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Tim Cole's first book, Selling the Holocaust , explained how the Holocaust has been mythologized in popular culture. With his new book, Holocaust City , Cole again covers new and provocative ground by detailing how the Holocaust was literally constructed, planned and built. Drawing from the ideas of critical geography and based on extensive archival research, Cole chillingly examines such concepts as "Nazi space" versus "Jewish space" - the first a living space of authority and control and, the second, a space designated for death. Cole brilliantly reconstructs the formation of the Jewish ghetto during the Holocaust, focusing primarily on the ghetto in Budapest, Hungary - one of the largest created during the war, but rarely examined. Cole maps the city illustrating how spaces - cafes, theaters, bars, bathhouses - became divided in two. Throughout the book, Cole discusses how the creation of this Jewish ghetto, just like the others being built across occupied Europe, tells us agreat deal about the nature of Nazism; what life was like under Nazi-occupation; and the role the ghetto actually played in the Final Solution.
A major contribution to Holocaust studies, Cole's groundbreaking work shows that the architecture of the Holocaust is not the monumental buildings and plans of Albert Speer, but the more modest buildings and structures made for deadly function: the locking gates of the ghetto, the crematorium oven doors. By giving readers a glimpse of daily life in the "Holocaust City", Cole adds to the ongoing debate sparked by Hitler's Willing Executioners about the culpability of people during World War II.
Tim Cole, a respected historian on the Holocaust, is Lecturer of European Social History at the University of Bristol. Cole has written widely on the topic and his previous book, Selling the Holocaust: From Auschwitz to Schindler, How History is Bought, Packaged, and Sold (Routledge, 1999), received wide media attention and critical praise.