Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

Friday, December 10, 2010

Yale University's Timothy Snyder discusses the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes, and looks at how both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behind the iron curtain after World War II, leaving the history of mass killings there in darkness. In Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, he looks at what happened under totalitarianism, when Stalin killed millions of his own citizens and Hitler murdered six million Jews, as well as nearly as many other Europeans.


Timothy Snyder

Comments [27]

Ruth from Lake City, FL

I have read this book which is highly detailed with all references included. I believe what the author was saying is that it wasn't ONLY Germans who were shooting, starving and murdering the Eastern Europeans, especially Ukraine, Poland and Belarus. What was uncovered in detailed study was that Stalin starved, shot or murdered probably 3.3 of his own citizens at the same time the German SS was killing them - making it appear that the Germans killed more than anyone else and rather 'creating' a holocaust when Stalin was just as much to blame in the murders.

Oct. 29 2011 02:23 PM
marian rubchak from new jersey

So much misinformation!!
Hiler's murderous acts relevant to WWII
Stalin murdered millions of his own people in the 30s, especially in 1931-1932 (a special but not exclusive focus on Ukrainians). His stupid early wartime
manouvers cost an additionl ca 20 million lives of his own citizens.

Hitler's acts were responsible for 6 million deaths in the Holocaust, of which 3 million were Jews. The other 3 million were NOT Poles. They were part of the 3 million, as were Ukrainians, and other "undesirables."
a historian

Dec. 15 2010 02:16 PM
Brian from Jersey City, NJ, USA

I would urge those commenting here to read Snyder's book. Many have written things like "What about the Polish gentiles.... Ukrainians... handicapped.... Roma, etc." "Bloodlands" is an incredibly comprehensive book, and Snyder deals with each of these subjects in great depth. In a relatively short discussion, he is constrained by time and by his interviewer's questions. The fact that he doesn't mention an issue in a 25-minute interview does not mean he's ignored the issue.
The book is remarkable and thorough. I recommend it highly.

Dec. 15 2010 01:56 PM

Sorry EK, the slaughter in the east was by carried out by Germans-- ordinary Germans-- led by Nazis, for sure...

Dec. 12 2010 04:20 PM
ron from flushing

tim uses the words concentration camps.Goring called it protective custody.the foreign press named it so.

Dec. 10 2010 08:58 PM
free thinker

What about the Jewish roll in communism, including the terror of the NKVD and Checka long before the Germans came into East Europe?
Weren't many of the jews executed NKVD, and Checka?
first two links: Jewish murderers not extradited or charged with crime. Hypocrisy?

The Jewish teenager was a zealous communist sitting on a military tribunal which dispensed execution orders for "traitors of the motherland".
"I was very radical and uncompromising,"

a nobel prize winning author's book has not yet been published in english...

Lastly, everyone was starving in Germany and the east by the war's end.

Dec. 10 2010 05:50 PM

I’d like to add, but i’m sure u know (as an expert on all things jewish) the jews were being “blamed” for the german defeat even before WW1 ended
The german volk elected the nazis because of the bad economy caused by the unfair treaty of versailles. Selling the idea of empire, living space and the fear of the other lead to the rise of that murderous government.
I hope u don’t mean to blame the holocaust on the russian revolution, that would be like blaming darkness on the moon.

Dec. 10 2010 02:50 PM

The review of this book in the NY Observer says that Hitler's hunger plan/ethnic cleansing role models included Stalin and the United States.

Dec. 10 2010 02:48 PM
Mike from Trybeca

Thanks for the reply, Amy.

Dec. 10 2010 02:04 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Mike from Tribeca: I didn't mean to imply the author was ignoring them, & I'd guess he does mention those groups in the book. It's just that I'd had the impression that they did make up a large proportion of the people who were killed as part of the Holocaust (as distinct from the war), & I didn't know about the Soviet prisoners & others he talked about.

Eva from NJ: Thanks. That's what I was wondering--how the numbers compared among the groups. As for my writing "Gypsies" instead of "Roma," I was deliberately using the terminology of those times, for all 3 that I mentioned.

Dec. 10 2010 01:55 PM
jgarbuz from Queens.

To Josy

Yes, he mentioned these things in passing. I just want to reiterate. My mother's village of Boremel first saw the Russian tanks and the NKVD 18 months before the Wehrmacht. As her family was labelled "bourgeoise," the family home and her first husbands granary were taken from them. Eighteen months later, the Nazis arrived, and then it was into the ghetto and then the liquidation in which the family was murdered.
Let me just reiterate. If there had been no Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1917, there would have been no election of the Nazi party into power in Germany in 1932. Fascism was the reaction to Bolshevism. Race warfare was the reaction to Class warfare. That is a point often not made. Totalitarianism in any form is evil, and strikes Jews first, but not last.

Dec. 10 2010 01:38 PM
Eva from NJ

Amy from Manhattan,

Roma (Gypsies), homosexuals, handicapped people, and others who received compensation by the German Government and Swiss banks, etc., were in reality very small in number. However, the larger ethnic groups of people who suffered and died, such as ethnic Poles, were not compensated and are rarely, if ever mentioned. Six million Polish citizens died in World War II. Of this huge number, 3 million were ethnically Polish and 3 million Jewish.

Dec. 10 2010 01:31 PM
Josy from New York, NY

Jgarbuz, actually Mr. Snyder DID talk about these things. Perhaps you were writing your comments--all issues of great importance--before the end of the interview?

Dec. 10 2010 01:23 PM
mariya from Queens

thank you so much for this conversation...i am ukrainian and i had tears in my eyes...

Dec. 10 2010 01:13 PM
Mike from Tribeca

Amy from Manhattan -- Mr. Snyder's not mentioning the other victims of the Nazi's does not mean he is ignoring them. If he had studied and written about every aspect of WWII, his book would be millions of pages long. He is simply doing what historians do, writing about specific aspects of a specific era.

Dec. 10 2010 01:04 PM
Annie from New York, NY

Mr. Snyder makes no mention of the millions of Polish gentiles (and the gentiles of other countries) who were slaughtered by the Germans and Russians. People who discuss the Holocaust to remind us that it must never happen again, do their cause a disservice when they make it only a matter of hatred to the Jews. Hatred spreads to all people, and it is a slap in the face to all those other beings who were killed, to ignore their tragedies.

Dec. 10 2010 12:56 PM
Eva from NJ

What about the over 1.5 million ethnic Poles who were forcibly deported to Siberia who lived in the area this book covers at the war's beginning? Over two-thirds of this number died in Siberia.

All of Eastern Europe experienced the holocaust firsthand, and not only its Jewish citizens either.

Dec. 10 2010 12:55 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Honestly, responsibility for the Holocaust has to be split between the Bolsheviks and the Nazis. Both totalitarian sides were responsible in their own ways.

Dec. 10 2010 12:55 PM

I would appreciate if your guest would learn to distinguish between the Germans and the Nazis. Thank you.

Dec. 10 2010 12:53 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I can kind of understand the idea of our knowing about the concentration camps because some people did survive them--I have a friend whose father survived a concentration camp & went home to find that the rest of his family was wiped out. But I thought many of those who survived did so because the camps were liberated before they died.

My understanding was that some of what are called concentration camps were work camps & some were death camps. And some of the work camps were set up to work the prisoners to death, so they weren't so much meant to keep them alive as to get as much work out of them before they died (or were sent on to a death camp). Is this incompatible w/what Timothy Snyder is describing, or just less complex?

I'm also kind of surprised that Mr. (Prof.?) Snyder hasn't mentioned the Gypsies, homosexuals, & people w/physical or mental handicaps who were also murdered in the Holocaust. How many of them were there?

Dec. 10 2010 12:52 PM
Peter from New York City

With all tribute to Mr. Snyder, the outline and many details of what he's talking about was well described by Hanna Arendt in "Eichmann in Jerusalem." The Einzatzgruppen and plan for the "General Area" meaning Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Dec. 10 2010 12:51 PM

by the way the germans and russians (and other slavs) have been fighting over this land for centuries.

Dec. 10 2010 12:50 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

WWII was a war between Nazism and Bolshevism, and innocents in between were crushed. Since Hitler regarded Boshevism as a Jewish phenomenon, the extermination of the Jews and the destruction of Bolshevism were one and the same.

Dec. 10 2010 12:45 PM
Mike from Tribeca

I'm looking forward to reading the book. Mr. Snyder's recent essay, "Holocaust: The Ignored Reality" in the NY Review of Books was one of the most informative and well-written essays on the subject I've ever read. It can be found here:

Dec. 10 2010 12:41 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Unfortunately, there was a different Holocaust not often covered, and that was the Ukrainian collectivization holocaust in which some 4-7 million Ukrainians died in the early 1930s as a result of Stalin's collectivization plan. Unfortunately, many Bolshevik Jews were involved and used by Stalin, and it really set the precedent for the subsequent of the Jewish Holocaust that came later on. Bolshevism preceded Nazism, and that is a fact that is often ignored in such discussions. Stalin's labor camps preceded the Nazi concentration camps by yiears.

Dec. 10 2010 12:40 PM
vlad from NYC

World War two and it's aftermath is not only about jews. As much as mainstream media want's us to believe, many more people -ethnic/social/national groups were targeted, overshadowing the 6 million.

40 million slavs were killed in organized starvation.

Dec. 10 2010 12:39 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

My mother was born in 1914 in what soon became the second Polish republic, reconstituted in 1918 by the Versailles treaty. Unfortunately, even though the second Polish republic was formally recognized by Germany and the USSR, with diplomatic and trade relations, nevertheless neither really accepted its RIGHT to EXIST. And so, in 1939 it was invaded by both sides and the country torn apart. First the Red Army and then the Wehrmacht put an end to my family's physical existence there as well, except for the few, like my mother, who managed to survive.

There should be an object lesson from its experience. Signing treaties with those who really don't accept your right to exist is an exercise in futility and self deception.

Dec. 10 2010 12:03 PM

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