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Book review: The Fate of the Jews 1933-1949 by David Cesarani

By Ben Wilson   March 2016

Macmillan, £30 

UnknownAt the outset of his monumental study, David Cesarani laments the “yawning gulf” between popular perceptions of the Holocaust and current scholarship. “Perspectives on the catastrophe are changing,” he writes, “yet this is barely reflected in the reproduction of an agreed but ageing narrative.” Cesarani’s legacy—he died in October—is this harrowing book, which will help bridge that chasm.

Seared into the popular consciousness is the image of deportations and extermination camps, of bureaucratic efficiency and brutal scientific methods. By emphasising the inconsistencies in Nazi policy and the muddle, improvisation and primitive…

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