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Questions and Answers on the Holocaust-Gulag “Competitive Martyrology”



O P I N I O N

by Michael Shafir (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)

 

1. Approximately when did the drive to equate the Holocaust and the sufferings endured by people under Communist regimes start?

It is very difficult to pinpoint an exact date. In the West, a number of Sovietologists have long driven attention to the fact that the horrible crimes perpetuated by Stalin and his henchmen in East Central Europe deserved the attention and the opprobrium that Nazism met with after the Second World War. Due to Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s famous book Gulag, these crimes soon began to be referred to under the synthetic name of that book. The collapse of the Communist regimes in the region in 1989 and the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991 intensified that drive, which also found an impulse in the once popular (but later criticized) “totalitarian model.” That model was now revived, finding support particularly in the eastern part of Europe that had suffered under Soviet domination. Western historians were (and still are) quite divided over this issue. For example, Robert Conquest, who produced several important books on Stalinist crimes, was reluctant to place the Holocaust and the Gulag on the same footing. On the other hand, Stéphane Courtois, who edited and contributed to the Black Book of Communism, not only embraced the comparison, but insisted on

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Authors



Each author is exclusively responsible for his or her signed contribution.

Genrich Agranovski

Shimon Alperovich

Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis

Yitzhak Arad

Evaldas Balčiūnas

Chaim Bargman

Stanley H. Barkan

Ruth Barnett

Danny Ben-Moshe

Didier Bertin

Saulius Beržinis

Roland Binet

Herbert Block

Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein

Aleksandras Bosas

Valentinas Brandišauskas

Frank Brendle

Wyman Brent

Franziska Bruder

Chaim Burshtein

Motke Chabad

Milan Chersonski

Rachel Croucher

David Cukier

Algis Davidavičius

Leonidas Donskis

Shmuel Jacob Feffer

Aleksandrs Feigmanis

Pinchos Fridberg

Berel Fried

Ira Gold

Eleonora Groisman

Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius)

Clemens Heni

Leena Hietanen

Mikhail Iossel

Lord Janner of Braunstone

Peter Jukes

Sergey Kanovich

Leon Kaplan

Dovid Katz

Rafael Katz

Juris Kaža

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Regina Kopilevich

Rachel Kostanian

Tzvi-Hirsh Kritzer

Faina Kukliansky

Andrius Kulikauskas

Aleksandr Kuzmin

Sid (Shnayer) Leiman

Dov Levin

Joseph Levinson

Monica Lowenberg

Michael and Fausta Maass

Denis MacShane

Simon Malkes

Joseph Melamed

Ivo Mosley

Julius Norwilla 

Josifas Parasonis

Jacob Piliansky

Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe

Per Anders Rudling

Kamilė Rupeikaitė

Danutė Selčinskaja

Michael Shafir

Anna Shepherd

Ken Slade

Andres Spokoiny

Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

Birutė Ušinskaitė

Rūta Vanagaitė

Geoff Vasil

Nida Vasiliauskaitė

Tomas Venclova

Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson

Aleksandras Vitkus

Gert Weisskirchen

Olga Zabludoff

Lina Žigelytė

Efraim Zuroff

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