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JWST 240 Chapter Notes - Chapter reading: Henry Friedlander

Jewish Studies
Course Code
JWST 240

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This book makes four major claims about the Holocaust
The Holocaust was an event of global proportions with worldwide
The Holocaust happened step by step
Intertwined with World War II, the Holocaust needs to be understood in
the context of that conflict
Jews were the primary targets of Nazi German destruction, but their fates
were linked with those of other victim groups: people with disabilities,
Roma and Sinti, Polish elites, Soviet prisoners of war and homosexual men
The Holocaust was an event in human history
Everyone was involved - victims, witnesses, collaborators, rescuers and
perpetrators - was a human being with human feelings and needs
Henry Friedlander was born Heinz Egon Friedlander in 1930 in Berlin
His parents were Jewish and in late 1941 the family was amongst the first
German Jews deported to the east, where they were forced into the ghetto
Lodz in German occupied Poland
Henry's father was a doctor and henry remembered accompanying him to
the Gypsy section of the ghetto where he provided medical care to the
Roma peoples
In 1944, with the Soviet Army nearing Lodz, the Germans closed the ghetto and
sent most of its remaining inhabitants to Auschwitz
Henry was separated from his mother and never saw him again
Henry managed to survive Auschwitz thanks in part to help from a non-
Jewish communist prisoner
Henry and his father lived through the ordeal until they were liberated by
the British in 1945
A Jewish organization arranged for Henry to go to Canada, but his father
decided to stay in Germany
Henry Friedlander became a historian, an expert on the Holocaust but he did not
focus on his own experiences or even on the Nazi destruction of Jews
His most influential work was on the murder of the disabled
As Henry's life shows, the Holocaust was not a single event or the result of one
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