The annihilation of the Jewish people by Nazis during the invasion of the Soviet Union, despite its sizeable extent (involving almost half of all Holocaust victims), for a long time was largely ignored by scholars. This was originally due to difficulties in gaining access to Soviet archives and interpreting official documents, according to which the war undertaken by the Germans against the Soviets did not entail any "special war" against Jews. Today, thanks to the publication of a large amount of material, it is possible to explore in detail the "final solution" on the Eastern front and the contradictions in the USSR's policy concerning the Jewish nation and its extermination. The book also describes the main features of the Shoah in Nazi-occupied Soviet territory, the immediate execution of race-based identification and suppression orders, the public nature of genocide and its exemplificatory functions, the success of anti-Semite propaganda combined with anti-Bolshevism, the role of local populations' collaborationism and their involvement in wartime massacres.
Antonella Salomoni teaches Contemporary History at the University of Calabria.
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