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Historians of the Jews and the Holocaust

Historians of the Jews and the Holocaust book cover

The Nazi Holocaust is often said to dominate the study of modern Jewish history. Engel demonstrates that, to the contrary, historians of the Jews have often insisted that the Holocaust be sequestered from their field, assigning it instead to historians of Europe, Germany, or the Third Reich. He shows that reasons for this counterintuitive situation lie in the evolution of the Jewish historical profession since the 1920s.

This one-of-a-kind study takes readers on a tour of twentieth-century scholars of the history of European Jewry, and the social and political contexts in which they worked, in order to understand why many have declined to view their subject from the vantage point of Jews' encounter with the Third Reich. Engel argues vehemently against this separation and describes ways in which a few exceptional scholars have used the Holocaust to illuminate key problems in the Jewish past.

About the author

David Engel is Greenberg Professor of Holocaust Studies, Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, and Professor of History at New York University.