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Dan Michman 
with the (a) legal down-grading and restricting, (b) populist exclusionist 
and (c) emigration policy lines promoted by competitors such as Joseph 
Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler. Probably the most crystallized pre- 
sentation of this view can be found in Karl Schleunes’ influential study 
The Twisted Road to Auschwitz (1970). In Schleunes’ view, economic 
persecution of the Jews was one option in a basket of options tried out 
during the first six years of the Nazi regime, but which lost out in 
1938/1939, after the Kristallnacht, to the forced emigration option, 
which was more radical and promoted by the SS. Consequently, Schle- 
unes did not show any interest in later economic persecutions. For him 
the fact that the SS — the most radical ideological operational organiza- 
tion in the National-Socialist movement — had gained upper hand in 
anti-Jewish policy-making meant a decisive turning point: the player 
(the SS headed by Himmler), not the policy of that moment (emigration) 
was the important issue (because that policy could be changed according 
to circumstances, something that indeed happened in 1941, when emi- 
gration was replaced by Auschwitz, that means the Final Solution). 
When examining the genre of comprehensive studies on the Holo- 
caust written in the last three decades® one will discover that the eco- 
nomic aspect in the overall picture has received only secondary attention 
— much less than what it deserves; even less so has there been an evalua- 
tion of its role and importance. On the other hand, there has been con- 
siderable detailed research on a broad variety of economic issues, both 
regarding Germany proper and the occupied and satellite states. How- 
ever, most of this research focuses on the “how” aspect, for example how 
Aryanization, confiscation, looting, forced labor etc. were carried out; 
the “why” question — not deeply dealt with — is assumed to be that the 
spoliation resulted from greed and national economy approaches. 
In studies on the Shoah which did not deal with the developments 
in the decision-making process leading to the Final Solution as such, the 
27 Schleunes, The Twisted Road to Auschwitz. Echoes of this understanding can be 
found also in later studies; see for instance Longerich, Politik der Vernichtung. 
28 To mention the most significant ones: Mayer, Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?; 
Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust; Yahil, The Holocaust; Goldhagen, Hitlers 
Willing Executioners; Friedlander, Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1939; Fried- 
linder, Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945; Kershaw, Hitler. 1889-1936; and 
Kershaw, Hitler. 1936-1945; Longerich, Politik der Vernichtung; Gerlach, The 
Extermination of the European Jews; Snyder, Bloodlands; Cesarani, Final Solution. 


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