Anti-Jewish Riots and Pogroms in Occupied Europe: Warsaw – Paris – The Hague – Amsterdam – Antwerp – Kaunas
What we normally associate the Holocaust with is genocide. The destruction of the Jewish nation has enshrouded the anguishes, sufferings, and humiliations the Jews experienced before being annihilated. Anti-Jewish riots tend to be neglected by authors of general studies concerning the history of the Second World War; similarly, they are not to be found in the works describing the Shoah. Likewise, not much would be found in the publications about the pogroms witnessed after 22nd June 1941 by Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, and Moldavia.1
Studies authored by historians from the countries where these occurrences took place tend to pass them over in silence for one more reason. To embark on this subject, a sore point as it really is, calls for courage as it implies that infamous and ignominious, or viciously brutal deeds could have been perpetrated not only by the Germans but also by the researcher’s compatriots. It is true that anti-Jewish disturbances – incidents, excesses, riots – sometimes turning into pogroms in which the Jews were getting beaten and in many cases killed, were not infrequently inspired by the German occupiers. It is, however, no less true that such incidents tended to occur here and there on the initiative of the local population – before the Germans entered. It should be borne in mind that the Germans might afterwards have persuaded or encouraged local people to take part in the persecutions or extermination of their Jewish neighbours, but as a rule they did not force them...
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