*Black Earth*

The author is Timothy Snyder and the subtitle is The Holocaust as History and Warning.  Here is one bit:

The Germans had come to understand that pogroms were not an effective way to eliminate Jews, but that the production of lawlessness was an appropriate way to find murderers who could be recruited for organized actions.  Within weeks they grasped that people liberated from Soviet rule could be drawn into violence for psychological, material, and political reasons.

In per capita terms more Jews from Estonia died than from any other country at the time.  As of 1944 there were still three-quarters of a million Jews in Hungary and ultimately more than half of Hungary’s Jews survived the Second World War, even though Hungary was both a German ally and it was later invaded by Germany.  More generally:

Jews who were citizens of Germany’s allies lived or died according to certain general rules.  Jews who maintained their prewar citizenship usually lived, and those who did not usually died…Jews from territories that changed hands were usually murdered.  Jews almost never survived if they remained on territories where the Soviet Union had been exercising power when German or Romanian forces arrived…In all, about seven hundred thousand Jews who were citizens of Germany’s allies were killed.  Yet a higher number survived.  This is a dramatic contrast to the lands where the state was destroyed, where almost all Jews were killed.

Recommended, interesting throughout, and gripping throughout, including the discussions of agricultural productivity and of Hitler as a non-nationalist who saw race as the primary category of human existence.  It’s not easy to write an original and readable book on the Holocaust these days, but Snyder seems to have done it.  You can read some reviews here.


"...the production of lawlessness was an appropriate way to find murderers who could be recruited for organized actions."

This reminded me of the penal battalion lead by Oskar Dirlewanger, a real psychopath and remarkably one of the most odious Nazis I've ever read about. The Nazis considered him a criminal at times, and put him in charge of criminals to deal with partisans. They did a lot of the nasty stuff on the Eastern Front. Ghastly.

I noticed that sentence too, and it struck me as something that will be used in the never-ending debates about World War Two collective guilt.

I do find these debates tedious, but there are people who get very wrapped up in them. I can see some saying: "See, we [insert speaker's ethnicity here] aren't really anti-Semitic or bloodthirsty. It's that the Nazis found a way to use the psychopaths among us for organized murder. And psychopaths exist in every ethnic group...."

Unfortunately the piles of corpses make your discomfort rather laughable and a caricature of self absorption.

Everything anyone does anywhere was done by the national socialists. Nationalism, an effective military, distrust of Others. Obviously signs of Nazism. Vegetarianism, propaganda and manipulation of events to a political end, the dehumanization of enemies. A vigorous and expansive social welfare system. Safe streets, employment and industry. A loyal and obedient citizenry.

Adolph Hitler would have been a stunningly successful two term president, copied and adulated everywhere. Even the french liked him.

The most chilling story that I heard from the mouth of someone who lived there was a young man, mid twenties, fully trained tool and die maker. He was unemployed living with his father. Among many. He said that within two weeks of the Nazis taking power he and thousands of others received letters telling them where to show up for work. Who could fault that? But we know how the story ended, this same man managed to walk home sick and barely alive from the eastern front.

It is all very tiresome I know. But it was real.

Also reminiscent of the "Special Organization" used in the Armenian Genocide: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide#The_.22Special_Organization.22

"Later in 1914, the Ottoman government influenced the direction the Special Organization was to take by releasing criminals from central prisons to be the central elements of this newly formed Special Organization.[65] According to the Mazhar commissions attached to the tribunal as soon as November 1914, 124 criminals were released from Pimian prison. Little by little from the end of 1914 to the beginning of 1915, hundreds, then thousands of prisoners were freed to form the members of this organization. Later, they were charged to escort the convoys of Armenian deportees.[66] Vehib Pasha, commander of the Ottoman Third Army, called those members of the Special Organization, the "butchers of the human species".[67]"

It is my understanding that Admiral Horthy was against the final solution and tried to stop it until he was replaced by the black arrows. Correct me if I'm wrong but that is what I recall reading many years ago.

He probably didn't like the idea much and took measures to stop the deportations after he decided to seek peace with the Allies. Before that, he played ball with the Nazis.

No, and no. Hungary was a small country in central Europe and it did not have the sort of natural barriers Switzerland enjoyed, so their foreign policy was opportunistic and dictated by raison d'etat.

The political culture in Hungary was severely anti-semitic and the country's parliament enacted during the period running from 1920 to 1941 a series of legislative measures injurious to the economic interests of Jews (e.g. quotas on university admissions and on the award of occupational licenses). It was abusive to its Jewish population in this way but not murderous.

The country was actually under German occupation in 1944, not under nebulous Nazi 'pressure'. Horthy's and his ministers were able to reverse course when the facts on the ground changed.

Leaving motivations aside, Horthy was willing to seize Jewish land, but not force them to wear Jewish stars or deport them to concentration camps. Ultimately under threat of bloody invasion, Horthy agreed to install the Hungarian ambassador to Germany as Prime Minister. Within little over two months, 438,000 Hungarian Jews had been sent to Auschwitz, 90% of whom were executed immediately.

This seems to disprove the "stateless" theory of the Holocaust. How else could that many Jews be rounded up, transported and executed in that short of time without the brutal efficiency of a modern state?

Interesting. Not sure if it really necessitates a modern state though, when you look at some of the pogroms. Especially around the 3rd crusade.

Why go that far. In Rwanda 800,000 people were chopped up with machettes in a couple months.

I believe that in rwanda the state organized the massacre including buying and distributing the machettes

Again, Hungary was under German occupation in 1944. Horthy was not 'agreeing' to much of anything. Hungary was a parliamentary state during the interwar period, not a military dictatorship, so Adm. Horthy would not be 'seizing' Jewish property. The mass seizures of Jewish property occurred during the war, largely during the German occupation.

Didn't something like 90% of the Jews who were in Germany and Austria die? What categories are France and Russia in? Both, depending on the date? Both at the same time (France)?

90% of the Jews in the Greater German Reich(*) in 1939 had been murdered by 1945. This dating might gloss over the numbers that fled before 1939. I believe Stalin is said to have killed more German - Jewish Communists than Hitler, because they were early targets that were able to flee to the Soviet Union,

(*) Germany, Austria, Bohemia and Moravia, and Alsace-Lorraine.

Roughly 1.7 M Jews died in the Holocaust that are not in the Soviet Union or Polish territories and can be accurately documented; it compares with the roughly 1.5M Armenians who died in Turkey during WWI (the latter was not technically a holocaust, in that it was not centrally planned and many Armenians died of disease or in transport, albeit with gross negligence on Turkey's part).

The "6 M" figure for Jewish deaths is a round-about estimate that's a rough guide to the scale of Jewish deaths and a useful soundbite, and uses rounded estimate of Jewish deaths of 1M from the Soviet Union and 3M from Poland. These two figures are probably correct, but keep in mind being rough estimates they are technically not historically accurate. Put another way: how to classify the numerous deaths of civilians, both Jewish and Gentile, in Operation Barbarossa? Is this also a Holocaust? Or just war crimes against fleeing civilians?

Source: http://www.jewishgen.org/forgottencamps/General/VictimsEngl.html

That's a big glossing over. Because they had ample time to watch as things went downhill a lot of people left before that (including my grandfather). In Poland there was no such build up (though perhaps one could say that centuries of pogroms should have given them a warning that their neighbors were not nice people.)

Very interesting. This all ties in quite well to the formation of the Israeli state, of course.

I went to the libertarian site you linked to, Nod, and found it interesting. I wasn't overwhelmed by the story you linked to -- on the formation of Israel -- in part because the author compared Algeria (as settled by the French in the 19th century) and Israel (as settled by Jews in the 19th and mainly 20th centuries). There's a problem with the analogy: there is no sense in which Algeria was ever French except by conquest. There was no history (archeological) connection between France and Algeria, other than a bit of trade and settlement, after Rome and prior to the era of colonialism. Israel however (or call it historical Palestine, or Biblical lands, or whatever) has had a strong Jewish presence/connection, down through the ages.

By the Jews' own account they first took Palestine by conquest. The account is probably bogus, of course.

you know how those jews are

they probably tricked the natives or some such

So we should prefer origin myths about people springing from the ground like daisies?

If you go back far enough, every tract of land was conquered.

Then we battled each other for 10,000 years to decide and re-decide who gets what.

Now we have "modern" borders. The strong get to keep their borders intact. The weak suffer what they must. A global One World Government would be just another mechanism for settling the same disputes. Same mechanism, different name.

Thus it has always been and shall always be.

^ Bingo

Thanks Thor.

Your point about "a strong Jewish presence," while interesting (and more about that here, if you're interested), does nothing to blur the clear analogy between Algeria and Israel.

The analogy, I thought, was perfect. Israel and Algeria were both settler-colonial states, as Europeans both came over in relatively large numbers due to targeted migration efforts, pushed aside the natives, and imported European institutions which were promptly used to govern. The best way to understand this is by looking at Israel's Jews today. There is a sharp distinction between Sephardic (Oriental) Jews and Ashkenazi (Occidental) Jews in the country. The Ashkenazis run the show, and the Sephardic Jews have never liked this arrangement.

"In per capita terms more Jews from Estonia died than from any other country at the time."

There were 4,560 Jews in Estonia, constituting 0.4% of the population. 25% of Estonians died in WWII.

I have not read the book but the argument intimated at seems to be built on playing a little bit with numbers. Jews were not evenly distributed across Europe prior to WWII. The slow ramp-up to power and terror allowed Jews from pre-War Germany greater opportunities to flee. Most deaths in general were on the Eastern Front.

"In per capita terms more Jews from Estonia died than from any other country at the time."

This statement is indeed misleading.
Before WWII there were ca 4500 jews in Estonia.
In june 1941 soviets deported around 10% or 400 Estonian jews to Gulag.
Around 3000 jews fled to Soviet Union when germans started to advance.
When germans arrived, there were 921 jews left in Estonia, 468 males, 353 females. Almost all of them were killed in Holocaust.

This sounds about right. I do not have any numbers myself, but my family history is consistent with Mikk's numbers. My family is Jewish, and three of my grandparents lived in Estonia before WWII. They were in their 20s and 30s. Both of my grandmothers were evacuated (not just fled, but were provided transportation and some form of support), my grandfather was conscripted and survived. My parents were born after WWII, so there is obviously some survivor bias here, but my grandparents came from large families, and the same was true for their siblings: women and children were evacuated, men usually fought (and some were killed). As far as I know, most of these families came back to Estonia after the war. In the 80s Estonia had a small but functioning Jewish community, maybe around 4000 people (now the numbers are smaller, as many have left during the 90s), and there was a distinct subcommunity of "Estonian Jews" (those whose families lived in pre-war Estonia,as opposed to those who came from the rest of the Soviet Union after WWII).

The numbers do capture real phenomena that can be tied to specific actions and policies. For instance, it is indeed true that some German allies were slow or reluctant to cooperate with the genocide of Jews. Where there was cooperation, Jews who were not native to the territory were prioritized for deportation. On the other hand, on the Eastern Front, there was a policy of total annihilation of Jews (or enslavement followed by murder for those deemed capable of manual labor) almost from the moment Operation Barbarossa started.

The statement about German Jews having greater opportunities to flee is only sort-of true. The countries that German Jews had the most opportunity to flee to were neighboring countries that were, of course, later invaded by the Nazis. Non-European countries and territories overall were famously unwilling to accept large numbers of Jewish refugees so their fates were determined largely by events that unfolded in the countries they managed to get to.

I don't necessarily disagree with these points; it just strikes me that the author is selecting data to make some sort of larger systemic point that ignores a lot of contingencies.

For example, one of the misconceptions he wants to correct (according to an interview at Amazon) is "That the Holocaust happened chiefly in Germany— [whereas] it happened entirely outside the borders of prewar Germany."

This seems like a trick aimed at the uninformed. As you point out many German Jews fled to neighboring countries where the NAZIs caught up with them. Those that remained eventually were shipped to work / concentration camps in occupied lands. I don't think one can take the Holocaust out of Germany that casually, just to make the point that a lot of bad stuff happened on the Eastern Front.

one of the misconceptions he wants to correct (according to an interview at Amazon) is “That the Holocaust happened chiefly in Germany— [whereas] it happened entirely outside the borders of prewar Germany.”

I don't think anyone with the slightest interest in the matter suffers from that misconception.

There is so much we do not know about WW II. Maybe another another five million books on the topic will minimize that critical information gap.

This reminds me of a stat that stuck with me from "Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler And Stalin." He made the remark that a non-Jew from Poland was as likely or more likely to be killed than a Jew living in Germany (and then of course for Jewish Poles the likelihood of being killed was much higher still). Prior to reading that book, I knew of course that millions of Jews were killed, but didn't really fully process where the majority of those Jews were from (and how many others were caught up in it all besides).

I would think rates would vary with density, very low and it is easier to hide, low to moderate and it is easier to single out, high and there are more places and ways to hide and more difficulty handling the numbers.

>Hitler as a non-nationalist who saw race as the primary category of human existence

Careful Tyler, you might make some of your readers' heads explode!

What passed for Nazi political and anthropological thought was often laughably contrived. When the Nazis wanted to cast aspersions on a certain ethnicity or nationality, they would assert (sometimes with little or no evidence) that that group was the product of mixed marriages with inferior races and/or Jews. Then, when they wanted to enlist a certain ethnicity or nationality as allies, they would discover "evidence" that these people really had a long-lost Germanic racial connection after all.

Focusing on just one bit here: "Jews almost never survived if they remained on territories where the Soviet Union had been exercising power when German or Romanian forces arrived"

That's very wrong so far as Romanian forces are concerned. Could that be an editing error? Moldova and the Romanian occupied areas of Ukraine were havens. Large numbers of Jews from parts of Ukraine that fell to German forces survived by escaping to the Romanian-occupied parts, especially Odessa, or to Moldova. I'd be very surprised if Snyder doesn't know that.

My grandmother-in-law lived through the Romanian occupation of the Odessa region. I don't mean to talk up the Romanian fascists, but compared to the Soviet Union of the 1930s that she grew up in, they were humane and competent.

The government of Ion Antonescu engaged in absolutely horrific murder and persecution of Jews. In fact, some of the things that happened in Romania were so barbaric they even unnerved some Nazi officials. I admit to not being too familiar with Romania did in territory it occupied later in the war but that would add a nuance to the picture and would mean we would have to seperate out the Romanian experience up to (perhaps) 1942 from what came after.

I agree completely. There's no doubt the Romanian fascists murdered or helped Germans many tens of thousands Jews just in Odessa and the region around it. I really really don't mean to talk them up. And my grandmother-in-law being in a small village away from all that, I think didn't know what happened or didn't associate it with the Romanians who ran her village. On the other hand it was not comparable to German-occupied areas where truly nearly all Jews were killed. Odessa and Chisinau retained large Jewish populations after the war.

Snyder disagrees with you completely. He claims it was much safer to be a Romanian Jew in Romania. Most Romanian Jews in Moldova and Bessarabia were killed in 1941, and mostly by Romanians. Take your argument up with him if you have better facts.

Snyder's 2010 book, Bloodlands, was terrific, in both senses. I look forward to reading this one. Thanks, Tyler.

"Hitler as a non-nationalist who saw race as the primary category of human existence."

"Ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Führer"

A central tenet of Nazism was the indivisibility of race and nation.

Snyder argues that Hitler simply lied about this to gain and exercise power. He then turned Germany into a state-destroying war machine. There is a lengthy interview of Snyder in The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/hitler-holocaust-antisemitism-timothy-snyder/404260/

Just from scanning the article, Snyder seems to be unable to hold the idea that Hitler could be both a strong German nationalist and a radical racist. These are not necessarily inconsistent for the time period, given prevailing "racial science" of a Social-Darwinist bent, and the belief that Germany would have won the last war but for a "stab in the back" from ethnic and Bolshevik 'national pests.' A strong Germany meant eliminating people who weaken the nation.

He's projecting his own rationality back to a different time and place where his values and assumptions are not shared.

Snyder knows what he is talking about, but claiming Hitler was not a nationalist is going too far. It's important to highlight Hitler's racial ideas transcended typical notion of the nation. German nationalists of the typical sort - the old conservatives, even that of Hermann Goering - would not have done what Hitler did. But the claim Hitler was not a nationalist obscures more than it reveals. It would be more accurate to state that Hitler's nationalism was based on his conception of race which made it different from the typical nationalism of Europe which was more prosaic and based on culture and language. He was also a gambler and revisionist which made him much more prone to challenging the status quo, but those qualities are unrelated to the concept of nationalism. Trotsky was such a person as well, but Stalin was not.

Hitler clearly thought race and racial struggle was the most important thing, but he also believed the Germans specifically were meant to be at the top. Even the other Germanic nations were to be subordinate to Germany - despite their racial qualities, the Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, and Dutch would not be any kind of equals or allowed to become part of one single Germanic union. In contrast, Himmler seemed to want a true Germanic union and bring all the Germanic races together which explains the various recruits into the Waffen SS from other countries.

Snyder's comments on the state are even stranger. Again, there is a base of truth on this. The SS was allowed to build a rival state within the state, and Hitler was bored with the actual details of government (something shared by many national leaders), but that doesn't make him some kind of anarchist. There was not going to be a withering away of the state under Hitler. Current state borders might change, but Germany was going to have (vastly enlarged) borders, and the "New Europe" was going to be run along state lines to the benefit of Germany. He saw the Germans and Germany as a future imperial power - utterly dominant in Europe. That the people of Britain and France, among others, saw themselves as having an imperial mission didn't mean they also weren't nationalists.

Snyder is right that Hitler's views were not simply based on nationalism, and that ordinary German nationalism would not produce anything like the Holocaust. However, by stating Hitler was not a nationalist is not the best way of highlighting that point - instead it will cause his point to be lost in the following arguments about semantics.

I studied this topic pretty intensively previously and generally agree with the observations of Chris and PD Shaw.

My take is that Snyder is saying that viewing Hitler as a "nationalist" isn't particularly helpful. A German nationalist would have conquered Poland the way the Kaiserreich did - preserved the bureacracy and used capable and loyal Polish adminstrators to run it productively for the German state, not slaughtered all the elites and wiped out every local institution. Hitler in Snyder's thinking was a colonialist. He was not interested in expanding the German state, he wanted the literal expansion of the German race, often at the expense of the state. Snyder's definition of "nationalist" seems to identify the nation with the state, rather than nation with a "Volk".

I think the more concrete way of putting it -- and the way Snyder put it in "Bloodlands" -- is that Hitler wanted to transform Eastern Europe from a densely populated urban civilization into something that resembled the American Midwest and populated chiefly by ethnic Germans. The American Midwest got the way it did through a mix of disease, ethnic cleansing and military conquest that killed off or pushed the natives aside. Hitler was inspired by this example but he knew there weren't any diseases that would kill off Poles, Slavs and Jews and that only a deliberate policy of murder and starvation of non-German peoples would achieve the outcome he wanted.

Hitler's nationalism was a murderous Germanic manifest destiny mixed with early 20th century racial pseudo-science rather than any sort of traditional European ethnic nationalism.

Snyder's interpretation bears an interesting resemblance to the sections of Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow that take place in "The Zone"

Curious how the crowd here thinks about this.

It is important to differentiate between Soviet Jews, against whom an exterminatory policy existed, and non-Soviet Jews, for whom the general policy came to be total expulsion out of Europe.
On 18 December 1941, there appears to have been agreement between Hitler and Himmler that Soviet Jews were to be considered as one of those population groups which opposed the Germans and was engaging in partisan warfare behind the German lines, and therefore needed to be wiped out. In many ways it was an ex-post-facto authorisation, since Himmler's security forces, e.g. the Einsatzgruppen, had already been killing large numbers of Jews on the demonstrated allegation that they were assisting the Soviet partisans to attack German troops. This was all however in line with the broad authorisation issued by Hitler to Himmler on 7 October 1939 to take any action he saw fit against any group he deemed posed a danger to the German people.
The principal function of the Einsatzgruppen was not to Kill Jews as popularly claimed but to do intelligence-gathering and security work in the rear of the front in newly captured territories. It had as a central task the dismantling of the lingering Soviet apparatus through:
1. securing material of political and intelligence interest, e.g. records of the Soviet political police, but also gathering of intelligence on non-security general political matters, e.g. on the mood of the population in the occupied Soviet territories, the degree of their support or otherwise for Communism, their political activities etc. The political, social and economic data collected by the Einsatzgruppen was, after all, vital to the German occupation authorities.
2. executing dangerous enemies and functionaries that formed the backbone of the Bolshevik system, which many found easiest to do by killing nearby Jews because they were it; even the partisans knew they were their go-to people. However some like the head of Einsatzgruppe C complained about the tendency to focus on Jews for practical reasons: it let escape non-Jewish Communist operatives through the lowered net, and thus obscured the work needed to be done of destroying the remnants of the Communist system.
Overall, the fact that Einsatzgruppen felt forced to Kill Jews through local initiatives before Hitler gave the endorsement for the designation of Soviet Jews-in-general as a dangerous group only demonstrates that Hitler was wrong and had been too lenient to designate only "Jews in State and Party positions" as threats in the beginning.
Now, to the non-Soviet Jews.
The "extermination camps" and the "gas 'em and burn 'em" tale (& liturgy) ... nah, didn't happen. Jews were selected and killed in the camps if they were too old or too sick to survive deportation to the East, but through shootings and lethal injections. The Jewish testimonial record is all unbelievable, unreliable bullshit. The German "perpetrator" testimony is reputedly more sane, but still with some holes. However, I've recently waded through pre-trial interrogation protocols in the ZStL archives in Ludwigsburg (they're semi-public/quite inaccessible, you have to be identified as a friendly and do not even allow quick copies in any form, not even photos, and you have to jot everything down) and what I've seen is that they've, too, changed their accounts interrogation by interrogation.
Jewish gassing rumours at specific camps were certainly being run by the BBC in their international radio broadcasts, and even by illegal Polish radio stations. Unfortunately, nobody archived every tongue-in-cheek wartime propaganda broadcast with recordings of what was said about the enemy and the details of the gassings/streaming/electrocuting/quick-liming/whatever, or we'd have learned exactly how the yarn developed.
The Holohistorians who keep peddling pseudoscientific trash and try to historicise wartime atrocity propaganda would do well to acknowledge that the gassing technology was abundant and elegant, and that the Germans used properly circulated Zyklon-B (in the Holostory, Kreislaufprinzip was ignored and what slowly developed into the gas was only vented out after the victims died) and other engineering technology at camps such as for fumigation. In fact, we can find Desinfektion/Braudbad floorplans in wartime German technical journals like Gensundheits-Ingenieur (G-I) for RAD camps and so forth. They use steam autoclaves, T-gas, Zyklon and so on, and the same for hospitals.
And in wartime German technical journals we have lots of diagrams and so forth from Automobiltechnische Zeitschrift (ATZ) or Motortechnische Zeitschrift (MTZ). Yes, you can kill people easily by locking them into a boxcar or room with a can of burning charcoal, yes, but instead we get things like cans of expensive Zyklon-B pellets dumped through holes chiselled into roofs, and exhaust from diesel engines (not feasible) or gasoline engines (fuel severely rationed in Axis areas, no cherry-red corpses witnessed). Never do we even get any real and universally-commonplace German military encampment engineering for any of this.
Finally, any massive-scale shooting of non-Soviet Jews was also not initiated by a specific order given by Hitler, but was the result of a series of local decisions by German commanders in the field and in occupied territories, reacting to local problems of food supply and other vital resources. The only active killing of non-Soviet Jews ever mentioned by Hitler was the shooting of those who were able-bodied but "refused to work", i.e. actively resisted.
The essential question about the non-Soviet Jews who were killed is: what horrible events would have happened if local agencies of the German Government had not actively killed them? For example; was there sufficient food available to keep all the Jews alive without a different group of people starving? Conversely, if the distribution of food that actually did occur had been left unchanged, i.e. that food was reserved for the German people and the other groups that actually were kept supplied during the war, would most of the Jews have inadvertently starved to death, like the greater part of the Soviet POWs during the winter of 1941-42?"

I like Tim Snyder's writing a lot, but I'm struggling with his argument that Jews were destroyed in much greater numbers where the "state was destroyed." The reality is that nearly all Jews were killed wherever Germany held power. In the parts of western and central Europe that Germany occupied with little or no fight, where I can't imagine how anyone could argue that states were destroyed, nearly all Jews were killed. In Poland and parts of Belarus and Ukraine and Russia that Germany occupied, where the former state was clearly destroyed, nearly all Jews were killed. In Romanian-occupied parts of Ukraine and Moldova, where the former state was also destroyed, large numbers but far from all Jews were killed. In Hungarian-occupied Slovakia and Ukraine, few Jews were killed until Germany took over. The common thread was German occupation, not destruction of the state.

On the other hand I can accept that in one narrow sense Hitler was not really a nationalist. If you define nationalist as someone devoted to the nation-state, he wasn't that. He gave Germany and Austria a superior position over other countries, but he was an imperialist, which is the opposite of a nationalist in the narrow sense I'm describing. I'm not saying anybody has to buy the argument but there is a certain logic to it.

Denmark had a very high survival rate, despite being occupied by the Nazis. Other Western European countries had lower survival rates but they were still above those in Poland or the Baltic states. The difference does seem to come down to the fact that the institutions of local government and civil society were not completely co-opted by the Nazis and they were sometimes able to resist the implementation of the Final Solution.

I don't know if whether or not the "state was destroyed" is the best way to distinguish these cases. The differences might come down to how thoroughly the Nazis infiltrated local government or bribed or terrorized local officials into collaborating. As in the case of Hungary pointed out above, the state could protect Jews and then abruptly shift course due to Nazi pressure and bring the resources of the state to bear in rounding up Jews and putting them on trains to be deported to Auschwitz.

he state could protect Jews and then abruptly shift course due to Nazi pressure -

Again, Hungary was occupied by Germany in 1944, not under 'pressure'.

Hungary was an allied of Germany; I think only after the german army supported the Arrow Cross coup against Horthy we can say that Hungary was occupied (or then we can say that the UK was occupied by US)

Hungary was occupied in the spring of 1944. That's when mass seizures of Jewish property began, and deportations of Jews as well.

You might try KL: A History of Nazi Concentration Camps by Nikolaus Wachsmann.

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