Timothy Snyder, Czarna ziemia. Holokaust jako ostrzeżenie, przeł. B. Pietrzyk, Znak Horyzont, Kraków 2015, 448 ss.

Monika Jania


In the article, the author discusses the most recent book by Timothy Snyder entitled „Black Earth. The Holocaust as history and warning”. Snyder is an American historian and intellectual (he works at the Yale University), whose research interests focus on the history of Central-East Europe. In his book he asks the following questions: Why do strangers kill strangers? And why do neighbors kill neighbors? Why were 5.4 millions of Jews, who had been an integral part of metropolitan and provincial Europe, killed within just 5 years? In his work, the author also adduces diplomatic actions, undertaken by Berlin to win the Warsaw for anti-Semitic crusade against the USSR. Finally, these actions went awry. Snyder precisely discusses the origin of Holocaust and its course in so-called double occupied areas. This term concerns the areas where Soviet rule took place before the Nazi rule, like Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The author has proved, that a statehood’s fall made the planning and the implementation of „Endlösung“ possible. The author thinks over the term „Auschwitz” and shows us its reductionist feature. Snyder adduces the survivors’ testimonies and describes the unknown diplomats, who helped the stateless Jews. The American historian discusses the Holocaust history, its ideological reasons and its course and points out the similarities in the contemporary world. He presents an innovative look at the subject and problematizes our world. The most important value of „Black Earth” is the explanatory one. The book encourages us to revise our opinions and reflection about the contemporary world in context of „an eternal precedent, from which we have never drawn proper the conclusions”.

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