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Author speaks about ‘bloodland’ under Hitler and Stalin

By Anna Orshansky


Author and professor Timothy Snyder spoke about the killings under Hitler and Stalin at the College last Wednesday. (Vicki Wang / Photo Assistant)

Some are unaware of the connection between Hitler and Stalin and the land between the two powers from 1933 to 1945. Timothy Snyder, best-selling author of “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin” and a history professor at Yale University, spoke about this connection of powers in the Library Auditorium on Wednesday, April 18 for the Jack Glazer Memorial Lecture.

According to Snyder, the “bloodlands” is the land between Berlin and Moscow, the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. Both the Germans and the Soviets exercised power there, leaving those residing in the bloodlands with two sets of people as their enemies.

Between 1933 and 1945, 17 million people were killed in Eurasia. Of those 17 million people, 14 million were killed under the jurisdiction of Hitler, Stalin or both.

Snyder said that the fundamental purpose of his book is not just the significance of understanding what happened in the bloodlands but about knowing what actually happened. There is history of national suffering and Soviet terror and there is history of the Holocaust but many do not really have the sense that these events were happening at the same time and in the same place.

“We see it partially,” Snyder said, going on to explain that this is the problem that lies in comparison. Snyder explained that a comparison involves an analytical separation. Comparisons between one thing and other most often results in one being diminished. He made it clear that his book was not about a comparison of what happened at the hands of Hitler and Stalin, but rather about the interaction between the two and the events in the bloodlands when Hitler and Stalin were in power.

The Jack Glazer Memorial Lecture was held in honor of the College’s English professor Dr. Ellen G. Freidman’s late father who was caught in the midst of the bloodlands during the period of time which Snyder spoke. Jack Glazer was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1917 and moved in the USSR at the time that Hitler invaded Poland. He was forced into a gulag, or a labor camp, in the tundra once Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. Glazer survived the ordeal, but passed away in March of 2011.


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