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A people forsaken,
This review is from: Auschwitz and the Allies (Hardcover)
This thoroughly documented and deeply disturbing book is divided into three parts. The Final Solution includes the chapters Hitler's Pledge, Warnings And Forebodings, Britain's Dilemma, Evidence And Omissions, Rescue and Refuge, Eyewitness and This Bestial Policy. Part Two: Hope And Hopelessness includes Warsaw And Bermuda, The Spread Of Nazi Power and The German Occupation Of Hungary. Part Three: Auschwitz revealed, includes inter alia, Escape From Auschwitz, Zionism At Bay, The Deportations From Hungary, The End Of Auschwitz and the Epilogue.
The book is painful to read as it chronicles the history of the Shoah from the earliest warnings of Hitler's intentions through the war, the doomed attempts of many individuals and organisations to rescue the Jews, the indifference and the excuses given by certain officials on the Allied side, and the actions, good and bad, of occupied and neutral countries. Although the book does not focus on personal experiences in the holocaust, there are some examples of unspeakable horror that the sensitive reader had best avoid.
The author ascribes the extent of the tragedy and the failure to do more as failures of imagination, of response, of intelligence, co-ordination and of sympathy. To me the most shocking revelations are those where policymakers used the excuse that they were afraid of flooding Palestine and the UK with Jewish refugees. Or maybe even worse, those who claimed that the reports coming out of Europe were exaggerated. Another incredible show of indifference was the refusal of the Allies to bomb Auschwitz, while their planes were overflying the accursed place to drop supplies on Warsaw for the Polish uprising.
Here and there one finds some glimpses of righteous action, for example Bulgaria, an Axis ally that nevertheless managed to protect its Jews from the worst. But overall, one is left with a feeling of utter despair at the way the events unfolded and the frustration that Zionist leaders must have endured in trying to save their doomed people. It is chilling to read how countries like Switzerland refused to accommodate refugees and how every obstacle was placed in the way of orphaned children trying to reach Israel. The world looked on and it still does. Since then, we have witnessed Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya and Darfur.
The book contains 16 pages of black and white plates and 20 maps. It concludes with biographical notes and a thorough index. For more information and background on the horror and the indifference, I recommend A History of the Jews by Paul Johnson, Christian Antisemitism by William Nicholls and The Contract of Mutual Indifference by Norman Geras. For a disturbing glimpse on possible future developments, please see Never Again? and The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control by Abraham Foxman, The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It by Phyllis Chesler and The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and Liberal Opinion by Bernard Harrison.