In July 1941, just weeks after the Germans invaded Russia, the Jewish population of a small Polish town – hundreds of men, women and children – were ordered out of their homes, and forced into a barn. The barn was then set on fire. Anyone attempting to escape, or found in hiding, was quickly killed. The story soon spread that the massacre was organised and executed by Nazi paramilitary forces. It seemed to fit. Similar atrocities had taken place in nearby villages – although none of this scale. But the truth was very different. Over the course of the twentieth century fragments of the real story began to surface. It emerged that the perpetrators of the act were in fact the Polish villagers, who, on one afternoon, turned on and killed their Jewish neighbours. But why? Part history, part memoir, part detective story, The Crime and the Silence is an award-winning journalist’s account of the events of July 1941: the true story of the massacre, a portrait of a town coming to terms with its dark past, and a vital contribution to Holocaust literature.