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Having just endured our new president's mangling of the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day by ignoring the fact that Jewish people were involved led me to read this new book.

WHY? is a wonderful study of a complex issue. Although much has been written about the Holocaust, most of it describes what happened and fails to specifically address the issue of why. Author Peter Hayes is well qualified to write on this subject and I found his book easy to read. Although it is filled with details that are familiar you don't have to be a historical scholar to appreciate the information he imparts.

Professor Hayes had the desire to analyze  what made the Jewish people of greater Europe, Asia, and specifically Germany, become the target for such intense hatred. It is too easy to say that Adolph Hitler and his 'final solution' was the action of a madman and a sociopath, although that is part of the answer. As Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies at Northwestern University, and a member of the academic committee advising the National Holocaust Museum, Professor Hayes has access to all the information he might need to answer the question why.

This is an important book in that it details the reality of the thinking behind the death camps and the governments who either supported the destruction or chose to ignore the events that led to the murder of millions of people. The author's insight of how the homosexuals fared in the camps is enlightening, but they were just one of many non-Jewish groups rounded up to serve the Nazi vision of racial purity. In light of the recent crisis in the Middle East it seems unconscionable that any nation would refuse the plight of refugees to escape the destruction in their homelands.

In the path of events leading up to World War II, the nineteen thirties in Europe, and specifically the activities in Germany, were known to Western nations. Reports from politicians, aid agencies, and military sources all became aware of the early stages of the Holocaust. As institutions these entities felt helpless to do anything about the round up and incarceration of the Jewish population, but they had their chance and failed to act by not accepting refugees. In the decades following the war, written documents from the archives of governments tell an incredible horror story.

The culpability of the nations, the Church, and even the owners of the major business corporations tells us how easily the Third Reich set their plans in motion to eliminate a religious minority. The propaganda, the lies, and the great effort to conceal the true nature behind the Nazi death camps was all part of a grand design by Hitler and his followers. The historical revisionists would have us believe that the Holocaust never happened, and yet the Nazis archived millions of documents that say otherwise.

The book is only three hundred and fifty pages long but the information it contains, and the way it is presented, give the reader a substantial glimpse at the answer to the book's title. Just understanding the why does little to alleviate the horror perpetrated on the Jews. It is something best remembered in light of the Syrian conflict, the rise of ISIS, and the genocide of thousands in Africa. Allegiance to a cause is not always the best way for society to evolve, and knowledge is a powerful tool to prevent another Holocaust. I recommend this book to anyone who seeks the knowledge of why the human race always seems to be teetering on the brink of disaster.         

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