Tuesday 16 September 2008

Alef List Posting Number 4 - Hilberg

Message to Alef August 19, 2007

Tony Greenstein gets it wrong on Hilberg

In a message on Fri Aug 17 19:19:35 IDT 2007 Tony Greenstein stated:-
"No surprise that only 1 Yad Vashem historian had read Hilbergs book:"

The facts are Yad Vashem wrote a letter to Raul Hilberg on August 24, 1958. The letter commenced:

"Your manuscript on the extermination of the Jews has been read in the course of the last two months by several of our staff, each of whom is an expert in one of the aspects involved."
In a message on
Thu Aug 9 05:36:29 IDT 2007 Tony Greenstein Stated that the reason Yad Vashem turned down Hilberg's book was because "
it didn't follow the ideological line of YV of saying that the road from the Holocaust led to Israel." This is sheer nonsense. Yad Vashem gave two reasons for turning down Hilberg's manuscript neither of which conform to the view of Tony Greenstein.

The reasons were as follows:

Your [Hilberg's] book rests almost entirely on the authority of German sources and does not utilize primary sources in the languages of the occupied states, or in Yiddish and Hebrew.
The Jewish historians here [Yad Vashem]make reservations concerning the historical conclusions which you [Hilberg] draw, both in respect of the comparison with former periods, and in respect of your [Hilberg's] appraisal of the Jewish resistance (active and passive) during the Nazi occupation.

Letter from Dr. J. Melkman of Yad Vashem to Raul Hilberg on August 24, 1958 contained in full in Raul Hilberg The Politics of Memory: The Journey of a Holocaust Historian (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1996) pp. 110-11

The objections of Yad Vashem were sound– See for example the following two articles:

Ben Mark "Falsifying the Jewish Resistance" Jewish Currents April 1963 pp. 4-17
Yuri Suhl "Is This Responsible Scholarship, Dr. Hilberg?"
Jewish Currents June 1964 pp. 16-18

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