Two Histories of World War II - East and West

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

This week, high school students in the Arthur Hoffmann School will be reading a new history book from West Germany, called ``Discover and Understand.'' Following are excerpts from their old and new books. On World War II victims Both books have several pages on war victims. The East German book concentrated on Communist and Soviet victims, the West German book on Jews and others who were persecuted, such as the mentally and physically handicapped, Christians, Gypsies, and Communists. In the end, this was how both books summarized the slaughter: East German text:

``... In all, the war caused 50 million deaths and 35 million casualties. The Soviet Union was the greatest victim and suffered the most material damage. Among the more than 6 million Germans killed, 410,000 were victims from bomb raids. 7.5 million Germans became homeless. Until 1941, about 270,000 people of Jewish origin were forced to flee Hitler Germany. Of the approximately 240,000 Jews who stayed, most of them were murdered by the Fascists. 200,000 anti-Fascists, anti-Hitler, and antiwar persons died in concentration camps and prisons.'' West German text:

``The National Socialists [Nazis] ruled through violent persecution of all dissenters. The Gestapo and the SS put opponents of National Socialist rule in prisons and concentration camps. There, many people were tortured to death. Jews especially were victims of the National Socialist terror. The steady deterioration of their situation and their political deprivation of rights marked the lives of Jews until 1939. After the beginning of World War II began the extensive murder of Jews in extermination camps; nearly 6 million lost their lives.

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