Michael R. Marrus
Michael Marrus is the author of The Holocaust in History, The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial 1945-46; A Documentary History, Vichy France and the Jews (with Robert O. Paxton), and Some Measure of Justice, on Holocaust restitution. he is a Fellow of Massey College at the University of Toronto and the Wolfe Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies. He is a member of the Order of Canada
University of Toronto Press, 2016
Lessons of the Holocaust
When the eminent historian Michael Marrus was a student at Berkeley in the 1960’s, the Holocaust—the great catastrophe of European Jewry—was hardly a footnote to the study of WWII. However, as the full horror of Germany’s Nazi regime emerged, the Holocaust grew to become a central and confounding event of the 20th Century.
As knowledge about the genocide of European Jews has exploded, the quest to distil its “lessons” has intensified. What can we learn from the Holocaust? Is there a redemptive message, or “take away” that may help prevent such depravity in the future?
Teasing these lessons out of the ashes of World War II is far more complex than familiar platitudes might suggest. Who defines the lessons? Where do we look for them—to the victims, to the perpetrators, to the bystanders, to the political leaders? How do we commemorate or memorialize the Holocaust? Indeed, are there lessons?
In this brief, sharp, stimulating analysis by a historian still totally engaged with his subject, Marrus offers the reader a new approach to the Holocaust lessons so many of us seek.