In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918-1921 and the onset of the Holocaust
Published by HarperCollins
Between 1918 and 1921, over 100,000 Jews were murdered in Ukraine and Poland by peasants, townspeople and soldiers who blamed them for the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. In hundreds of separate incidents, ordinary people robbed their Jewish neighbours with impunity, burned down their houses, ripped apart their Torah scrolls, sexually assaulted them and killed them. Largely forgotten today, these pogroms—ethnic riots—dominated headlines and international affairs in their time. Aid workers warned that six million Jews were in danger of extermination. Twenty years later, these dire predictions would come true. Drawing upon long-neglected archival materials, including thousands of newly discovered witness testimonies, trial records, and official orders, acclaimed historian Jeffrey Veidlinger shows for the first time how this wave of genocidal violence created the conditions for the Holocaust. Through stories of survivors, perpetrators, aid workers and governmental officials, he explains how so many different groups of people came to the same conclusion: that killing Jews was an acceptable response to their various problems. In riveting prose, In the Midst of Civilized Europe repositions the pogroms as a defining moment of the twentieth century.
From the Jury“What causes us to change our view of our neighbors of a different religion — transforming them, in only a few years, into invaders, enemies and threats? Twenty years before the Holocaust, more than a hundred thousand Jews were murdered in Ukraine by peasants, townsfolk and soldiers who blamed them for the turmoil of World War I and the Russian Revolution. These pogroms — violent riots that took place between 1918 and 1921 — were front-page news at the time but are largely forgotten today. In his book In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918-1921 and the Onset of the Holocaust, Jeffrey Veidlinger provides an impeccably researched account that transforms our understanding of this time, and of the factors that could cause this violent transformation to recur in ours.”
2022 Lionel Gelber Prize Shortlist | In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918-1921 and the onset of the Holocaust