Holocaust Journey: Traveling in Search of the Past

Holocaust Journey: Traveling in Search of the Past

Paperback

By (author) Martin Gilbert

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  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 216mm x 33mm | 748g
  • Publication date: 27 April 1999
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0231109652
  • ISBN 13: 9780231109659
  • Illustrations note: 54 photos, 55 maps
  • Sales rank: 715,358

Product description

In 1996 Martin Gilbert was asked by a group of his graduate students to lead them on a tour of the places in Europe that were the stage of one of history's greatest human tragedies. The two-week journey that resulted, with England's leading Holocaust and World War II scholar as its guide, culminated in the powerful travel narrative Holocaust Journey. Gilbert skillfully interweaves present-day experiences, personal memories, and historical accounts. More than fifty photographs taken over the course of this unique voyage are included, among them shots of Berlin, at the spot of the 1933 book burning; the railway line to Auschwitz; Oskar Schindler's factory in Crakow, Poland; and memorial stones from Treblinka. Together with fifty-five maps, these illustrations add an arresting visual dimension to this powerful story.

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Author information

Martin Gilbert is professor of Holocaust Studies at University College, London. He is the author of many books, including Final Journey, The Holocaust: The Jewish Tragedy, and Atlas of the Holocaust.

Review quote

Gilbert... is a dedicated guide to this difficult material. We can be grateful for his thoroughness, courage and guidance. Los Angeles Times Book Review The achievement of Gilbert's Holocaust Journey is to reduce to comprehensible, human terms, the scale of genocide that to many is still unimaginable. Literary Review (UK) A powerfully moving narrative that reveals the deepest thoughts and feelings of 13 travelers during the summer of 1996... Without overpowering his readers, [Gilbert] juxtaposes the histories of the places visited with descriptions of what they look like today. The overall effect is to make the past live by transferring it to the present, where it can be handled and evaluated anew. America A travelogue, spanning two weeks, of the essential sites of the Holocaust, by the venerable historian and author of many books... [Gilbert] guides one of his classes on an extraordinary field trip... He lectures at the most significant sights--of desecrated synagogues, book burnings, and gas chambers... To these moving testaments Gilbert here adds the voices of his fellow travelers, both Jews and non-Jews, who draw closer as the trip progresses and they relive the terrible history... The very best book for any Jew, or any human being, planning the same soul-searching trip. Kirkus Reviews

Editorial reviews

A travelogue, spanning two weeks, of the essential sites of the Holocaust, by the venerable historian and author of many books, including The Boys (p. 116), an oral history of concentration camp survivors. Gilbert, professor of Holocaust studies at University College (London), guides one of his classes on an extraordinary field trip: to Berlin, Prague, Zilina, Cracow, Auschwitz, Zamosc, Lublin, Warsaw, Piotrkow, Konin, and the rail stations and villages in-between. He lectures at the most significant sites - of desecrated synagogues, book burnings, and gas chambers - bringing in local historians with their archival letters and diaries. To these moving testaments Gilbert here adds the voices of his fellow travelers, both Jews and non-Jews, who draw closer as the trip progresses and they relive the terrible history. Gilbert does not simply chronicle atrocities, however, but brings into his narrative the history of Jewish settlements prior to their decimation; of labor and political movements; and of WW I's effect on Germany and the rise of the Nazis. In Berlin, for instance, he lectures his students on the murder of the Communist Labor leader Rosa Luxemburg. At the same time, he weaves in telling details, such as the story of an old, dignified man, newly arrived at Auschwitz, who somehow held onto a pouch full of diamonds. Daily, he negotiated with his brutal foreman, trading diamonds for potatoes. The passages concerning Birkenau are moving in an immediate way: Gilbert quotes the Nuremberg testimony of a doctor who watched as starved women undressed and filed into the gas chambers, even as his students walk in their steps. Yet there is irony: Auschwitz is an international tourist destination now, with professionals and amateurs alike making money as if it were Yellowstone or Machu Picchu. The very best book for any Jew, or any human being, planning the same soul-searching trip. (Kirkus Reviews)