The Archaeology of the Holocaust, Richard A. Freund

The Archaeology of the Holocaust, Richard A. Freund

Rhodes, Vilna and Escape Tunnels

Dr Richard Freund was for many years the Director of the Maurice Greenberg Centre for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, and is an experienced archaeologist with decades of experience in the field.

The main focus of this book is on the author’s development of non-invasive archaeological methods, how they have been implemented, and on the background history of two of the sites he has studied – on Rhodes, and the Great Synagogue at Vilna, Lithuania. This non-invasive methodology is especially important in holocaust studies, because Jewish law forbids disturbing burials in all but the most unusual circumstances. 

The general methods in use will be familiar to those who follow archaeology (playing a major role in Time Team for example). The two main methods used here are ground penetrating radar and electrical resistivity tomography, which the author and his teams use side by side, along with drone photography, advancing mapping software and a whole range of other methods. These are combined with eyewitness accounts, historical records and earlier documents to produce an overall picture of what was on the site.

One thing this book isn’t is a site report – if you are waiting for chapters detailing the results of the research at Vilna and Rhodes, you’ll be disappointed. Instead we get a great deal of fascinating details on the Jewish communities of Vilna and Rhodes, both cities that had long standing, important Jewish populations, both of which were destroyed during the Holocaust. There is also a lot material on how the archaeology links to specific individuals – including victims and survivors of the Holocaust and their descendents and relatives.

This is a thought provoking look at the archaeological process in general, and in particular how it can be used to study the holocaust, without at the same time desecrating the graves of its millions of victims.

Chapters
1 – What If: Geoscience and Archaeology
2 – Discoveries in the Archaeology of the Holocaust
3 – An Archaeological Discovery ‘Hidden’ in Plain Sight
4 – The Significance of Tunnels: Geoscience and Archaeology from the Ancient World to the Holocaust
5 – Why I Came to Rhodes
6 – The Secret of Jewish Rhodes
7 – The Origin of the ‘Final Solution’ in a Forest and a Fort in Lithuania
8 – The Road to Vilna
9 – An Altruistic Nazi and the Descendants of Hope
10 – Why the Discovery of the ‘Holocaust Escape Tunnel’ Gives the World Hope

Author: Richard A. Freund
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 296
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Year: 2019


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