In the Midst of Civilized Europe

Jeffrey Veidlinger

See more book details
11 November 2021
480 pages

'Exhaustive, clearly written, deeply researched' The Times

'A meticulous, original and deeply affecting historical account' Philippe Sands, author of East West Street

In riveting prose, In the Midst of Civilized Europe repositions the pogroms as a defining moment of the twentieth century.

Between 1918 and 1921, over a hundred thousand Jews were murdered in Ukraine and Poland by peasants, townsmen, and soldiers who blamed the Jews for the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. In hundreds of separate incidents, ordinary people robbed their Jewish neighbors with impunity, burned down their houses, ripped apart their Torah scrolls, sexually assaulted them, and killed them. Largely forgotten today, these pogroms – ethnic riots – dominated headlines and international affairs in their time. Aid workers warned that six million Jews were in danger of complete extermination. Twenty years later, these dire predictions would come true.

Drawing upon long-neglected archival materials, including thousands of newly discovered witness testimonies, trial records, and official orders, acclaimed historian Jeffrey Veidlinger shows for the first time how this wave of genocidal violence created the conditions for the Holocaust. Through stories of survivors, perpetrators, aid workers, and governmental officials, he explains how so many different groups of people came to the same conclusion: that killing Jews was an acceptable response to their various problems.

[An] exhaustive, clearly written, deeply researched story of events in a time and place most of us know nearly nothing about - the pogroms of 1918-21 in Ukraine and Poland.

David Aaronovitch, The Times

Revelatory . . . Veidlinger’s crisp prose and extensive research makes the scale of the tragedy immediate and devastating. This is a vital addition to understanding how the Holocaust happened.

Publishers Weekly

Chilling . . . unequivocal . . . A vital history that draws a direct line from Eastern European antisemitic violence to the Holocaust.

Kirkus Reviews