo is the starting point for a book basically about how the Poles de facto participated in the Holocaust, and enriched themselves from it. Much of the material was not new to me, but I was struck by the fact that it was rather a short book, and did not include much contrary evidence I have read elsewhere.

I was also struck by the way in which quite a superstructure of analysis and inference was built up around a single photo. As an amateur genealogist research the family of my Polish wife, one does not have as easy access to sources as one does when researching one's own family in the British Isles. So I often spend time examining photos from Poland, trying to date them and to figure out what is going on in the group.

This is far from easy, and I have tried experiments with contacts in poland and here, asking them what they think is going on in a particular picture. Very few come up with suggestions which match what I am thinking (in fact, none).
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Fisher on 17 Aug 2012
Format: Hardcover
There is a lot of good research in this book. It deals with a topic of the holocaust that is not widely researched. The death camp Treblinka and its immediate post evacuation interaction with the surrounding Polish population. Much of the evidence presented certainly challenges some of the preconceptions that are encountered in any study of any subject. This can only be a good thing.

However, all this good work is sullied by an anti- Polish bias that borders on the obsessional. Gross's contention that Poles colluded with the Nazis in the murder and robbing Jews has caused much friction and controversy in Poland. It is an argument I do not wish to comment on here. My point is, over analysis or even sometimes a lack of a deeper reading, borne out of prejudice, sees antisemitism and the condoning of antisemitism where there is none in either count.A clear example being his interpretation of the photograph that inspired the book. This photograph shows a guarded group of Polish peasants at the grounds of Treblinka allegedly after being caught digging in burial pits for valuables.

The opinion is formed that Gross is willfully trying to lead the reader into agreeing with his argument without question. Leading us to the further opinion that Gross has written a book specifically catering for an audience that already hold similar views as the ones displayed in the book. To my mind these action relegate this book to the status of a coffee table book. For such a serious and defining thing as the holocaust the simple conclusion is this is not a good thing. Where is the counter argument, where are the ambiguities, paradoxes and enigmas that shape any human action?

I do not mean to do a disservice to Gross. I would like to believe pressures not of his own making led to this apparently hastily written book. I just hop I am not being overly optimistic.
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5 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jan Wlochowski on 7 Dec 2012
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Gross is a known anti-Pole writer , a racist, who is trying to blame the Poles for all that ails him. He is also trying to extort money as a part of a Holy Cow of Holocaust. Jews collaborated with Germans in extermination of Poles. The whole Jewish mafia was sent to Poland by Stalin to exterminate Polish intelligencia with the head of secret police Jakub Berman in 1945. Solomon Morel is a well known butcher and was wanted for war crimes. He escaped to Israel and could not be extradited.The author's parents were most likely Stalinist underlings and served the Communist Party well where Jews had a big part to play and had a priviliged status.Mr. Gross left Poland and no longer has the priviliged status. With the support of his rich friends he writes trash to demonize Poland and to extort money from the Polish government.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Must read 20 Mar 2013
By H. M. Hicks - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book everyone should be required to read. It illustrates the effects on the human spirit of war, hatred, greed and cruelty. I think that is a lesson that is very apt for the times we are living in now, with it's glorification of greed and selfishness. This story is not about the Poles or the Ukrainians, or even about the Nazis. It is about people. It is about the depths to which we all can sink given the right circumstances.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Jan Gross has now hit a Triple 10 May 2013
By Jay A. Frogel - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is Jan Gross' third short book about the treatment of Polish Jews in Poland by the rest of the population during WW II and its aftermath. It's not a pretty picture. His other two books are "Neighbors" and "Fear". The focus of the books is confined to the expression of anti-semitism by the non-Jewish Poles - much of it extremely, violent, brutal, inhumane, and barbarous. It is important to keep this seemingly narrow focus in mind since many of the other reviewers deeply disliked this book as well as the other two by Jan Gross on the grounds, at least as they expressed it, that it (they) are so one-sided. For a more complete picture of, say, the Warsaw ghetto uprisings, the, acts of kindness expressed by some (too few unfortunately) non-Jewish Poles to their Jewish countrymen, etc one needs to turn elsewhere. But in this book and in his other two Gross presents a largely horrific picture of what the Polish Jews suffered not from the Nazi oppressors, but from their fellow Polish citizens. These are important books to read, well written and well researched. As Timothy Snyder pointed out in a review of this book and several others in the New York Review of Books in 2012 December, the contrast with these acts and what present day Poland has become after getting rid of the Communist government is remarkable. I have given a more detailed discussion of Gross' book and Snyder's review of it in a response I posted on 2013 May 8 to a review by "lawyerguy" that was posted in December of 2012. I will repeat one point here from my longer comments that is also important to bear in mind when reading the negative reviews that Gross' books have elicited: Because of Nazi policy the consequences of being caught aiding Jews in Poland could be fatal. But the point that Gross makes repeatedly, is that if Poles did NOTHING, that would have been far better than the SOMETHING that many of them did do, namely the violence, brutality, etc toward their Jewish compatriots.
Five Stars 17 July 2014
By Harvey A. Kaplan - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very insightful book that treats the subject of Polish complacency with the Germans
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Not Your Typical Gold Diggers 25 Nov 2012
By Wynne Guglielmo - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jan Gross has once again provided the reader with enticing yet horrifying acts committed against European Jewry. Even dead these poor people suffered injustices.
20 of 33 people found the following review helpful
The Truth Hurts 25 Jun 2012
By Arnie Singer - Author - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A relatively tiny number of Poles actually helped jews survive during the Holocaust. My grandparents, father, aunt and uncles were hidden by a Polish farmer. Most Poles stood by and silently watched the destruction of the jews without shedding a tear. A significant number took part in the mass destruction by identifying the jews to the Nazis and by hunting them down in their hiding places and helping round them up and guard them. Once the jews were gone, who do you think took over their possessions?
Yes, the truth is very painful to both the perpetrators and the victims. But it must be told. The survivors won't be with us for much longer. All we'll be left with are their testimonies, and the history books. The facts speak for themselves. Read them and weep. And let's make sure it never happens again.
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