Timothy Snyder


On his book Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

Cover Interview of November 29, 2010

A close-up

Probably the last page in the book is the most important to me.

One of my main purposes was to show how many people were killed—starved, gassed, shot—in the Bloodlands between 1933 and 1945.

But another of my purposes was to reclaim the individuality of each victim from these overwhelming numbers.  The book ends by recalling individuality and individuals: those who left a trace in notes flung from trains or in diaries found on their bodies.

One source that I cannot forget are the loving last words of a Jewish girl to her mother, scratched on the wall of a synagogue before the girl was taken to be shot.