Outstanding, in-depth scholarship by renowned literary critics; great starting point for students seeking an introduction to the theme and the critical discussions surrounding it.
The Holocaust was the state-sponsored genocide perpetrated by the National Socialist government of Germany during the years 1933–1945 against groups of people they deemed “undesirable.” The Nazis singled out some of these groups for complete annihilation, most notably Jews but also Sinti and Roma, the mentally and physically disabled, and various ethnic groups in the Soviet Union. They persecuted other groups more haphazardly, including queer people, political prisoners, dissidents within Germany, and resistance fighters in occupied territories (Lipstadt 8).
This volume emphasizes the Jewish genocide. In 1933, 9.5 million Jews lived in Europe; the Nazis murdered six million of them. Of that pre-war population, only 525,000 lived in Germany. Most Jews lived in Eastern Europe: three million in Poland alone. Many people think of the Holocaust as a German crime. To be sure, it was carried out by Germans, or by others acting under the compulsion of Germans, but it mostly happened elsewhere, in the ghettos, camps, and killing sites of Eastern Europe.
Critical Insights: Holocaust Literature contains fourteen essays on the state-sponsored genocide perpetrated by the National Socialist government of Germany from 1933-1945 against groups of people deemed “undesirable.” The essays in this volume aim to improve the reader’s understanding of the Holocaust and to become more careful and critical as readers of Holocaust literature.
Editor, Dorian Stuber provides an introduction to Holocaust Literature and analyzes three primary accounts of survivors’; Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night, and a short story “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman” by Tadeusz Borowski. This analysis highlights the importance of recognizing the role of mediation in Holocaust literature.
Each essay is 2,500 to 5,000 words in length, and all essays conclude with a list of "Works Cited," along with endnotes. Finally, the volume's appendixes offer a section of useful reference resources:
- About This Volume
- Critical Context: Original Introductory Essays
- Critical Readings: Original In-Depth Essays
- Further Readings
- Detailed Bibliography
- Detailed Bio of the Editor
- General Subject Index