Distinctions that Inform, Deliberations that Intensify Understanding: Dan Michman, Holocaust Historiography: A Jewish Perspective
Dan Michman’s book presents a Jewish perspective on the Holocaust. It is strongest where he is most expert in the original sources, especially regarding Holland, religious responses during the Holocaust, the aftermath of the Holocaust, and its relationship to the establishment of the Jewish state. The book examines the evidence intensely, deliberately, and meticulously and is grounded in evidence and balanced in tone and in outlook. Michman’s work is anchored in the experience of the Jews and is an important corrective to the tendency of German historiography to disregard the victim. Still, the perpetrator--though not the crime--is virtually absent from this book. A purely Jewish perspective is a necessary counterweight, but insufficient for understanding the Holocaust. Some of the essays in this collection published over the past quarter century in respected journals stand the test of time; others have been overtaken by scholarly publications and new documentation. Yet this work has a solidity that is anchored in genuine learning, reflecting the struggles of a serious historian committed to the requirements of scholarship and the need to be adequate to the task of understanding the Holocaust.