The Seventh Million Book Summary - The Seventh Million Book explained in key points
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The Seventh Million summary

Tom Segev

The Israelis and the Holocaust

3.9 (51 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

The Seventh Million by Tom Segev is a historical book that provides an intimate portrayal of Holocaust survivors in Israel by exploring the impact of their experiences on the country's identity.

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    The Seventh Million
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    With the rise of the Nazis, German Jews were “transferred” to Palestine – yet their arrival was fraught with tension.

    Nineteen thirty-three was a turning point in history: the year the Nazis came to power in Germany. The rise of the Nazi state quickly signaled to Zionists, the community of Jews desiring to create a Jewish state in Palestine, that the Jews of Germany were in danger.

    Back then, however, the interests of the Nazis and the Zionists complemented one another. That’s because the Nazis wanted the Jews to leave Germany and the Zionists wanted them to live in Palestine.

    As a result, “transfer” agreements, also known as Haavara, were made between the Nazis and the Zionist Jewish Agency in Palestine. Here’s what happened:

    In the 1930s, the Jewish Agency acted as a government for the future Jewish state, with Zionist officials traveling to Berlin to negotiate the emigration of German Jews and the transfer of their property to Palestine.

    As a result of these negotiations, a transfer agreement was reached: any Jews who emigrated to Palestine would be permitted to take $4,000 of their money and to ship goods worth $5,000 to Palestine, a sizable amount of money in the 1930s. In this sense, the agreement was just.

    However, the arrival of the German Jews in Palestine was a source of great tumult. The German immigrants were traumatized by the terror of Nazi Germany and from having been uprooted from their home country. Many had also come against their will, in other words, not as Zionists but as refugees. The latter did not have the same beliefs as the Zionist colonists, who sought to establish a Hebrew culture and language in Palestine.

    And the Jews who already lived there?

    They were not happy about the immigrants. In fact, they lamented the flow of poor people and businessmen with their families arriving from Germany. They would have preferred single men and women to come, as they were considered ideal for building a new country.

    Quote/Fact: Eliahu Dobkin, a member of the Jewish Agency in the 1930s, considered German Jews who were arriving as refugees as “undesirable human material.”

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    What is The Seventh Million about?

    The Seventh Million (1991) is all about the way in which the Holocaust has shaped the Israeli identity. These blinks detail everything from the Zionist response to Nazism and the arrival of the first European Jewish refugees in Palestine to the Six-Day War and Holocaust Memorial Day.

    The Seventh Million Review

    The Seventh Million (1994) by Tom Segev is a fascinating exploration of the history and memory of the Holocaust in Israel. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • Its detailed research and thorough examination of primary sources offer a comprehensive understanding of the complex relationship between Jews and the memory of the Holocaust in Israel.
    • Segev's critical analysis of official Holocaust narratives challenges conventional beliefs, providing a fresh perspective on the construction of national identity.
    • The book's nuanced portrayal of the diverse responses of Israeli society to the Holocaust ensures a thought-provoking read that captures the complexities of memory and remembrance.

    Best quote from The Seventh Million

    From the second half of 1943 onward, the Holocaust was, again, no big news.

    —Tom Segev
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    Who should read The Seventh Million?

    • Jews, Israelis, Germans and Americans
    • Historians and students of the Holocaust

    About the Author

    Tom Segev is a columnist at Ha’aretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, and the author of One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate.

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    The Seventh Million FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Seventh Million?

    The main message of The Seventh Million highlights the complex history of Israel's narrative on the Holocaust and its impact on Israeli society.

    How long does it take to read The Seventh Million?

    The reading time for The Seventh Million varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Seventh Million a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Seventh Million is worth reading as it offers a thought-provoking exploration of the Holocaust's significance in Israeli memory and its relationship with the state-building process.

    Who is the author of The Seventh Million?

    The author of The Seventh Million is Tom Segev.

    What to read after The Seventh Million?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Seventh Million, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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