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History   >   Germany – The Holocaust, 1939-45

Opening Shots: A Nazi Massacre, August 1941

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Germany – The Holocaust, 1939-45

In this course, Dr Mark Levene (University of Southampton) considers the Holocaust through a pan-European perspective. In particular, he argues that while Hitler and the Nazis were the primary driving force determining the fate of European Jewry, without considering the role of other Europeans we lack a sufficient explanation. European anti-Semitism had deep, primarily Christian roots and we need to understand something of why this was still active, indeed virulent in increasingly secular 20th century societies. He goes on to consider the nature of anti-Jewish hostility in specific countries, with Romania one key example, and how this helped shape cases of active and autonomous Jewish extermination regardless of any direct German diktat. He also considers the ambivalent role of liberal states such as France, Britain and the United States who certainly failed, possibly wilfully, to engage with an emerging Jewish refugee crisis before the Second World War. It is the issue of refugees - and the abiding problem of what happens when one country, then another, passes the buck - which is the warning note upon which course ends, seeking as it does to consider not just Jewish but universal legacies of the modern world's most all-encompassing genocide to date.

Opening Shots: A Nazi Massacre, August 1941

In this module, we think about the first five-figure mass murder in the history of the 'Final Solution', the massacre of some 23,600 Jews at Kamenets-Podolsk in the Soviet western Ukraine. In particular, we focus on the nationalities of the Jews who were killed, the majority of whom were not Soviet, or from the local area but were human beings who had been rendered 'stateless' by countries other than Germany, and to which they were entitled to citizenship. What does this tell us about other Europeans and the Holocaust?

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Levene, M. (2018, August 15). Germany – The Holocaust, 1939-45 - Opening Shots: A Nazi Massacre, August 1941 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Levene, M. "Germany – The Holocaust, 1939-45 – Opening Shots: A Nazi Massacre, August 1941." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


Dr Mark Levene

Dr Mark Levene

Southampton University