A Word to the Wise

This month’s New English Review essay discusses the arguments of historian Jan Tomasz Gross in his book Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust. Gross argues that Polish collaboration with the Nazis in the extermination of the Jews was widespread, and as Dalrymple has often done, he relies on anecdotal evidence that he says is representative of the larger society:

Assuming that [Gross’s anecdote] is not wholly false and is substantially true… it points to a moral attitude that could not possibly have been that of one person or a few persons alone: it must have been shared by a substantial number and proportion of the population, though it would be impossible to be dogmatic about how large that number or proportion must have been. In effect, the grossest criminal behaviour was now deemed normal, acceptable and as conferring rights on those who indulge in it. Here indeed was a transvaluation of all values.

Gross insists that such anecdotal evidence, assuming it is not made up of whole cloth, is of as of [sic] great importance as more abstract statistical evidence would be, and I too have taken this view in my own work.

Read the piece here

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