Preface
    While in New York doing graduate work at Columbia
University, I became close friends with a German Jewish
refugee, traumatized by her experience of living under
the Nazis for six years. Her story moved me deeply, so I
took courses and read extensively to learn more. Yuri
Suhl, author of They Fought Back: The Story of the
Jewish Resistance in Nazi Europe, and Lucjan Dobroszycki
of the YIVO Institute of Jewish Research, editor of The
Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, 1941-1944, were especially
helpful.

    Later when I became a history teacher and looked
for, but could not find, a book on the background of the
Holocaust suitable for my students, I wrote Anti-
Semitism: The Road to the Holocaust and Beyond to fill
the gap. The summer after its publication I attended the
Yad Vashem Institute for Holocaust Education in
Jerusalem, where I learned more from Yehuda Bauer, David
Bankier, Robert Wistrich, and other Holocaust scholars.
Back in the United States, I began reviewing books for
Martyrdom and Resistance, a bimonthly now published by
the International Society of Yad Vashem.

    My awareness of the scope of our society's
exploitation and slaughter of animals has been a more
recent development. I grew up and spent most of my adult
life oblivious to the extent to which our society is
built on institutionalized violence against animals. For
a long time it never occurred to me to challenge or even
question the practice or the attitude behind it. The
late AIDS and animal activist Steven Simmons described
the attitude: "Animals are innocent casualties of the
world view that asserts that some lives are more
valuable than others, that the powerful are entitled to
exploit the powerless, and that the weak must be
sacrificed for the greater good." Once I realized this
was the same attitude behind the Holocaust, I began to
see the connections that are the subject of this book.

    I am dedicating the book to the great Yiddish writer
Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-91), who was the first major
writer to focus on the "Nazi" way we treat animals. The
first two parts of the book (Chapters 1-5) put the issue
in historical perspective, while the last part (Chapters
6-8) profiles people--Jewish and German--whose animal
advocacy has been, at least to some extent, shaped by
the Holocaust.

    The conviction of Albert Camus that "it is a
writer's responsibility to speak for those who cannot
speak for themselves" helped me persevere through the
writing of this book. And when it looked as if I might
never find a publisher brave enough to publish it (some
said the book was "too strong"), I took comfort from
Franz Kafka's view: "I think we ought to read only books
that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading
doesn't shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why
bother reading it in the first place? So it can make us
happy? Good God, we'd be just as happy if we had no
books at all....A book must be the ax for the frozen sea
within us."

    If the issue of the exploitation and slaughter of
animals moves to center stage in the twenty-first
century the way the issue of human slavery did in
America in the nineteenth century--and I think it will--
my hope is that this book will be in the thick of the
debate.
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