Today we share with you a new interview we have done the historian, writer and journalist Jesús Hernández Martínez. Jesus has written the book “Great atrocities of World War II“, a collection of little-known tragedies as the deportation of Poles to Siberia thousand civilians, or the brutal ethnic cleansing in Volhynia developed and published this time hand Editorial Almuzara.
Jesus Hernandez (Barcelona, 1966). Degree in Contemporary History and Information Sciences, It is a journalist, editorial consultant, literary critic and regular contributor to publications such as The adventure of history, Clío O very History. He has participated as a historical consultant on several documentaries. His historical works are published in twenty countries and have been translated into a dozen languages, including Chinese, Lithuanian or Icelandic. Among the twenty titles published, highlight: The hundred best stories of World War II, unusual facts of World War II, Enigmas and mysteries of World War II, All you need to know about the First World War, North against South, operation Valkyrie, All you need to know about World War II, The Thousand Year Reich, Brief History of Hitler, Nazi brutes. SS executioners, Small great stories of World War II O Japan won the war!
What you offer the reader in this new book?
This is a project I've been working four years. Then I realized that some atrocities committed during World War II have not been sufficiently addressed by historians, so they do not usually appear in books about the conflict. In particular, between Spanish literature there are hardly any references to those episodes that were me enormously interesting. With all that, it seemed appropriate to make a work pick those facts and present them to the reader in an almost journalistic manner, trying to offer a direct view and, We could say, without anesthesia. That makes the story can be raw and, sometime, unbearable, but I think the reader is mature and understand that exposure plainly is necessary to have some idea of what happened.
Why do you think you treat these episodes in the book have not received the attention of historians?
It depends on each case, but it is usually because they are uncomfortable for some reason. It is obvious that Axis killings of prisoners by US troops in Sicily do not fit the commonly accepted story of war, as well as the cold-blooded murder of civilians twenty one US official also perpetrated in that same scenario. They tried to hide these facts, with an almost complete success, since very few people know.
Nor are studied the terrible conditions endured by German prisoners after the war and that Americans not only palliated but, in some cases, They aggravated expressly, perhaps by a feeling of revenge. Other cases, such as the Katyn massacre or Chechen civilians by the Soviets, They have remained for decades under a cloak of silence protected, until a certain point, the complicity of his former allies, who once looked the other way. The internment camps of Japanese civilians in the United States and Canada are another unedifying chapter before which many historians prefer to ignore.
Nazi crimes, although they have been widely discussed, They are also present in the work.
Yes, as you said quite well, Holocaust have written practically all, so I have not considered it necessary to devote a chapter, as it would have been reiterative. But nevertheless, I sensed that the massacre of Babi Yar is not usually talk much, when I think it was a large-scale trial of what would become a massive and industrial extermination. So I collected almost all the testimonies that exist on the slaughter and wrote a chapter in the form of journalistic story that I think the reader gets transferred to the slaughter that took place there.
The Katyn massacre you offer new material, what does it consist of?
I had the testimony of the nephew of one of the Polish officers murdered there, you provided me an interview with a child, as well as photographs and documents. He has given me a personal and family perspective that tragedy, thus overcoming the alienation that causes the coldness of numbers. Each of the executed Poles left a family tormented by the anguish of not knowing what had happened, what it had to add the social and political remark that occurred in the postwar period. In my book, in addition to the story of executions, review the long and exhausting struggle to prevent the Soviets lograsen impose their version of German guilt.
Polish captain Jerzy and his wife Bychowiec
Of all the chapters of the book, What would be your favorite?
Definitely, dedicated to the ethnic cleansing in Volhynia, a region halfway between Poland and Ukraine has suffered successive disputes over the centuries. During World War II he became a bloody board in which four enemy forces fought each other: Ukrainian nationalist partisans, the Home Army and Polish self-defense groups, Soviet partisans and the German army. Those who would pay that confrontation civilians, that would be subject to terrible massacres. As the reader can assume, that conflict of all against all, where you were going unusual and baffling alliances, It gives much play. So is, so I really enjoyed researching and translating this story to paper.
To end, any of you can surprise the theme of the book in an author who is well known for his books of stories of World War II…
Yes, books of anecdotes helped me to let me know, but I think that, Conversely, They have overshadowed other work that I consider much more interest and have filled some unexplained gaps in the literature in Spanish. Outside the theme of World War II, at the time I wrote a book about the history of the American Civil War when there was nothing in Spanish on the subject, as well as on the First World War when there was also hardly anything. As for the conflict 1939-1945, I am very pleased to have reflected everything that is known about such sinister characters and yet so fascinating as Oskar Dirlewanger or Amon Goeth in my work Nazi brutes. SS executioners, or have written the incredible story of the terrorist group Shindo Renmei, composed of Japanese immigrants in Brazil were convinced that Japan had won the war, and who dedicated themselves to kill those who did not believe that nonsense. So I invite those who only know me through my books of anecdotes to immerse themselves in these stories I'm sure that will surprise them.
Thank you very much for agreeing to this interview, Jesus. From Historiassegundaguerramundial we wish you every success with your new book and hope to chat with you again.