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Holocaust research tends to concentrate on certain geographic regions. We know much about the Holocaust in Poland, Germany and Western Europe. We are learning more and more about the 'Holocaust by Bullets' in the territories of the Soviet Union. This is obviously a good thing. But that emphasis leaves us knowing much less about other regions in Europe. In particular we know less about those areas annexed or subordinated to Germany before the outbreak of war in September of 1939.

Wolf Gruner has devoted much of an extraordinarily productive career thinking about these territories. His most recent contribution, The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia: Czech Initiatives, German Policies, Jewish Responses (Berghahn Books, 2019) looks at the Reichs protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Gruner is particularly interested in examining the interplay between local initiatives and the policies and desires of German officials. But his study also alerts us to the danger of assuming that German policies worked in the same way and had the same impact in different spaces. The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia bore some similarities to that in other places, but also differed in ways that lead to new questions and approaches. Gruner has written an important book, one that all interested in the Holocaust should wrestle with.

Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University. He’s the author of four modules in the Reacting to the Past series, including The Needs of Others: Human Rights, International Organizations and Intervention in Rwanda, 1994, published by W. W. Norton Press.

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