Microhistories of the Holocaust. Edited by Claire Zalc and Tal Bruttmann. Berghahn Books, 2017

“This volume brings together an international cast of scholars to reflect on the ongoing microhistorical turn in Holocaust studies, assessing its historiographical pitfalls as well as the distinctive opportunities it affords researchers”.





Microhistories of the Holocaust



Edited by Claire Zalc and Tal Bruttmann


336 pages, 4 illus., bibliog., index



“This excellent volume not only displays an admirable thematic and geographic diversity, but also presents a range of interpretations of the methodology known as ‘microhistory.’ Together, the chapters provide a refreshing and important look at the genocide against the Jews, illuminating aspects and incidents that must, by definition, be overlooked by macrohistorical studies.” Jonathan R. Zatlin, Boston University



“With historians in many countries turning increasingly to microhistory as an effective way to explore questions of human behavior and historical causation, now is the right time for this collection devoted to the Holocaust. The volume offers broad geographic and thematic coverage, provides examples of a variety of microhistorical approaches, and features the work of established scholars as well as younger colleagues engaged in innovative scholarship.” Alan E. Steinweis, University of Vermont



How does scale affect our understanding of the Holocaust? In the vastness of its implementation and the sheer amount of death and suffering it produced, the genocide of Europe’s Jews presents special challenges for historians, who have responded with work ranging in scope from the world-historical to the intimate. In particular, recent scholarship has demonstrated a willingness to study the Holocaust at scales as focused as a single neighborhood, family, or perpetrator. This volume brings together an international cast of scholars to reflect on the ongoing microhistorical turn in Holocaust studies, assessing its historiographical pitfalls as well as the distinctive opportunities it affords researchers.



Claire Zalc is a Research Professor (directrice de recherche) in history at the Institut d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, CNRS-ENS. She specializes in the history of immigration in twentieth-century France and the history of French Jews during World War II. She was awarded the CNRS Bronze Medal in 2013.



Tal Bruttmann is a researcher whose work focuses on the various anti-Jewish policies implemented in France between 1940 and 1944, as well as the “Final Solution.” He has published several books, the most recent of which was Auschwitz (La Découverte, 2015).






List of tables
List of photos



Introduction: Towards a Microhistory of the Holocaust


Claire Zalc and Tal Bruttmann





Chapter 1. An Inconceivable Emigration. Richard Frank’s flight from Germany to Switzerland in 1942
Christoph Kreutzmüller

Chapter 2. Pursuing Escape from Vienna: The Katz Family’s Correspondence
Melissa Jane Taylor

Chapter 3. Moving Together, Moving Alone: The Story of Boys on a Transport from Auschwitz to Buchenwald
Kenneth Waltzer

Chapter 4. Dehumanizing the Dead. The Destruction of Thessaloniki’s Jewish Cemetery
Leon Saltiel

Chapter 5. Reconstructing Trajectories of Persecution: Reflections on a Prosopography of Holocaust Victims
Nicolas Mariot and Claire Zalc

Chapter 6. Microhistories, Microgeographies: Budapest, 1944 and Scales of Analysis
Tim Cole




Chapter 7. Microhistory of the Holocaust in Poland: New Sources, New Trails
Jan Grabowski

Chapter 8. Jewish Slave Workers in the German Aviation Industry
Daniel Uziel

Chapter 9. The Devil in Microhistory: The “Hunt for Jews” as a Social Process, 1942-1945
Tomasz Frydel

Chapter 10. On the Persistence of Moral Judgment: Local Perpetrators in Transnistria as Seen by Survivors and Their Christian Neighbors
Vladimir Solonari

Chapter 11. Defiance and Protest. A Comparative Microhistorical Reevaluation of Individual Jewish Responses to Nazi Persecution
Wolf Gruner

Chapter 12. The Murder of the Jews in Ostrów Mazowiecka in November 1939
Markus Roth

Chapter 13. Échirolles, August 7 1944: a Triple Execution
Tal Bruttmann

Chapter 14. The Beginning: First Massacres against the Jews in the Romanian Holocaust. Level of Decision, Genocidal Strategy and Killing Methods regarding Dorohoi and Galati Pogroms, June-July, 1940
Alexandru Muraru




Chapter 15. The Holocaust and Postwar Justice in Poland in Three Acts
Andrew Kornbluth

Chapter 16. The Small and the Good: Microhistory Through the Eyes of the Witness. A Case Study
Hannah Pollin-Galay

Chapter 17. The Witness against the Archive: towards a Microhistory of Christianstadt
Jeffrey Wallen