Laqueur on Snyder

In Mosaic (“Advancing Jewish Thought”), Walter Laqueur discusses the Holocaust books of Yale historian Timothy Snyder:

The reception given to both of Snyder’s books has generally been rapturous, if more so in the United States than in Europe, and more so in some circles than in others. They have been called epic, haunting, brilliant, profoundly original, groundbreaking, provocative, erudite, challenging, unforgettable—exhausting the thesaurus. Most of those cheering, however, are not historians who have specialized in the study of Nazism, Eastern Europe, or the Holocaust. Within that more select group, a number have entered serious reservations and criticisms of Snyder’s work, and some have voiced harsher and more heated judgments; a harvest can be found at the website Defending History.

Some of the negative comments on Snyder are highly emotional and even personal to a degree unusual in historical debate. He has been accused of prevarication, of consorting with shady characters in the present-day Baltic republics, of deliberately downplaying anti-Semitism and the unique character of the Final Solution, of anti-Russian and pro-Polish bias, and more. Skeptical reviewers in Europe have focused on his alleged espousal of the “double-genocide” theme—that is, equating the scale and seriousness of the atrocities committed respectively by Hitler and Stalin.

One must *never* obfuscate the moral priority and preeminence of The Holocaust™, whether it’s discussing the Turkish genocide of Armenians or Stalin’s atrocities, even when written by a Jewish historian.

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