In January 1942, there were 2.284 million Jews in the Generalgouvernement (GG), the German-occupied, central part of Poland. One year later there were fewer than 298,000 still alive, despite a large numbers of Jews sent there from other parts of Poland and Nazi-occupied Europe.Thus, within less than a year, some two million Jews had been murdered within the framework of a well-organized Nazi initiative, Operation Reinhard (not one million as recorded in some sources).In his accurate and deeply moving tome, Gates of Tears: The Holocaust in the Lublin District, David Silberklang, senior historian at the International Institute for Holocaust Research and editor of Yad Vashem Studies journal, points to Lublin as the center of the Nazi anti-Jewish policy.It was in this nice Polish town, once home to the grand Yeshivat Hachmei Lublin in which a model of Jerusalem’s Second Temple was proudly shown to scores of visitors, that the deadly operation was organized and executed.GG’s civilian governor, Dr. Hans Frank, was personally appointed by Adolf Hitler.On July 17, 1941, he made it clear that Jews would soon be “removed.” Lublin was chosen for Operation Reinhard because some Germans believed it was the center of a Jewish worldwide conspiracy; there was also the ease of using it as a center from which to control the main extermination camps – Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor and, partly, Majdanek.Lublin was also selected by Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler because Odilo Lothar Ludwig Globocnik, his most loyal and ruthless Jew-hater, had already proven himself there and could be trusted. Nicknamed Globus, Globocnik was a fanatical Nazi, an embezzler dismissed from his post as a Viennese Gauleiter (Nazi district leader). He was i debt to Himmler, to whom he proved his organizational talents by building fortifications at Belzec and creating industrialized extermination camps.Given the total extermination of Jews as his marching orders, he had soon created his own army of selected murderers. Globocnik’s men included a core staff of some 450 SS men specially trained for murder, including those who ran Hitler’s top-secret T-4 (“euthanasia”) operation. The death squads included 2,000 German SS and police, supported by nearly 5,000 Red Army renegades who volunteered for the SS from POW camps. In addition, he could call on the remaining 15,000 German police and SS in the GG, as well as 14,000 local Polish and Ukrainian police. German occupation forces – SS, civil servants, the army – competed with each other, but all were united as far as the murder and robbery of Jews were concerned.Operation Reinhard was fully organized by early 1942, with the main department in charge of organization, manpower and deportations, another one dealing with the death camps, and a separate one in charge of the sorting of Jewish valuables.We learn of the set-up and activities of each department, including the names of the people in charge, their careers and life stories. Some evacuation scenes shock in their brutality, but this is what really happened.We learn all about the ghettos, their Jewish leadership, forced labor, selections, deportations to extermination camps. We share the fears of Jews living in panic, everybody talking about evacuation, but no one knowing much. People asked questions, confronting the unbelievable, with no answers. Yet there was a growing realization that the fully loaded trains led to death, while there was little chance for escape.While providing innumerable statistics, lists, sources and facts, the author, with his skillful, frank and well-substantiated arguments, makes us share in the lives of Jews and gentiles, heroes and murderers alike. A wealth of notes and references accompanies the reader in getting an accurate picture of one of the greatest crimes in human history.The well-printed and bound Gates of Tears is a most valuable addition to both the Holocaust literature and its history.