The aggressive nationalism and anti-Semitism of the National Socialists were not solely the products of Hitler's fanaticism. Rather, themes of national redemption and the elimination of the Jews are present throughout recent German history and have their origins in the Bible as well as in the earliest German patriotic writings of the twelfth century. By tracking these ideas back through their various sources, James places the Holocaust squarely within its historical and cultural context.
This book begins with the fact that there is apparently nothing historically unique about human beings killing one another in relatively large numbers. Genocide appears to be a phenomenon that has been a part of human history since we began to record our worst excesses. Certainly it has been in the forefront of human consciousness as the last century came to its bloody conclusion. It is not an intractable problem. A mass movement to prevent genocide can be built, and once created it should pressure the federal government to focus its foreign policy on the prevention of genocide.
Both poignant and exquisite in its simplicity, Joseph Freeman's autobiography is at once a shibboleth for those who also endured the unspeakable and a haunting warning for those of us living in these latter days, when the voices of deniers and revisionists of the Holocaust wait to take the place of the aging witnesses who grow weary of their vigil.
There is a critical need to teach about the Holocaust in a pedagogically sound and historically accurate manner. This group of essays recounts the motivation of educators teaching primarily at the secondary level (grades 7 to 12), recounting their efforts to gain an ever-deepening knowledge about the Holocaust, their initial efforts to teach about it, their on-going teaching efforts and the changes they have made along the way, and their involvement in curriculum development, staff development, and other outreach projects. Various authors also include the insights and reactions of their students to the material.
Levine pays particular attention to dramatic escapes by small boat. Many are not widely known, although some were made over vast distances or in fantastically difficult conditions from enemy-occupied areas. Accounts include attempts at freedom from both German and Japanese prisoner of war camps, stories that reveal much about the conditions prisoners endured. Some of these escapes are far more amazing than the famed Great Escape from Stalag Luft III. German and Austrian prisoners also recount their amazing flights from India to Tibet and Burma. This study challenges some ideas about behavior in extreme situations and casts interesting light on human nature.
In the Hamidian massacres of 1895. Jernazian, a five-year orphan, loses two brothers. When all the Armenian Protestant clergy of Cilicia are killed in the Young Turks' "Adana massacre" of 1909, Jernazian answers the call to replenish the vacant pulpits. In 1915, when the "final solution to the Armenian question" is in progress, the author, an interpreter of the Turkish government, is in a unique position to observe the genocidal process. Afterwards, he and his new bride work to rehabilitate destitute survivors. He serves as liaison and advisor during the British and French occupations (1919-21). And during the Kemalist revolution (1921-23), Jernazian loses his remaining family and nearly his own life. Only through a miraculous escape after twenty-one months in a Turkish prison is he reunited with his wife, her mother, a daughter, and a son born three months after his arrest.
An unusual blend of religious idealism and pragmatic politics, his memoirs provide a singular emotional experience. As Vahakn Dadrian observes in his Introduction, "This volume is a unique document of historical significanceThe author presents comments and interpretations which portray him as an acute observer of intricate events." The book will appeal to historians of the period, educators, and professionals with an interest in the use and abuse of state power, and specialists interested in human behavior in extreme conditions. Ephiram K. Jernazian (1890-1971) experienced the events described in this book. After 1923, he served as pastor and community leader in New York, New England and California.
Alice Haig, Reverend Jernazian's daughter, translated these memoirs from the original Armenian in consultation with her father while he was living.REVIEWS:"Indispensable reading for anyone interested in Armenian and Near Eastern history, the missionary movement in the Ottoman Empire, and the process of genocide. Jernazian witnesses the Genocide at the intersection of biography and history; his book is at once a chronicle of and a tribute to the individual and collective will to resist and survive."--Gerard J. Libaridian, Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation
"It has powerful passages and is of significance to the Armenian community and beyond."--Ben H. Bagdikian, University of California, Berkeley.