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In the Midst of Civilized Europe

In the Midst of Civilized Europe

Winner of the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for History

From the two-time winner of the Canadian Jewish Book Award, the first full depiction of the wave of anti-Jewish pogroms that followed the Russian Revolution and how they laid the groundwork for the Holocaust

Finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize and a National Jewish Book Award

Between 1918 and 1921, over 100,000 Jews were murdered in Ukraine by peasants, townspeople and soldiers who blamed them for the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. In hundreds of separate incidents, ordinary people robbed their Jewish neighbours 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 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 government 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. In riveting prose, In the Midst of Civilized Europe repositions the pogroms as a defining moment of the twentieth century.