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July 23, 2014 - 11:24 pm

Discover a Soviet-era book that was “arrested,” suppressed for decades. Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate plumbs the depths of human evil. Does it warn us of our own possible future?

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All Comments   (3)
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The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I recommend that those who can, get a copy of The Enemy at His Pleasure, by S. An-Ski. An-Ski was the Yiddish playwright who wrote the play The Dybbuk, and in the wake of WWI he traveled about Eastern Europe reporting on conditions there. In The Enemy at His Pleasure, An-Ski records the brutalities which existed in the aftermath of the Great War, and the war between the Reds and the Whites that occurred where the eastern fragments of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire met the fragments of the former Czarist dominions, then being taken over by the Soviets.

The reader will learn that, twenty years before Hitler and his Nazis, everything---everything---that we associate with the Holocaust took place; the random massacres, the herding of the entire population into a synagogue which was then burnt over their heads, etc. The sole exception to this is the establishment of death camps and the mechanization of murder; mechanized, assembly-line factories of death was the Nazis' sole contribution to human culture.

But the larger point is that one can understand, from reading The Enemy at His Pleasure, just why people were passive in the face of the Nazi evil. First, they had seen murder on what appeared to have been a similar scale before, and survived. Second, they hoped against hope that by walking small and attempting to quietly persevere, they would survive yet again.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The vid I watched had a pop-up that asked for recommendations of other books with similar material. My novel Unintended Consequences has a section about the Warsaw Ghetto resistance in WWII.

Whittle tells us how Grossman explains that few German soldiers were needed to run the massive death camps, because the prisoners were so passive.

The Warsaw Ghetto showed what can happen when a handful of prisoners decide NOT to submit.

Get it at

31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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