Conflicting Perspectives on Timothy Snyder’s Black Earth

Reviews by Michael Berenbaum and Jeffrey Herf

Timothy Snyder, Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2015. 462 pp. $35.00.

Reviewed by Michael Berenbaum, American Jewish University

Timothy Snyder’s much-acclaimed book Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, published by Basic Books in 2010, aroused serious concern among many Holocaust historians. They feared that his emphasis on dou- ble genocide—German and Soviet—was a backdoor attempt to diminish the uniqueness and singularity of the Holocaust. In Black Earth Snyder’s emphasis on the Holocaust and its lessons should assuage these critics. Early in the book he writes: “The History of the Holocaust is not over. Its precedent is eternal and its lessons have not yet been learned. . . . The Holocaust is not only history but warning.” He makes good on this promise, perhaps too good. He treats the Holocaust as the axial event of modern history, thus giving testimony to its centrality.

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Interview at Przegorzaly Castle

Interview with Prof. Michael Berenbaum at the Master's Summer School on Teaching about the Holocaust at the Jagiellonian University.

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