Lessons of the Holocaust

By Michael R. Marrus
Foreword by Margaret MacMillan

© 2016

Although difficult to imagine, sixty years ago the Holocaust had practically no visibility in examinations of the Second World War. Yet today it is understood to be not only one of the defining moments of the twentieth century but also a touchstone in a quest for directions on how to avoid such catastrophes.

In Lessons of the Holocaust, the distinguished historian Michael R. Marrus challenges the notion that there are definitive lessons to be deduced from the destruction of European Jewry. Instead, drawing on decades of studying, writing about, and teaching the Holocaust, he shows how its “lessons” are constantly challenged, debated, altered, and reinterpreted.

A succinct, stimulating analysis by a world-renowned historian, Lessons of the Holocaust is the perfect guide for the general reader to the historical and moral controversies which infuse the interpretation of the Holocaust and its significance.

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Product Details

  • Series: UTP Insights
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED DEC 2015

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    Regular Price: $26.95

    ISBN 9781442630062
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Quick Overview

Lessons of the Holocaust is the perfect guide for the general reader to the historical and moral controversies which infuse the interpretation of the Holocaust and its significance.

Lessons of the Holocaust

By Michael R. Marrus
Foreword by Margaret MacMillan

© 2016

Although difficult to imagine, sixty years ago the Holocaust had practically no visibility in examinations of the Second World War. Yet today it is understood to be not only one of the defining moments of the twentieth century but also a touchstone in a quest for directions on how to avoid such catastrophes.

In Lessons of the Holocaust, the distinguished historian Michael R. Marrus challenges the notion that there are definitive lessons to be deduced from the destruction of European Jewry. Instead, drawing on decades of studying, writing about, and teaching the Holocaust, he shows how its “lessons” are constantly challenged, debated, altered, and reinterpreted.

A succinct, stimulating analysis by a world-renowned historian, Lessons of the Holocaust is the perfect guide for the general reader to the historical and moral controversies which infuse the interpretation of the Holocaust and its significance.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: UTP Insights
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "This book makes for great reading in introductory classes on the Holocaust and especially in those on Holocaust memory."


    Thomas Kühne
    Seventeenth Century News

    "Lessons of the Holocaust is a joy to read. Written with clarity and verve, it covers a lot of ground elegantly and efficiently. But be prepared; at some point, it will hit you how profoundly this book has challenged what you thought you knew about the Holocaust."


    Doris L. Bergen, University of Toronto
    University of Toronto Quarterly, vol 87 3, Summer 2018

    Lessons of the Holocaust is a masterful work of far-reaching significance for scholars, undergraduates and graduate students, and non-specialists that only gains in relevance with time.’


    Rebekah Klein-Pejšová
    Canadian Journal of History - vol 53:01:2018

    ‘Marrus offers a bold and superb assessment of prescriptions drawn from Holocaust history. This is as much an exploration of the uses and abuses of Holocaust history as an intellectual biography, a commentary on decades of studying and teaching the Holocaust.’


    Joanna Sliwa
    H-Poland/H-Net Reviews January 2018

    “There are no ‘lessons’ of the Holocaust. The conclusions people draw from this mind-boggling series of events we call ‘Holocaust,’ that is, the genocide of the Jews at the hands of Nazi Germany and its allies and supporters, are varied, and change over time. That is the core message of this fascinating book by one of the masters of the historical art and a major figure in Holocaust historiography.”


    Yehuda Bauer, Professor Emeritus of History and Holocaust Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    “Academic memoir, erudite historiographical essay, provocative challenge to a flood of clichés, thoughtful analysis of the nature and purpose of the historical profession, and intellectual feast  – Michael Marrus’ Lessons of the Holocaust is all of these and a constant delight to read.”


    Christopher R. Browning, Frank Porter Graham Professor of History Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Lessons of the Holocaust makes an important argument, relevant to scholars and popular audiences alike: that we must challenge, even discard, unquestioned pieties regarding the Holocaust. This is an excellent, stimulating book, sure to be both well received and widely discussed.”


    Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College
  • Author Information

    Michael R. Marrus is the Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies and the former dean of the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto.



    Margaret MacMillan is the Warden of St Antony’s College and a professor of International History at the University of Oxford.
  • Table of contents

    1. Public and Personal Lessons

    2. Historical Lessons

    3. Early Lessons

    4. Jewish Lessons

    5. Israeli Lessons

    6. Universal Lessons

    7. Lessons of the Holocaust

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