Geoff Megargee, ed.The USHMM Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos

Indiana University Press, 2009

by Kelly McFall on July 21, 2015

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Every semester when I get to the point in World Civ when we're talking about Nazi Germany, I ask my students to guess how many camps and ghettos there were.  I get guesses anywhere from a few, to a few dozen, to a couple thousand.  When I tell them that the true number is above 40,000, I get astonished stares and a barrage of 'your kidding' (and stronger words).

The camps and ghettos were an essential part of the Nazi system.  So today we're beginning a five part series dedicated to the camps and ghettos in Germany, the areas Germany controlled and in Germany's allies.  Later this summer we'll hear from Sarah Helms, Nik Wachsmann, Dan Stone and Shelly Cline.

The series starts, however, with an interview with Geoff Megargee.  Geoff is the general editor of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum's Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos (Indiana University Press 2009-). This is a monumental project.  Each of the first two volumes runs well over 1000 pages and includes an enormous amount of information.  Once the series is done, it will probably exceed 10,000 pages.

The result will be an almost unprecedented addition to our understanding of the  Holocaust.  I'll talk with Geoff about the process of creating the Encyclopedia and about how the accumulation of knowledge about specific camps can reshape our understanding of the Holocaust as a whole.

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