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Golden Harvest [Hardcover]

Jan T. Gross
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 27 2012
It seems at first commonplace: a photograph of peasants at harvest time, after work well done, resting contentedly with their tools, behind the fruits of their labor. But when one finally notices that what seemed innocent on first view becomes horrific: the crops scattered in front of the group are skulls and bones. Where are we? Who are the people in the photograph, and what are they doing? The starting point of Jan Gross's A Golden Harvest, this haunting photograph in fact depicts a group of peasants - "diggers" atop a mountain of ashes at Treblinka, where some 800,000 Jews were gassed and cremated. The diggers are hoping to find gold and precious stones that Nazi executioners may have overlooked. The story captured in this grainy black-and-white photograph symbolizes the vast, continent-wide plunder of Jewish wealth. The seizure of Jewish assets during World War II occasionally generates widespread attention when Swiss banks are challenged to produce lists of dormant accounts, or national museums are forced to return stolen paintings. The theft of this wealth was not limited to conquering armies, leading banks, and museums, but to local populations such as those pictured in the photograph. Based upon a simple group shot, this moving book evokes the depth and range, as well as the intimacy, of the final solution.

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Golden Harvest + Survival In Auschwitz + Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered
Price For All Three: CDN$ 39.63

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"lucid and chilling book" --The New Yorker

"extraordinarily powerful account" --Neal Gendler, The American Jewish World

"[Golden Harvest] is a remarkable, stunning work." --Gila Wertheimer, Chicago Jewish Star

"Starting from a disturbed posed photograph of paesant gleaners in search of "post-Jewish" gold in the soil of Treblinka death camp, Jan Tomasz Gross and Irena Grudzinska Gross have created in this profoundly moving volume a chilling, sometimes shocking, passionate, and yet always balanced examination of the extent to which plunder of Jewish possesion was often a communal enterprise in wartime and post-war Poland." --Madeline G. Levine, Kenan Professor of Slavic Literatures Emerita, University of North Carolina

"Jan and Irena Gross guide us expertly through the "Heart of Darkness" that was wartime Poland. Using a single, deeply disturbing photograph, this book captures brilliantly the whole terrifying rapaciousness of Polish -- and European -- society as the Jews face the specter of elimination." --Norman M. Naimark, Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of East European Studies, Stanford University

About the Author

Jan Gross is Professor of Politics and European Studies at New York University. He is the author of Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland, a National Book Award finalist. Irena Grudzinska Gross is Associate Research Scholar in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, at Princeton University.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Harvest July 24 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is of the quality that one expects from Jan Gross.It is "bone and muscle" fat; nothing extraneous; unvarnished .Despite having read earlier works of this nature,I was devastated by motives and methods described by the authors
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must read March 20 2013
By H. M. Hicks - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a book everyone should be required to read. It illustrates the effects on the human spirit of war, hatred, greed and cruelty. I think that is a lesson that is very apt for the times we are living in now, with it's glorification of greed and selfishness. This story is not about the Poles or the Ukrainians, or even about the Nazis. It is about people. It is about the depths to which we all can sink given the right circumstances.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing and at the same time grizzly story told about ... Aug. 21 2014
By William H. - Published on
An amazing and at the same time grizzly story told about one single picture taken after the fact. The research is well done and the narrative is striking. Most of the research is done from Polish sources, but they are put in footnotes in both English and Polish where a researcher could follow up for themselves. Waivered just a bit from the original premise in certain sections, but right on point all of the time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 17 2014
By Harvey A. Kaplan - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very insightful book that treats the subject of Polish complacency with the Germans
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jan Gross has now hit a Triple May 9 2013
By Jay A. Frogel - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is Jan Gross' third short book about the treatment of Polish Jews in Poland by the rest of the population during WW II and its aftermath. It's not a pretty picture. His other two books are "Neighbors" and "Fear". The focus of the books is confined to the expression of anti-semitism by the non-Jewish Poles - much of it extremely, violent, brutal, inhumane, and barbarous. It is important to keep this seemingly narrow focus in mind since many of the other reviewers deeply disliked this book as well as the other two by Jan Gross on the grounds, at least as they expressed it, that it (they) are so one-sided. For a more complete picture of, say, the Warsaw ghetto uprisings, the, acts of kindness expressed by some (too few unfortunately) non-Jewish Poles to their Jewish countrymen, etc one needs to turn elsewhere. But in this book and in his other two Gross presents a largely horrific picture of what the Polish Jews suffered not from the Nazi oppressors, but from their fellow Polish citizens. These are important books to read, well written and well researched. As Timothy Snyder pointed out in a review of this book and several others in the New York Review of Books in 2012 December, the contrast with these acts and what present day Poland has become after getting rid of the Communist government is remarkable. I have given a more detailed discussion of Gross' book and Snyder's review of it in a response I posted on 2013 May 8 to a review by "lawyerguy" that was posted in December of 2012. I will repeat one point here from my longer comments that is also important to bear in mind when reading the negative reviews that Gross' books have elicited: Because of Nazi policy the consequences of being caught aiding Jews in Poland could be fatal. But the point that Gross makes repeatedly, is that if Poles did NOTHING, that would have been far better than the SOMETHING that many of them did do, namely the violence, brutality, etc toward their Jewish compatriots.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Typical Gold Diggers Nov. 25 2012
By Wynne Guglielmo - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Jan Gross has once again provided the reader with enticing yet horrifying acts committed against European Jewry. Even dead these poor people suffered injustices.
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