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Holocaust Journey: Traveling in Search of the Past Hardcover – 3 Oct 1997


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (3 Oct 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231109644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231109642
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 0.6 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,744,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Gilbert... is a dedicated guide to this difficult material. We can be grateful for his thoroughness, courage and guidance. Los Angeles Times Book Review The achievement of Gilbert's Holocaust Journey is to reduce to comprehensible, human terms, the scale of genocide that to many is still unimaginable. Literary Review (UK) A powerfully moving narrative that reveals the deepest thoughts and feelings of 13 travelers during the summer of 1996... Without overpowering his readers, [Gilbert] juxtaposes the histories of the places visited with descriptions of what they look like today. The overall effect is to make the past live by transferring it to the present, where it can be handled and evaluated anew. America A travelogue, spanning two weeks, of the essential sites of the Holocaust, by the venerable historian and author of many books... [Gilbert] guides one of his classes on an extraordinary field trip... He lectures at the most significant sights--of desecrated synagogues, book burnings, and gas chambers... To these moving testaments Gilbert here adds the voices of his fellow travelers, both Jews and non-Jews, who draw closer as the trip progresses and they relive the terrible history... The very best book for any Jew, or any human being, planning the same soul-searching trip. Kirkus Reviews

Book Description

A diary of a world famous historian and his student group's journey to the key Holocaust sites: their reflections and impressions set against the history and geography of a twentieth-century catastrophe. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steven Fligelstone on 8 Feb 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an extraordinary book and one from which almost any reader - irrespective of their level (or lack) or prior knowledge will acquire a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust and its continuing impact. In 1996, Holocaust authority (and Churchill biographer) Gilbert accompanied a group of students (mixed faith, mixed experience, some with considerable expertise of their own) on a tour of the death camps and killing fields of the Second World War (although going no further East than Poland). It was a punishing schedule by any standards - virtually every night spent in a different place - to say nothing of the emotional energy expended on visiting six death camps, key locations in Berlin, numerous Nazi-erected ghettos and the former domiciles of countless vanished Jewish communities. Approaching the subject through place - whether death camp, ghetto, town or rail track - and accompanying the two-week long trip with a wealth of apposite readings - recollections, historical accounts, political speeches and so on, most of them included in the book - lend the facts an immediacy not easily achieved with this subject matter. This immediacy is conveyed superbly in the book, through a combination of skilful writing, diary-like reconstruction of the trip, and occasional and poignant - but not overbearing - personal reflection. Contrasts with Gilbert's previous visit to some of the places in 1980, ongoing controversies and policy shifts over monuments, and conversations en route with people unconnected to the group add further interest to the book.

The book is equally valuable for anyone planning to undertake such a trip themselves, anyone who has already done so, or indeed anyone who has no such intention. Just as the members of the group were undoubtedly grateful to Gilbert for agreeing to organize the trip (it was not his idea) so I found myself profoundly appreciative of the fact that he took the trouble to write it up for the benefit of others.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By SJ SMART on 1 Feb 2007
Format: Paperback
I first came across this book when I was on a tour of Krakow and Auschwitz on a history teachers tour. The Travel guide often quoted from it when we reached various sights in Krakow. I found it very interesting and when I returned to the UK I bought my own copy.

Its an interesting fusion of history and travel writing, in that we discover details of the holocaust as we travel across Europe with Gilbert's group.

As the other reviewers have pointed out its packed full of info about the holocaust and the camps and I found it very interesting and moving.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Philip Bedford on 31 Dec 2010
Format: Hardcover
Martin Gilbert is a master historian; the chronocle of this journey with mature students, to the many famously infamous sites with their links to the holocaust that was wrought by Hitler's anger and the willingness of his supporters, is a remarkable piece of writing.

The movement between the present and the events of the actions taken against the Jewish peoples of Europe follow in seemless interchanges of tone and mood so as to lead the reader into those images and sounds that the author presents. A constant delight is the way we are told that such and such a person, or such and such an action was here; putting the metaphorical 'Kilroy was here' before the reader. References to the related acoounts accompany each narrative so that referrences can be checked, and the original accounts read.

Personal stories of Martin Gilbert's grandparents, and biographical accounts of the experiences of Ben Helfgott and his family are recounted with honest clarity. These are put into context by the nature of the trip's organisation. We start in London and are taken, sometimes in tears, to the far east of Poland. Nor is the present reality of anti-semitism glossed over as the group is confronted by modern attitudes both amongst local bus drivers and Polish youth.

Some of the extracts used by the teacher to inform his students are not at all for the faint-hearted. Anyone with a sense of moral understanding will find parts almost unbearably inhuman, and yet we cannot ignore the facts. Martin Gilbert set out to add the reality to the facts learned by his students in a heart-wrenching journey that some did not complete.

The addage that many holocaust survivors have brought with them from those awful times and fearsome places is, 'Tell them!' This book surely begins the telling.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Feb 2002
Format: Paperback
This thought provoking guide of the experiences of those who suffered during the Holocaust in the style of a guided tour of the main places and routes which were central to the events which took place at that time, is a reminder of the impact which it had on the whole of Europe. Coupled with individual stories and experiences, this book makes for an interesting and compelling read and is highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Levy on 20 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
This is arguably the finest of all of Martin Gilbert's many books about the Holocaust. The unusual format of a travel diary enables him to bring out fully the history of each of the locations (in Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland), supported by a powerful selection of readings which are reproduced here. It is also fascinating to discover the reactions of the members of the group and of the people they meet along the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C S on 27 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i cant find wors to describe how this book affected me. i still think about it. it is very very sad . it is very well written and informative. everybody should read this.
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