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Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust Paperback – 1 Mar 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Lantern Books,US (Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930051999
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930051997
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Charles Patterson expands on Isaac Bashevis Singer's analogy that "for the animals, it is an eternal Treblinka." -- Publishers Weekly, November 26, 2001

From the Author

While in New York doing graduate work at Columbia University, I became close friends with a German Jewish refugee, traumatized by her experience of living in Nazi Germany for six years. Her story moved me deeply, so I took courses and read extensively to learn more. Yuri Suhl, author of They Fought Back: The Story of the Jewish Resistance in Nazi Europe, and Lucjan Dobroszycki of the YIVO Institute of Jewish Research, editor of The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, 1941-1944, were especially helpful.

Later when I became a history teacher and looked for, but could not find, a book on the background of the Holocaust suitable for my students, I wrote Anti-Semitism: The Road to the Holocaust and Beyond to fill the gap. The summer after its publication I attended the Yad Vashem Institute for Holocaust Education in Jerusalem, where I learned more from Yehuda Bauer, David Bankier, Robert Wistrich, and other Holocaust scholars. Back in the United States, I began reviewing books for Martyrdom and Resistance, a bimonthly now published by the International Society of Yad Vashem.

My awareness of the scope of our society's exploitation and slaughter of animals has been a more recent development. I grew up and spent most of my adult life oblivious to the extent to which our society is built on institutionalized violence against animals. For a long time it never occurred to me to challenge or even question it. The late AIDS and animal activist Steven Simmons described the attitude behind animal exploitation as follows: "Animals are innocent casualties of the world view that asserts that some lives are more valuable than others, that the powerful are entitled to exploit the powerless, and that the weak must be sacrificed for the greater good." Once I realized this was the same attitude behind the Holocaust, I began to see the connections that are the subject of this book.

I am dedicating the book to the great Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-91), who was the first major writer to focus on the "Nazi" way we treat animals. The first two parts of the book (Chapters 1-5) put the issue in historical perspective, while the last part (Chapters 6-8) profiles people--Jewish and German--whose animal advocacy has been, at least to some extent, shaped by the Holocaust.

The conviction of Albert Camus that "it is a writer's responsibility to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves" helped me persevere through the writing of this book. And when it looked as if I might never find a publisher brave enough to publish it (some said the book was "too strong"), I took comfort from Franz Kafka's view: "I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn't shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So it can make us happy? Good God, we'd be just as happy if we had no books at all....A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us."

If the issue of the exploitation and slaughter of animals moves to center stage in the twenty-first century the way the issue of human slavery did in America in the nineteenth century--and I think it will--my hope is that this book will be in the thick of the debate.

-- from the Preface

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is the most amazing book I've ever read in my life.
It's a life changing book, and I don'y think it's possible to remain the same after reading Patterson's work.
It's a master piece among all books that analyse the humans - animals relationship and the animal rights issue.
After reading Eternal Treblinka It's easy to understand why Isaac B. Singer wrote that " when it comes to animals all men are Nazis. For them it's an Eternal Treblinka."
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This book needs to be read, as the title may give the impression that it is based on the simple philosophy of "animals are just like humans and what we do to them is just like what Hitler did during the holocaust". Instead, Charles Patterson, gives a detailed and rigidly referenced account of the history of animal agriculture and the DIRECT links it has with the holocaust. This book seriously could change the world, if it was widely spread. I have leant it to meat eaters who have been interested in the title, and everyone who has read it has turned vegetarian. What I like most about this book is the way the author doesn't really seem to become emotionally attached to the work, which allows for an "unattackable" critique of the commercial animal industry. This book should be in schools. Also, anybody who is considering buying this book might want to watch the film "earthlings", which you can view for free online.
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When I first saw the title of this book I thought, "that looks harrowing" and I almost gave it a miss, but seeing the reviews it was difficult to resist.

The subject matter is so profound, mans relationship with animals, and the dysfunctional nature of that relationship; presented with great clarity and authority, it challenges centuries of conditioning and blindness to the truth.

Others talk about this book as "life changing" and it is nothing less. Anyone who reads this book will experience a revelation in their attitude towards animals, humanity and the repetition of evil historic events.

Masterpiece is no overstatement, read it!
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Coherently written book, setting forward connections between right wing 'thought' and the oppression against non-human species. An important book for anyone wavering about living a vegan lifestyle, or for those who want confirmation of their lifestyle and reasons to put to those who wish to continue being part of an oppressive, often hidden killing machine. It imparts an important message.
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This is a thoughtful, compassionate, relatively horrifying book. Survivors of the Holocaust and their descendents draw detailed, specific, sickening parallels with the way we treat slaughter animals. The first half of the book examines the rise industrialized slaughterhouse in the USA, and how they shifted the context in how we treat creatures labeled as subhumans. The second half gives stories of Jews and other people in Germany, the USA or Israel who were moved by the Holocaust's horrors to become lifelong defenders of animal rights.

The book's note of moral anguish is quite incontestable, but the book doesn't really go further to explore a workable alternative vision. Clearly in nature, all creatures are kept in balance through a circle of predation. But predation does not require the transformation of farming and hunting into industrialized mass murder, where living creatures are reduced to products on an assembly line. Beyond that, we are fools to target whole species of undesired creatures for extermination through chemical or other weapons. We can treat our ecological community better than that.
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Information is what dictates our choices. This book gives it. It's up to us to make the choice. The title is shocking for some. Yet those are just words. It is not the title nor the words that are shocking. It is reality. I definitely recomend not only this book, but also to view it with your own eyes. Go to a factory farm, pretend you want a job. You will understand even better what this book is trying to make us understand.
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This book shook my world up and left me changed as a human. I can't give a book higher praise than that.
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