The Fallacy of Race and the Shoah


359 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7766-0476-7
DDC 940.53'18




Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein, distinguished research professor emeritus of history
at York University, is the author of Who Killed Canadian History? and
co-author of The Canadian 100: The 100 Most Influential Canadians of the
20th Century and Prime Ministers: Ranking


This is a curious book, a combination of Holocaust memoir and academic
study that weaves back and forth from history to anthropology to
literature. It is first a memoir of Peter Kleinmann, a Jew whose
Carpathian region of Czechoslovakia was handed over to Hungary in 1938.
In 1941, the Hungarian authorities in turn handed over the area’s Jews
to the Nazis, and the inevitable followed—slave labor camps,
shootings, extermination. But Kleinmann survived the ghetto; the
Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen, and Flossenburg camps; and a death march to be
liberated and to bear witness. His story is compelling.

The second section, the academic study, aims to provide a larger
historical context into which Kleinmann’s experience can fit, and it
covers everything from prewar Jewish life to Nazi ideology and the final
solution. This part is adequately done but perhaps too brief to add much
to what is widely known. What makes the book as a whole invaluable is
the splendid images that fill its pages—documents, family snapshots,
maps, posters, cartoons, and present-day photos of sites referred to in
the story. For Kleinmann’s story and for the illustrations and
photographs, this book is well worth perusing.


Kramer, Naomi, and Ronald Headland., “The Fallacy of Race and the Shoah,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 12, 2024,