Remembering what has been forgotten in the Holocaustby Jonathan Derbyshire / September 22, 2015 / Leave a comment
In his 2010 book “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin,” the American historian Timothy Snyder identified an area stretching from central Poland, through Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic States to western Russia in which some 14 million people were murdered by the Nazi and Soviet regimes between 1933 and 1945. Most of the victims were Jews, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Poles, Russians and Balts. This is the territory that Snyder calls the “bloodlands.”
“Auschwitz,” Snyder wrote in the introduction to that book, “is the most familiar killing site of the bloodlands.” Today, he said, “it stands for the Holocaust.” Yet most of the killing of Jews happened elsewhere—at the death factories of Treblinka, Chelmno, Sobibór and Belzec in Poland, and in the pits and ravines of Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia in which Jews were massacred tens of thousands at a time. In his new book, “Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning,” Snyder returns to this theme. In a chapter entitled “The Auschwitz Paradox,” he writes: “While Auschwitz has been remembered, most of the Holocaust has been largely forgotten.” “Black Earth” is an attempt to remember what, in Snyder’s view at any rate, the mythography of the Holocaust leaves out.