David Cesarani shortlisted for the 2017 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize

24 January 2017

By Pan Macmillan

David Cesarani's Final Solution has been shortlisted for the 2017  Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize. The annual prize is awarded to the best book, fiction or non-fiction, to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader. 

In the Judges words: ‘David Cesarani’s book differs from other Holocaust works because it moves away from the conventional wisdom that the Holocaust was a clinical, industrialised form of killing – with the image of the Auschwitz crematoria and train lines at the heart of this. Cesarani has shown the raw and arbitrary side of this brutal genocide, revealing that a large percentage of the mass killings took place outside the death camps with many persecutors literally knee-deep in blood. The few remaining survivors of these vicious massacres are heard for the first time. In a unique combination, Cesarani has brought together military history and the history of genocide to show that war and the Holocaust went hand in hand. The intentions of the Nazi leadership to exterminate the Jews of Europe were clear, but these intentions were, more often than not, complicated and shaped by the vicissitudes of war ’.

Start reading Final Solution

The prize has generated a short-list of five powerful books which the judges believe all bring a fresh perspective to the ‘dominant, pressing issues of today’.

Chair of judges Prof Cheyette says: ‘We feel all five books are tremendously strong, any of which would make a worthy winner. While the majority are inspired by historical events, they are all focused on live issues which have a huge relevance to the world today and connect to the present-day reader – mass refugees, the horror of war and the denial of the humanity of others in the face of global indifference.’

Also on the shortlist:

The Crime and the Silence by Anna Bikont, translated by Alissa Valles
Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, translated by Sondra Silverston
All for Nothing by Walter Kempowski, translated by Anthea Bell
East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity by Philippe Sands

The 2017 prize winner will be announced on February 23 2017 at JW3 during an event at to mark 40 years of the JQ Wingate Prize. Past judges and winners will be joining journalist and Wingate trustee Emily Kasriel to discuss ‘What Makes a Book Jewish’. For more information go to www. Jw3.org.uk.