Lucy Dawidowicz

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Lucy S. Dawidowicz (1915-1990) was an American historian, whose major field of study and authorship was modern Jewish history, with special emphasis on The Holocaust. She was born and educated in the U.S., but did early fieldwork in Vilna, Poland, just before World War II. After war's end, she returned for both rescue and research. She was chair of interdisciplinary Jewish studies at Yeshiva University.

Speaking of her year in Vilna (1938-1939), she said "I went there with the romantic belief that it might become the world center for a self-sustaining Yiddish culture." Instead, she saw the escalation of antisemitism and the beginning of the end of Polish Jewry. [1]

Her best-known work, The War against the Jews, 1933-1945, is strongly in the "intentionalist" school of historical analysis of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. The intentionalist view, in this case, regards antisemitism and the Holocaust as a central motivation of the Nazis, rather than something that developed as a result of the exercise of power and the seizing of political opportunities. [2] In the preface to the 10th Anniversary edition of the book, she writes study of the war has to begin with the study of Hitler, and how "irrational views of Jews shaped his mental universe." She then addresses how his ideas found fertile ground in the German antisemitic nationalism of the time. [3] She sees his core goals as realizing his hatred of Jews, achieving Lebensraum for German expansion, and creating a "Thousand Year Reich".

References

  1. Richard Bernstein (6 December 1990), "Lucy S. Dawidowicz, 75, Scholar Of Jewish Life and History, Dies", New York Times
  2. Lothar Machtan (2001), The Hidden Hitler, Basic Books, pp. 1-15
  3. The War against the Jews, 1933-1945 (10th Anniversary ed.), Bantam Books, 1975, ISBN 0-553-34532-X, p. xx}}