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Judenrat : the Jewish councils in Eastern Europe under Nazi occupation

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Call Number947 T87j
Dates[1972]; ©1972
Statement of ResponsibilityIsaiah Trunk ; introduction by Jacob Robinson.
Creators & ContributorsTrunk, Isaiah (author)
Robinson, Jacob (contributor)
Summary"Isaiah Trunk spent more than five years preparing his detailed study of the Councils and their relations with the Jewish community and the German authorities. The purpose of such massive research was not to pronounce judgment on the Councils but to probe deeply into the entire complex topic—into the conditions in which the Councils were forced to operate, into the motivations and deeds of individual members, and into the results of their activities. Trunk's study encompasses Councils in Poland (in its prewar boundaries of 1939), in the Baltic countries—Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia—and in the occupied areas of the U.S.S.R., Byelorussia, and the Ukraine. Although it is possible to find common features in the pattern of activities of the Councils under Nazi rule, the author discovered that the entire Council phenomenon could not be analyzed in general terms. Instead it must be considered in view of local conditions and personalities; it is now clear that people of diverse socio-psychological backgrounds reacted in different ways to similar situations. In light of this discovery, Trunk has examined the emergence of the various Councils; their organizational structure (decentralization and centralization, dictatorial and collective leadership); the degree of their representative qualities (continuation with or severance from the prewar representative bodies of the Jewish communities); their political and social composition; their activities in the fields of ghetto economy, welfare, hygiene, medical help, and religious affairs; their educational and cultural work; their administrative and judicial functions; the Council employees; the Jewish police; relations with other Jewish organizations and with the resistance movement. In addition the author includes discussions of the painful postwar aftereffects, and of the trials of surviving Council members and ghetto policemen. The phenomenon of the Jewish Councils is examined within the framework of Jewish history, and not as a unique and detached episode. Trunk has sought analogies between the situations faced by the Councils and those dealt with by the Kehila leaders of old, pointing out that the horrible difference between the Kehila representations of the past and the Councils was that for the first time in Jewish history a role in the destruction of coreligionists was forced on a Jewish-appointed body by a foreign criminal regime." —Book jacket
ContentsIntroduction: Some basic issues that faced the Jewish councils / Jacob Robinson
  1. The official decrees establishing the Jewish councils
  2. The emergence of the Jewish councils and their composition
  3. The central Jewish councils
  4. The organizational structure of the Jewish councils
  5. The economic situation of the Jews and the activities of Jewish councils
  6. Public welfare
  7. Medical aid
  8. Administrative, judicial, and police duties
  9. Religion, education, and other cultural activities
  10. The finances of the Jewish councils
  11. The Jewish councils and the occupation authorities
  12. The fluctuation in the composition of the councils
  13. The councils and the Jewish service organizations
  14. The personnel of the Jewish councils
  15. Mutual relations between the Jewish councils and the diverse groups in the ghettos
  16. The strategy and tactics of the councils toward the German authorities
  17. The attitude of the councils toward physical resistance
  18. The ghetto police
  19. Opposition to the Jewish councils and the ghetto police
  20. Postwar trials of councilmen and ghetto police
  21. Conclusions
  • Appendix I. Analysis of the evaluation of the behavior of Jewish council members in our poll and in some eyewitness accounts
  • Appendix II. Organizational rules of the Warsaw ghetto police confirmed by the German District Administration on November 29, 1940
Physical Description xxxv, 664 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Carrier Typevolume
LanguageEnglish
PublisherNew York : The Macmillan Company ; London : Collier-Macmillan Limited
NotesIncludes bibliographical references
RecognitionGifted in 2011 by Mona Kaplan as a gift from the Samuel Kaplan Shoah Library