on 4 June 2008
Martin Gilbert is possibly the most prolific historian on the history of the holocaust.
In this volume gilbert has compiled 316 maps, together with a commentary t o illustrate the scope of the horror that took place between 1941 and 1945.
He begins by tracing the history of anti-Semitic violence in Europe, with maps and history of anti-Jewish violence before the First World War, and anti-Jewish violence in Europe between 1918 and 1932.
One fascinating map details the two thousand year history of Jewish life in Europe by 1933, explaining how long Jews had lived in each country in Europe covered.
Gilbert painstakingly covers each region of Europe and North Africa, where Jews were targeted, interend and murdered. He details the greater massacres and the lesser known killings.
He also outlines the countries to which German Jewish refugees were recieved.
From Germany between 1933 and 1938, 500 000 Jews emigrated or fled abroad, including more than 33 000 to the then 'Palestine', where they joined tens of thousands of recent Jewish immigrants from Poland.
After the war, 200 000 survivors of the camps emigrated to "Palestine".
Hence descendants of refugees from Nazism and holocaust survivors make up a substantial part of Israel's population today.
Gilbert does not spare the horror when he describes the random killing and anti-Jewish pogroms, the anti-Jewish measures taken in different countries, the forcing of Jews into ghettos, the deliberate starvation of Jews in these ghettos, the deportations and death camps, the slave labout systems and the mass killings.
This is a very comprehensive digest, and although there were so many whose names have not been recorded, Gilbert does record the names, ages and places of birth of some holocaust victims whose cases he examines.
He also details lesser known locations of the Nazi persecution, such as the fate of Jews in Morocco, LIbya and Tunisia under Nazi/Axis occupation during this period.
Ever period is intensely covered, as is every geographic region where Jews suffered and died.
Several maps detail the cases of some of the children deported to from various places in Europe, and from various countries, such as maps showing the names, ages and places from which several children were deported from France.
We wonder about the lives and cruel deaths of the precious children whose ages and names we see, but whom we know little else about.
The atlas is supplemented about 40 , sometimes very graphic photographs, and two important maps are placed at the end of the book estimated how many Jews from each country were murdered during the holocaust, and how many Jews returned to their countries of birth after the war.
Always keeping the human touch and concern for each individual victim and survivor, Gilbert provides the stories of three of several children who survived and were taken to the children's home at Ulm: Idel Levitan, Renja Fraum and Zlata Tauber-with their photographs.
Gilbert succeeds as always with combining the recording of the larger events, with a ground eye view.