The Holocaust

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v­=GPpEQuatcTUfeature=related

Amazing, must see! Hitler admits his goal is the eradication of Jews from Europe and the fostering of anti-semitism. Note the antisemite comments that echo his every word.

Rudolf Hoess wrote in his autobiography that Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann and his deputy were the only ones who knew the total number of Jews that were gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau because Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had ordered the records to be burned after every special action. The Nazis always used code words when talking about the genocide of the Jews: a mass gassing was called a “special action.”

The IBM Hollerith punch cards kept by the Germans for the Jews, Russians and Gypsies, who were registered in the camp and later killed in the gas chambers, were coded as F-6 for “special treatment” or as “evacuations” according to Edwin Black, the author of “IBM and the Holocaust.” The code for “execution” was D-4.
=====

July 20th, we should honor Klaus Von Stauffenberg, who gave his life after trying to Kill Hitler.

Stauffenberg had decided in 1942 that he must try to help overthrow Hitler. He had attempted throughout the summer of 1942 to persuade senior commanders to move against Hitler, and he had declared in September 1942 that he himself was prepared to kill Hitler. In 1943, he only agreed to join in conspiracy with the civilian side of the German Resistance, including Wilhelm Canaris, Carl Goerdeler, Julius Leber, Ulrich Hassell, Hans Oster, Henning von Tresckow, Fabian von Schlabrendorff , Peter Graf Yorck von Wartenburg, Ludwig Beck, and Erwin von Witzleben in what became known as the July Plot. *

my comment: Unfortunately the entire assassination plot failed. Rommel also was implicated in the plot, although it is still argued how much influence he had in it. He committed suicide rather than have his family be executed by the Nazis.

*http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Stauffenberg.html
=========================================================

In 2006, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said: “Remembering is a necessary rebuke to those who say the Holocaust never happened or has been exaggerated. Holocaust denial is the work of bigots; we must reject their false claims whenever, wherever and by whomever they are made.”

1925, Adolf Hitler, writing in Mein Kampf, defined ‘The Big Lie’. He called it a lie so enormous that people “…would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

muse.jhu.edu/journals/holocaust_and_genocide_studies/summary/v018/18.1keren.html

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/holocaust/timeprint.html
useful timeline of the Holocaust

“The final solution to the Jewish question” at a conference in Wannsee Germany. The transcript of this gathering on January 20, 1942 , as they devised the salient details of their future destruction, including using extermination through labor as one component of their so-called “Final Solution”:

Under proper leadership, the Jews shall now in the course of the Final Solution be suitably brought to their work assignments in the East. Able-bodied Jews are to be lead to these areas to build roads in large work columns separated by sex, during which a large part will undoubtedly drop out through a process of natural reduction. As it will undoubtedly represent the most robust portion, the possible final remainder will have to be handled appropriately, as it would constitute a group of naturally-selected individuals, and would form the seed of a new Jewish resistance.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Heinrich_Himmler_and_Gudrun_Burwitz.jpg
Himmler family outing to a concentration camp

http://holocaustcontroversiesblogspot.com/2008/04/liepaja.html

“Liepaja LATVIA therefore gives us a further demonstration of the bankruptcy of Holocaust denial. To deny that the Nazis deliberately killed women and children from Liepaja, deniers have to ignore the existence of a handwritten diary by the SS and Police Chief, photographs taken by a perpetrator who was tried in a West German court, a census that the Nazis carried out two months after they invaded Latvia, and residential data collected by the Nazis in 1942, showing that many of the people in earlier censuses had been killed. Such denial can only be a deliberate blindness to evidence of
genocide.”

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jun/24/jews-poles-nazis-terrible-history/

*Evidence favors the summer of 1941 for the real beginning of the Holocaust. Then *Christopher Browning is right, not Longerich.

It was in that final week of August 1941 that the German “Final Solution” was taking on its final form: mass murder. Two days before the hangings at Wierzbnik, the Germans had completed their first truly large-scale murder of Jews, shooting some 23,600 people at Kamianets-Podil’s’kyi in occupied Soviet Ukraine

http://www.post-gazette.com/pgy;/07009/752245-51.stm
survivor
speaks out

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/me;dia_ph.php?MediaId=832
Liberation

Shame of Dresden
Chicago Sun-Times; Mar 3, 1992; Art Shay
…March 27, 1945, the day we overran the Nordhausen launch base of Wernher von Braun and his SS co-commander, General Hans Kammler, they had launched 6,268 V-2s that had taken 2,778 British and another 1,500 Belgian, French and Dutch lives…

http://www.garnernews.net/view;/full_story/8768645/article-Nazi-atrocities-hard-to-comprehend?instance=home_news_lead
US Soldier was a witness ; powerful read

According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, the 90,000 indictments brought against accused Nazi criminals between 1949 and 1985 in Germany brought only 7,000 convictions. “Just because the people were not [Heinrich] Himmler doesn’t mean they should not be brought to justice,” said Efraim Zuroff, the center’s chief Nazi hunter.

90,000 inditements: 7,000 guilty convictions.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World;/2009/0512/p06s15-wogn.html/(page)/2

Imagine you have 100 suspected of murder. Let’s say 10 are found ‘not guilty’. So that’s still 7 convicted, 83 who walked away. Now multiply that by a thousand.
=================
http://joedresch.wordpress.com/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1142824/Nazi-women-exposed-bit-bad-Hitlers-deranged-male-followers.html

http://www.worldlingo.com/ma/enwiki/en/Ex-Nazi_Party_members

—————

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/jan/01/secondworldwar.politics
Winny

http://www.amazon.com/Holocaust-Bullets-Priests-Journey-Uncover/dp/0230617573/ref=pd_sim_b_1#_
Holocaust in Ukraine

http://isurvived.org/TOC-I.html#Treblinka
Take a look at these images of the Holocaust , then read the Deniers if you can stomach it

http://hnn.us/articles/1414.html
Leader of Palestinians wrote Holocaust denial . Abbas.

^ “… the German bureaucrats’ collective actions are relatively well-documented for the historian…” Christopher R. Browning, The Path to Genocide: essays on launching the final solution, Cambridge University Press, 1992, ISBN 0-521-55878-6, p. 125.

^ “According to the historian Raul Hilberg, the United States alone captured forty thousand linear feet of documents on the murder of European Jews… we can say that the Holocaust is a uniquely well-documented historical event.” Deák, István. Essays on Hitler’s Europe, University of Nebraska Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8032-1716-1, p. 67

http://jlue.wordpress.com/

U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband, whose family lost some of its members to the Holocaust, is quoted as saying the commemoration was “nauseating”. He was joined in criticizing the march by both Ephraim Zuroff of The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a U.S.-headquartered Jewish human rights organization, and Nils Usakovs, the mayor of Riga

Last year, for instance, Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party (which until this past February only accepted whites as members), boasted on prime-time television that his party was the only one that “stood foursquare behind Israel’s right to deal with Hamas terrorists” during Operation Cast Lead.

This was, presumably, part of his ongoing effort to gain electoral respectability by distancing himself and his party from their history of anti-Semitism. (Griffin once called the Shoah the “HoloHoax.”)
—————

http://archives.cbc.ca/war_conflict/war_crimes/topics/1435-9267/
Video footage of Nazi helper caught

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/jewish-holocaust-facts.html
By 1942, the Allies knew of the ‘Final Solution’ and the exact plan to murder Europe’s Jewish population, including the existence of the concentration camps –

From intercepted German police and SS reports and dispatches.
*Chilean dispatch:
From an intercepted memo by the Chilean Diplomat, Gonzalo Montt Rivas, informing his superiors about a German decree that revoked the citizenship of German Jews who lived abroad or had escaped abroad and seized their property and money. According to Rivas, this decree would richen the Reich and help ‘solve’ the problem of Jews in Europe. Written in Spanish, the English translation of this memo was in Allied hands by 20 March 1942.

From eyewitness accounts from escaped Jews and by members of the Jewish and Polish underground; particularly, in May 1942, from reports by the Jewish Socialist Bund party in the Warsaw Ghetto.

From a detailed report presented by the Polish courier Jan Karski.

He traveled to London in November 1942, and met with the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, William Cavendish-Bentinck, and informed him about the mass murder of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto and the Belzec camp.

Report by Jan Nowak-Jezioranski, in December 1943, about the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto.

From successfully breaking Germany’s Enigma code and decoding German messages. The UK knew, for example, about the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz in October 1943
———————————————-
The following excerpt is from the deposition originally given to the British by Hoess:

In 1941 the first intakes of Jews came from Slovakia and Upper Silesia. People unfit to work were gassed in a room of the crematorium in accordance with an order which Himmler gave me personally.

**I was ordered to see Himmler in Berlin in June 1941 and he told me, approximately, the following:

The Fuhrer ordered the solution of the Jewish question in Europe. A few so called Vernichtungslager (extermination camps) exist in the General Goverment:

Belzec near Rawa Ruska Ost Polen

Treblinka near Malkinia on the River Bug

Wolzek near Lublin (he means Sobibor)

The Buna Works (Auschwitz)
————-

Affidavit Copy of Document NI-11696, Prosecution Exhibit 1462

COWARD: “….Everyone to whom I spoke gave the same story – the people in the city of Auschwitz, the SS men, concentration camp inmates, foreign workers – everyone said that thousands of people were being gassed and cremated at Auschwitz, and that the inmates who worked with us and who were unable to continue working because of their physical condition and were suddenly missing, had been sent to the gas chambers. The inmates who were selected to be gassed went through the procedure of preparing for a bath, they stripped their clothes off, and walked into the bathing room. Instead of showers, there was gas. All the camp knew it. All the civilian population knew it. I mixed with the civilian population at Auschwitz. I was at Auschwitz nearly every day…Nobody could live in Auschwitz and work in the plant, or even come down to the plant without knowing what was common knowledge to everybody. Even while still at Auschwitz we got radio broadcasts from the outside speaking about the gassings and burnings at Auschwitz. I recall one of these broadcasts was by Anthony Eden himself. Also, there were pamphlets dropped in Auschwitz and the surrounding territory, one of which I personally read, which related what was going on in the camp at Auschwitz. These leaflets were scattered all over the countryside and must have been dropped from planes. They were in Polish and German. Under those circumstances, nobody could be at or near Auschwitz without knowing what was going on.”[…]

=========
August comments:

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007299

Majdanek or Maidanek camp. Also referred to as “Lublin” camp on the Hoefle telegram. One of the four “Action Reinhard” camps.

The number of deaths at this camp and its subcamps is uncertain as of now. However, the US Holocaust Museum acknowledges it was over 110,000 deaths. Poles and Russians were also incarcerated there. The Nazis murdered at least 20,000 Jews in a few days there in 1943 November.

It’s sad but during this past week , the museum at Majdanek suffered a suspicious fire in the night. Today the US Congress offered to spend 15 million dollars to help keep Auschwitz-Birkenau upgraded. I hope they will also get Germany to take responsibility for Lublin-Majdanek camps.
===============

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005424

Theresienstadt, a Czech-located camp in which the Nazis let at least 33,000 people die, including children. About 88,000 people died who had been incarcerated at this camp; most were sent to Auschwitz and other extermination camps. The Nazis allowed thousands to die of typhus and starvation at this camp they used to ‘show ‘ to the Int’l Red Cross in 1944.

Hildegard Neumann, one of the female guards, was never found, and thus escaped from justice (b. 1919). She’d be 91 or so, if alive.
========

Q: how did the Nazis refer to these camps?

“Concentration camps”, in some instances : such as “Majdanek Concentration Camp”. It was a mixed-labor and death camp.

I found that the Nazis may not have used the terms ‘death camp’ (todeslager) or ‘extermination camp ‘ (Vernichtungslager) – which was used by Rudolf Hoess after he had been captured.
Instead they used such codes as : Sterbelager, dying camp – for those inmates who were not expected to recover anymore.

The official designation of Treblinka was “SS-Sonderkommando Treblinka”. (special units)

Also: (transit camp) Durchgangslager

— used to refer to Sobibor in ** Himmler’s letter in 5.7.1943 and in **Pohl’s reply to that letter. In other sources it was called for example “Sonderlager Sobibor” (Special Camp).
Of course, Sobibor was not a ‘transit camp’ for it led to nowhere. The trains returned to Germany filled with the murdered prisoners’ gold teeth, money and possessions.

Belzec, once called Judenlager (Jews camp)
or “Lager des SS-Grenzsicherung-Baukommandos” (border security camp of the forest commandos), and there was also a Zigeunerlager (gypsy camp). Also some camps were referred to as a work camp : Arbeitslager.

http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/ar/sobibor/docs/sobibor%20way%20bill.jpg

Sobibor had many different names in official German correspondence: SS-Lager, Sonderlager, Durchgangslager, or just Lager (camp).

Zwangsarbeitlager, means: forced labor camp

==========

http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/holocaust/h-statistics.htm

These are old numbers of how many Jews died in the Holocaust (estimated). It was more than 1.1 million Jews of the Soviet Union (excluding three Baltic states) who died in the Holocaust, as proved by Father Desbois’ recent book on the ‘Holocaust by bullets’ in the Ukraine.

Hence it may be more than six million Jews who died in the Holocaust.

=====

June 12, 1944 – Rosenberg orders Hay Action, the kidnapping of 40,000 Polish children aged ten to fourteen for slave labor in the Reich

http://www.worldfuturefund.org­/wffmaster/Reading/Germany/Him­mlerspeeches.htm

May 24,1944, Heinrich Himmler speech admits Holocaust in graphic detail to the Generals.

www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/education/books/auschwitz_pr­ocess.asp
book on Auschwitz trial in Germany

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v­=OPvV4WPwlyg
BBC, “Fatal Attraction of Adolf Hitler”. This one is pretty interesting. There’s a better one put out by BBC called “the making of Adolf Hitler”, which shows his early career as a bike messenger in the Great War.

The Death Marches
In January 1945, Auschwitz ceased operation. This did not mean, however, that the Germans abandonded their program to exterminate the Jews. Himmler ordered the evacuation of the 700 000 remaining inmates of camps across Europe, and in the freezing cold of winter, the so-called Death Marches began. These marches were as much a technique of killing as they were a means of moving people. Anyone who could move was forced to march. One third perished from starvation, exhaustion, exposure, disease and the summary shooting of any who fell by the wayside. Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer estimates that about half of those who perished in the Death Marches were Jews. Further, there was a trial of murderers of Jews on a death march to Mauthausen, Austria.

http://www.holocaust.com.au/lb­/deathmarches.html

To clarify: the meaning of ‘death march” did not mean that everyone in the march would die along the way. Thousands of prisoners , not all Jews, did die along the way. Some died of hunger, cold, disease, and others were shot by the guards, including women guards. In that sense, these were ‘death marches’. The survivors who arrived at ‘labor camps’, were gradually left to die from the same cold, hunger, disease and overwork as they had experienced at Auschwitz and other camps.

“Under proper leadership, the Jews shall now in the course of the Final Solution be suitably brought to their work assignments in the East. Able-bodied Jews are to be lead to these areas to build roads in large work columns separated by sex, during which a large part will undoubtedly drop out through a process of natural reduction.” (Wannsee)

There were no work facilities at Treblinka, and the other “Action Reinhard” camps. These were not ‘transit camps to the East.’ They led to nowhere. Indeed, Jews were sent from the east of Poland west to Treblinka, disproving the notion that it was a transit camp for “resettlement to the East”, which was a Nazi euphemism for mass murder.
=========

http://holocaustcontroversies.­blogspot.com/2008/08/wehrmacht­-complicity-in-holocaust-in.ht­ml
How complicit was the Wehrmacht in the Holocaust?
Among German historians, the deep involvement of the Wehrmacht in war crimes, particularly on the Eastern Front, became widely accepted in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Public awareness in Germany has been lagging behind – as exemplified by controversial and often emotionally charged reactions to an exhibition on these issues in the mid-1990s [1] British recordings of captured German generals and other senior officers, all without their knowledge or even suspicion. The 64,427 conversations have been recorded by British secret service in POW camps. Most of the officers, up to High Command knew about Holocaust and atrocities against Russians, Poles, Gypsies and others targeted by Nazi Germany[3], in the opinon of reviewers, the research finally dispels the myth of lack of knowledge among Wehrmacht regarding genocide made by Germany in WW2.
In conclusion, therefore, Wehrmacht documentation poses another problem for Holocaust deniers. There is simply so much of this material, found across a range of archives, which converges on one conclusion, that the number of people that a ‘conspiracy’ would have required becomes even more absurd to contemplate. The Wehrmacht is a massive source of contemporary perpetrator information that leaves no doubt that a genocide was being committed in the USSR. ” (ibid)
===========

——————
Why did the Nazis wait to blow up the facilities at Auschwitz? They had been burning documents incriminating them. They may not have realized until too late that the Red Army was on their tail. The fact that they removed some of the crematoria at Majdanek, indicates their fears; since there were still living prisoners in the camp, they might have needed the crematoria that winter ; so why remove them- if not to hide the Nazi’s guilt?

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/ar­ticle.php?ModuleId=10005131
Liberation of the camps by the Allied armies.

http://www.cambridge.org/uk/ca­talogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=978­0521844062&ss=ind
Auschwitz Trials in post-war W. Germany

Holocaust: acknowledgment of by trial participants, 161; criminal motives for, 229; death toll of, 280; distortion of historical complexity of by press coverage, 286; diversity of motives for, 294–96; economic motives for, 141, 152, 211; and German criminal law, 2, 53, 54, 55, 78, 103, 111, 244–45, 298, 300; historical survey of in Nazi trials, 144; ideological motives for, 294; illegality of, 229, 230; ineffability of, 163; legal interpretation of, 229, 244–45; memorialization of, 185; as Nazi policy, 230; origins of term, 250; role of anti-Semitism in, 78, 199, 201, 206, 275, 295; social causes of, 79; systematic nature of, 56, 78, 111–12, 298; trivialization of by nationalist press, 280

Krüger (1894-1945), Friedrich-Wilhelm , Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, [online], published on 18 March 2009, accessed 1 September 2010, URL : http://www.massviolence.org/Kruger-1894-1945-Friedrich-Wilhelm, ISSN 1961-9898

Son of an officer, he was a member of the Lützow Freikorps. He became member of the Nazi party in 1929, of the SA in 1930 and of the SS in 1931. In 1939, he cumulated the functions of supreme head of the police and the SS (HSSPF) in Cracow and of responsible for security in the General Government (May 1942). He was appointed in this latest function when systematic mass killing of Jews in the districts of Lublin and Galicia were extended to all districts of the General Government. This is when the death centers Sobibor and Treblinka were created while Belzec was momentarily closed in order to improve its capacities for mass murder. On June 3, 1942, Krüger received the confirmation of his nomination. He was also informed about his new mission: handle all “Jewish affairs” (Judenangelegenheiten). On June 18, 1942, in Lublin, Himmler met Krüger and Globocnik, the coordinator of the Reinhard Operation. During the meeting, they discussed the extermination operations and Krüger received the order to keep an eye on the resettlement process. Himmler asked him to complete it before the end of the year. Krüger used the police and the SS to evacuate Jews from the ghettos. In June, for example, a first action was organized against the ghetto of Tarnow. Krüger ordered the local SD (security police) to “clean” (*ethnic cleansing of) the ghetto. The SD leant upon the Waffen SS and other *German units. The second action took place on July 24, 1942. Jews who were not killed on the premises were deported to Belzec. The last action ended on September 12 and all Jews were then deported to Belzec. The liquidation of the ghetto of Tarnow was operated in August 1943 under Wilhelm Koppe’s direction (he was Krüger’s successor). Krüger coordinated the operation Harvest Festival. In October 1943, Himmler ordered the SS (with the help of a commando coming from Auschwitz) to eliminate all Jews coming from the labor camps of Trawniki, Poniatowa, Majadanek and other smaller camps located in the Lublin district that were considered as provisory. When the Warsaw ghetto was liquidated in April-May 1943, the SS general Stroop reported first to Krüger about the events. Although Krüger had proved his efficiency in killing operations, he lost his function in November 1943 because of a conflict between Himmler and Hans Frank. He was appointed to the command of a SS division in Yugoslavia. He committed suicide in May 1945 [Krueger].

http://www.massviolence.org/Kruger-1894-1945-Friedrich-Wilhelm
FRIEDLÄNDER, S., 2008, L’Allemagne nazie et les Juifs. Tome 2, Les années d’extermination, 1939-1945, Paris : Le Seuil.

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. By Timothy Snyder. Basic Books; 524 pages; $29.95. Bodley Head; £20. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

“IN THE middle of the 20th century Europe’s two totalitarian empires, Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, killed 14m non-combatants, in peacetime and in war. The who, why, when, where and how of these mass murders is the subject of a gripping and comprehensive new book by Timothy Snyder of Yale University.

The term coined in the book’s title encapsulates the thesis. The “bloodlands” are the stretch of territory from the Baltic to the Black Sea where Europe’s most murderous regimes did their most murderous work. The bloodlands were caught between two fiendish projects: Adolf Hitler’s ideas of racial supremacy and eastern expansion, and the Soviet Union’s desire to remake society according to the communist template. That meant shooting, starving and gassing those who didn’t fit in. Just as Stalin blamed the peasants for the failure of collectivisation, Hitler blamed the Jews for his military failures in the east. As Mr Snyder argues, “Hitler and Stalin thus shared a certain politics of tyranny: they brought about catastrophes, blamed the enemy of their choice, and then used the death of millions to make the case that their policies were necessary or desirable. Each of them had a transformative Utopia, a group to be blamed when its realisation proved impossible, and then a policy of mass murder that could be proclaimed as a kind of ersatz victory.”

Mr Snyder’s book is revisionist history of the best kind: in spare, closely argued prose, with meticulous use of statistics, he makes the reader rethink some of the best-known episodes in Europe’s modern history. For those who are wedded to the simplistic schoolbook notions that the Hitlerites were the mass murderers and the Soviets the liberators, or that the killing started in 1939 and ended in 1945, Mr Snyder’s theses will be thought-provoking or shocking. Even those who pride themselves on knowing their history will find themselves repeatedly brought up short by his insights, contrasts and comparisons. Some ghastly but well-known episodes recede; others emerge from the shadows.

Sometimes the memories are faded because so few were left to remember. Those who suffered horribly but lived to tell the tale naturally get a better hearing than the millions in unmarked graves. Mr Snyder’s book straightens the record in favour of the voiceless and forgotten.

He starts with the 3.3m in Soviet Ukraine who died in the famine of 1933* that followed Stalin’s ruthlessly destructive collectivisation. He goes on to mark the 250,000-odd Soviet citizens, chiefly Poles, shot because of their ethnicity in the purges of 1937-38. Sometimes the NKVD simply picked Polish-sounding names from the telephone directory, or arrested en masse all those attending a Polish church service.

Some stories remained untold because they were inconvenient. About as many people died in the German bombing of Warsaw in 1939 as in the allied bombing of Dresden in 1945. Post-war Poland was in no state to gain recognition for that. The Nazi-Soviet alliance of August 1939 was “cemented in blood”, Stalin said approvingly. Few wanted to remember that two years later, when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. The Western allies did little to stop the Holocaust. Few wanted reminding that the only government that took direct action to help the Jews was the Polish one: seven of the first eight operations conducted in Warsaw by the underground Polish Home Army were in support of the ghetto uprising. (After the war, the Communist authorities executed as “fascists” Polish soldiers who had helped the Jews.)

Stalin regarded all Soviet prisoners-of-war as traitors. Their German captors starved them to death in their millions; nobody dared mourn them. The Holocaust, too, did not fit into Soviet historiography, especially as post-war anti-Semitism intensified (“Every Jew is a nationalist and an agent of American intelligence,” Stalin said in 1952). Memorials to murdered Jews carried not the Star of David but the five-pointed Soviet one, and referred blandly to “Soviet citizens” or “victims of fascism”.

Many of the stories in the book are already known as national or ethnic tragedies. Poles focus on the Warsaw uprising; Jews on Auschwitz; Russians on the siege of Leningrad; Ukrainians on the great famine. Mr Snyder’s book weaves the stories together, explaining how the horrors interacted and reinforced each other. Hitler learnt a lot from Stalin, and vice versa.

Mr Snyder shifts the usual geographical focus away from the perpetrator countries to the places where they first colluded and then collided. Germany and Russia (and Germans and Russians) mostly fared better, or less horribly, than the places in between (there were more Jews in the Polish city of Lodz alone than in Berlin and Vienna combined). No corner of what are now Belarus and Ukraine was spared. Much of Germany and even more of Russia was unscathed, at least physically, by war.

He also corrects exaggerations, misapprehensions and simplifications. The bestial treatment of slave labourers in concentration camps, and the use of gas chambers, are commonly seen as the epitomes of Nazi persecution. But the Germans also shot and starved millions of people, as well as gassed and worked them to death. In just a few days in 1941, the Nazis shot more Jews in the east than they had inmates in all their concentration camps.

“Bloodlands” has aroused fierce criticism from those who believe that the Soviet Union, for all its flaws, cannot be compared to the Third Reich, which pioneered ethnic genocide. Doing this, the critics argue, legitimises ultranationalists in eastern Europe who downplay the Holocaust, exaggerate their own suffering—and dodge guilt for their own collaboration with Hitler’s executioners.

That argument is powerful but unfair. Many people say stupid things about history. Mr Snyder is not one. He does not challenge the Holocaust’s central place in 20th-century history. Nor does he overlook Soviet suffering at the hands of Hitler or the heroism of the soldiers who destroyed the Third Reich. But he makes a point that needs reinforcement, not least in Russia where public opinion and officialdom both retain a soft spot for Stalin’s wartime leadership. The Soviet Union’s ethnic murders predated Nazi Germany’s. Stalin was not directly responsible for the Holocaust, but his pact with the Nazis paved the way for Hitler’s killing of Jews in the east.

Mr Snyder’s scrupulous and nuanced book steers clear of the sterile, sloganising exchanges about whether Stalin was as bad as Hitler, or whether Soviet mass murder in Ukraine or elsewhere is a moral equivalent of the Nazis’ extermination of the Jews. What it does do, admirably, is to explain and record. Both totalitarian empires turned human beings into statistics, and their deaths into a necessary step towards a better future. Mr Snyder’s book explains, with sympathy, fairness and insight, how that happened, and to whom. Just don’t read it before bedtime.”

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