A fascinating and cautionary examination of how genocide can take root at the local level—turning neighbors, friends, and even family members against one another—as seen through the eastern European border town of Buczacz during World War II.For more than four hundred years, the Eastern European border town of Buczacz—today part of Ukraine—was home to a highly diverse citiA fascinating and cautionary examination of how genocide can take root at the local level—turning neighbors, friends, and even family members against one another—as seen through the eastern European border town of Buczacz during World War II.For more than four hundred years, the Eastern European border town of Buczacz—today part of Ukraine—was home to a highly diverse citizenry. It was here that Poles, Ukrainians, and Jews all lived side by side in relative harmony. Then came World War II, and three years later the entire Jewish population had been murdered by German and Ukrainian police, while Ukrainian nationalists eradicated Polish residents. In truth, though, this genocide didn’t happen so quickly. In Anatomy of a Genocide Omer Bartov explains that ethnic cleansing doesn’t occur as is so often portrayed in popular history, with the quick ascent of a vitriolic political leader and the unleashing of military might. It begins in seeming peace, slowly and often unnoticed, the culmination of pent-up slights and grudges and indignities. The perpetrators aren’t just sociopathic soldiers. They are neighbors and friends and family. They are human beings, proud and angry and scared. They are also middle-aged men who come from elsewhere, often with their wives and children and parents, and settle into a life of bourgeois comfort peppered with bouts of mass murder: an island of normality floating on an ocean of blood.For more than two decades Bartov, whose mother was raised in Buczacz, traveled extensively throughout the region, scouring archives and amassing thousands of documents rarely seen until now. He has also made use of hundreds of first-person testimonies by victims, perpetrators, collaborators, and rescuers. Anatomy of a Genocide profoundly changes our understanding of the social dynamics of mass killing and the nature of the Holocaust as a whole. Bartov’s book isn’t just an attempt to understand what happened in the past. It’s a warning of how it could happen again, in our own towns and cities—much more easily than we might think....
|Title||:||Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz|
|Number of Pages||:||480 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz Reviews
Harrowing account of neighbor against neighbor. I have read many historical accounts of the Holocaust, and many personal accounts of experiences in concentration camps, and of people fighting in the Resistance. I have visited Dachau and Theresienstadt, and heard my father speak of entering Dachau as a US soldier the day after its Soviet Liberation. These have all been framed in my mind within the context of an impersonal, bureaucratic attempt by the Nazis to exterminate a people. What makes this account of genocide in Buczacz so brutal and harrowing is that much of it happened with the townspeople as col- laborators and especially as individual perpetrators. Polish neighbor against Jewish neighbor against Ukrainian neighbor. Former schoolmates, teachers and students, businessmen and customers. People of these three religions and ethnicities had lived together in Buczacz for centuries. By the end of the 19th Century, with its increase of feelings of nationalism, and then WWI, things fell apart. Both Poles and Ukrainians claimed this was there land, and wanted the other out. Both saw the Jews as aligning with the other, and wanted the Jews out. Russian occupation under the German-Soviet pact brought hostilities between the Russian army and Austrian army as WW II progressed, and then eventual Nazi occupation, with its executions and deportations. It is the author's use of so many eyewitness accounts that brings the account down to the local level. It was so much more than betrayals and announcements to the Nazis. We read of former friends killing and mutilating the other, of smashing babies against the wall, of such brutality we have to put the book down for a while. And then, with peace, comes absorption into the Communist Eastern Bloc, more ethnic cleansing and deportations, and mass movements of people groups...many to Siberia. We learned to see the brutality of Nazi Germany as possible because of the depersonalization of the victims, so this killing of people well known to the perpetrators is especially disturbing. Thankfully, there was the occasional account of altruistic individuals protecting, hiding, and helping victims escape. But as a whole, this account of such a widespread loosing of evil amongst humans who had once lived together peacefully, shakes the reader to the core. To be able to brutally kill someone you know, and then not suffer guilt and remorse, is incomprehensible. We may never comprehend why and how this can happen, but we can learn some lessons. When a nation composed of diverse people begins to identify others by the group they belong to, rather than by who they are as individuals, we are on shaky ground. When we give in to identity politics, rather than focus on what is for the common good, we need to back up. When one group starts to identify as victims, and blames another group for its victimization, we need to dig deeply into empathy, and emphasize common ground. We need to recognize the God-given dignity of our fellow humans, and build our actions and reactions on that realization. Only then can we defuse polarization and live together in peace.
Excellent account of one city’s experience with the holocaust. Deeply sourced using mostly eyewitness reports (by victims murdered before they could finish their writings) and as a result is moving and shocking. Author has personal stake in story since his family came from town, but his telling is extremely objective and therefore very effective.Suffice to say, root causes of the genocide go back many years and author gives a nice backstory. He place what I would call “routine” antisemitism in greater context - ethnic divisions involving Poles and Ukrainians. The Jews were caught inbeteeen, and as you might suspect, blamed for the actions of both of these groups.Nor was the genocide limited to Jews - with the sssistance of the Germans, and after them the Russians, the Polish and the Ukrainian populations got their turns in the killing, this time as victims.The descriptions of how people were killed are appalling and even worse was how neighbors could turn on each other,murdering or informing on their former friends and acquaintances. Author doesn’t whitewash the Jews’ own involvement with the Judenrat and the OD being reprehensible.Only faults I found was some confusion regarding interchangeable use of “Ruthenian” and “Ukrainian.” I would also like to have known more about how the survivors ended up.
Well researched history of the genocide of the Jewish population of Buczacz in Western Ukraine. There is a kaleidoscopic interaction of populations: Poles, Ukrainians, Jews, Germans and Soviets. And of course a horrifying level of brutality, especially by the Nazis.