Sunday, May 30, 2010

A conversation with Dan Michman, Yad Vashem's Chief Historian

From Haaretz Books, June 2010, by David B. Green

Last month marked the publication of the new two-volume “Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos During the Holocaust."” ‏(Guy Miron, editor in chief, and Shlomit Shulhani, co-editor; published by Yad Vashem and distributed by NYU 67 pages, $199‏).

Though not a book that even a Shoah scholar would be likely to read through from start to finish, the encyclopedia offers a new and comprehensive look at a subject that has until now been largely misunderstood, according to Prof. Dan Michman, the chief historian of Yad Vashem and the author of a fascinating introduction to the book. For those of us who may have thought that the Nazis established ghettos mainly in the big cities and that they were an integral part of a well-thought out “final solution,” Michman’s foreword will come as a surprise. For one, the encyclopedia includes entries on more than 1,100 cities, towns and villages where the occupying Germans forced the Jews to live in concentrated areas. And, despite the widespread existence of the phenomenon across occupied Eastern Europe, Michman states that a policy of “ghettoization” was never decided on conclusively in Berlin, and that implementation varied from town to town.

See the complete Q&A with Prof. Michman here.

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