Andrew Ezergailis. Never as in this case, it appears appropriate to associate an author with his book and vice versa. In some way, by dealing with this dramatic matter, it seems that the Author - a Latvian native - had wanted to pay off a debt not of his own: a debt that the Latvian nation had contract with its Jewish community, erased by the Genocide.
And for doing so, in order to reconstruct the history of those terrible years, he traces a totally innovative way. Ezergailis' work in fact, can be considered the archetype of the so-called regional studies, the avant-garde and model for a group of excellent essays that, in the subsequent years, would have focused the historical research on the various local realities of the occupied Europe. In this way, as Hilberg had someway already anticipated, the attention of the historians is shifted from the victims to the perpetrators, through the in-depth analysis of the Nazi genocidal universe, seen in its historical, structural and organizational dynamics. We are talking about an up-to-date method of research, that goes beyond those countless diaries and memoirs published in the post-war period, that had a great emotional impact but that were tendentially lacking of an overall view.
It's quite obvious that, also in Ezergailis', the Jewish Genocide is and remains the main subject of the research: however, this is done through a reversed perspective, focused on the perpetrators, which are brought before the bar of the history, through the analysis of their operational and ideological context. And in this virtual Court, in a role of judge and jury, the reader assists to the production of the evidences that the Author - as a Public Prosecutor - provides plentiful and detailed.
And in this book of Ezergailis there are many evidences, facts and documents. The Genocide of the latvian Jews is "rediscovered" in detail, with a particular attention paid to the role of the local collaborators, whose names are listed at the end of the book; the structure of the Sichereitspolizei is described, as well as the aims and the Nazi occupation and extermination policies in Latvia; the social context is depicted, and the pernicious anti-semitic substratum - that already before the war had corrupted some local political movements - is also historicized. But above all, the Author describes the tragedy of Rumbula, in which also units of the Ordnungspolizei were involved.
Well, just the massacre of Rumbula can be considered the core of this book, the literal dead end of a genocidal path, symbolic moment of the erasing of the Jewish community of Latvia.
All that and more, is narrated in this book. That we love.