Preface and Acknowledgments
Peretz’s testimony is quoted in Dan Cohn-Sherbok, ed., Holocaust Theology: A Reader (New York: New York University Press, 2002), 35.
Charlotte Delbo, Auschwitz and trans. Rosette C. Lamont (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1995), 138.
Raul Hilberg, Sources of Holocaust Research: An Analysis (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2001), 204.
Halter’s stained-glass window can be found at Beth Shalom, Nottinghamshire, the first Holocaust center in the United Kingdom. Beth Shalom, where thousands of British students annually receive education about the Holocaust, was founded and developed by Stephen and James Smith, who have also helped us immensely. We also express gratitude to Glen Powell, a member of the Beth Shalom staff, who helped us obtain the version of Roman Halter’s art needed by the design team at Westminster John Knox Press.
The story behind the photograph that led to Halter’s art provides an important glimpse into some of the Holocaust’s detail. On the night of 24 May 1944, a transport of 3,500 Hungarian Jews departed the Carpathian city of Berehovo for Auschwitz-Birkenau. Arriving two days later, this transport rolled directly through the camp’s gates, taking advantage of a special spur added to the rail network earlier that year. The ensuing “selection” left the new arrivals just steps away from the barracks where some of them would live and from the gas chambers where most of them, especially the women and children, would die.
The handling of the Berehovo transport was routine—with one significant exception. Usually photography was strictly forbidden at Auschwitz, but on this occasion two SS cameramen were on the ramp where the cattle cars unloaded. They took nearly two hundred pictures of the Jews from Berehovo, documenting the selection process thoroughly. Lili Jacob, eighteen, was one of those selected to work. After being quarantined for several weeks, she was tattooed on her left arm with number A-10862 on 25 July 1944. The eldest of six children and the only daughter, she would be the sole survivor of her family. In December 1944 she was evacuated from Auschwitz-Birkenau and sent to Dora, a missile plant located underground near Nordhausen, Germany. Gravely ill from typhus and malnutrition as that labor camp was being evacuated in April 1945, Jacob was carried into a recently vacated SS barrack by some fellow prisoners. There she not only began to recover but also discovered a brown clothbound album containing photographs. To her amazement, she recognized people in them. She recognized the place where the photographs had been taken, too. Lili Jacob Meier, her married name, possessed what has come to be known as The Auschwitz the series of pictures taken by the SS cameramen who recorded the arrival and decimation of the Berehovo transport that had taken her to Auschwitz along with the grandmother with children portrayed in Halter’s stained-glass window at Beth Shalom. For the photographic source of Halter’s “The Last Journey,” see Peter Hellman, The Auschwitz Album: A Book Based upon an Album Discovered by a Concentration Camp Survivor, Lili Meier (New York: Random House, 1981), 96.
For further detail about this episode, see Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History (New York: Hill and Wang, 2000), 118–20.
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its trans. James Strachey (New York: W. W. Norton, 1961), 112.
At the outset, three points about terminology are important. First, an important issue can be focused by the following question: When one speaks about the Holocaust’s perpetrators, should the primary designation be Nazis or The answer is neither straightforward nor easy. The former category is too narrow, the latter too broad. Without Nazis—a designation that, strictly speaking, entailed membership in the Nazi Party—the Holocaust would not have happened. On the other hand, arguably not every member of the Nazi Party was a Holocaust perpetrator, but large numbers of Germans who were not party members did become perpetrators. In fact, the Holocaust’s scope was so vast that party members alone would have been insufficient to enact the destruction that took place. It would be a serious misjudgment, however, to make Germans and perpetrators equivalent categories. Not only were non-German collaborators essential for the Third Reich’s onslaught against European Jewry, but also there were German bystanders, resisters, and rescuers who were not directly implicated in mass murder. When we are discussing the development of the Third Reich’s anti-Jewish policies, it will make sense to speak of Nazis in some places, Germans in others. Context—historical and interpretive—will determine the choice of terminology in our analysis.
Second, it is important to clarify how the adjectival terms Nazi and German will be used in our discussion. Our basic rule will be to use Nazi when we refer to the ideology and actions of the Nazi party. German will refer to the acts, institutions, and laws of the state of Nazi Germany or of the Third Reich. Hence, we will speak of Nazi antisemitism and Nazi racism, for example, but of German laws and German military occupation. Again, context—historical and interpretive—will be important in determining the particular choice of terminology.
Third, as we discuss the content of Nazi ideology, how Jews were regarded in the Third Reich, and what the German objectives in World War II entailed, one can scarcely avoid describing Nazi racial stereotypes, allegations, and slurs about Jews and other people whom the Nazis despised (the misconception, for example, that Jews are a race). Nor can one escape using terms from the Nazi vocabulary—for example, Aryan (a problematic racial synonym for Nordic or German) or judenfrei (meaning “Jew-free”)—that express the genocidal antisemitism and racism that characterized the Third Reich. As this book tries hard to make clear, the Nazi worldview and vocabulary—from start to finish—were based on distortions, inaccuracies, and falsehoods. Nevertheless, it is important to grasp that most Germans during the Third Reich took that worldview and vocabulary to be clear, accurate, and true. When they acted accordingly, the consequences were so catastrophic that humanity will be dealing with them for a long time to come.
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young ed. Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler, trans. Susan Massotty (New York: Doubleday, 1995), 332.
For an overview of World War II’s death statistics, see J. M. Winter, “Demography of the War,” in The Oxford Companion to World War ed. I. C. B. Dear (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 289–92.
The Holocaust scholar Raul Hilberg estimates that 5.1 million Jews perished in the Holocaust. Israel Gutman and Robert Rozett put Jewish losses between 5.5 and 5.8 million. More recently, the German historian Wolfgang Benz contends that the number of Jewish deaths exceeded 6.2 million. The figures remain imprecise for several reasons, including the years and geographical boundaries used to determine prewar census data; the margins of error in death reports from German and Jewish sources; the difficulties of comparing prewar and postwar populations; and the fact that the Germans and their collaborators did not record the death of every victim.
The information in this note is cited from John Roth’s contributions to John K. Roth et al., The Holocaust Chronicle (Lincolnwood, Ill.: Publications International, 2000). See also Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 3 vols., revised and definitive edition (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985), 3:1219 and The Destruction of the European 3rd ed. (New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2003), 3:1320; Israel Gutman, ed., Encyclopedia of the 4 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1990), 1797–1802; Wolfgang Benz, The trans. Jane Sydenham-Kwiet (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 152–53.
The 2003 edition of Hilberg’s comprehensive The Destruction of the European Jews appeared as this revised edition of Approaches to Auschwitz went to press. Although Hilberg’s 2003 edition came too late for us to take full account of his latest findings, our references to The Destruction of the European Jews cite the pages for both the 1985 and the 2003 editions. The first page reference will be for the 1985 edition; the second for the 2003 edition.
Further information about many of these people—especially the handicapped and homosexuals—can be found in the insightful essays contained in Robert Gellately and Nathan Stoltzfus, eds., Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001). For coverage of Nazi policy toward Gypsies, see Guenter Lewy, The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).
For further information about the Soviet POWs, see Christian Streit, “The Fate of Soviet Prisoners of War,” in A Mosaic of Victims: Non-Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the ed. Michael Berenbaum (New York: New York University Press, 1990), 142–49.
See Karl A. Schleunes, The Twisted Road to Auschwitz: Nazi Policy toward German Jews, 1933–1939 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1970).
Uriel Tal, “Excursus on the Term: Shoah 1 (1979): 10–11.
Sigmund Freud, The Future of an trans. W. D. Robson-Scott (New York: Doubleday, 1957), 98, 74, 66.
Walter Laqueur, The Terrible Secret: Suppression of the Truth about Hitler’s (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1980), 7. For different views about the appropriateness of the term see the remarks made by the German historian Eberhard Jäckel in Remembering for the Future: The Holocaust in an Age of 3 vols., ed. John K. Roth and Elisabeth Maxwell (New York: Palgrave, 2001), 1:12–13; and Jon Petrie, “The Secular Word HOLOCAUST: Scholarly Myths, History, and Twentieth Century Meanings,” Journal of Genocide Research 2 (2000): 31–63.
See Laqueur’s “In Place of a Preface,” in The Holocaust ed. Walter Laqueur (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2001), xiii.
We shall use the terms antisemitism and antisemitic instead of anti-Semitism and Particularly in the later decades of nineteenth-century German politics, the term Semite was exploited to set Jews apart from non-Jews, including even from other so-called Semitic peoples—Arabs, for example—and particularly to reinforce a negative, race-based perception of Jews and Judaism. The hyphenated and capitalized form anti-Semitism and its variations honor, however inadvertently, distinctions that are erroneous and misleading. Jews are not a race, nor is the category “Semite” a clear one. The forms antisemitism and antisemitic retain the prejudicial, anti-Jewish meaning, but they also protest the harmful confusions that attend the hyphenated and capitalized forms of those terms.
See Franklin H. Littell, The Crucifixion of the Jews (New York: Harper & Row, 1975).
See Emil L. Fackenheim, God’s Presence in History: Jewish Affirmations and Philosophical Reflections (1970; Northvale, N.J.: Jason Avonson, 1997).
Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 1:8–9 and 1:4–5.
Many of the following themes are set forth in two previous books by Richard L. Rubenstein. See The Cunning of History: Mass Death and the American Future (New York: Harper & Row, 1975) and The Age of Triage: Fear and Hope in an Overcrowded World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1983).
See Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973) and The Jew as Pariah: Jewish Identity and Politics in the Modern ed. Ron H. Feldman (New York: Grove Press, 1978). For an instructive account of how people in the twentieth century were increasingly pushed into refugee and “unwanted” status, see Michael R. Marrus, The Unwanted: European Refugees in the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985); pages 27–39, 51–68, 141–45, and 208–95 are especially relevant for our concerns.
In the historiography of the Holocaust, arguments between intentionalists and functionalists have received much attention. The issue is how best to understand the motivations and decisions that produced the Holocaust. Intentionalists—Lucy Dawidowicz and Gerald Fleming among them—contend that from the mid-1930s, if not earlier, Hitler’s antisemitism and Nazi policy pointed toward the outright destruction of Jewish life. War provided the cover to realize long-considered murderous intentions. In his variation on this theme, which emphasizes what he calls “eliminationist antisemitism,” the controversial Daniel Goldhagen argues that these intentions expressed desires that were deep-seated and widespread among most of the German population when the Nazis came to power.
Functionalists—Christopher Browning and Philippe Burrin are two of many examples—see the situation differently. Emphasizing that early Nazi policy toward the Jews was not murderous, they find the Nazi leaders trying various options for solving the “Jewish problem”—forced emigration and resettlement—before unyielding anti-Jewish policy and wartime circumstance in the summer of 1941 made mass killing an alternative that was both preferred and unavoidable. Neither the intentionalists nor the functionalists have been of one mind, but in general the latter find the Nazis groping their way toward what became the Final Solution, while the former think that Hitler had plans of that sort in mind well before World War II began.
Most Holocaust scholars now incline toward a functionalist interpretation, but not without giving aspects of the intentionalist perspective due respect. At the very least, it is recognized, the immense destruction process that was eventually unleashed against European Jewry could scarcely have taken place without Hitler’s authorization. One result is the emergence of what has been called moderate which is the position that we take in this book. Moderate functionalism still leaves room for varied interpretations. Our version emphasizes two basic points: (1) the Final Solution, far from being envisioned in detail before 1941, evolved over time, and (2) Hitler’s authority, as well as Nazi ideology, was a necessary condition for the mass murder that eventually took place. For a succinct summary of Holocaust historiography, including further commentary on the intentionalist-functionalist debate, see Michael R. Marrus, “Historiography,” in The Holocaust ed. Laqueur, 279–85.
With specific reference to the town of Auschwitz itself, Debórah Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt have identified it to be part of the territory that Nazi demographers took to be essential for German Lebensraum (living space) in eastern Europe. In this region of Nazi-occupied Poland and in many other parts of eastern Europe, Nazi plans—driven largely by the SS leader Heinrich Himmler—called for massive population movements that would resettle ethnic Germans into colonized territory, forcibly relocate the local inhabitants, and, one way or another, eliminate the Jews. See Dwork and van Pelt’s Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present (New York: W. W. Norton, 1996). Also relevant in this context is the work of Götz Aly, especially his Solution”: Nazi Population Policy and the Murder of the European trans. Belinda Cooper and Allison Brown (London: Arnold, 1999).
Rubenstein, The Cunning of 72.
While the Holocaust is the quintessential instance of genocide in human history, the hope that genocide would happen “Never again!” after the Holocaust has been dashed again and again—in Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda, to name the sites of three post-Holocaust genocides. For further insight about the nature, causes, and mechanisms of genocide, plus consideration of the steps that effective genocide prevention requires, see the contributions by leading genocide scholars in Carol Rittner, John K. Roth, and James M. Smith, eds., Will Genocide Ever End? (St. Paul, Minn.: Paragon House, 2002). A revealing analysis of American policies and responses to genocide in the twentieth century, including the Holocaust, can be found in Samantha Power, “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 2002).
Raphael Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress (Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944), 79. For more detail on Lemkin’s life and contributions, see Power, Problem from 17–85. See also Steven L. Jacobs, ed., Raphael Lemkin’s Thoughts on Genocide: Not Guilty (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992), which is the posthumous publication of a manuscript by Lemkin.
See, for example, Alan S. Rosenbaum, ed., Is the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative 2d ed. (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2001).
Helen Fein, Accounting for Genocide: National Responses and Jewish Victimization during the Holocaust (New York: Free Press, 1979), 3.
Steven T. Katz, “The Uniqueness of the Holocaust: The Historical Dimension,” in Is the Holocaust Unique? Rosenbaum, ed., 49–50.
Yehuda Bauer, A History of the rev. ed. (New York: Franklin Watts, 2001), 364.
Yehuda Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2001), 74.
Cited by Yehuda Bauer, The Holocaust in Historical Perspective (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1978), 37, 160 n.16. See also Bauer, Rethinking the esp. 20–21, 74, 265–67, and 278 n.6. Jonathan Glover agrees that the Holocaust has “a terrible darkness all its own,” which he defines by citing the German historian Eberhard Jäckel, who states that “the National-Socialist murder of the Jews was unique because never before had a nation with the authority of its leader decided and announced that it would kill off as completely as possible a particular group of humans, including old people, women, children, and infants, and actually put this decision into practice, using all the means of governmental power at its disposal.” See Jonathan Glover, Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000), 396.
For the U.S. census figures, see Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1990), 202. For accounts that stress the extreme decimation of the native North American population, see David E. Stannard, “Uniqueness as Denial: The Politics of Genocide Scholarship,” in Is the Holocaust Unique? ed. Rosenbaum, 245–90, esp. 266, 287 n.51, and Ward Churchill, “Genocide of Native Populations in the United States,” in Encyclopedia of 2 vols., ed. Israel W. Charny (Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio, 1999), 434–37.
Chalk and Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of 249.
Cited in Fein, Accounting for 15.
See ibid., 17.
Rouben Paul Adalian, “Armenian Genocide,” in Encyclopedia of ed. Charny, 61.
Fein, Accounting for 4.
See Stephen R. Haynes, Reluctant Witnesses: Jews and the Christian Imagination (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995), 7.
Albert Camus, The Rebel: An Essay on Man in trans. Anthony Bower (New York: Vintage Books, 1956), 297.
For a comprehensive treatment, see H. H. Ben-Sasson, ed., A History of the Jewish People (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976).
A helpful resource for biblical history is provided by Howard Clark Kee, Eric M. Meyers, John Rogerson, and Anthony J. Saldarini, The Cambridge Companion to the Bible (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).
One might also speak of these people as “proto-Israelites” to indicate that they were precursors of the Jewish people but not yet fully formed into that identity or conscious of it.
For more detail on Marr, see Moshe Zimmerman, Wilhelm Marr: The Patriarch of Anti-Semitism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986).
An authoritative source on the subject is Robert Wistrich, Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred (New York: Schocken Books, 1992). See also Jocelyn Hellig, The Holocaust and Antisemitism: A Short History (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2003).
For more on this point, see John Dominic Crossan, Who Killed Jesus? Exposing the Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Gospel Story of the Death of Jesus (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995), esp. 147–59.
Some scholars argue that Jesus is best regarded not only as a rabbi but as a Pharisee as well. Only apparently at odds with the New Testament, this revisionist view has much to commend it. See, for example, Clark M. Williamson, Has God Rejected His People? Anti-Judaism in the Christian Church (Nashville: Abingdon, 1982), 11–29. This book also provides a reliable overview of the development of anti-Jewish teaching within the Christian tradition. For more in this vein about Jesus, see Harvey Falk, Jesus the Pharisee (Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1985) and Leonard C. Yaseen, The Jesus Connection: To Triumph over Anti-Semitism (New York: Crossroad, 1985).
The New Testament letters by and attributed to Paul have often been read as expressing anti-Jewish outlooks, including the idea that God has rejected the Jews because they failed to accept Jesus as the Messiah. Important current scholarship questions and revises this interpretation, which would seem to make Paul an early proponent of Christian hostility toward Jews. The work of Krister Stendahl, Lloyd Gaston, Stanley Stowers, and John Gager, for example, finds Paul preaching the redemption of the Gentiles through faith in Jesus but also emphatically maintaining God’s faithfulness to the covenant with the Jews and affirming the validity and holiness of the law set forth in the Torah. For informative analyses, see John G. Gager, Reinventing Paul (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000) and Sidney G. Hall III, Christian Anti-Semitism and Paul’s Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993).
Josephus, The Jewish trans. H. St. J. Thackeray (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968), 6.3.420.
On the Pharisees, see Jacob Neusner, From Politics to Piety: The Emergence of Pharisaic Judaism (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1973).
On Rabbi Yochanan, see Jacob Neusner, First-Century Judaism in Crisis (Nashville: Abingdon, 1975).
See ibid., 145–47.
Judah Goldin, ed., The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1955), 36. Cited in Neusner, First-Century Judaism in 147.
See Josephus’s account in The Jewish 7.331–94.
Norman Perrin, The New Testament: An Introduction (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974), 40–41.
These include W. D. Davies, The Setting of the Sermon on the Mount (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964) and S. G. F. Brandon, The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church (London: S.P.C.K., 1968).
See, for example, Norman Perrin, Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus (New York: Harper & Row, 1967).
See Brandon, The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian 185–205.
Cited in Neusner, First-Century Judaism in Crisis,
See Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken, and Stanley Schachter, When Prophecy Fails (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1956); Leon Festinger, “Cognitive Dissonance,” Scientific American 207 (Oct. 1962): 93–102; and Elliot Aronson, “The Rationalizing Animal,” Psychology Today (May 1973): 46–52.
Reliable sources for more information on these topics include Norman A. Beck, Mature Christianity in the Twenty-first Century: The Recognition and Repudiation of the Anti-Jewish Polemic in the New rev. ed. (New York: Crossroad, 1994), 285–312; James H. Charlesworth, ed., Jesus Two Thousand Years Later (Harrisburg, Pa.: Trinity Press International, 2000); Reimund Bieringer, Didier Pollefeyt, and Frederique Vandecasteele-Vanneuville, eds., Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001); Paula Fredriksen and Adele Reinhartz, eds., Jesus, Judaism, and Christian Anti-Judaism: Reading the New Testament after the Holocaust (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002).
See Richard L. Rubenstein, “The Dean and the Chosen People,” in After Auschwitz: History, Theology, and Contemporary 2d ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), 3–13. Unless otherwise indicated our subsequent citations from After Auschwitz are to the second edition noted here.
The term is Jules Isaac’s. See his books The Teaching of Contempt: Christian Roots of ed. Claire Huchet-Bishop and trans. Helen Weaver (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1964) and Jesus and trans. Sally Gran (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1971). A Jewish historian who lived in France, Isaac lost most of his family in the Holocaust. Subsequently, he turned his attention to the Christian roots of antisemitism and the links between the Holocaust and long-standing Christian hostility toward Jews. Among those who felt the impact of Isaac’s work was Pope John XXIII, who began important post-Holocaust revisions that have helped to eliminate much of the “teaching of contempt” from Christian theology. For more detail on the entire history of the relationships between Roman Catholic Christianity and the Jewish tradition, see James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001) and David I. Kertzer, The Popes against the Jews: The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001).
Because the term antisemitism and its variations are relatively recent, having appeared first in the second half of the nineteenth century, a distinction is sometimes made between antisemitism and Christian which might be regarded as earlier than and different from Briefly and broadly, we take antisemitism to refer to negative emotions, beliefs, and practices focused on Jews as Jews. Common usage, we believe, now follows that broad definition of the term. In our view, Christian anti-Judaism, which is a highly theological concept, is best interpreted as a foundational form, but not the entirety, of Christian antisemitism, for Christian animosity has been directed at Jews as Jews, not just at Judaism or at Jews as religious practitioners. Christian animosity toward Jews is not restricted to religious considerations alone. The religious aspects mix and mingle with a wide variety of other prejudicial ingredients that are social, political, and economic. While recognizing the particular and foundational reality of Christian anti-Judaism, we also refer to Christian antisemitism because, in addition to fitting better with common usage, the concept’s scope reaches further and deeper than that of Christian anti-Judaism alone.
In making these points, we are indebted to Carroll, Constantine’s 58, 633 n.1 and to Padraic O’Hare, The Enduring Covenant: The Education of Christians and the End of Antisemitism (Valley Forge, Pa.: Trinity Press International, 1997), 7.
The quotations in this paragraph are from Léon Poliakov, The History of vol. 1: From the Time of Christ to the Court trans. Richard Howard (New York: Schocken Books, 1974), 25. For more on the subject of Christian-Jewish relations during this period, see John Gager, The Origins of Anti-Semitism: Attitudes toward Judaism in Pagan and Christian Antiquity (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983); Robert L. Wilkin, John Chrysostom and the Jews: Rhetoric and Reality in the Late Fourth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983); and Wistrich,
For more information on these points, see Haynes, Reluctant 25–63.
Bauer, A History of the 34. For more detail on antisemitism in Poland during this period, see Hillel Levine, Economic Origins of Antisemitism: Poland and Its Jews in the Early Modern Period (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1991).
Poliakov, History of 1:123.
Cited in ibid., 1:122.
For more detail on Luther and the Jews, see Mark U. Edwards Jr., Luther’s Last Battles: A Study of the Polemics of the Older Luther, 1531–1546 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1983) and Richard Marius, Martin Luther: The Christian between God and Death (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999). See also Carroll, Constantine’s 365–68, 426–28; Haynes, Reluctant 45–50; Heiko A. Oberman, The Origins of Anti-Semitism in the Age of Renaissance and trans. James I. Porter (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984); and Wistrich, 38–42.
Ernst Troeltsch, The Social Teachings of the Christian 2 vols., trans. Olive Wyon (New York: Harper & Row, 1960), 2:468.
Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their trans. Martin H. Bertram, in Luther’s ed. Franklin Sherman and Helmut T. Lehman (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971), 47:192.
Troeltsch, The Social Teachings of the Christian 2:470.
See Walter Bienert, Martin Luther und die Juden: Ein Quellenbuch mit zeitgenössischen Illustrationen, mit Einführungen und Erlauterungen (Frankfurt am Main: Evangelisches Verlagswerk, 1982), 130–32.
Luther, On the Jews and Their 47:137.
“Ein Wort zur Judenfrage, der Reichsbruderrat der Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland” (8 April 1948), in Der Ungekündigte Bund: Neue Begegnung von Juden und ed. Dietrich Goldschmidt and Hans-Joachim Kraus (Stuttgart: Gemeinde Kreuz Verlag, 1962), 251–54.
The “Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to the Jewish Community,” dated 18 April 1994, officially rejects what it calls Martin Luther’s “anti-Judaic diatribes and the violent recommendations of his later writings against the Jews.” Calling Luther’s rhetoric “violent invective,” the declaration expresses “deep and abiding sorrow over its tragic effects on subsequent generations....including the Holocaust of the twentieth century.” This declaration further states that “we recognize in anti-Semitism a contradiction and an affront to the Gospel, a violation of our hope and calling, and we pledge this church to oppose the deadly working of such bigotry, both within our own circles and in the society around us.”
Luther, On the Jews and Their 47:139.
Ibid., 47:156–57. For the biblical reference to the Persians, see Esther 9:5ff.
See Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (New York: Harper & Row, 1967).
For more on Henry Ford’s antisemitism, see Neil Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews (New York: Public Affairs, 2001).
Bienert, Martin 174–77.
Luther, On the Jews and Their 47:267–69.
Ibid., 47:268 n. 173.
H. H. Borchert and George Merz, eds., Martin Luther: Ausgewählte Werke (Munich, 1936), 3:61 ff. See also Aarne Siirala, “Reflections from a Lutheran Perspective,” in Auschwitz: Beginning of a New Era? ed. Eva Fleischner (New York: KTAV, 1977), 135–48.
See John S. Conway, The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, 1933–45 (New York: Basic Books, 1968), 1–44, 261–67, and esp. 411 for Dibelius. For further information about other leading German theologians and their roles during the Nazi period, consult Robert P. Ericksen, Theologians under Hitler: Gerhard Kittel, Paul Althaus, and Emmanuel Hirsch (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1985).
For more information about the role of German Lutheranism in the Third Reich, see Doris L. Bergen, Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996) and Robert P. Ericksen and Susannah Heschel, eds., Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999).
While the topic reaches beyond the scope of this book, the upsurge of religiously inspired violence in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, seen especially but not exclusively in Islamic fundamentalism, is related to these factors. Significant studies in this field include Mark Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious updated ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001) and Gilles Kepel, The Revenge of God: The Resurgence of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in the Modern trans. Alan Braley (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994).
Quoted from Michael Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the Holocaust (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), 161.
Our discussion of Pope Paul IV is indebted to Carroll, Constantine’s 371–84. For further discussion of the limpieza de sangre doctrine and racism, see George M. Fredrickson, Racism: A Short History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002).
Carroll, Constantine’s 376.
Important arguments in support of this thesis are offered by Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1991).
The passages quoted from Voltaire (1694–1778) are taken from Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz, eds., The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary 2d ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 305. This volume is an excellent resource for modern Jewish history.
Quoted from ibid., 115.
Additional views about the Enlightenment’s impact on Jewish life can be found in Jacob Katz, From Prejudice to Destruction: Anti-Semitism, 1700–1933 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980.
See, for example, Bauer, A History of the 23–35.
See Mendes-Flohr and Reinharz, eds., The Jew in the Modern 343–46.
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), 428, 591 n. 26. The cover of Goldhagen’s book features a photograph of a Nazi rally at which Treitschke’s slogan was prominently displayed. A useful and more moderate perspective than Goldhagen’s is provided by another book that appeared in the same year. See John Weiss, Ideology of Death: Why the Holocaust Happened in Germany (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1996). For criticism of Goldhagen, see Franklin H. Littell, ed., Hyping the Holocaust: Scholars Answer Goldhagen (East Rockaway, N.Y.: Cummings & Hathaway, 1997) and Robert R. Shandley, ed., Unwilling Germans? The Goldhagen trans. Jeremiah Riemer (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998). Another important perspective on German antisemitism—one that also dissents from Goldhagen—is provided by Helmut Walser Smith, The Butcher’s Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002). Smith’s focus on the town of Konitz in 1900 shows in detail how anti-Jewish sentiment worked and was inflamed in a particular place. Less interested in generality than in particularity, Smith seeks to understand the process that made “latent anti-Semitism manifest” in Konitz (22).
George L. Mosse, Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism (New York: Howard Fertig, 1978), 168.
For a good overview of this French background, see Robert Wistrich’s chapter “France: From Dreyfus to Le Pen” is his 126–44. When the Germans occupied France in June 1940, about 350,000 Jews lived there. Less than half were French citizens. Jewish refugees from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg numbered in the tens of thousands.
Robert S. Wistrich, Hitler and the Holocaust (New York: Modern Library, 2001), 16.
See Katz, From Prejudice to 108, 119–120. For further background on related topics, see Jacob Katz, Out of the Ghetto: The Social Background of Jewish Emancipation, 1770–1870 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1973).
For more detail about this thesis, see Rubenstein, The Age of 128–67.
See Arthur Hertzberg, The French Enlightenment and the Jews (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968), 280–313. See also Katz, From Prejudice to 34–47.
Hertzberg, The French Enlightenment and the 365–66.
We take this term from C. B. MacPherson, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962).
On socialist antisemitism, see Edmund Silberner, Sozialisten zur Judenfrage (Berlin: Colloquium Verlag, 1962) and George Lichtheim, “Socialism and the Jews,” Dissent 15 (July–Aug. 1968): 314–42.
On Fourier, see Silberner, Sozialisten zur 16–27; Lichtheim, “Socialism and the Jews,” 316–24; and Katz, From Prejudice to 120–22.
See Karl Marx, “On the Jewish Question,” in Karl Marx: Selected ed. David McLellan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), 39–62. See also Robert F. Byrnes, Antisemitism in vol. 1, The Prologue to the Dreyfus Affair (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1950).
Pierre Haubtmann, ed., Carnet de P. J. Proudhon: Text inédit et intégral (Paris: M. Rivière, 1961), 2:337–38. Quoted in Lichtheim, “Socialism and the Jews,” 322.
Lichtheim, “Socialism and the Jews,” 323.
Encyclopedia s.v. “Paris.”
See Byrnes, Antisemitism in Modern 41, 96–97.
A. M. Carr-Saunders, World Population (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1936), 49, 56.
Byrnes, Antisemitism in Modern 126.
Quoted in ibid., 127.
On this topic and related issues see Kertzer, The Popes against the esp. 166–85. Also relevant are Carroll, Constantine’s 439–49 and David I. Kertzer, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997).
Our interpretation of the Dreyfus affair is informed by scholarly works such as Hannah Arendt, The Origins of rev. ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973), 89–120; Jean-Denis Bredin, The Affair: The Case of Alfred trans. Jeffrey Mehlman (New York: George Braziller, 1986); Michael Burns, Dreyfus: A Family Affair, 1789–1945 (New York: HarperCollins, 1991) and France and the Dreyfus Affair: A Documentary History (New York: St. Martin’s, 1999); Carroll, Constantine’s esp. 450–71; Guy Chapman, The Dreyfus Case: A Reassessment (New York: Reynal & Co., 1955); Leslie Derfler, The Dreyfus Affair (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002); Nicholas Halasz, Captain Dreyfus: The Story of a Mass Hysteria (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1955); Robert L. Hoffman, More Than a Trial: The Struggle over Captain Dreyfus (New York: Free Press, 1980); Michael R. Marrus, The Politics of Assimilation: The French Jewish Community at the Time of the Dreyfus Affair (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971); and Ivan Strenski, Contesting Sacrifice: Religion, Nationalism, and Social Thought in France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002).
Halasz, Captain 20–21.
For a reproduction of this front page of La Libre see Burns, France and the Dreyfus 35.
See ibid., 50, and Halasz, Captain 56.
Quoted in Halasz, Captain 57.
See Maurice Paléologue, An Intimate Journal of the Dreyfus trans. Eric Mosbacher (New York: Criterion Books, 1957), 53.
On the identification of the Jews with Judas, see Rubenstein, After 21–22 and 50–51.
This conversation is discussed and quoted in Carl Schorske, Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980), 162.
For biographical information on Esterhazy, see Chapman, The Dreyfus 119–21.
See Burns, France and the Dreyfus 65.
For details on this matter, see ibid., 39, 68.
See ibid., 88.
See, for example, Max Weber, “Bureaucracy,” in From Max Weber: Essays in ed. H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), 196–244.
The text of Zola’s letter, with a copy of the famous front page from can be found in Burns, France and the Dreyfus 93–103.
Quoted in Chapman, The Dreyfus 199.
Quoted in Halasz, Captain 123. For background about the anti-Jewish role of La Civiltà see Kertzer, The Popes against the 133–51.
Quoted in Halasz, Captain 123.
Burns, France and the Dreyfus 120. Burns adds that “the assembly ordered that the speech and the incriminating letter be posted in every one of France’s thirty-six thousand town halls.”
Maurrus’s defense appeared in Gazette de 6–7 Sept. 1898. The text is reproduced in Burns, France and the Dreyfus 122–23.
See Eugen J. Weber, Action Française: Royalism and Reaction in Twentieth-Century France (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1962).
The English leaders included Cardinal Henry Manning, Archbishop of Westminster, and the Duke of Norfolk. See Kertzer, The Popes against the 176, 184, 214–22.
Weber, Action 445.
Quoted in Burns, France and the Dreyfus 53.
The Jewish London, 17 Jan. 1896. Herzl’s text, which anticipated his plan for the establishment of a Jewish state, is reproduced and helpfully annotated in Mendes-Flohr and Reinharz, eds., The Jew in the Modern 533–38.
For these details about the Dreyfus family, we are indebted to Burns, Dreyfus: A Family especially 467–87, and Carroll, Constantine’s 467–71.
Peter the Great mandated the European calendar for Russia in 1700, but he retained the Julian version, not the Gregorian style initiated by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. After the Russian revolution, in 1918, the “new calendar”—the Gregorian version—went into effect. The dates in our account of Russian history refer to the new calendar.
Quoted in Howard Morley Sachar, The Course of Modern Jewish History (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1977), 246. The discussion in the first two sections of this chapter is indebted to Rubenstein, The Age of For more detail, see especially 135–64.
For more detail on Pobedonostsev, see Robert F. Byrnes, Pobedonostsev: His Life and Thought (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1968).
The most authoritative Hitler biography is Ian Kershaw’s two-volume study, Hitler, 1889–1936: Hubris (New York: W. W. Norton, 1999) and Hitler, 1936–1945: Nemesis (New York: W. W. Norton, 2000). Other recent works of importance include Brigitte Hamann, Hitler’s Vienna: A Dictator’s trans. Thomas Thornton (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999) and Fritz Redlich, Hitler: Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). Among older studies that remain influential, see Karl Dietrich Bracher, The German Dictatorship: The Origins, Structures, and Effects of National trans. Jean Steinberg (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970); Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (New York: Harper & Row, 1962); Joachim Fest, trans. Richard and Clara Winston (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1974); Sebastian Hafner, The Meaning of trans. Edwald Osers (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983); and Eberhard Jäckel, Hitler’s Weltanschauung (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1972). For worthwhile overviews of the themes, issues, and problems that confront Hitler’s biographers, see John Lukacs, The Hitler of History (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997) and Ron Rosenbaum, Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil (New York: Random House, 1998). Also significant for our purposes are Gerald Fleming, Hitler and the Final Solution (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984) and Sarah Gordon, Hitler, Germans, and the “Jewish (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984). The latter volume has especially influenced our interpretations.
Quoted in A. J. Ryder, Twentieth-Century Germany from Bismarck to Brandt (New York: Columbia University Press, 1973), 40.
Oscar Handlin, The 2d ed. (Boston: Atlantic, Little, Brown, 1973), 32.
Carr-Saunders, World 49ff.
See, for example, R. J. Rummel, Death by Government (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1994), 13. Also relevant are Gil Eliot, The Twentieth-Century Book of the Dead (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1972), 41, 94, 124 and Jonathan Glover, 315–97. The twentieth-century’s toll of human-inflicted death includes some sixty-five thousand Hereros, who were killed in what is arguably the first genocide of that century. In the German colony of Southwest Africa—today Namibia—the indigenous Hereros rebelled in 1904 when they learned of German plans to confine them to reservations. The German response to make the colony Herero-free was swift and lethal. By mid-August 1904, most of the Hereros’ military force was destroyed. When they had offered to surrender, Lieutenant General Lothar von Trotha, with authorization from the kaiser, gave what came to be known as the Vernichtungsbefehl (extermination order). The remaining Hereros, women and children included, were driven into the Omaheke Desert, where the Germans had made water holes inaccessible and let the Hereros die of thirst. Among the German colonists at the time was the father of the key Nazi leader Hermann Göring.
In the aftermath of the genocide, the German scientist Eugen Fischer did racialist research on miscegenation. “Without exception,” he concluded, “every European nation that has accepted the blood of inferior races—and only romantics can deny that Negroes, Hottentots, and many others are inferior—has paid for its acceptance of inferior elements with spiritual and cultural degeneration.” Fischer proposed that “one should grant them the amount of protection that an inferior race confronting us requires to survive, no more and no less and only for so long as they are of use to us—otherwise free competition, that is, in my opinion, destruction.” When Hitler wrote Mein some of Fischer’s racial writings were in his possession. Fischer joined the Nazi Party in 1932, occupied influential academic and research posts, and became a leading player in the so-called “race hygiene” and eugenics movement, which figured centrally in the mass murder and genocide that characterized the Nazi regime.
Another German writer who influenced Hitler was the geographer Friedrich Ratzel, his nation’s leading authority on colonization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the author of an 1897 book on political geography, which Hitler consulted while writing Mein Ratzel also published a 1904 book, Der in which he coined the term Lebensraum (living space) and elaborated the importance of territorial expansion as essential for the well-being of the German people. The term and its expansionist concept would both play a large part in Nazi objectives, which required not only the gaining of new territory but also its depopulation so that “inferior” groups would not threaten German racial purity. For more information on these points, see Henry Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995), 11–14; Ben Kiernan, “Studying the Roots of Genocide,” in Will Genocide Ever End? ed. Rittner, Roth, and Smith, 142; and Richard Rhodes, Masters of Death: The SS Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002), 92–95.
See Encyclopedia Britannica (2002), s.v. “World War I” and also Eliot, The Twentieth-Century Book of the 23, 218.
For an account of Verdun, see Alistair Horne, The Price of Glory: Verdun, 1916 (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), 36. Of particular interest is a memorandum by Falkenhayn to the kaiser written in December 1915. There Falkenhayn argues for a strategy by which “the forces of France will bleed to death.” For a bitter account of the slaughter by a German soldier, see William Hermanns, The Holocaust: From a Survivor of Verdun (New York: Harper & Row, 1972). Young Germans marched off to war singing, wollen wir Frankreich schlagen, sterben als ein tapferer [Victoriously we will crush France and die as brave heroes].
As noted in the previous chapter, Daniel Goldhagen believes that, well before Hitler, the overwhelming majority of Germans were imbued with an “eliminationist” antisemitism that ultimately became “exterminationist.” Goldhagen’s thesis has been attacked as overly simplistic largely because of his insistence that only German antisemitism could yield so genocidal an outcome. His insistence on the complicity of ordinary Germans has been less criticized for good reasons. See Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing
Goldhagen’s book was followed by the publication of an extraordinary wartime diary by Victor Klemperer, a converted Jew who was dismissed from his academic position but was permitted to survive in Dresden because of his German spouse. Later, there will be more to say about Klemperer’s diary, but in this context it is significant to note that his two volumes provide a day by day account of his experiences as a Jew in Nazi Germany. Although he registers acts of kindness and sympathy on the part of a few Germans, his diaries record with painstaking clarity the humiliations and indignities to which he was subjected daily. The diaries also make abundantly clear how deeply Nazi values had penetrated the beliefs and behavior of the overwhelming majority of Germans in all walks of life. See Victor Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi trans. Martin Chalmers, vol. 1 (New York: Random House, 1998); vol. 2 (New York: Random House, 2000). See also Robert Gellately, Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001). Gellately’s detailed analysis of public opinion in Nazi Germany shows that “from the beginning of the new Reich in 1933, into the war years, and down to its last desperate months...Hitler was largely successful in getting the backing, one way or another, of the great majority of citizens” (vii–viii). For further discussion of related points see Eric A. Johnson, Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans (New York: Basic Books, 1999).
Encyclopedia Britannica (2002), s.v. “Somme, First Battle of.” For a more detailed account of the battle, see Martin Middlebrook, The First Day on the Somme (New York: W. W. Norton, 1972). Middlebrook numbers the casualties of both sides as 1,300,000. He is less critical of Haig than many of the general’s detractors. Those who defend Haig tend to assert that the British offensive at the Somme relieved pressure on the French at Verdun and thus made it possible for the French to remain in the war. See also Major General Sir John Davidson, K.C.M.G., C.B., D.S.O., director of operations in France, 1916–18, Haig: Master of the Field (London: P. Nevill, 1953) for a spirited defense of Haig. One of Haig’s most unremitting critics was Winston Churchill. See Churchill, The World rev. ed. (London: Odhams, 1938), 950–73, 1070–93. Haig was promoted to the rank of field marshal after the battle.
See Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson, Passchendaele: The Untold Story (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1996).
On the casualties, see ibid., 185–87, 194–95. For a brief summary of the battle, see the edited text of Geoffrey Miller, “The Battle of 3rd Ypres (Passchendaele)” at
The subculture and its long-term political consequences are graphically yet succinctly described in Omer Bartov, Mirrors of Destruction: War, Genocide, and Modern Identity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 10–43.
See Robert Blake, ed., The Private Papers of Douglas Haig 1914–1918 (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1952), 9.
For examples of this fraternization, see Glover, 156–64.
See Bartov, Mirrors of 12–14. Especially for the defeated Germans, the war also produced its harvest of bitterness and despair. Disillusionment and discontent mixed and mingled with a glorification of sacrifice and war to provide a deep reservoir of emotion on which Hitler and the Nazis could draw. A helpful discussion of related themes is found in Robert Weldon Whalen, Bitter Wounds: German Victims of the Great War, 1914–1939 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1984).
Bartov, Mirrors of 13.
Ibid., 99–104. Bartov points out that the French, although victors in the Great War, felt that they were among its victims. Furthermore, French concerns about national unity and identity after the war led to a resurgence of antisemitism, especially in the 1930s. When France fell to Germany in 1940, there was a widespread perception that a Jewish presence, increased by a considerable refugee population, was not advantageous to France. That outlook facilitated the willing cooperation of Pétain’s collaborationist government in the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews to certain death in Auschwitz. For the intensification of French antisemitism in the 1930s, see Michael R. Marrus and Robert O. Paxton, Vichy France and the Jews (New York: Basic Books, 1981); Eugen Joseph Weber, The Hollow Years: France in the 1930s (New York: W. W. Norton, 1994); and Susan Zuccotti, The Holocaust, The French, and the Jews (New York: Basic Books, 1993).
See Bartov, Mirrors of 25. Also relevant are Fest, 67–86, 511–38, and Robert G. L. Waite, “Adolf Hitler: A Life Sketch,” in Hitler and Nazi ed. Robert G. I. Waite (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969).
Contrary to Hitler’s oft-repeated claim, no “stab in the back” had defeated Germany. Instead, superior Allied resources and German exhaustion eventually brought the war to an end. Some eleven million men, almost 20 percent of the German population, had been mobilized. About 1.7 million of them were killed, another 4.2 million wounded. Furthermore, from March to July 1918 alone, 750,000 German soldiers were wounded and about 1.75 million more were incapacitated by one of the world’s worst influenza epidemics.
Bauer, A History of the 63.
As the Jew became seen increasingly as a betrayer, that image was reinforced by the New Testament’s narratives about Judas’s betrayal of Jesus (see Mark 14:10–21; Matthew 26:14–25). In its portrayal of Jesus’ disciples, the Christian imagination traditionally regarded Judas as definitively Jewish. The other disciples were seen, anachronistically, as Christians or at least as faithful to their leader. Throughout much of Christian history, the Jews were identified with Judas. Since Judas alone among those present at the Last Supper was traditionally so identified, the implied moral of the Judas story was that one can never trust a Jew. The Judas story, which is part and parcel of the passion drama, would be heard and relived by Christians in Germany during Holy Week as well as in the passion plays that were highly popular in Germany and Austria. Few stereotypical images have been as consistently reinforced in the most emotionally potent environments as the one that equates Jews with Judas. In Nazi Germany the image of Jew as Judas supported the belief that Jews would have to be eliminated, lest they attempt again to betray and destroy Germany. So intense was this belief among some Germans that, even when they knew that all was lost, they continued to kill the Jewish “enemy” until the very end of the war in 1945.
In this paragraph and subsequent ones dealing with Hitler’s rise to power, we draw on material that John Roth prepared for Roth et al., The Holocaust
Our discussion of Mein Kampf is indebted to Michael D. Ryan, “Hitler’s Challenge to the Churches: A Theological Political Analysis of Mein in The German Church Struggle and the ed. Franklin H. Littell and Hubert G. Locke (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1974), 148–64.
The concept of Lebensraum also figures prominently in Hitler’s so-called Zweites which he wrote in the late 1920s but did not publish. See Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Secret trans. Salvator Attanasio (New York: Grove Press, 1983).
Saul Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the vol. 1, The Years of Persecution, 1933–1939 (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), 73–112.
Yehuda Bauer, Rethinking the 92.
Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing 454.
For statistical data on the Nazis, consult Tim Kirk, The Longman Companion to Nazi Germany (New York: Longman, 1995).
Gordon, Hitler, Germans and the Jewish 83–84.
Congressional Committee on Immigration, Temporary Suspension of Sixty-fifth Congress, Third Session, House of Representatives, Report no. 1109, 6 December 1920.
Celia S. Heller, On the Edge of Destruction: Jews of Poland between the Two World Wars (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977), 101–7. For more on Poland, see Richard C. Lukas, The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles under German Occupation 1939–1944 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1986); Antony Polonsky, ed., Brother’s Recent Polish Debates on the Holocaust (London: Routledge, 1990); Yisrael Gutman and Shmuel Krakowski, Poles and Jews between the Wars (New York: Schocken Books, 1986); and Jan Karski, The Great Powers and Poland 1919–1945: From Versailles to Yalta (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1985). Karski is one of the heroes of the Polish resistance. His eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust in Poland were communicated in person to Western leaders, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, in November 1942. A tree at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, honors him as a “Righteous Gentile.”
Here it is relevant to note that Polish-Jewish relations still show Holocaust-related stresses and strains. Debates about these tensions flashed in 2001 when Jan T. Gross, a Polish-born New York University political scientist published Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001). Gross documents what happened in Jedwabne, a village about 120 miles northeast of Warsaw, the Polish capital, on 10 July 1941, a few weeks after the Nazi invasion of Soviet-held territory put the town under German occupation. On that day, 1,600 of Jedwabne’s Jews were beaten and brutally murdered by their non-Jewish neighbors. A postwar monument falsely attributed the slaughter to the Germans. They undoubtedly approved it, but Poles did the killing, which may have been motivated by the perception that Jedwabne’s Jews had cooperated with the Soviets. On the sixtieth anniversary of the massacre a new memorial was installed, but it did not state explicitly that Poles killed the town’s Jews. Controversy about the complex relations between Jews and Poles in a country where Nazi Germany’s Final Solution annihilated about 90 percent of Poland’s nearly 3.5 million Jews is not likely to go away anytime soon. Meanwhile, at the time of this writing an estimated twenty thousand Jews continue to live in Poland.
Quoted in John Toland, Adolf Hitler (New York: Ballantine Books, 1977), 384. Further background on the German situation during this period is available in Burleigh, The Third especially 27–145, and Harold James, The German Slump: Politics and Economics 1924–1936 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986).
See Klaus Scholder, The Churches and the Third trans. John Bowden (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987), 1:247.
Burleigh, The Third 155.
See Toland, Adolf 439.
Adolf Hitler, Mein trans. Ralph Manheim (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971), 398.
For more detail on these matters, particularly as they related to the broader history of economic and political modernization in the West, see Rubenstein, The Age of especially 146–50.
For example, on 7 April 1933, the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, which will be discussed in greater detail below, went into effect. It drove all Jewish professors of law from their positions in German universities. As a result, 120 of the 378 teaching positions at German law schools were available for new appointments, who were chosen on the basis of their commitment to National Socialism. See Ingo Müller, Hitler’s Justice: The Courts of the Third trans. Deborah Lucas Schneider (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991), 69. On the displacement of Jewish physicians, see Michael H. Kater, Doctors Under Hitler (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 177–221. As Kater shows, National Socialist doctors wanted the “complete riddance of the Jewish competition” (203). When Hitler came to power in 1933, there had been approximately 6,500 Jewish doctors in Germany. By late September 1938, Kater documents, they had “to all intents and purposes vanished from the German medical scene” (200).
Schleunes, The Twisted Road to xiv. For later developments related to this point, see Christopher R. Browning, Fateful Months: Essays on the Emergence of the Final Solution (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985) and The Path to Genocide: Essays on Launching the Final Solution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); and Peter Longerich, The Unwritten Order: Hitler’s Role in the Final Solution (Charleston, S.C.: Tempus Publishing, 2001). Along with Browning, Robert Jan van Pelt, and other leading Holocaust scholars, Longerich served as an expert witness for the defense in the 2000 libel trial before the British High Court, a proceeding in which David Irving sued Deborah Lipstadt, an American historian of the Holocaust, and Penguin Books, her British publisher, on the grounds that Lipstadt’s book Denying the Holocaust had falsely labeled him a Holocaust denier. Since Lipstadt’s defense never backed away from identifying Irving as a denier, it had to show that Irving persistently distorted historical evidence in writings and speeches that did deny the Holocaust. Thus, in a court of law the defense had to document in detail not only that the Holocaust happened but also how. The case was decided in favor of the defendants, Lipstadt and Penguin Books.
Longerich’s task was to document Hitler’s role in the Holocaust. His book is based partly on the extensive report that he prepared for the trial. At one point, he summarizes his findings as follows: “The murder of the European Jews was not the outcome of a single order but the result of a policy pursued by the regime over a relatively long period of time, which was time and time again driven forward decisively by Hitler himself” (120).
For more detail on the Irving-Lipstadt trial, see the transcript of Justice Charles Gray’s deliberation and decision in the case, The Irving Judgment: David Irving v. Penguin Books and Professor Deborah Lipstadt (London: Penguin Books, 2000). Also significant in this regard is Robert Jan van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz: Evidence from the Irving Trial (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002). Van Pelt is a Holocaust historian who has specialized in the architecture of Auschwitz. His part in the Irving-Lipstadt trial was to demonstrate the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and to show that they were used to murder hundreds of thousands of Jews. Van Pelt’s book is based largely on his testimony in the trial.
See Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War against the Jews 1933–1945 (1975; New York: Bantam Books, 1976), 21–23. For two views that take issue with Dawidowicz, see Yehuda Bauer, “Genocide: Was It the Nazis’ Original Plan?” in Reflections on the ed. Irene G. Shur, Franklin H. Littell, and Marvin Wolfgang (Philadelphia: American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1980), 35–45; and John K. Roth “How to Make Hitler’s Ideas Clear?” Philosophical Forum 16 (1984–85): 82–94.
Philippe Burrin, Hitler and the Jews: The Genesis of the trans. Patsy Southgate (London: Edward Arnold, 1994), 19. Even as Hitler waged war from September 1939 and on into 1941, Burrin believes both that Hitler’s antisemitism gave him “less than a master plan” and that Hitler’s anti-Jewish outlook had become much more than “a simple obsession” (150). Now he “harbored the intention of exterminating the Jews”; nevertheless, his intention was “not absolute but conditional” and would be carried out “only in the event of a well-defined situation” (23). Burrin thinks the crucial situation arose when Hitler feared, in the late summer and autumn of 1941, that Germany’s military campaign against the Soviet Union might not be won. As we shall see, historians continue to debate the question of when the Final Solution became state policy.
For further excerpts from this speech, see Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 160–62.
Gellately, Backing 4.
Heinz Höhne, The Order of the Death’s Head: The Story of Hitler’s trans. Richard Barry (1966; New York: Ballantine Books, 1971), 17. The subsequent discussion of the Röhm purge draws on John Roth’s discussion of the topic in Roth et al., The Holocaust
See Klaus Fischer, Nazi Germany: A New History (New York: Continuum, 1995), 293, and Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in abr. ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), 168–69.
Adolf Hitler, “Letter to Adolf Gemlich, September 16, 1919,” in A Holocaust ed. Lucy S. Dawidowicz (New York: Behrman House, 1976), 30.
Hitler, Mein 65. The emphasis is Hitler’s.
Saul Friedländer refers to Hitler’s addresses to the conservative-nationalist Hamburg National Club of 1919 on 28 February 1926 and the Düsseldorf Industry Club on 27 January 1932. See Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the 101–2. See also Kershaw, Hitler, 1889–1936: 358–59.
See Ulrich Herbert, “Extermination Policy: New Answers and Questions about the History of the ‘Holocaust’ in German Historiography,” in National Socialist Extermination Policies: Contemporary German Perspectives and ed. Ulrich Herbert (New York: Berghahn Books, 2000), 19.
Ibid., 20–21. See also Scholder, The Churches and the Third 1:99–119 and 254–279; Victoria Barnett, For the Soul of the People: Protestant Protest against Hitler (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 14–17; Ericksen and Heschel, eds. and Werner Jochmann, “Die Ausbreitung des Antisemitismus in Deutschland,” in Gesellschaftskrise und Judenfeinschaft in ed. Werner Jochmann (Hamburg: Christians, 1988), 99–170.
Herbert, “Extermination Policy,” 24–25. See also Ulrich Herbert, Best: Biographische Studien über Radikalismus, Weltanschaung, und Vernunft, 1903–1989 (Bonn: J. H. W. Dietz, 1996), 68ff.
Herbert, “Extermination Policy,” 26.
Ibid. See also Ulrich Herbert, “Weltanschauungseliten: Ideologische Legitimation und politische Praxis der Führungsgruppe der nationalsocialistischen Sicherheitspolizei,” Potsdamer Bulletin für zeithistorische Studien 9 (1997): 4–18, and Herbert, 191ff.
Between 1933 and 1937 the SD grew from two hundred and fifty members to about five thousand. Michael Burleigh points out that “some 41 percent of the SD had higher education, at a time when the national average was 2 or 3 percent.” See Burleigh, The Third 186.
Herbert, “Extermination Policy,” 26.
See Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine (New York: Carrol & Graf, 2001), 46–70.
Here we draw on material prepared by John Roth for Roth et al., The Holocaust
The Nazis’ definitional scheme was based, of course, on a fundamentally false premise, that Jews are a race. Jews are not a race. In principle, any human being can be a Jew. The possibility of conversion testifies to that. For the Nazis, however, Jews were a race. In Germany, moreover, the Nazis had the power to define social reality. Their racial definition of Jews testified to that.
Burleigh, The Third 295–96.
Raul Hilberg, “The Nature of the Process,” in Survivors, Victims, and Perpetrators: Essays on the Nazi ed. Joel E. Dimsdale (New York: Hemisphere Publishing Co., 1980), 5.
See Karl A. Schleunes, ed., Legislating the Holocaust: The Bernhard Loesner Memoirs and Supporting trans. Carol Scherer (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2001). Loesner (1890–1952), a lawyer, joined the Nazi Party in 1931 and served in the Third Reich’s Ministry of the Interior from April 1933 to March 1943. His duties included the drafting and oversight of anti-Jewish legislation, including the Nuremberg Laws, but he advocated distinctions between full Jews and Mischlinge that put at least a partial break on that legislation’s severity.
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Germany’s Jewish population, which never rose above approximately 1 percent, numbered about 550,000. According to Yehuda Bauer, in the period 1933–39, an estimated 232,000 emigrated, which amounted to about 6 percent of the 1933 Jewish population annually. The permanent emigration figures for 1933 were about 37,000 (some 53,000 left at first but 16,000 returned). For 1934 and 1935, the emigration totals were approximately 23,000 and 21,000, respectively. The highest number left in 1939, when about 68,000 Jews departed Germany. When Austria was added to the Reich in 1938, the Austrian Jewish population numbered about 200,000. About 117,000 of that number emigrated in 1938–39. Saul Friedländer reports that by May 1939 there were 213,000 full Jews remaining in the Altreich (Germany prior to the annexation of Austria). That population was elderly and increasingly poor. See Bauer, A History of the 117–18, 121, 131, and Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution 316–17, 393 n.21.
For a discussion of the Nazis’ use of the Olympic Games, see Duff Hart-Davis, Hitler’s Games: The 1936 Olympics (New York: Harper & Row, 1986) and Richard D. Mandell, The Nazi rev. ed. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987).
Martin Gilbert and Richard Gott, The Appeasers (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1963), 144ff.
Quoted in Leni Yahil, The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry, trans. Ina Friedman and Haya Galai (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 106.
Schleunes, The Twisted Road to 230.
Otto Dov Kulka, “Public Opinion in Nazi Germany and the ‘Jewish Question,’ ” Jerusalem Quarterly 25 (fall 1982).
Klaus Drobisch et al., Juden unterm Hakernkreuz: Verfolgung und Ausrottung der deutschen Juden, 1933–1945 (Frankfurt am Main: Röderberg Verlag, 1973), 159–60.
See Benz, The 31–32.
For more detail on the Heydrich text, see Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 45–46.
Benz sets the number at 30,000. See Benz, The 31. According to Ulrich Herbert, the number was 20,000. See Herbert, “Extermination Policy,” 24. Karol Jonca agrees with Benz. See Jonca, “Kristallnacht” in The Holocaust ed. Walter Laqueur, 890.
Schleunes, The Twisted Road to 241.
Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution 281, 284–92. We draw on Friedländer’s chronology for other anti-Jewish sanctions mentioned in this paragraph.
Ibid., 281. Benz reports that “the Jews were in fact forced to pay 1.12 billion.” See Benz, The 33.
For more detail on this topic and related issues, see Jonathan Petropoulos, The Faustian Bargain: The Art World in Nazi Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).
Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution 286–87.
Quoted in ibid., 283.
Canon Bernhard Lichtenberg was a notable, if singular, exception. On 10 November 1938 he offered prayer for the Jews. See Michael Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930–1965 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000), 16. He continued to recite a daily prayer for the Jews until arrested on 23 October 1941. When interrogated, he declared that deportation of the Jews was irreconcilable with Christian moral law. He asked to be permitted to accompany the deportees as their spiritual adviser. He died on 5 November 1943 while being transported to Dachau. See Guenter Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964), 293.
See Herbert, “Extermination Policy,” 24.
Debórah Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt, The Holocaust: A History (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002), 102.
Höhne, The Order of the Death’s 17.
On Himmler, see Richard Breitman, The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992).
Schleunes, The Twisted Road to 230.
Concentration camps have a late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century history. Nazi Germany did not invent them. For example, the term reconcentrados was used to refer to camps in Cuba that were established by the Spanish general Valeriano Weyler in his suppression of an 1895 rebellion. During the Boer War (1899–1902), the term concentration camp designated British internment centers in South Africa that were used to prevent Boer civilians from helping guerrillas. Anticipating the removal of this Boer population, these camps were established along railroad lines. The Boers called these camps In Nazi Germany, a concentration camp was a
Gellately, Backing 51–69.
For an outline of the SD’s organization, see Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution, 197–202. For more on Eichmann, see Jochen von Lang, ed., Eichmann Interrogated: Transcripts from the Archives of the Israeli trans. Ralph Mannheim (New York: Vintage, 1984) and Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (New York: Viking Press, 1964).
The document is reprinted in English translation in J. Noakes and G. Pridham, eds., Nazism 1919–1945: A Documentary 2 vols. (New York: Schocken Books, 1990), 2:1104.
See Claude Lanzmann, Shoah: An Oral History of the Holocaust (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985), 72.
Hans-Günter Adler, Der verwaltete Mensch: Studien zur Deportation der Juden aus Deutschland (Tübingen: Mohr, 1974), 74. We are indebted for this citation to Götz Aly, Solution”: Nazi Population Policy and the Murder of the European trans. Belinda Cooper and Allison Brown (London: Arnold, 1999), 3. For a discussion of the evolving meaning of other terms in the Nazi vocabulary of ethnic cleansing and genocide, see Longerich, The Unwritten 15–17.
The number included Germany and regions annexed to Germany (743,000), Poland (2,300,000), Bohemia and Moravia (77,000), Belgium (80,000), Holland (160,000), Luxemburg (2,500), Denmark (7,000), Norway (1,500), Slovakia (95,000), and France (270,000). See Adler, Der verwaltete 75 ff., and Aly, 96–97.
On 31 July 1940, Hitler spoke of a “five-month campaign” against the Soviet Union to begin sometime in early 1941. See Andreas Hillgruber and Gerhard Hümmelchen, Chronik des Zweiten Weltkrieges: Calendarium militärischer und politischer Ereignisse rev. ed. (Düsseldorf: Droste, 1978), 40, and Aly, 95–96.
Schleunes, The Twisted Road to 260. See also Aly, and Herbert, “Extermination Policy.”
See Black, The Transfer 166ff. For an account that debunks the claim that much more could have been done to rescue Jews from the Nazis, see William D. Rubinstein, The Myth of Rescue: Why the Democracies Could Not Have Saved More Jews from the Nazis (New York: Routledge, 1997).
On the Evian conference, see Henry L. Feingold, The Politics of Rescue: The Roosevelt Administration and the Holocaust 1938–1945 (New York: Holocaust Library, n.d.), 22–24, and Bearing Witness: How America and Its Jews Responded to the Holocaust (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1995); Michael R. Marrus, The Unwanted: European Refugees in the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985); and David Wyman, Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1938–1941 (Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts Press, 1968).
Foreign Relations of the United States, vol. 1 (Washington, D.C.: 1950), 740–41 (italics added). See also Feingold, Bearing 75, and Judith Tydor Baumel, “Evian Conference,” in The Holocaust ed. Lacqueur, 172–74.
See Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution 249.
For a detailed examination of the Haavara Agreement, see Black, The Transfer
More detail on British policy toward the European Jews before and during the Holocaust can be found in Bernard Wasserstein, Britain and the Jews of Europe, 1939–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979).
For more detail, see the website at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Its entry on “Voyage of the ‘St. Louis’ ” informs our discussion. See also Arthur D. Morse, While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy (New York: Hart Publishing Co., 1968), 270–88.
See Louis P. Lochner, ed., The Goebbels Diaries 1942–43 (New York: Doubleday, 1948), 241.
Doris Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), 1.
Quoted in Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 161. Berenbaum reproduces larger passages from the speech as well.
For key passages from Hitler’s “political testament,” dated 29 April 1945, see ibid., 163–65.
See, for example, Hilberg’s comments in Lanzmann, 70–73.
The historian Gerhard L. Weinberg makes an important point in this context. Acknowledging that “time and again, the German government postponed steps in the racial transformation that was a major purpose of the war,” he adds that such postponements did not mean that the Nazis’ ideological objectives changed. It is important to remember, says Weinberg, “that the Germans had expected to win, not lose, the war, and that therefore the leaders of the Third Reich always assumed they would have decades, even centuries, to carry out their plans.” See Weinberg, “The Holocaust and World War II: A Dilemma in Teaching,” in Lessons and Legacies II: Teaching the Holocaust in a Changing ed. Donald G. Schilling (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1998), 29.
The question of who knew what and when is explored by Walter Laqueur, The Terrible 2nd ed. (New York: Henry Holt, 1998).
Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1961). As mentioned in our prologue (see note 6) this magisterial work was revised and reissued, first, as The Destruction of the European revised and definitive edition (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1986) and, more recently, as The Destruction of the European 3rd ed. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2003). We cite both of the revised editions, in each instance the 1985 edition first and the 2003 edition second.
Herbert, “Extermination Policy,” 5.
This chapter and the two that follow are in considerable measure indebted to the efforts of these German scholars as well as to those of earlier American, British, and Israeli pathfinders.
For examples and further details on this point, see Richard Breitman, Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and the Americans Knew (New York: Hill & Wang, 1998); Fleming, Hitler and the Final and Marrus, “Historiography,” in The Holocaust ed. Laqueur, 279–85.
Uwe Adam, Judenpolitik in Dritten Reich (Düsseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1972).
In his Reichstag speech of 30 January 1939, Hitler said, “It is a shameful spectacle to see how the whole democratic world is oozing sympathy for the poor tormented Jewish people but remains hard-hearted and obdurate when it comes to helping them—which is surely, in view of its attitude, an obvious duty. The arguments that are brought up as an excuse for not helping them actually speak for us Germans and Italians.” See Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 160.
Götz Aly, “ ‘Jewish Resettlement’: Reflections on the Political Prehistory of the Holocaust,” in National Socialist Extermination ed. Herbert, 58.
This figure is found in the report prepared by Adolf Eichmann after the Wannsee Conference, 20 January 1942. See Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 165–71. The Nazi calculation was too high. The European Jews actually numbered closer to nine million.
Himmler also controlled all armed SS units, which included personnel who ran the concentration camps. During the winter of 1939–40, these units became known as the By the end of 1942, the augmented by Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans) and other recruits, had more than 900,000 men. The mobile killing squads that decimated eastern European Jewry included Waffen-SS personnel.
For more detail on these matters, see Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (New York: Harper-Collins, 1992); Peter Longerich, “SS and the Police,” in The Holocaust ed. Laqueur, 603–13; and Rhodes, Masters of
The Freikorps were private, right-wing paramilitary units. Formed in the aftermath of World War I, these private armies consisted primarily of war veterans and unemployed young people. Numbering in the hundreds of thousands, the Freikorps fighters crushed the attempts of leftists to gain control in Munich in 1919. They also fought to prevent Poland’s control of former German territory. Officially dissolved in 1921, the Freikorps were an important source of support for the Nazi Party.
Alexander B. Rossino, “Nazi Anti-Jewish Policy during the Polish Campaign: The Case of Einsatzgruppe von Woyrsch,” German Studies Review 24 (Feb. 2001): 37.
Donald Grey Brownlow and John Eluthère Du Pont, Hell Was My Home: Arnold Shay, Survivor of the Holocaust (West Hanover, Mass.: Christopher Publishing House, 1983), 45. We are indebted to Rossino, “Nazi Anti-Jewish Policy” for this reference.
Testimony of Udo von Woyrsch, Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltung zur Aufklärung nationalsozialistische Verbrechen, in Ludwigsburg (Central Federal Justice Administrative Office Regarding Nazi Crimes, in Ludwigsburg), AR-Z 302/67, 1:238f. We are indebted to Rossino, “Nazi Anti-Jewish Policy” for this reference.
Rossino, “Nazi Anti-Jewish Policy,” 40.
Ibid., 43. The actions of the Wehrmacht (German army) reported here should not lead to the conclusion, which some have erroneously drawn, that the German military was opposed to the persecution and mass murder of the Jews. On the contrary, the German army was deeply implicated in the destruction process. See, for example, Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen, and Volker Riess, eds., Good Old Days”: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders (New York: Free Press, 1991) and Hamburg Institute for Social Research, The German Army and Genocide: Crimes against War Prisoners, Jews, and Other Civilians in the East, trans. Scott Abbott (New York: New Press, 1999).
Rossino, “Nazi Anti-Jewish Policy,” 44.
Quoted in Aly, “ ‘Jewish Resettlement,’ ” 58.
Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German 5.
See Aly, 34; Aly, “ ‘Jewish Resettlement’,” 59.
Rhodes, Masters of 240.
See Aly, “ ‘Jewish Resettlement,’ ” 54–64.
Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism 2:1053–54, and S. Goschen, “Eichmann und die Nisko-Aktion in Oktober 1939,” in Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (29.1.1981), 80. For further information about the structure of the RSHA, see Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 1:274–90 and 1:276–94. Previously, on 21 September 1939 Heydrich had dispatched a confidential message to Einsatzgruppen leaders. Addressing the “Jewish Question in Occupied Territory,” Heydrich distinguished between final and intermediate goals. His message did not define the Endziel (final goal), but it was clearer about the intermediate steps: Jews should be concentrated, that is, moved from the countryside and villages into city ghettos, where railroad transportation would be readily available. Certain parts of occupied Poland would become judenrein to facilitate the resettlement of ethic Germans. Jewish councils were to be appointed and held responsible for carrying out “the exact and prompt implementation of directives.” Heydrich’s program could not be implemented immediately, but in due course it was. The text of Heydrich’s message can be found in Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 71–74.
Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German 7.
See Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism 2:1053–55.
Aly, “ ‘Jewish Resettlement,’ ” 58–61.
For details on these points, see ibid., 60–61, and Aly, 63–65. On 1 October 1943 the tasks of Section IV-B-4 were more fully designated as follows: “Jewish Matters, Evacuation Matters, Seizure of Assets Hostile to Volk and State, Revocation of German Citizenship.”
Aly, “ ‘Jewish Resettlement,’ ” 67.
On the “euthanasia” program see Götz Aly, Peter Chroust, and Christian Pross, Cleansing the Fatherland: Nazi Medicine and Racial trans. Belinda Cooper (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994); Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Robert J. Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 1986); Kater, Doctors under and Robert N. Proctor, Racial Hygiene: Medicine under the Nazis (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988).
As Henry Friedlander points out, Jews were by no means excluded from the Nazi euthanasia program. “Jews,” he says, “were victims of the euthanasia killings from the very beginning....One can estimate that about 4,000, perhaps even 5,000, Jews became victims of the euthanasia killings.” Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi 270–71.
See Lifton, The Nazi 3–18. What Lifton calls “medicalized killing” fitted with Nazi propaganda that portrayed Jews and other unwanted groups as blood-sucking parasites, disease-causing bacteria, or deadly cancers. Programs of race hygiene, sterilization, euthanasia, ethnic cleansing, and genocide were all part of a Nazi war against racial pollution. This therapeutic imperative led to a complex but related set of health policies and programs. As Robert Procter has shown, Nazism was “a vast hygienic experiment designed to bring about an exclusionist Utopia. That sanitary utopia was a vision not unconnected with fascism’s more familiar genocidal aspects: asbestos and lead were to be cleansed from Germany’s factory air and water, much as Jews were to be swept from the German body politic. Nazi ideology linked the purification of the German body politic from environmental toxins and the purification of the German body from ‘racial aliens.’...The history of science under Nazism is a history of both forcible sterilization and herbal medicine, of both genocidal ‘selection’ and bans on public smoking.” See Robert N. Proctor, The Nazi War on Cancer (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), 7, 277.
For a succinct but devastating overview of the movement, see Sven Lindqvist, All the trans. Joan Tate (New York: New Press, 1996).
For a significant history of the eugenics movement and its implications, see Daniel J. Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995).
On these points and related topics, see Stephan L. Chorover, From Genesis to Genocide: The Meaning of Human Nature and the Power of Behavior Control (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1977), 30–55; Stefan Kühl, The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); and Lifton, The Nazi
See Richard Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought (Boston: Beacon Press, 1955), 170–200.
In a parallel American development, a movement was started to restrict immigration to the United States, limiting entry primarily to the Protestant and Germanic countries of northern Europe. Its aims were largely achieved when the U.S. Congress passed its restrictive immigration bill in 1924.
Ernst Haeckel. Die Lebenswunder (Stuttgart: A. Kroner, 1904), 128.
Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche, Die Freigabe der Vernichtung Lebensunwerten Lebens: Ihr Mass und Ihre Form (Leipzig: Felix Meiner Verlag, 1920)
See Chorover, From Genesis to 97–98.
Quoted in ibid., 98.
See ibid., 98–99.
The law took effect on 1 January 1934. Henry Friedlander notes that the law was established on 14 July 1933. On that date, the Third Reich signed an important treaty (concordat) with the Vatican. Not wanting to jeopardize their agreement with the Roman Catholic Church, the Nazis withheld publication of the sterilization law for several days. Exact statistics cannot be obtained, but Friedlander states that “it is generally agreed that at least 300,000 persons were sterilized during the years preceding World War II. During the war, when euthanasia largely replaced sterilization as a means to control so-called inferiors sterilization was devalued; still, an estimated additional 75,000 persons were probably sterilized after 1939” (Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi 30).
Quoted in Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide,
Ibid., 61, 151.
Insofar as the public, or even other governmental agencies, had dealings with the staff and offices that ran the “euthanasia” program, they thought they were dealing with agencies such as the Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft Heil- and Pflegeanstalten (Reich Cooperative for State Hospitals and Nursing Homes), the Gemeinnützige Stiftung für Anstaltspflege (Charitable Foundation for Institutional Care), the Gemeinnützige Kranken-Transport (Charitable Foundation for the Transport of Patients, Inc.), the Zentralverrechnungsstelle Heil- und Pflegeanstalten (Central Accounting Office for State Hospitals and Nursing Homes), or the Reichsausschuss zu wissenschaftlichen Erfassung von erb- und anlagebedingten schweren Leiden (Reich Committee for the Scientific Registration of Severe Hereditary Ailments). These front organizations masked the real activities hidden behind their euphemistic names, which included the overall administration of every phase—from finance to transportation—of adult and child euthanasia. See ibid., 68–74.
For information about key T4 personnel, see ibid., 216–45.
See Léon Poliakov, Harvest of Hate: The Nazi Program for the Destruction of the Jews of Europe (New York: Holocaust Library, 1979), 185, 321 n.4.
See Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi 75–85. Economic arguments were used to support the euthanasia program. Especially in wartime, valuable resources could be saved for much more important purposes if care for “useless eaters” was no longer required. Cost-benefit analyses were part of the “scientific” nature of the enterprise.
See Fleming, Hitler and the Final 27.
For further information on the 14f13 operation, see Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi 142–50.
Ibid., 104–6. For a typical letter, see Joachim Remak, ed. The Nazi Years: A Documentary History (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1969), 138–39.
Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi 96–97.
The substance of Bishop von Galen’s sermon is reprinted in Remak, ed., The Nazi 139–40. See also Beth A. Griech-Polelle, Bishop von Galen: German Catholicism and National Socialism (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2002).
See Gitta Sereny, Into That Darkness: An Examination of Conscience (New York: Vintage Books, 1983), 74–75. Sereny points out that Preysing’s sermon was preached at a mass celebrating the coronation of Pope Pius XII. The new pope subsequently wrote to Preysing, thanking him and indicating, in the pope’s words, that he had taken “careful cognizance, especially too of your sermon on the occasion of the coronation mass at St. Hedwig’s. We welcome every honest word with which you bishops defend the right of God and of the Holy Church in public.” Pope Pius XII, however, issued no public protest about Hitler’s euthanasia program.
Ibid., pp. 60–77.
Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi 162–63.
Aly, “ ‘Jewish Resettlement,’ ” 67.
See Aly, 74.
Ibid., 85 n.67.
See ibid., 85–86, n.67.
Aly, “ ‘Jewish Resettlement,’ ” 69.
Quoted in ibid., 59.
See Peter J. Haas, Morality after Auschwitz: The Radical Challenge of the Nazi Ethic (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988).
Aly, “ ‘Jewish Resettlement,’ ” 69.
Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism 2:1055.
Aly, “ ‘Jewish Resettlement,’ ” 70, 81 n.60.
Heydrich estimated that the “long-term goal” would be achieved over “the next year.” See Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German 3–5.
For further excerpts from Heydrich’s text, see Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 71–74.
In October 1939 at Piotrkow Tribunalski the Germans established the first ghetto in occupied Poland, but the size of the Lodz ghetto was far greater.
See Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism 2:1061–63.
On 8 November 1939 Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger, the higher SS and police chief in Cracow in the General Government, remarked that “in daily transports of 10,000 people, 600,000 Jews and 400,000 Poles from the eastern Gaus, and later also all Jews and Gypsies from the Reich territory, would be sent to the General Government.” See Aly, 77.
See ibid., 77, 86 n.81.
For a helpful overview of the Lodz ghetto, see Michael Unger, “Lodz,” in The Holocaust ed. Laqueur, 398–404.
The text of the memorandum is reproduced in Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism 2:1075–77. For more on this topic and on Rademacher, see Christopher R. Browning, The Final Solution and the German Foreign Office (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1978) and Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German 15–17. For an overview of the Madagascar Plan, see Browning’s article on the subject in The Holocaust ed. Laqueur, 407–9.
Aly, 92, 173. Friedrich Schumacher, a geologist, prepared a report for the Foreign Office in which he concluded that “Madagascar has no valuable mineral resources, making it sufficiently worthless to be used for the Jews.”
Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism 2:1077. Learning of Rademacher’s initiative, Heydrich was not pleased that the Foreign Office might compromise his power over Jewish affairs. He stepped in to assert his authority in matters pertaining to Jewish emigration. Thus Eichmann was called in to develop his version of a Madagascar Plan. During the summer of 1940, Eichmann and Rademacher laid rival plans for this territorial solution to the Jewish question. See Browning, “Madagascar Plan,” in The Holocaust ed. Laqueur, 408.
The de facto annexation of Alsace and Lorraine took place 22 June 1940, the day of the French surrender to the Germans (Aly, 90).
See Marrus and Paxton, Vichy France and the 10–11. Situated about fifty miles from the Spanish border, the camp at Gurs, which was established in 1939, had once been used to house Spanish refugees who fled during their country’s civil war. Under the control of Vichy France (1940–42), its prisoner population of Jews and unwanted refugees reached fifteen thousand in 1941. The Germans controlled the camp directly from 1942 to 1944. In 1942–43 some six thousand Jews were deported from Gurs to their deaths at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Sobibor, two of the Nazi killing centers in Poland. Many of the Jews were deported from Gurs while that camp was under French control.
A report about these deportees, written in Karlsruhe, Germany, on 30 October 1940 is reproduced in Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism 2:1079–80.
According to Hannah Arendt, for example, the plan was “meant to serve as a cloak under which the preparations for the physical extermination of all the Jews of Western Europe could be carried forward.” See her Eichmann in 77.
Aly, “ ‘Jewish Resettlement,’ ” 64; Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German 17.
Quoted in Aly, 107.
Ibid., 92, 115–16.
See Götz Aly and Susanne Heim, Architects of Annihilation: Auschwitz and the Logic of trans. A. G. Blunden (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002).
Plans for a Jewish ghetto in Warsaw had already been discussed in November 1939. A section in an old part of the city, largely inhabited by Jews, was made off-limits to German soldiers and designated as a Seuchensperrgebiet (quarantine). But this pre-ghetto development and the restrictions imposed on Warsaw’s Jews did not yet amount to a closed ghetto. Over the course of the next year, various initiatives started and stopped as far as ghettoization was concerned. Medical concerns about epidemics, especially typhus, kept pressing the issue. German doctors not only wanted ghettoization; they wanted the Warsaw ghetto to be tightly closed as well. See Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 1:224–28 and 1:225–30.
Ibid., 1:227 and 1:230. See also the report on the history of the creation of the Warsaw ghetto by Waldemar Schön, director of the Department for Resettlement, to the governor of the Warsaw District, 20 January 1941, in Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism 2:1063–67.
See Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism 2:1067–68, including the harrowing description of conditions in the ghetto that are excerpted from the diary of Stanislav Rozycki, a Pole who managed to visit the ghetto.
Ibid., 2:1069–70. After the invasion of the Soviet Union, Rosenberg was appointed Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. He was sentenced to death as a major war criminal and hanged by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1946.
See the excerpt from the diary of General Franz Halder that is reproduced in Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism 2:1086–87. See also Burleigh, The Third 517–21; Christian Streit, “The German Army and the Politics of Genocide,” in The Policies of Genocide: Jews and Soviet Prisoners of War in Nazi ed. Gerhard Hirschfeld (London: Allen & Unwin, 1986), 3ff.; Jürgen Foster, “The German Army and the Ideological War against the Soviet Union,” also in Hirschfeld, 17ff. German plans for war against the USSR had been under way well before the meeting in Berlin on 30 March 1941. According to Michael Burleigh, “planning for Barbarossa had commenced in June 1940,” but “directives on the conduct of the war began to flow only after March 1941” (517).
Some Wehrmacht leaders had initially objected to the murder of unarmed Jews in Poland, but this opposition did not surface in Operation Barbarossa. In the German view, Poland was populated by racial inferiors, but Poland was also an essentially conservative, predominantly Roman Catholic, and anti-Communist country. The measures taken there were harsh, but the war against Poland was not the radicalized, ideological war of annihilation that Nazi Germany waged against the Soviet Union, which was regarded by the Nazis as the center of world revolution in which the Jews played decisive parts. Especially the destruction of Jewish men, the Nazis believed, would enfeeble and bring about the collapse of the Soviet state.
Burleigh, The Third 519.
Ibid. The “war of annihilation” mentality also helps to account for the unprecedented brutality that Soviet prisoners of war experienced at the hands of the Germans. A few weeks after Operation Barbarossa began on 22 June 1941, General Herman Reinecke, chief of the General Armed Forces Office and Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reich Security Main Office, concluded a partnership agreement whose principal purposes included the selection and murder of Jewish POWs from the Soviet ranks. The agreement stated that the Wehrmacht was to “free itself” from all Soviet prisoners of war who spread Bolshevism. It was also agreed that the situation required “special measures.” The next day Heydrich ordered his regional leaders to cull from the Soviet POWs all “professional revolutionaries,” political officers in the Red Army, “fanatical” Communists, and “all Jews.” These actions began an unprecedented departure from the traditions of warfare in the Western world. Eventually hundreds of thousands of Soviet POWs would be murdered. Never before on such a scale had a military command agreed to participate in the killing of unarmed enemy soldiers after they had surrendered. See Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 1:334–41 and 1:346–53.
The Wehrmacht consisted of the German army, navy, and air force. Of these three branches, the German army was the most deeply implicated in the Holocaust.
International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, 14 November 1945–1 October 1946 (Nuremberg: International Military Tribunal, 1947), 1:278–79.
Verhandlung des Deutschen Bundestages, Stenographischer Bericht, 1: Wahlperiode (Bonn: Deutscher Bundestag, 1949),6:4983–84.
See Omer Bartov, Hitler’s Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992); Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, “Kommissarbefehl und Massenexekutionen sowjetische Kriegsgefangener,” in Anatomie des ed. Hans Buchheim et. al. (Olten: Walter-Verlag, 1965); Mannfred Messerschmidt, “German Military Law in the Second World War,” in The German Military in the Second World ed. Wilhelm Deist (Dover, N.H.: Berg Publishers, 1985); Wilhelm Deist, ed., The Build-Up of German Military Aggression (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990); Jurgen Förster, “The German Army and the Ideological War against the Soviet Union.”
Militärgeschichtes Forschungsamt, ed., Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Austalt, 1979). We are indebted for this reference to Omer Bartov, “Professional Soldiers,” in The German Army and Genocide: Crimes against War Prisoners, Jews, and Other Civilians, ed. Hamburg Institute for Social Research, 16 n.10.
The exhibition’s explanatory text and photographs have been published in The German Army and
The German Army and 128.
See, for example, Lucian Kim, “German Photo Exhibit Prompts Thousands of Angry Words,” Christian Science 21 July 1997; Michael Z. Wise, “Bitterness Stalks Show on Role of the Wehrmacht,” New York 6 November 1999.
At the time of the German invasion, about 80,000 Jews lived in Yugoslavia. Approximately 55,000–60,000 of them were killed in the Holocaust. The percentage of Jews who perished in Yugoslavia during the Holocaust was among the highest in any European country. See Walter Manoshek, “The Extermination of the Jews in Serbia,” in National Socialist Extermination ed. Herbert, 163.
Under the leadership of Ante Pavelić, this puppet regime was run by the Ustasha, a Croatian fascist movement that engaged in ethnic cleansing against Serbs and promoted severely antisemitic policies. At the Jasenovac camp complex, which was located about sixty miles from Zagreb, the Croatian capital, approximately 100,000 persons—primarily Serbs but also many Jews and Gypsies—were brutally killed through starvation, disease, beatings, and shootings. About forty thousand Jews lived in Croatia; approximately 80 percent of them were murdered. See Yeshayahu A. Jelnick, “Yugoslavia,” in The Holocaust ed. Laqueur, 706–13.
Befehlshaber in Serbien la to Wehrmachtbefehlshaber Südost Army), 17 September 1941, NOKW-1057. We are indebted to Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 2:684 and 2:729 for this reference. For an informed exposition of the conduct of the Wehrmacht in Serbia, see Manoschek, “The Extermination of the Jews in Serbia,” 163–85.
See Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 2:684–85 and 2:729–30; Manoschek, “The Extermination of the Jews in Serbia,” 172.
Quoted in Manoschek, “The Extermination of the Jews in Serbia,” 171.
Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 2:687 and 2:732.
Quoted in ibid., 2:689 and 2:734.
Memorandum by Martin Bormann, 16 July 1941, ND 221-L, vol. 38, p. 88. This reference is cited in Streit, “The German Army and the Policies of Genocide,” 9.
See Bartov, Hitler’s 83–84, 89, 92–93.
Manoschek, “The Extermination of the Jews in Serbia,” 178.
Bartov, Hitler’s 84; see also Streit, “The German Army and the Policies of Genocide;” Christian Streit, Keine Kameraden: die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941–1945 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1978); Alfred Streim, Die Behandlung sowjetischer Kriegsgefangenen im “Fall (Heidelberg: Müller, Juristicher Verlag, 1981).
Ian Traynor, “Hitler’s Army Shares SS Guilt,” The Guardian (London), 6 April 1995.
Manoschek, “The Extermination of the Jews in Serbia,” 179–80.
See Aly, 187, and Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism 2:1087 n.1.
For a more detailed discussion of the war on the eastern front, see Gerhard L. Weinberg, A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 264–309.
See Aly, 186. Also relevant is Christian Gerlach, “German Economic Interests, Occupation Policy, and the Murder of the Jews in Belorussia, 1941/43,” in National Socialist Extermination ed. Herbert, 210–39.
As Christopher Browning has suggested, it is useful to distinguish among three terms and policies: population decimation, genocide, and Final Solution. See Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German 29–30. Population decimation refers to large-scale elimination of people, usually in a targeted region, but without necessarily differentiating those people by ethnicity, nationality, race, or religion. Genocide is the intended destruction, in part or completely, of a group defined by ethnicity, nationality, race, or religion. “Final Solution” is an extreme case of genocide, one that refers to the utter annihilation, root and branch, of the Jews (and perhaps of other groups in the future). Operation Barbarossa entailed widespread population decimation. It became genocidal in its treatment of Soviet Jews. It went far in bringing about the Final Solution, but in and of themselves the German policies toward Jews during Operation Barbarossa were not the Final Solution.
Thus the war against the Soviet Union greatly increased the danger to the Jews. Germany was about to set out on a racial and ideological war to destroy forever the threat of Bolshevism. After more than two decades of right-wing propaganda, the view that Jews and Judaism were responsible for Bolshevism was widely prevalent among the leaders and the enlisted ranks of the as well as among many other Europeans. Hence the injunction to execute “commissars” immediately upon capture could and did become applicable to Jews from the very beginning. The equation of Judaism with Bolshevism in the mind of the Germans was one of the reasons why the fearful that Jews would be Bolshevik spies or saboteurs, sought the evacuation of 200,000 persons from the area of the General Government intended as a training ground for troops preparing for the invasion of Russia. That only a small but visible minority of Jews were actually Communists mattered not at all.
These pogroms, which took place in many cities and towns along the eastern front, could be ferocious in their brutality. Sometimes these actions—motivated by combinations of antisemitism, anticommunism, and the seizure of Jewish property—broke out even before the Germans arrived. From the German perspective, these “self-cleansing” actions served more than one purpose. In addition to terrorizing and murdering Jews, they implicated local populations in policies that the Nazis were implementing, and they identified people who could be useful to the Germans in carrying out further dirty work. See Martin Dean, Collaboration in the Holocaust: Crimes of the Local Police in Belorussia and Ukraine, 1941–44 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), 20–21.
See Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 1:286–90 and 1:289–92; Höhne, Order of the Death’s 405–6; Rhodes, Masters of 12–14. For additional detail on German troops on the eastern front in World War II, see Omer Bartov, The Eastern Front: 1941–45, German Troops and the Barbarization of 2d. ed. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001).
Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 1:287–88 and 1:289–90.
See ibid., 1:287–89 and 1:289–91.
See Klee, Dressen, and Riess, eds., Good Old Browning, Ordinary Men; Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing Executioners; and Bartov, Hitler’s
Text of draft agreement dated 26 March 1941 in letter by General Eduard Wagner, General Quartermaster of the Army, to Heydrich 4 April 1941, in Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 1:284 and 1:287.
See Fleming, Hitler and the Final 52–58.
Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German 30. For other views relevant to this point, see Aly, “214–30; Hans Mommsen, “The Realization of the Unthinkable,” in The Policies of ed Hirschfeld, 121–22; Konrad Kweit, “Rehearsing for Murder: the Beginning of the Final Solution in Lithuania in 1941,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 12 (spring 1998): 3–26; Michael MacQueen, “The Context of Mass Destruction: Agents and Prerequisites of the Holocaust in Lithuania,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 12 (spring 1998): 27–48; Christoph Dieckmann, “The War and the Killing of the Lithuanian Jews,” in National Socialist Extermination ed. Herbert, 242–51.
Dieckmann, “The War and the Killing of the Lithuanian Jews,” 240–45.
Herbert, “Extermination Policy,” 30.
Accounts by the German participants of the slaughter in Kovno, including an official report by General Walter Stahlecker, head of Einsatzgruppe A, appear in Klee, Dressen, and Riess, eds., Good Old “23–58.
See Dieckmann, “The War and the Killing of Lithuanian Jews,” 259–62. Lithuanians participated in many, if not most, of the subsequent killings. In addition to their deeply rooted antisemitism, Lithuanian nationalists in particular bitterly resented the Soviet occupation of their country between 1939 and 1941 and identified the Jews as both agents of communism and the NKVD, the Soviet secret police and predecessor of the KGB. Overwhelmingly, they regarded the Germans as their natural allies and the German occupation as an opportunity to settle accounts with the Jewish minority.
The 1935 census counted about ninety-five thousand Latvian Jews. By the time the Germans occupied the country, about twenty-five thousand had left. Some had departed before the Soviet annexation. Others had been deported to Siberia. Still others—some fifteen thousand—fled to the Soviet interior as the Germans advanced.
See Rhodes, Masters of 119–21. For more detail on Latvia, see Andrew Ezergailis, The Holocaust in Latvia 1941–1944 (Riga: Historical Institute of Latvia, 1996).
Dean, Collaboration in the 60. Dean’s book is an important source for this relatively new area of research. See also Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 1:368–70 and 1:382–85.
Our account is indebted to Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 1:317–21 and 1:327–30.
Rhodes, Masters of 113–14. Jeckeln was the Higher SS and Police Leader for Ukraine. He began to supervise mass killings in that area on 28 July 1941. Over the course of the next month, he was responsible for the murder of at least forty-four thousand Jews. Wanting to speed up the process of making Latvia Himmler ordered Jeckeln, one of the most ruthless and efficient of the German killers, to Latvia on 31 October 1941. He and his staff moved into Riga on 5 November. On 30 November he oversaw the murder of thirteen thousand Riga Jews. Another ten thousand were killed by Jeckeln’s men on 8 December.
This account is from testimony at the Riga Trial (50) 9/72, verdict of 23 February 1973, 69–73, Staatsanwaltschaft Hamburg. For this text, we are indebted to Gerald Fleming, Hitler and the Final 78–79. For further information about these massacres, see Rhodes, Masters of 206–14.
Ezergailis, The Holocaust in 225.
Rhodes, Masters of 121.
Michael Mann, “Were the Perpetrators of Genocide ‘Ordinary Men’ or ‘Real Nazis’? Results from Fifteen Hundred Biographies,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 14 (winter 2000): 331.
Quoted in Dominick LaCapra, Writing History, Writing Trauma (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 135. See also Steven Aschheim, “Reconceiving the Holocaust,” Tikkun 11 (1996): 64.
Rhodes, Masters of 156. Rhodes also stresses the gratuitous and sadistic violence that accompanied these killing operations. He describes as follows an episode that epitomizes such violence: “A woman in a small town near Minsk saw a young German soldier walking down the street with a year-old baby impaled on his bayonet. ‘The baby was still crying weakly,’ she would remember. And the German was singing. He was so engrossed in what he was doing that he did not notice me’ ” (140). Countless episodes of such violence are recorded in Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman, The Complete Black Book of Russian trans. and ed. David Patterson (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2002).
Nebe had also been head of the German criminal police. His career remains as fascinating as it was lethal, because he was executed in Nazi Germany on 4 March 1945 for his part in the near-miss assassination attempt against Hitler on 20 July 1944.
See Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 1:331–34 and 1:341–46, and Breitman, The Architect of 194–97.
Quoted in Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German 23.
Klaus Reinhardt, Moscow—the Turning Point: The Failure of Hitler’s Strategy in the Winter of trans. Karl B. Keenan (Oxford: Berg, 1992), 35.
Dieckmann, “The War and the Killing of the Lithuanian Jews,” 251.
Quoted in Rhodes, Masters of 180.
Quoted in ibid., 183.
Quoted in Aly, “ ‘Jewish Resettlement,’ ” 73.
Ibid., 73. For related but not identical views on the thesis that Hitler’s underlings “worked towards” Hitler, “taking independent initiatives to promote what they surmised the Führer’s wishes to be, even to anticipate them,” see Dwork and van Pelt, especially 258.
Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German 33.
Ibid., 36. The text of Göring’s authorization is reprinted in Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism 2:1104.
Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German 37. See also Peter Witte, “Two Decisions Concerning the ‘Final Solution’ to the Jewish Question,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 9 (winter 1995): 318–45.
Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German 39.
See, in particular, Christian Gerlach, “The Wannsee Conference, the Fate of German Jews, and Hitler’s Decision in Principle to Exterminate All European Jews,” Journal of Modern History 70 (Dec. 1998): 759–812. The essay is reprinted in Omer Bartov, ed., The Holocaust: Origins, Implementation, Aftermath (New York: Routledge, 2000), 106–61. Also important is Mark Roseman, The Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution: A Reconsideration (New York: Henry Holt, 2002).
Quoted in Roseman, The Wannsee 81.
Quoted in Gerlach, “The Wannsee Conference,” 785. Roseman’s translation differs slightly; see The Wannsee 87.
Quoted in Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 161.
Gerlach, “The Wannsee Conference,” 784, 792.
The following biographical material is taken from material prepared by John Roth for Roth et al., The Holocaust
Roseman, The Wannsee 139.
Quoted from the translation in ibid., 158.
Rhodes, Masters of 237.
See Raul Hilberg, ed., Documents of Destruction: Germany and Jewry 1933–1945 (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1971), 102–4.
See ibid., 103.
See the protocol text in Roseman, The Wannsee 167–71.
Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 2:426, 430 and 2:443, 447. The numbers of Mischlinge and mixed marriages at stake in these debates were relatively small. In 1939, Hilberg estimates, “there were 64,000 Mischlinge of the first degree and 43,000 Mischlinge of the second degree in the Old Reich, Austria, and the Sudeten area” (2:418 and 2:435). Approximately 30,000 intermarriages existed at the same time in this area, which meant that about one out of ten German Jews was married to a non-Jew (1:169 and 1:168).
A striking example of the support given by German partners to their Jewish spouses took place during the winter of 1943. In the wake of the telling German defeat at Stalingrad, a rousing speech by Goebbels on 18 February savaged Jews and rallied German support for “total war.” Nine days later, on 27 February, ten thousand Berlin Jews were arrested in a final push to make the city About two thousand of these predominantly male Jews were intermarried. Prior to the deportation and certain death that awaited them, they were temporarily imprisoned in the former Jewish community facility on Rosenstrasse. Despite the Gestapo’s attempts to break up their protest, courageous Germans, mostly women who shouted, “Give us our husbands back,” mounted a weeklong demonstration against the arrest of their spouses.
In the context of “total war,” the German leadership decided not to endanger home-front morale by crushing the protest. The Rosenstrasse Protest, as it came to be known, achieved its goal: the imprisoned Jewish spouses and their children were released; most survived the Holocaust. Significantly, the heroism of the non-Jewish spouses began long before the Rosenstrasse demonstrations, when they resisted strong Nazi pressure to divorce or abandon their spouses. In addition, their action at Rosenstrasse reveals at least two other points that deserve underscoring. First, the spouses of the arrested Jews knew that deportation meant death. The mass murder of Jews was no secret in Germany at the time. Second, the protest provides evidence that, in the words of Nathan Stoltzfus, “the regime’s policies on racial purification could be influenced by a credible threat of unrest.” See Nathan Stoltzfus, “The Limits of Policy: Social Protection of Intermarried German Jews in Nazi Germany,” in Social Outsiders in Nazi ed. Robert Gellately and Nathan Stoltzfus (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), 138. For an extended treatment of the Rosenstrasse Protest and intermarriage in Nazi Germany generally, see also Nathan Stoltzfus, Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2001).
See Gerlach, “The Wannsee Conference,” 797.
Gerlach and Browning disagree about how to regard the transports of Reich Jews who were sent to Kovno and Riga in late November 1941. When the deportation of Reich Jews began on 15 October 1941, transports eventually went to Lodz, Minsk, Kovno, and Riga. At first, ghettoization but not execution took place. Then there was a change. The transports to Kovno between 25 and 29 November contained about five thousand Jews. They were not ghettoized but killed shortly after their arrival. At Riga on 30 November another transport of Reich Jews met the same fate. Then there was another change: The murder of the Reich Jews caused unrest. Himmler called a halt for the time being. Browning thinks that Himmler’s intervention implies that a decision to kill the Reich Jews had been made some time before, but that the complications produced by such action led to a pause. Gerlach thinks that as yet there was no clear policy about how the deported Reich Jews were to be handled. Local initiatives at the transports’ destinations determined what took place. The two scholars agree that there was an intervention from higher up and that there was, more or less, a pause in the killing, but they do not agree about the clarity concerning the fate of the Reich Jews. The result is that they also conflict on the meaning of Heydrich’s invitations to conferences at the Wannsee villa—the first involving the postponed meeting, the second involving the meeting that took place on 20 January 1942. At stake in their disputes is the timing of a decision—no doubt Hitler’s—to destroy all the European Jews. As we have seen, Browning dates that decision two months earlier than Gerlach.
Rhodes, Masters of 167. On the issue of the crucial relation between Hitler’s wishes and the strategies of his henchmen and the power bases they held in the Third Reich, see Dwork and van Pelt, esp. 259–84. Noting Hitler’s early interests in Wagnerian opera, the ceremonies and rallies of Mussolini’s regime in Italy, and Hitler’s ongoing engagement with the arts, they see him not only as a man who meant what he said but also as a leader who was concerned less with detail than with the broader picture. Accurately and succinctly Dwork and van Pelt describe the basic relationship between Hitler and other Nazi leaders as follows: “Hitler dealt with ideas, aims, goals. Precise instructions were superfluous. His underlings ‘worked towards’ these ideas, taking independent initiatives to promote what they surmised the Führer’s wishes to be, even to anticipate them. This led to ferocious competition within the party. Hitler always endorsed the victorious person or faction and thus was never embarrassed. Ferocity drove the Nazi state hierarchy and policies emerged out of an institutional jungle of rivalry and conflict. Programs, laws, decrees, regulations, written and even specific oral directives were simply not needed. Broad authorization sufficed” (260). See also Frederic Spotts, Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics (New York: Overland Press, 2002).
Quoted in ibid., 168.
See Longerich, The Unwritten 75–76, 83–84.
Affidavit by Blobel, 18 June 1947, NO-3947, cited in Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 1:389 and 1:406.
See Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 3:976–79 and 3:1042–44, and Rhodes, Masters of 258–62.
Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 3:878 and 3:936–37.
See Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi 203–4. According to Yitzhak Arad, “between twenty and thirty-five SS men served in each of the [Operation Reinhard] death camps, and, with few exceptions, they were from the euthanasia program.” See Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), 17–19.
Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 3:1220 and 3:1321.
Death estimates for Belzec often range as high as 600,000, but research by Peter Witte and Stephen Tyas indicates that a more conservative figure is appropriate. See Peter Witte and Stephen Tyas, “A New Document on the Deportation and Murder of Jews during ‘Einsatz Reinhardt’ 1942,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 15 (winter 2001): 468–86.
Rubel has translated and annotated Reder’s eyewitness account of his time in Belzec, which was originally written with the help of a woman named Nella Rost. This unusually important Holocaust document was published by the Jewish Regional Historical Commission in Cracow, Poland in 1946, but it did not appear in English until 2000. See Rudolf Reder, “Belzec,” trans. Margaret M. Rubel, in Polin: Studies in Polish vol. 13, Focusing on the Holocaust and Its ed. Antony Polonsky (London: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2000), 268–89.
Ibid., 289. Reder’s reference to “millions of murdered Jews” at Belzec should not be read as a factual statement but as his way of identifying the magnitude of what happened at that Holocaust site.
Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, 79.
Richard Glazar, Trap with a Green Fence: Survival in trans. Roslyn Theobald (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1995), 16. Our account of Treblinka draws on material prepared by John Roth for Roth et al., The Holocaust
See Lanzmann, 73.
Koch had formerly been commandant at the Buchenwald concentration camp. In conjunction with Himmler’s decree that SS men should be above reproach, an SS corruption investigation implicated him in embezzlement and unwarranted murder. Koch lost his post at Majdanek in August 1942 and later stood trial. Found guilty by an SS tribunal, he was executed. Koch’s wife, Ilse, was an SS female overseer who, like her husband, developed a well-deserved reputation for sadism.
Browning, Ordinary 135.
Elie Wiesel, “Listen to the Wind,” in Against Silence: The Voice and Vision of Elie 3 vols., ed. Irving Abrahamson (New York: Holocaust Library, 1985), 1:167. Our account of Auschwitz relies on material prepared by John Roth for Roth et al., The Holocaust We are also indebted to Raul Hilberg, “Auschwitz,” in The Holocaust ed. Laqueur, 32–44.
Elie Wiesel, From the Kingdom of Memory (New York: Summit Books, 1990), 105.
The most significant historical works on Auschwitz include the following: Danuta Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle trans. Barbara Harshav, Martha Humphries, and Stephen Shearier (New York: Henry Holt, 1990); Dwork and van Pelt, Auschwitz 1270 to the Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum, eds., Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994); Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews; Rudolf Höss, Pery Broad, and Johann Paul Kremer, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS (Oswiecim: Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, 1996); Franciszek Piper and Teresa Swiebocka, eds., Auschwitz: Nazi Death Camp (Oswiecim: Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, 1996); and van Pelt, The Case for
Dwork and van Pelt, Auschwitz: 1270 to the 263.
As Michael Berenbaum points out, the annihilation was facilitated by the fact that Auschwitz was a substantial rail hub. Lines connecting to many European cities were possible, thanks to “forty-four parallel tracks at the train station, more than twice the number of New York’s Pennsylvania Station.” See Michael Berenbaum, The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1993), 115.
Dwork and van Pelt, 312, 361. Like many Holocaust statistics, the precise number of Jews who entered Auschwitz and who were killed on arrival or spared to work cannot be obtained. The numbers cited here are reliable estimates. Other careful scholars offer somewhat different data, but there is a consensus—many scholars prefer a conservative reckoning—that between 1.1 and 1.5 million people were gassed to death at Auschwitz. About 90 percent were Jews. Other death tolls included approximately 90,000 Poles, 22,000 Gypsies, 15,000 Soviet POWs, and 10,000 to 15,000 people of other nationalities. See Gideon Greif, “Gas Chambers,” and Hilberg, “Auschwitz,” both in The Holocaust ed. Laqueur, 44, 236.
Dwork and van Pelt, Auschwitz: 1270 to the 336. For a lower estimate, see Hilberg, “Auschwitz,” 37.
Dwork and van Pelt, 305–6.
In addition, Hungary’s population included a hundred thousand Christian converts of Jewish origin, who were classified as Jews under racial criteria.
Dwork and van Pelt, 311–12. These scholars sum up the situation at Auschwitz-Birkenau as follows: “Frenetic gassing and burning continued through July 1944. One-third of the total number of people murdered at Auschwitz were killed in two months. Or, to put it differently, Auschwitz had been in operation for thirty-months. In that period, March 1942 to November 1944, between 1 million and 1.1 million people were killed, on an average of 32,000 to 34,000 a month. During the Hungarian Action the Germans, with dispatch and efficiency, increased that average five- to six-fold, murdering 400,000” (ibid., 312).
Our discussion of Zyklon B is informed by Dwork and van Pelt, Auschwitz: 1270 to the 218–21, 292–95; The Irving Judgment: David Irving v. Penguin Books and Professor Deborah 195–206; Peter Hayes, Industry and Ideology: I. G. Farben in the Nazi Era (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 361–63; Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 3:885–92 and 3:951–60; and van Pelt, The Case for
Guenter Lewy, The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 136.
Michael Zimmerman, “The National Socialist ‘Solution of the Gypsy Question,’ ” in National Socialist Extermination ed. Herbert, 203.
In addition to Lewy’s book, helpful sources about the Gypsies include Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman, The Racial State: Germany 1933–1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 113–35; David M. Crowe, A History of the Gypsies of Eastern Europe and Russia (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996); Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi 246–62, 290–96; Donald Ken-rich and Grattan Puxon, Gypsies under the Swastika (Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 1995); Zimmermann, “The National Socialist ‘Solution of the Gypsy Question,’ ” 186–209.
Berenbaum, The World Must 184.
For route maps, see Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing 347, 366–68.
Ibid., 330, 354.
Hilberg, “Auschwitz,” 44. See also Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle 781–92.
See Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing 332–54.
Ibid., 340–41. These conditions illustrate was has been called “excremental assault,” which was widespread throughout the Holocaust. Terrence Des Pres, who coined the term, notes that “prisoners were systematically subjected to filth.” This condition was more than exacerbated by overcrowding and inadequate facilities. Serving to humiliate and debase the prisoners, Des Pres argued, “it made mass murder less terrible to the murderers because the victims appeared less than human. They looked inferior.” See Terrence Des Pres, The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), 57–61. For a related but somewhat different view, see Dwork and van Pelt, Auschwitz: 1270 to the 268. With particular reference to Auschwitz, Dwork and van Pelt state that “the design of the wash barracks and the privies was, in fact, lethal,” but, they add, “Des Pres is incorrect that the defilement was the result of the SS’s desire to exercise total power. Architects and bureaucrats are to blame: the design was inadequate, and not enough material and financial resources were allocated for the camp’s construction.” At the end of the day, however, Dwork and van Pelt concur with Des Pres to this extent: the facilities constructed to handle excrement at Auschwitz were “an assault and a biological disaster.”
Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing 344–45.
For photographs of the burned victims at Gardelegen, see ibid., 369–70. For related photographs of other German victims, see Robert H. Abzug, Inside The Vicious Heart: Americans and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).
Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing 369.
See ibid., 371.
Gellately, Backing 1.
Quoted in Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 163–65.
Rhodes, Masters of 257.
Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 3:1219–20 and 3:1320–21; Israel Gutman and Robert Rozett, “Estimated Jewish Losses in the Holocaust,” in Encyclopedia of the ed. Gutman, 4:1797–1802; Wolfgang Benz, “Death Toll,” in The Holocaust ed. Laqueur, 137–45.
For further information see Herman Kruk, The Last Days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania: Chronicles from the Vilna Ghetto and the Camps, ed. Benjamin Harshav and trans. Barbara Harshav (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2002) and Dina Porat, “Vilna,” in The Holocaust ed. Laqueur, 663–67.
Abba Kovner, “A First Attempt to Tell,” in The Holocaust as Historical ed. Yehuda Bauer and Nathan Rotenstreich (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1981), 81. For more on Kovner, see Bauer, A History of the 271–73.
Dawidowicz, The War against the 387.
For the text of this “Proclamation of the Vilna Ghetto Resistance Organization,” see Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 154.
Kovner, “A First Attempt to Tell,” 81, 252. See also the biblical roots of the reference: Psalms 44:11 and Isaiah 53:7.
A sensitive discussion of these controversial issues is provided by Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 3:1030–44 and 3:1104–18.
Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in 111. Arendt covered the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem for the New her book emerged from that experience. Eichmann fled to Argentina at the end of World War II. On 11 May 1960 the Israeli secret service captured him and took him to Israel. Charged with crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, he stood trial from 11 April to 14 August 1961. Found guilty as charged, he was hanged on 31 May 1962. The Eichmann trial aroused worldwide attention. Further insight about Arendt can be found in Richard J. Bernstein, Hannah Arendt and the Jewish Question (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996).
Leonard Tushnet, The Pavement of Hell (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1972), 162, 169, 170, 169.
Raul Hilberg, “Discussion: The Judenrat and the Jewish Response,” in The Holocaust as Historical ed. Bauer and Rotenstreich, 231–32.
Based in Los Angeles, the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which opened in April 1994, has gathered testimony in some thirty languages from more than fifty thousand Holocaust survivors and witnesses. Similar collections exist at Yad Vashem in Israel, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., Yale University, and other venues. Research on Holocaust survivors and their testimonies has become a major scholarly field. Significant works include Joshua M. Greene and Shiva Kumar, eds., Witness: Voices from the Holocaust (New York: Free Press, 2000); Henry Greenspan, On Listening to Holocaust Survivors: Recounting and Life History (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1998); Lawrence L. Langer, Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1991); and Donald Niewyk, ed., Fresh Wounds: Early Narratives of Holocaust Survival (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998). Also helpful in this area of research is Eve Nussbaum Soumerai and Carol D. Schulz, Daily Life during the Holocaust (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998).
Helpful information about the Reichsvertretung is provided by Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 1:180–87 and 1:180–88.
Ibid., 3:1030 and 3:1104.
See Dawidowicz, The War against the 245–46.
For the Reichsvertretung’s response to the Nuremberg Laws, see Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 28–30.
Dawidowicz, The War against the 263–64.
See Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 72.
Quoted in Dawidowicz, The War against the 475.
See, for example, Bauer, A History of the 183–208, and Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German 58–115.
For a history of the Warsaw ghetto, see Yisrael Gutman, The Jews of Warsaw, 1939–1943: Ghetto, Underground, trans. Ina Friedman (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989). For an account about Jews who managed to hide in the city of Warsaw, see Gunnar S. Paulsson, Secret City: The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940–1945 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2003).
For more information on these topics, see Charles G. Roland, Courage under Siege: Starvation, Disease, and Death in the Warsaw Ghetto (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).
Significant glimpses about these realities are provided by Wladyslaw Szpilman, The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw, trans. Anthea Bell (New York: Picador USA, 2000).
Isaiah Trunk, Judenrat: The Jewish Councils in Eastern Europe under Nazi Occupation (New York: Stein & Day, 1977), 356.
Raul Hilberg, “The Ghetto as a Form of Government: An Analysis of Isaiah Trunk’s in The Holocaust as Historical ed. Bauer and Rotenstreich, 159.
A “choiceless choice,” says Langer, is a critical decision that does not “reflect options between life and death, but between one form of ‘abnormal’ response and another, both imposed by a situation that was in no way of the victim’s own choosing.” See Lawrence L. Langer, “The Dilemma of Choice in the Deathcamps,” in Holocaust: Religious and Philosophical ed. John K. Roth and Michael Berenbaum (St. Paul, Minn.: Paragon House, 1989), 224. See also Lawerence L. Langer, Versions of Survival: The Holocaust and the Human Spirit (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982), 72. Berenbaum adds that “in the universe of choiceless choices, one could not choose between good and bad or even a lesser of two evils, but between the impossible and the unacceptable.” See Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 202.
Adam Czerniakow, The Warsaw Diary of Adam ed. Raul Hilberg, Stanislaw Staron, and Josef Kermisz and trans. Stanislaw Staron et al. (New York: Stein & Day, 1979), 385. Other important testimonies from the Warsaw ghetto include Chaim Kaplan, Scroll of Agony: The Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. ed. and trans. Abraham I. Katsh, rev. ed. (New York: Collier Books, 1973); Kazik (Simha Rotem), Memoirs of a Warsaw Ghetto ed. and trans. Barbara Harshav (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1994); Abraham Lewin, A Cup of Tears: A Diary of the Warsaw ed. Antony Polonsky and trans. Christopher Hutton (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988); Vladka Meed, On Both Sides of the Wall: Memoirs from the Warsaw trans. Steven Meed (Washington, D.C.: Holocaust Library, 1993); Emmanuel Ringelblum, Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto: The Journal of Emmanuel ed. and trans. Jacob Sloan (New York: Schocken Books, 1974); Yitzhak Zuckerman, A Surplus of Memory: Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto ed. and trans. Barbara Harshav (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).
Quoted in Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 2:841 and 2:900.
In the Kovno ghetto, Dr. Elchanan Elkes, the highly respected head of the actively supported forest-based partisan units and anti-Nazi underground activity. For details on the Kovno ghetto, see Joel Elkes, Values, Belief, and Survival: Dr. Elkhanan Elkes and the Kovno Ghetto, a Memoir (London: Vale Publishing, 1997); Avraham Tory, Surving the Holocaust: The Kovno Ghetto trans. Jerzy Michalowicz (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990); United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1997). The last has an extensive bibliography regarding the Kovno ghetto.
Yehuda Bauer makes much of this latter point. See A History of the 171–82, and Rewriting the 129–30.
Yehuda Bauer, “Jewish Leadership Reactions to Nazi Policies,” in The Holocaust as Historical ed. Bauer and Rotenstreich, 173–74. In Rewriting the Bauer emphasizes that “individual acts of resistance, armed or unarmed,” not only the actions of groups, which might be implied by the term need to be taken into account (119). Bauer writes at some length about resistance in Rewriting the 119–66.
Dawidowicz, The War against the 325. For more on Rumkowski and the Lodz ghetto in general, see Lucjan Dobroszycki, ed., The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, trans. Richard Lourie (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1984).
See Dobroszycki, ed., Chronicle of the Lodz 96–97. Related to this point is the text of a speech by Rumkowski, dated 2 March 1942, which is reprinted in Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 81–84. In this speech, Rumkowski emphasizes that “experience has made clear that the basic law of our times is: ‘Work protects us from annihilation’ ” (81).
Quoted from a speech by Rumkowski, which is reprinted in Berenbaum, ed., Witness to the 84–86. See also Lawrence L. Langer’s insightful essay, “Ghetto Chronicles: Life at the Brink,” in his Admitting the Holocaust: Collected Essays (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 41–50.
Tushnet, Pavement of 53.
Berenbaum, The World Must 82, 84.
Yehuda Bauer discusses Jewish collaboration in Rewriting the 143–48. Some individual Jews did act as “Gestapo spies and agents” (148). According to Bauer, “their numbers are unknown; they were not many, but they caused tremendous damage” (148). Jewish police, Bauer notes, are often singled out “because of their role in cooperating or collaborating with the Germans in delivering Jewish victims to the Nazi murder machine” (143). Although reliable research shows that “most police forces cooperated with the Germans,” Bauer notes that “in fourteen ghettos...the police were a part of the Jewish resistance” (143–44). Jewish police who did cooperate with the Germans are best understood as “simply frightened people who served the Germans to save their own lives” (148). Finally, Bauer identifies at least one Jewish group that did collaborate overtly. Called the Trzynastka (The Thirteen) because its base was at 13 Leszno Street in the Warsaw ghetto, this group, which was headed by Abraham Gancwajch, apparently believed that the Germans would win the war and that Jewish survival depended on collaboration with them. According to Bauer, the Germans found the Trzynastka to be of limited use. Gancwajch’s fate is undocumented, but rumor suggests that the Germans shot him in early spring 1943.
Bauer, Rewriting the 26–27.
From an affadavit by Hermann Friedrich Graebe (10 November 1945). Quoted in Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 3:1043–44 and 3:1118. Graebe, a German engineer, witnessed Einsatzgruppe massacres in Ukraine. He was one of only a few German civilian professionals who risked his own life to save Jews from the Nazis. His affadavit about the mass shootings provided crucial evidence in some of the postwar trials. For Graebe’s biography, see Douglas K. Huneke, The Moses of Rovno (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1986).
Isaiah Trunk, Jewish Responses to Nazi Persecution: Collective and Individual Behavior in trans. Joachim Neugroschel and Gabriel Trunk (New York: Stein & Day, 1979), 55. Emphasizing a different point, but one that supplements Trunk’s observations, Richard Rhodes points out that mass murder was so incomprehensible that it created paralyzing shock in many of the Jewish victims. European Jews, Rhodes indicates, had been “socialized more to civil methods of settling disputes,” and relatively few of them “were personally violent.” Jewish civility, he believes, “left Jewish communities unprepared to resist concerted violent assault.” That civility was a virtue, but not one that would be respected by Nazism’s “violent socialization.” Rhodes makes one additional point that is important in this context: “When there are (for whatever complex reasons of patriotism, military discipline or mortal threat) no other reasonable choices, people do what they are told. Did not Eichmann and Blobel walk unaided to the gallows when their time came? They at least deserved their deaths.” See Rhodes, Masters of 251–52, 279.
George M. Kren and Leon Rappoport, The Holocaust and the Crisis of Human Behavior (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1980), 100.
Zivia Lubetkin, In the Days of Destruction and trans. Ishai Tubbin (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House, 1981), 153. Zivia Lubetkin survived, reached Israel in 1946, and lived there until her death in 1979. Along with her husband, Itzhak Zuckermann, she was one of the leaders in the Jewish resistance movement in Warsaw. (Zuckermann also survived the Holocaust. Shortly before his death in 1981, Claude Lanzmann asked for his impression of the Holocaust. In one of the most trenchant summaries any survivor ever offered, Zuckermann replied, “If you could lick my heart, it would poison you.” See Lanzmann, 196.) Lubetkin’s book is her memoir about life in the Warsaw ghetto and specifically about the ghetto uprising. For further detail on aspects of women’s struggle for life in the ghettos, resistance movements, and the Holocaust generally, see Elizabeth R. Baer and Myrna Goldenberg, eds., Experience and Expression: Women, the Nazis and the Holocaust (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2003); Dalia Ofer and Lenore J. Weitzman, eds., Women in the Holocaust (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998); and Carol Rittner and John K. Roth, eds., Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust (St. Paul, Minn.: Paragon House, 1993).
Women played a key part in obtaining explosives that were used in the October uprising at Birkenau. For more detail, see Rittner and Roth, eds., Different 130–42.
Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, 298, 341.
Trunk, Jewish Responses to Nazi 70–71. Children also participated in resistance activity. In the Warsaw ghetto, for example, several thousand of them smuggled food that was life-sustaining, at least temporarily, for their families. See Debórah Dwork, Children with a Star: Jewish Youth in Nazi Europe (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1991), 199. Dwork’s book provides a most helpful discussion about the plight of Jewish children and young people during the Holocaust. See also George Eisen, Children and Play in the Holocaust: Games among the Shadows (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988) and Raul Hilberg, Perpetrators Victims Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe 1933–1945 (New York: HarperCollins, 1992), 139–49.
See Myrna Goldenberg, “Different Horrors, Same Hell: Women Remembering the Holocaust,” in Thinking the Unthinkable: Meanings of the ed. Roger S. Gottlieb (New York: Paulist Press, 1991), 150–66. Holocaust memoirs by women are more numerous than ever. Arguably none is more important than Charlotte Delbo’s. As a non-Jew and a member of the French resistance, she survived both Auschwitz and Ravensbrück. See the trilogy contained in her Auschwitz and trans. Rosette C. Lamont (New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 1995). Among the most important scholarly books specifically about Jewish women in the Holocaust, the following are representative: Baer and Goldenberg, eds., Experience and Expression; Judith Tydor Baumel, Double Jeopardy: Gender and the Holocaust (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 1998); Brana Gurewitsch, ed., Mothers, Sisters, Resisters: Oral Histories of Women Who Survived the Holocaust (Tuscaloosa, Ala.: University of Alabama Press, 1998); Marion A. Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); S. Lillian Kremer, Women’s Holocaust Writing: Memory and Imagination (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1999; Mary Lagerwey, Reading Auschwitz (Walnut Creek, Calif: AltaMira Press, 1998); Ofer and Weitzman, eds., Women in the Michael Phayer and Eva Fleischner, Cries in the Night: Women Who Challenged the Holocaust (Kansas City, Mo.: Sheed & Ward, 1997); Rittner and Roth, eds., Different Voices; Roger A. Ritvo and Diane M. Plotkin, Sisters in Sorrow: Voices of Care in the Holocaust (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1998); and Nechama Tec, Resilience and Courage: Women, Men, and the Holocaust (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2003). As illustrated by these writings, major areas of current research interest about women in the Holocaust include the roles that Jewish and non-Jewish women played in resistance against the Holocaust, the responsibilities that Jewish women had for maintaining families and households that were increasingly savaged by Nazi policy, the distinctive ways in which women in the Nazi camps established and sustained relationships of caring with one another, and women’s activities—both among the perpetrators and the victims—as nurses, physicians, and other health professionals.
For detail on Ravensbrück, see Jack G. Morrison, Ravensbrück: Everyday Life in a Women’s Concentration Camp 1939–1945 (Princeton, N.J.: Marcus Wiener Publishers, 2000) and Rittner and Roth, eds., Different
For discussions of issues that faced non-Jewish women in Nazi Germany see Renate Bridenthal, Atina Grossman, and Marion A. Kaplan, eds., When Biology Became Destiny: Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1984); Gellately and Stoltzfus, eds., Social Outsiders in Nazi Elizabeth Heineman, “Sexuality and Nazism: The Doubly Unspeakable,” forthcoming in Journal of the History of Sexuality; Claudia Koonz, Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family, and Nazi Politics (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987); Ofer and Weitzman, eds., Women in the Alison Owings, Frauen: German Women Recall the Third Reich (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1993); Rittner and Roth, eds., Different Voices; Jill Stephenson, Women in Nazi Germany (London: Pearson Education Ltd., 2001); and Adelheid von Saldern, “Victims or Perpetrators: Controversies about the Role of Women in the Nazi State,” in Nazism and German Society, ed. David F. Crew (New York: Routledge, 1994): 141–65.
See Daniel Patrick Brown, The Camp Women: The Female Auxiliaries Who Assisted the SS in Running the Nazi Concentration Camp System (Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer Military History, 2002).
As illustrated by Bernhard Schlink, The trans. Carol Brown Janeway (New York: Pantheon, 1997), even Holocaust-related fiction can become involved in debates about women and the Holocaust. Schlink’s widely read and controversial novel focuses on Hanna Schmitz, who is tried and convicted of wartime crimes against Jews. Partly because Schlink portrayed this fictional SS guard as illiterate, in fact an unlikely scenario, his novel created sympathy for Hanna but also provoked dissent about the legitimacy and authenticity of Schlink’s interpretation of the Holocaust and the part of ordinary Germans in it.
The quotation is from a speech that Himmler gave to SS leaders in October 1943. See Mendes-Flohr and Reinharz, eds., The Jew in the Modern 685.
Gertrud Kolmar, Dark Soliloquy: The Selected Poems of Gertrud trans. Henry A. Smith (New York: Seabury Press, 1975), 55–57. For more information on Kolmar, see Gertrud Kolmar, My Gaze Is Turned Inward: Letters, ed. Johanna Woltmann and trans. Brigitte Goldstein (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2002); Langer, Versions of 191–250; and Rittner and Roth, eds., Different 1–19.
Danuta Czech, The Auschwitz Chronicle 652.
Ibid., 608. Often Czech’s data about the arriving transports at Auschwitz-Birkenau make clear that more women than men were immediately dispatched to the gas chambers and that fewer women than men were spared for slave labor and the survival chances, however remote, that such a fate might offer.
Giuliana Tedeschi, There Is a Place on Earth: A Woman in trans. Tim Parks (New York: Pantheon Books, 1992), 10.
See Hellman, The Auschwitz 38–39. Although The Auschwitz Album identifies her only as S. Szmaglewska, it is likely that this woman is the Polish author of early memoirs about Birkenau, which unfortunately have long been out of print. See Seweryna Szmaglewska, Smoke over trans. Jadwiga Rynas (New York: Henry Holt, 1947) and United in Wrath (Warsaw: “Polonia” Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1955). Szmaglewska’s testimony at the Nuremberg Trials can be found in Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg: 1947), 8:317–23. In this testimony Szmaglewska, who says she was in Birkenau from 7 October 1942 until January 1945, is identified as Severina Shmaglevskaya. For another reference to the baby strollers in Auschwitz, see Rudolf Vrba and Alan Bestic, I Cannot Forgive (New York: Grove Press, 1964). With help from the camp resistance, Vrba, a Slovakian Jew, escaped from Auschwitz in the spring of 1944 and reported what was happening there. Before his escape he worked in “Canada,” the storehouse area in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Tedeschi, There Is a Place on 1.
Our discussion of survivors in this paragraph and the next draws on material prepared by John Roth for Roth et al., The Holocaust
See Deborah Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (New York: Free Press, 1993).
Ida Fink, A Scrap of Time and Other trans. Madeline Levine and Francine Prose (New York: Schocken Books, 1987), 3.
See L. Langer, Holocaust xii.
Maurice Blanchot, The Writing of the trans. Ann Smock (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986), 1.
Langer, Holocaust 205. To respect the survivors’ privacy, Langer abbreviates their names.
Blanchot, The Writing of the 9.
Langer, Holocaust 204, xv.
In the late 1990s major efforts were launched to win reparations for Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and for other people who had been exploited as slave laborers in the Third Reich. These efforts included attempts to obtain restitution for immense amounts of property—bank accounts, stock holdings, insurance policies, land, houses, businesses, jewelry, and artworks—that had been stolen or otherwise made inaccessible to Holocaust victims. German firms and Swiss banks have been prominently involved in establishing multibillion-dollar funds to approximate justice. Unfortunately, the Holocaust continues to defeat justice. Reparations and restitutions are unavoidably destined to be woefully incomplete because the losses are so great and too much time has passed. The attempt to compensate victims of the Holocaust has tried to bring a modicum of closure to the Holocaust, but the Holocaust eludes closure, for the inventory of its damages shows that there are always more. For further discussion of related topics, see Michael Thad Allen, The Business of Genocide: The SS, Slave Labor, and the Concentration Camps (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002); John Authers and Richard Wolffe, The Victim’s Fortune: Inside the Epic Battle over the Debts of the Holocaust (New York: HarperCollins, 2002); Elazar Barkan, The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historical Injustices (New York: W. W. Norton, 2000); Michael Bazyler, Holocaust Justice: The Battle for Restitution in America’s Courts (New York: New York University Press, 2003); Stuart Eizenstat, Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor, and the Unfinished Business of World War II (New York: Public Affairs, 2003); and Petropoulos, The Faustian Petropoulos calls the Nazi regime a “kleptocracy” to signify that theft of Jewish property was not an accidental or trivial aspect of the Holocaust but a central feature of the destruction of European Jewry.
The quoted phrase is the sociologist Helen Fein’s. Sec Accounting for 4. According to Fein, a necessary though not a sufficient condition for genocide is the definition of the victim as outside of a dominant group’s universe of obligation (9).
For the idea of the victim as “nonperson,” see Kren and Rappoport, The Holocaust and the Crisis of Human 73–98.
See Rubenstein, The Cunning of 31–35.
Primo Levi, Survival in trans. Stuart Wolff (New York: Collier Books, 1976), 25.
See Max Weber, “Politics as a Vocation,” in From Max ed. Gerth and Mills, 78.
We quote the phrase from the subtitle of Benjamin Nelson’s The Idea of Usury: From Tribal Brotherhood to Universal 2d ed., enl. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969).
The political philosopher Norman Geras develops related points in The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political Philosophy after the Holocaust (London: Verso, 1998), 25–48. “Here is the core idea,” he writes. “If you do not come to the aid of others who are under grave assault, in acute danger or crying need, you cannot reasonably expect others to come to your aid in similar emergency; you cannot consider them obligated to you. Other people, equally unmoved by the emergencies of others, cannot reasonably expect to be helped in deep trouble themselves, or consider others obligated to help them. I call this the contract of mutual (28, Geras’s italics).
Rolf Hochhuth, Der Stellvertreter (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt Verlag GmbH, 1963); English translation, The Deputy (New York: Grove Press, 1964). a controversial film based on Hochhuth’s play, was produced in 2002 by the noted director, Constantin Costa-Garvas. Much of his film focuses on Kurt Gerstein (1905–45), an enigmatic Holocaust figure. A mining engineer, Gerstein joined the Nazi Party in 1933 but remained in the Confessing Church, whose Protestant membership offered some resistance to Hitler, a topic that will be discussed at greater length as this chapter unfolds. Arrested for circulating religious tracts in 1936, he was confined to a concentration camp for a time, prohibited from working in state-owned mines, and expelled from the Nazi Party in 1938. He proceeded to study medicine, and then, after his sister-in-law was killed in the “euthanasia” program in early 1941, Gerstein became determined to find out, from the inside, what the Nazi regime was doing. He enlisted in the where his background in engineering and medicine placed him in its hygiene department. Largely owing to his reputation for expertise with prussic acid (Zyklon B) and other toxic gases, the young lieutenant soon became head of the Waffen-SS disinfection services. In the summer of 1942 he was ordered to deliver a consignment of Zyklon B to the Lublin area in eastern Poland. (Apparently unbeknownst to Gerstein, that disinfectant had already been used as a killing agent at Auschwitz.) Gerstein’s destination turned out to be Belzec, where it was hoped that his expertise with Zyklon B could help to enhance the killing operations that were based on less efficient carbon monoxide. That hope did not pan out, but while Gerstein was at Belzec, he witnessed the killing operations, which on that occasion included long delays because of malfunctioning engines. Deeply troubled, Gerstein resolved to expose Nazi Germany’s mass murder. In addition to a Swedish diplomat, a Swiss journalist, and an agent of the Dutch underground, Gerstein approached church leaders, including the papal nuncio in Berlin. His interventions were largely futile, and, although he may have sabotaged some shipments of Zyklon B, he continued to be responsible for ordering that gas for the SS, who used it both for disinfection of buildings and for murdering Jews at Auschwitz. The French arrested Gerstein as a war crimes suspect at the end of World War II. In July 1945 he was found dead in his jail cell. It remains unclear whether he committed suicide or whether he was assassinated by other SS officers who feared his testimony. For more detail on Gerstein, see Saul Friedländer, Kurt Gerstein: The Ambiguity of Good (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969).
John Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (New York: Viking Press, 1999).
See John K. Roth, “ ‘High Ideals’ and ‘Innocuous Reaction’: An American Protestant’s Reflections on Pius XII and the Holocaust” and Richard L. Rubenstein, “Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust,” both in Pope Pius XII and the ed. Carol Rittner and John K. Roth (New York: Continuum, 2002); Richard L. Rubenstein, “The Vatican Statement on the Shoah and the Vatican during World War II,” in Remembering for the ed. Roth and Maxwell, 2:455–80; and John Pollard, “Pacelli and the Jews: The Debate Rages On,” Tablet (London), 15 June 2002. Also relevant in this regard is Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002).
Here we use the term Church to refer to the Roman Catholic Church. When referring to Christian denominations in the plural, we use the term
On Christian attitudes toward anti-Jewish laws in Hungary during the 1930s, see Moshe Y. Herczl, Christianity and the Holocaust of Hungarian trans. Joel Lerner (New York: New York University Press, 1993), 81–169.
Richard Pipes, A Concise History of the Russian Revolution (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 286.
On the Red revolution in Munich see Allan Mitchell, Revolution in Bavaria, 1918–1919 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965); Ruth Fischer, Stalin and German Communism (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1948); Charles B. Maurer, Call to Revolution: The Mystical Anarchism of Gustav Landauer (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1971); Rosa Leviné-Meyer, Leviné the Spartacist (London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1978); Richard Grunberger, Red Rising in Bavaria (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1973).
The Protocols had originally been prepared by the Russian police and given to Czar Nicholas II to influence policy. Although personally antisemitic, the czar detected the fraud and refused to use it. See Leon Poliakov, “Elders of Zion, Protocols of the Learned,” in Encyclopedia CD Rom edition (Jerusalem: Judaica Multimedia, 1997).
It is estimated that more than 8.5 million combatants were killed in the war, with some 21 million wounded and 7.7 million prisoners and missing. Among those killed were 1.7 million German and 1.2 million Austro-Hungarian soldiers. The number of civilian deaths attributable to the war, the displacement of peoples, and death from blockade-induced starvation are estimated to have been no less than 13 million. The figures are those of the United States Department of War, February 1924. See “World War I: Killed, Wounded, and Missing,” Table 4: Armed Forces Mobilized and Casualties in World War I, Encyclopedia DVD edition, 2001.
Klaus Scholder, The Churches and the Third trans. John Bowden (London: SCM Press, 1988), 1:6.
Ibid. See also Thomas Mann, Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen (Berlin: S. Fischer, 1956), 39f.
In 1920 the Association of Jewish Veterans felt compelled to publish a leaflet addressed to German mothers and informing them that 12,000 Jewish soldiers fell during the war. The leaflet testified accurately that the same percentage of Jews were killed as the percentage of fallen soldiers in the population at large, but to no avail. A reproduction of the leaflet is found in Hagen Schulze, Germany: A New trans. Deborah Lucas Schneider (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998), 206.
Quoted in Barnett, For the Soul of the 15.
See Wolfgang Gerlach, And the Witnesses Were Silent: The Confessing Church and the Persecution of the trans. and ed. Victoria Barnett (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000), 228–29.
The plotters included highly placed conservatives such as Franz von Papen, the Roman Catholic former chancellor, and Oskar von Hindenburg, the president’s son. The best account of the intrigues that preceded Hitler’s becoming chancellor is found in Kershaw, Hitler, 377–427.
See Kurt Meier, Kreuz und Hakenkreuz im Dritten Reich (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1992) and Conway, The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, For these references, we are indebted to Ericksen and Heschel, eds., esp. 70 and 202 n.6. Along with the work of many other scholars, the contributions by Gerlach, Ericksen, Heschel, Stephen Haynes, and Doris Bergen, referred to in this documentation, discredit the myth of the German churches as “persecuted victims.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer addressed himself to this issue in 1933. See “The Church and the Jewish Question,” in No Rusty Sword: Letters, Lectures, and Notes ed. Edwin H. Robertson and trans. John Bowden (London: Fontana, 1974), 217–25.
Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing 432.
See John S. Conway, “The Churches,” in The Holocaust: Ideology, Bureaucracy, and ed. Henry Friedlander and Sybil Milton (Millwood, N.Y.: Kraus International Publications, 1980), 204.
For a study of some important German theologians who took positions altogether different from Barth and Tillich, see Ericksen, Theologians under For an overview of Christian support for National Socialism, see Erickson and Heschel, eds.,
See Scholder, The Churches and the Third 1:228–29.
Kershaw, Hitler, 1889–1936,
See Conway, The Nazi Persecution of the 410–11.
In 1949 Wurm wrote to a meeting of lay leaders meeting in Darmstadt, “Can anyone in Germany speak about the Jewish question without mentioning how Jewish literature sinned against the German people through its mockery of all that is holy, since the days of Heinrich Heine? Or of the sufferings endured in numerous regions by German farmers at the hands of Jewish money-lenders?” Theophil Wurm, Letter to Bruderrat, 17 January 1949, cited in ed. Ericksen and Heschel, 19.
See Conway, The Nazi Persecution of the 208–12.
Barnett, For the Soul of the 201.
For further information on the Jehovah’s Witnesses, see John K. Roth, Holocaust Politics (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 2001). In addition to the works already cited in this chapter, further insight about the German churches, Protestant and Catholic, can be found in Bergen, Twisted Cross; Arthur C. Cochrane, The Church’s Confession under 2nd ed. (Pittsburgh: The Pickwick Press, 1976); Richard Gutteridge, Open Thy Mouth for the Dumb: The German Evangelical Church and the Jews 1879–1950 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1976); Ernst Christian Helmreich, The German Churches under Hitler: Background, Struggle, and Epilogue (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1979); and Frederic Spotts, The Churches and Politics in Germany (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1973).
Barnett, For the Soul of the 27. See also Bergen, Twisted 5. Bergen’s book is the most comprehensive and reliable treatment of the German Christians in English. See also Bergen, “Nazi-Christians and Christian Nazis: The ‘German Christian’ Movement in National Socialist Germany,” in What Kind of God? Essays in Honor of Richard L. ed. Betty Rogers Rubenstein and Michael Berenbaum (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1995), 175–86.
Note that the term evangelical has different connotations when applied to German and American churches. The German Evangelical churches were much more akin to the mainline American Protestant denominations than to “born again” Christians, to whom the term is usually applied in the United States.
“Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service,” 1 (1933): 175, English translation in Documents on the Holocaust: Selected Sources on the Destruction of the Jews of Germany and Austria, Poland and the Soviet Union ed. Yitzhak Arad, Israel Gutman, and Abraham Margaliot, trans. Leah Bern Dor (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999), 39–41.
See Gerlach, And the Witnesses Were 19; Shelley Baranowski, “The Confessing Church and Antisemitism: Protestant Identity, German Nationhood, and the Exclusion of the Jews,” in ed. Ericksen and Heschel, 101; and Helmreich, The German Churches under 144.
Barnett, For the Soul of the 35.
Scholder, The Churches and the Third 1:552–53.
For an overview of the Institute and Walter Grundmann, its first director, see Susannah Heschel, “Making Nazism a Christian Movement: The Development of a Christian Theology of Antisemitism During the Third Reich,” in What Kind of God? ed. Rubenstein and Berenbaum, 159–174. See also Susannah Heschel, “When Jesus Was an Aryan: The Protestant Church and Antisemitic Propaganda,” in ed. Ericksen and Heschel, 68–89, and Bergen, Twisted 24.
See Robert P. Ericksen, “Genocide, Religion, and Gerhard Kittel,” in In God’s Name: Genocide and Religion in the Twentieth ed. Omer Bartov and Phyllis Mack (New York: Berghahn Books, 2001), 67. This essay is an insightful introduction not only to the role of Kittel in fostering the objectives of Adolf Hitler, but also to that of a wider group of German theologians and scholars. For an earlier but more comprehensive analysis see Ericksen, Theologians under
Gerhard Kittel, Die Behandlung des Nichtjuden nach dem Talmud (Archiv für vol. 1, Group A (Berlin: P. Hochmuth, 1943), 7. See Ericksen, “Genocide, Religion, and Gerhard Kittel,” 71.
Ericksen, “Genocide, Religion, and Gerhard Kittel,” 71.
Heschel, “When Jesus Was an Aryan,” 79 and 83.
According to Doris Bergen, the best estimates are that 480 Protestants and an equal number of Catholics served throughout the war as chaplains. Bergen, “Between God and Hitler: German Military Chaplains and the Crimes of the Third Reich,” in In God’s ed. Bartov and Mack, 123 and 136 n.7.
Ibid., 125. Our discussion of this issue is indebted to Bergen’s important insights about the role of the chaplains in the German armed forces.
For example, Gerhard Kittel spent a year and a half in prison. For aiding and abetting Nazi crimes against Jews, he also lost his professorship and his position as editor of the Theological Dictionary of the New See Ericksen, “Genocide, Holocaust, and Gerhard Kittel,” 71.
Franklin H. Littell, “Church Struggle and the Holocaust,” in The German Church Struggle and the ed. Littell and Locke, 16.
Barnett’s For the Soul of the People presents an authoritative account of the Confessing Church.
See Baranowski, “The Confessing Church and Antisemitism,” 90–109.
Conway, The Nazi Persecution of the 84.
Barnett, For the Soul of the 55.
Cited in Eberhard Bethge, “Troubled Self-Interpretation and Uncertain Reception in the German Church Struggle,” in The German Church ed. Littell and Locke, 167. See also Robin W. Lovin, Christian Faith and Public Choices: The Social Ethics of Barth, Brunner, and Bonhoeffer (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984).
Cited in Conway, The Nazi Persecution of the 15.
Eberhard Busch, Karl Barth: His Life from Letters and Autobiographical trans. John Bowden (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976), 223.
Letter to E. Steffens, 10 January 1934, cited in Busch, Karl 235.
Busch, Karl 255–56.
Karl Barth, Church trans. G. Bromiley et al. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1957), II, 2, 235. The 1949 quotations are from Karl Barth, “The Jewish Problem and the Christian Answer,” in Against the Stream (London: SCM Press, 1954), 196, 198. We are indebted to Emil Fackenheim, To Mend The World: Foundations of Future Jewish Thought (New York: Schocken, 1982), 133. In that book, Fackenheim, one of the twentieth century’s most important Jewish thinkers, describes Barth as “the last great Christian supersessionist thinker” (284).
On the “Grüber office,” see Barnett, For the Soul of the 144–46.
For more on Grüber, see Rubenstein, “The Dean and the Chosen People,” in Rubenstein, After 3–13. Grüber was the only German to testify for the prosecution in the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem.
Niemöller would later be imprisoned at the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps. After the war, it was Niemöller who wrote these often-cited lines: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
See Cochrane, The Church’s 275, and Barnett, For the Soul of the 83–85.
Quoted in Littell, “Church Struggle and Holocaust,” 15.
Fifteen years after the war’s end, Dietrich’s father, psychiatrist Karl Bonhoeffer, wrote, “From the start, we regarded the victory of National Socialism in 1933...as a misfortune—the entire family agreed on this.” See Eberhard Bethge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A rev. ed., ed. Victoria Barnett (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000), 258.
See Stephen R. Haynes, “Bystander, Resister, Victim: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Response to Nazism,” forthcoming in The Bonhoeffer Phenomenon: Portraits of a Protestant
According to Renate Bonhoeffer, Bonhoeffer’s niece, “the Jewish question was the dominant theme in family conversations and with it all other political questions were connected.” Cited in Edwin H. Robertson, “A Study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Jews Jan-April 1933,” in Remembering for the ed. Yehuda Bauer et al. (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1988), 1:122. We are indebted to Haynes, “Bystander, Resister, Victim,” for this citation.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Church and the Jewish Question,” 217.
See Noakes and Pridham, eds., Nazism, 1:224, and Bergen, Twisted 88ff.
Bonhoeffer, “The Church and the Jewish Question,” 219 (italics added).
See Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Church and the Jews,” in No Rusty 237.
Quoted in Bethge, Dietrich 655.
F. Burton Nelson, “The Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” in The Cambridge Companion to Dietrich ed. John W. de Gruchy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 37–38.
In conjunction with Bonhoeffer’s nomination to be named a “Righteous Gentile” at Yad Vashem, the following report is significant: “The material submitted for the Bonhoeffer nomination clearly establishes that he was instrumental in persuading his brother-in-law, Hans von Dohnanyi...to include Charlotte Friedenthal among a group of Jews (some of whom had converted to Christianity) which the Abwehr planned to move to Switzerland....This rescue operation was planned and carried out by the with the full backing of Admiral Canaris, the Abwehr head, who himself added four Jewish persons to the group. In addition, Mrs. Friedenthal, a baptized Jewess, had until then occupied a responsible position in the Confessing Church. Bonhoeffer’s role was in referring her to Dohnanyi, but he was not personally involved in this rescue operation. There is no other record of a direct involvement by Bonhoeffer in the rescue of Jews (baptized or not). In September 1943, five months after his arrest, the Gestapo drew up a large charge sheet against Bonhoeffer. The accusations relate to Bonhoeffer’s evading the draft and his association with the The sole item with respect of the Jewish issue is Bonhoeffer’s request to his brother-in-law, Dohnanyi, to assist a certain Jewish professor, the uncle of a Jewish Christian convert, who was incarcerated in the French camp of Gurs. It is not known whether such assistance was acted upon” (Personal communication, Mordecai Paldiel to Richard L. Rubenstein, 18 October 2001). Paldiel is director of the Department for the Righteous of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority.
Haynes, “Bystander, Resistor, Victim.” See also Geffrey B. Kelly, F. Burton Nelson, and Renate Bethge, The Cost of Moral Leadership: The Spirituality of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2002).
See Guenter Lewy, The Roman Catholic Church and the Third Reich (Boulder, Colo.: Da Capo Press, 2000).
Scholder, The German 1:150–51.
See Guenter Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964), 8–24.
Scholder, The German 1:157.
As a result of the controversy over the role of the Vatican during World War II, a very large body of scholarly literature has been devoted to the subject. The most comprehensive collection of Vatican documents pertaining to World War II is to be found in Actes et Documents du Saint Siège relatifs à la Seconde Guerre ed. Pierre Blet, Robert A. Graham, Angelo Martini, and Burkhart Schneider (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1965–81). Henceforth we abbreviate Actes et Documents as The additional works we have consulted include James Carroll, Constantine’s Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope; Saul Friedländer, Pius XII and the Third Reich: A trans. Charles Fullman (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966); Goldhagen, A Moral John F. Morley, Vatican Diplomacy and the Jews during the Holocaust: 1939–1943 (New York: KTAV, 1980); Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1933–1965; Rittner and Roth, eds., Pope Pius XII and the and Susan Zuccotti, Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2001).
Phayer, The Catholic Church and the 83.
Heller, On the Edge of 51–52.
Pavel Korzec, Juifs en Pologne: La question juive pendant l’entre-deux-guerres (Paris: Presses de la Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, 1980), 110 n.113. Cited in Kertzer, The Popes against the 247.
Kertzer, The Popes against The 263. Kertzer’s source is Renato Moro, “Le premesse dell’atteggiamento cattolico di fronte alla legislazione razziale fascista. Cattolici ed ebrei nell’Italia degli anni venti (1919–1932),” Storia Contemporanea 19:1118.
See Anthony Rhodes, The Vatican in the Age of Dictators 1922–1945 (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1973), 18.
Kertzer, The Popes against The 134.
Until the mid-twentieth century, the director of the journal met with the papal secretary of state before the publication of each issue. Often the pope himself would review and approve the content of the forthcoming issue. See Kertzer, The Popes against The 135.
See “Kishinev,” Encyclopedia CD-ROM edition.
Kertzer, The Popes against the 159–60. See articles “Blood Libel” and “Tiszaeszlar” in Encyclopaedia CD-ROM edition.
Father Saverio Rondina, “La morale giudaica,” La Civiltà 1897, II, 257–71. We are indebted to Kertzer, The Popes against the 144–46.
“Omicidio rituale giudaico,” L’Osservatore 23 Nov. 1899. We are indebted to Kertzer, The Popes against The 163.
See Kertzer, The Popes against the 163.
Cornwell, Hitler’s 26; see also R. Po-chia Hsia, The Myth of Ritual Murder: Jews and Magic in Reformation Germany (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988).
Denis Mack Smith, Mussolini (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982), 159–61.
Scholder, The Churches and the Third 1:163.
Cornwell, Hitler’s 114.
Scholder, The Churches and the Third 1:154.
Cornwell, Hitler’s 147.
Kertzer, The Popes against the 25–132; See also Kertzer, The Kidnapping of Edgardo
Mit brennender in Actes de S. S. Pie XI (Paris: Maison de la Bonne Press, 1937), 13–16. The text is also available online at
Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi 283.
Decades later the draft text was discovered and became known as the “hidden encyclical.” The subject is covered in Georges Passelecq and Bernard Suchecky, The Hidden Encyclical of Pius trans. Steven Rendall (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1997).
The text Humani Generis Unitas is reprinted in Passelecq and Suchecky, The Hidden See esp. 246–59.
Cited in Kertzer, The Popes against the 280.
See Saul Friedländer, Pius XII and the Third Reich (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966), 3–24.
vol. 2. Lettres aux Eveques See also Rhodes, The Vatican in the Age of 226–28.
Friedländer, Pius XII and the Third 9–10.
Breitman, The Architect of 53.
See Rhodes, The Vatican in the Age of 237.
ADSS: El Saint Siège El la Situation Religieuse en Pologne et dans les Pays Balts, vol. 3, no. 102, 19 January 1940.
Rhodes, The Vatican in the Age of 243.
For the conversation in which the pope expressed concern about these matters, see Friedländer, Pius XII and the Third 74–75.
On the deportations from France, see Marrus and Paxton, Vichy France and the 241–80.
ADSS: Le Saint Siège et la Guerre Mondiale, Novembre 1942-Décembre vol. 7, no. 610.
For the text of the Riegner message, see Friedländer, Pius XII and the Third 117.
Letter from Myron C. Taylor to Cardinal Maglione, 26 September 1942, Foreign Relations of the United (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1961), 3:775–76.
Morley, Vatican Diplomacy and the 206.
Letter of Luigi Cardinal Maglione, Secretary of State, to Charles Sidor, Minister of Slovakia to the Holy See, in Morley, Vatican Diplomacy and the 221–25.
vol. 8, nos. 327–28.
See Morley, Vatican Diplomacy and the 78.
The date of the pastoral letter was 26 April 1942. See vol. 8, no. 519.
Cited by Fein, Accounting for 101–2. Together with Msgr. Giovanni Battista Montini (later Pope Paul VI), Tardini was one of the two principle assistants to the Vatican’s secretary of state during the Holocaust.
vol. 9, no. 272. See Morley, Vatican Diplomacy and the 92.
The Vatican’s initial reaction to America’s entry into the war was similar to Germany’s. Both regarded the Americans as too undisciplined and militarily incompetent to present a threat for a very long time. This view was reflected in the Vatican’s attempts to counter American diplomatic initiatives in Latin America in January 1942. When the United States attempted to get the nations of Latin America to break off diplomatic relations with Germany, Italy, and Japan, its efforts were largely thwarted by the Vatican. See Friedländer, Pius XII and the Third 90.
Roosevelt’s message is to be found in vol. V, no. 431. See also Rhodes, The Vatican in the Age of 265–71.
We use Susan Zuccotti’s translation in Under His Very 1. She notes that in this wartime speech, “Pius XII never used the words Jew, anti-Semitism, or race.” Zuccotti notes further that the Italian stirpe is often translated—incorrectly, she argues—as and doing so ignores “subtle differences between the two terms.” (See Under His Very 329 n3.) In Zuccotti’s view, which we accept, stirpe is better translated as a term whose meaning in the 1942 context only adds to the generality of the pope’s language.
Nazi leaders were not pleased by Pius XII’s Christmas oratory, but neither were those who were victimized by them. On 2 January 1943, for example, Wladislaw Raczkiewicz, the president of the Polish government in exile, protested to the pope, saying that his people “implore that a voice be raised to show clearly and plainly where the evil lies and to condemn those in the service of evil.” The British, Belgian, and Brazilian governments also protested to the Vatican for having failed to name Germany. The protests pained the pope, who was convinced that he had spoken as plainly as he could. Pius XII and his subordinates were convinced that they could not explicitly denounce the German atrocities. That judgment remains among the most sharply criticized of the Vatican’s wartime policies. See especially Goldhagen, A Moral and Friedländer, Pius XII and the Third 131–47.
Susan Zuccotti, The Italians and the Holocaust: Persecution, Rescue, Survival (New York: Basic Books, 1987), 109–13.
See Fein, Accounting for 106–10.
For a discussion of Seredi’s letter, see Herczl, Christianity and the Holocaust of Hungarian 205–15.
Seredi declared that he had kept silent in public because he was attempting to protect baptized Jews. Since that effort had failed, he rejected any responsibility for the ensuing events. The text of Seredi’s letter is in Friedländer, Pius XII and the Third 220–21. Phayer’s characterization is found in The Catholic Church and the 109.
Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 2:849 and 2:908.
On this point see Phayer, The Catholic Church and the 54.
See Zuccotti, Under His Very 314–15, and Phayer, The Catholic Church and the 61–66.
“Editto della Santa Inquisizione contro gl’Israeliti degli Stati Pontifici,” in Achille Gennarelli, Il governo pontifico e lo stato romano, documenti preceduti da una esposizione storica (Rome: 1860), part 1, 304–5, cited in Kertzer, The Kidnapping of Edgardo 190.
“Gemeinsames Wort der deutschen Bishöfe,” no. 38, 17 September 1939.
See Klaus Scholder, A Requiem for Hitler and Other New Perspectives on the German Church Struggle (Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1989), 157–67.
For a discussion of the significance of Lichtenberg’s sacrificial behavior, see Fackenheim, To Mend the 289–90.
The Foreign Office expected Papal Nuncio Orsenigo to inquire about Lichtenberg’s arrest and was prepared to tell him that he had been arrested for praying for the Jews. Apparently, the Foreign Office believed that the nuncio and the pope would find that reply satisfactory. See Friedländer, Pius XII and the Third Reich 100–101.
Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust,
On Gertrud Luckner, see ibid., 114–17.
See ibid., 117–22.
Fein, Accounting for Genocide,
For more detail on the rescue of Jews in Bulgaria, see Tzvetan Toderov, The Frailty of Goodness: Why Bulgaria’s Jews Survived the trans. Arthur Denner (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).
David Wyman, The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941–1945 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984), 105.
In addition to Wyman, The Abandonment of the see Robert W. Ross, So It Was True: The American Protestant Press and the Nazi Persecution of the Jews (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1980). Also relevant in this regard are Robert H. Abzug, America Views the Holocaust 1933–1945: A Brief Documentary History (New York: St. Martin’s, 1999) and Deborah E. Lipstadt, Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust 1933–1945 (New York: Free Press, 1986).
See “United States of America: 1880–1929: The Great Immigration,” Encyclopedia CD Rom Edition, 1997.
Howard M. Sachar, The Course of Modern Jewish 313–14.
Christian 30 November 1938, 1456–59. For this reference, we are indebted to Lipstadt, Beyond 114.
There is ongoing scholarly debate about the extent and adequacy of American responses to the Holocaust. Our perspective is that the plight of Europe’s Jews was never a decisive reason for America’s involvement in the war against Hitler. The American posture was that military power should be used only in direct efforts to defeat Nazi Germany. Special consideration for Jewish needs was regarded as contrary to the best national and military interests. The U.S. government did not make the saving of European Jewry a top priority, although the American record in rescuing Jews surpassed that of England, the Soviet Union, and the other Allies. That result depended largely on the War Refugee Board (WRB), established by President Roosevelt on 22 January 1944, which helped to save approximately two hundred thousand Jews. Earlier American efforts could have saved thousands more. During the three-and-a-half years that the United States waged war against Nazi Germany, State Department policies allowed only twenty-one thousand refugees—most of them Jewish—to enter the country, just 10 percent of those who could have been legally admitted under the already restrictive quotas. Better results were thwarted by widespread antisemitism and anti-immigration sentiment in American society, as well as by the indifference of political leaders and in particular the refusal of the president to speak out. Bowing to political pressures generated by goverment officials John W. Pehle, Raymond Paul, and Josiah E. DuBois Jr., who had documented a State Department record of distorted messages, sabotaged proposals, and general procrastination where Jewish plight was concerned, Roosevelt finally brought the WRB into existence. Even then, the board was underfinanced. Ninety percent of its costs had to be covered by Jewish contributions. Not until June 1944 did the United States make special provisions to bring Jewish refugees to America outside the existing immigration quotas. Under these provisions, fewer than a thousand Jewish refugees were brought to the United States, where they were long detained under less than desirable conditions at Fort Ontario, an obsolete army facility near Syracuse, New York.
Meanwhile, the first of several American air reconnaissance missions over the Auschwitz area occurred on 4 April 1944. Some of these aerial photographs showed lines of Auschwitz prisoners waiting their turn to enter the gas chambers, but military attention riveted on the more central points of interest: German industrial plants at Monowitz and surrounding areas. Later that year, air force bombing in this region was extensive. During the spring and summer of 1944, there had been Jewish pleas that the rail routes to Auschwitz and the gas chambers and crematoria themselves should be targeted. These pleas reached the Allied governments. Arguably the logistical problems in undertaking such missions were not insurmountable. The Allies had air supremacy over Europe. Hungary was being bombed almost daily. Although the Allies firebombed Dresden, annihilating more than one hundred thousand civilians to no military purpose, they decided to leave Auschwitz alone.
For more detail on these matters and the disputes about them, see Abzug, America Views the Feingold, Bearing Witness; Michael Neufeld and Michael Berenbaum, eds., The Bombing of Auschwitz: Should the Allies Have Attempted It? (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000); Power, “A Problem from William D. Rubinstein, The Myth of Rescue; Wyman, The Abandonment of the Jews; and David S. Wyman and Charles H. Rosenzveig, eds., The World Reacts to the Holocaust (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996). Also significant is Michael Beschloss, The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman, and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany 1941–1945 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), which argues that Roosevelt himself was chiefly responsible for the decision not to bomb Auschwitz and that he also regarded the United States as a Protestant country where Catholics and Jews resided “under suffrance.” See Beschloss, The 51, 63–69 and 14 Oct. 2002, 37–39.
See, for example, Charles Clayton Morrison, “Horror Stories From Poland,” Christian 9 Dec. 1942, 1518–19, and Morrison, “Polish Atrocities Are Entered in the Books,” Christian 30 Dec. 1942, 1611. These texts are found in Abzug, America Views the 136–37.
Reinhold Niebuhr, “Jews after the War,” 21 and 28 Feb. 1942. Niebuhr’s texts are reproduced in Abzug, America Views the 116–25.
Cited in Richard Hanser, A Noble Treason: The Revolt of the Munich Students against Hitler (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1979), 152–53. See also Annette E. Dumbach and Jud Newborn, Shattering the German Night: The Story of the White Rose (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1986) and Inge Scholl, The White Rose: Munich trans. Arthur R. Schultz (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1983).
Hanser, A Noble 274.
The Bible likens righteous persons to “trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither” (Psalm 1:3). At Yad Vashem, which means “place and name” (see Isa. 56:5 evergreen carob trees honor the “Righteous Gentiles.” Durable in Israel’s climate, this tree is also a Christian symbol. Tradition holds that John the Baptist came from a spring-fed valley nearby; the bean pods produced by the carob tree are probably the “locusts” that sustained him in the wilderness (See Mark 1:6).
For a sampling of people who rescued Jews, see Martin Gilbert, The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust (New York: Henry Holt, 2003) and Carol Rittner and Sondra Myers, eds., The Courage to Care (New York: New York University Press, 1986). For an important analysis of rescuers, see Samuel P. Oliner and Pearl M. Oliner, The Altruistic Personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe (New York: Free Press, 1988).
See Philip P. Hallie, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed: The Story of the Village of Le Chambon and How Goodness Happened There (New York: Harper Perennial, 1994) and In the Eye of the Hurricane: Tales of Good and Evil, Help and Harm (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2001).
Some aspects of this story have been described by Katharina von Kellenbach in an as yet unpublished paper, “The German Churches and the Nuremberg Trials.” See also Ronald Webster, “Opposing ‘Victors’ Justice’: German Protestant Churchmen and Convicted Criminals in Western Europe after 1945,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 15 (spring 2001): 47–69, and Phayer, The Catholic Church and the 162–75.
Mark Aarons and John Loftus, Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, the Nazis, and Soviet Intelligence (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992), 29.
For details, see Zuccotti, Under His Very 161–63. See also Friedländer, Pius XII and the Third 205–6. Zuccotti points out that, while its origins are less than clear, the letter expressed papal discomfiture about the German roundups of Jews in Rome. Hudal did not initiate it.
Aarons and Loftus, Unholy 36.
See Alois C. Hudal, Römische Tagebücher (Graz: Leopold Stocker Verlag, 1976), 21.
Aarons and Loftus, Unholy 28. For an account of Hudal’s activities on behalf of Stangl, see Sereny, Into That 289ff. See also Phayer, The Catholic Church and the 166.
Phayer, The Catholic Church and the 167.
Ibid., 162–63. On von Galen, see Beth Griech-Polelle, “A Pure Conscience Is Good Enough: Bishop von Galen and Resistance to Nazism,” in In God’s ed. Bartov and Mack, 106–22.
Phayer, The Catholic Church and the 163.
On 16 March 1998, the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews released the Church’s most important statement on the Holocaust, We Remember: A Reflection on the Although the statement’s positive evaluation of Pius XII’s wartime role remains divisive, the new spirit that animates the Church’s attitude towards Judaism is expressed in We hope for the future: “We wish to turn awareness of past sins into a firm resolve to build a new future in which there will be no more anti-Judaism among Christians or anti-Christian sentiment among Jews, but rather a shared mutual respect, as befits those who adore the one Creator and Lord and have a common father in faith, Abraham.” For further detail on related topics, see Catholic Teaching on the Shoah: Implementing the Holy See’s “We Remember,” which was published by the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C., in 2001. Also helpful in this regard are Rittner and Roth, eds., Pope Pius XII and the Carol Rittner and John Roth, eds., News” after Auschwitz? Christian Faith within a Post-Holocaust World (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2001); Carol Rittner, Stephen D. Smith, and Irena Steinfeldt, eds., The Holocaust and the Christian World: Reflections on the Past, Challenges for the Future (New York: Continuum, 2000); and Michael A. Signer, ed., Humanity at the Limit: The Impact of the Holocaust Experience on Jews and Christians (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000). For Jewish responses to developments in post-Holocaust Christianity, see Tivka Frymer-Kensky, David Novak, Peter Ochs, David Sandmel, and Michael Signer, eds., Christianity in Jewish Terms (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2000).
Goldhagen, A Moral 246.
Ibid., 262, 266.
Levi, Survival in 13. Two detailed biographies of Levi’s life, which ended—probably in suicide—in 1987, are provided by Carole Angier, The Double Bond: Primo Levi, a Biography (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002) and Myrian Anissimov, Primo Levi: Tragedy of an trans. Steve Cox (Woodstock, N.Y.: Overlook Press, 2000).
Levi, Survival in 112.
See Theodor W. Adorno, “Cultural Criticism and Society,” in trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber (London: Neville Spearman, 1967), 34. This essay was originally published in 1951. See also Theodor W. Adorno, Notes to 2 vols., ed. Rolf Tiedemann and trans. Sherry Weber Nicholsen (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), 2:87.
See George Steiner, Language and Silence: Essays on Language, Literature, and the Inhuman (New York: Atheneum, 1976), 53–54.
For studies of Holocaust-related still photography, see Bryan F. Lewis, “Documentation or Decoration? Uses and Misuses of Photographs in the Historiography of the Holocaust,” in Remembering for the ed. Roth and Maxwell, 3:341–57; Helmut Walser Smith, ed., The Holocaust and Other Genocides: History, Representation, Ethics (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2002), 131–36; and Barbie Zelizer, Remembering to Forget: Holocaust Memory through the Camera’s Eye (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998). Still photographs are important partly because they provide important perspectives on pre-Holocaust Jewish life in Europe. For significant examples of such photography, see Mara Vishniac Kohn, ed., Children of a Vanished trans. Miriam Hartman Flacks (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); Roman Vishniac and Elie Wiesel, A Vanished World (New York: Noonday Press, 1986); and Ann Weiss, ed., The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001).
On these points see Robert H. Abzug, Inside the Vicious Heart: Americans and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985) and America Views the Jeffrey Shandler, While America Watches: Televising the Holocaust (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); Larry D. Wilcox, “Shadows of a Distant Nightmare: Visualizing the Unimaginable Holocaust in Early Documentary Films,” in Remembering for the ed. Roth and Maxwell, 3:478–500.
Judith E. Doneson, The Holocaust in American 2d ed. (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2002), 189, 193. In addition to Doneson’s book, other important studies of Holocaust-related film include Ilan Avisar, Screening the Holocaust: Cinema’s Images of the Unimaginable (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988) and Annette Insdorf, Indelible Shadows: Film and the 2d ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).
Scholarly analysis of Schindler’s List is considerable and growing. The following works are among the most insightful commentaries: Doneson, The Holocaust in American Film; Thomas Fensch, ed., Oskar Schindler and His List: The Man, the Book, the Film, the Holocaust, and Its Survivors (New York: Paul S. Eriksson, 1995); Yosefa Loshitzky, ed., Spielberg’s Holocaust: Critical Perspectives on Schindler’s List (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997); Alan Mintz, Popular Culture and the Shaping of Holocaust Memory in America (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001), 125–58; Michael Rothberg, Traumatic Realism: The Demands of Holocaust Representation (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000); and Barbie Zelizer, ed., Visual Culture and the Holocaust (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2001). Also important is Jon Blair’s excellent documentary Schindler (1992). Blair is an outstanding cinematic interpreter of the Holocaust, whose Anne Frank Remembered (1995) is arguably the best film made about that iconic Holocaust victim. For the perspective of Schindler’s wife, Emilie, see Emilie Schindler, Where Light and Shadow Meet: A trans. Dolores M. Koch (New York: W. W. Norton, 1996).
See also Mark Jonathan Harris and Deborah Oppenheimer, Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (New York: Bloomsbury, 2000).
Its Academy Award notwithstanding, Robert Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful (1997) is a much less credible attempt to use the parent-child motif in a Holocaust “comedy” that distorts the realities of the Nazi camps and magnifies beyond credibility the feel-good theme that the “human spirit” managed to triumph even in the Holocaust.
For more detail on the connections between the Wagner family and Nazi Germany, including Adolf Hitler in particular, see Gottfried Wagner, Twilight of the Wagners: The Unveiling of a Family’s Legacy (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999). Richard Wagner is Gottfried Wagner’s great-grandfather.
A growing literature plays variations on this theme. See, for example, Martin Goldsmith, The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000); Szymon Laks, Music of Another World (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2000); Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, Inherit the Truth: A Memoir of Survival and the Holocaust (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000); and Richard Newman, Alma Rosé: Vienna to Auschwitz (New York: Amadeus, 2000). The works by Laks, Lasker-Wallfisch, and Newman show how the Germans exploited the musical talents of camp inmates and also how that same talent may have helped a few Jews to survive. For accounts that analyze how the Third Reich both encouraged and suppressed musical expression, see the trilogy by Michael Kater: Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), Different Drummers: Jazz in the Culture of Nazi Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), and The Twisted Muse: Musicians and Their Music in the Third Reich (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). Another helpful study is provided by Alan E. Steinweis, Art, Ideology, and Economics in Nazi Germany: The Reich Chambers of Music, Theater, and the Visual Arts (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996).
For a helpful survey of current developments in Holocaust-related art, see Dora Apel, Memory Effects: The Holocaust and the Art of Secondary Witnessing (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2002).
See the museum’s catalog, Modern Contemporary: Art at MOMA since The exhibit ran from September 2000 to January 2001. The artists who focused on Holocaust representation were Claude Lanzmann, La fin du 1985, film; Anselm Kiefer, Departing from 1984, drawing; Christian Boltanski, The Storehouse (La Grande 1988, sculpture; Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor’s 1980–85, illustrated book; Sigmar Polke, 1984, oil painting; and Shimon Attie, Almstadtstrasse photograph.
The clip was taken from Lanzmann’s epic film, Shoah (1985).
For an excellent discussion of Kiefer’s more famous Holocaust-related work, see Liza Saltzman, “Lost in Translation: Clement Greenberg, Anselm Kiefer, and the Subject of History,” in Visual Culture and the ed. Barbie Zelitzer (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2001), 74–88. For further information on Kiefer, see Matthew Biro, Anselm Kiefer and the Philosophy of Martin Heidegger (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998) and Lisa Saltzman, Anselm Kiefer and Art after Auschwitz (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Sara Rich provides an insightful discussion of Kiefer in her review of the books by Biro and Saltzman. See The Art Bulletin 82 (Sept. 2000): 595–609.
See James Aulich and John Lynch, eds., Critical Kitaj (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2001), especially Aulich’s essay “Kitaj, History, and Tradition,” 153–58.
See Fourteen Stations (Morristown, N.J.: Morris Museum, 2002).
Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor’s 2 vols. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1986, 1991). For a helpful analysis of see Rothberg, Traumatic esp. 1–2, 202–19. See also Dominick La Capra, History and Memory after Auschwitz (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998), 139–79.
See Stephen C. Feinstein, ed., Witness and Legacy: Contemporary Art about the Holocaust (Minneapolis: Lerner Publication Co., 1995) and Absence/Presence: The Artistic Memory of the Holocaust and Genocide (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999). The former includes a significant essay by Matthew Baigel, “The Persistence of Holocaust Imagery in American Art.”
For an excellent background article on Charlotte Salomon and her work, see the following internet site:
See the exhibition catalog, Norman L. Kleeblatt, ed., Mirroring Evil, Nazi Imagery/Recent Art (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2002), especially James Young’s preface, “Looking into the Mirrors of Evil,” xv–xviii.
See especially Saul Friedländer, When Memory trans. Helen R. Lane (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979) and Friedländer, ed., Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the Final Solution (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992).
Caroline Alice Wiedmer, The Claims of Memory: Representations of the Holocaust in Contemporary Germany and France (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press), 138 and note 121.
For a description of this museum, see Victoria Newhouse, Towards a New Museum (New York: Monacelli Press, 1998), esp. 11, 96–98. Newhouse discusses Libeskind and other architects who are working to restore the historic connection between container and context in uniquely contemporary ways.
See, for example, Janet Blatter and Sybil Milton, Art of the Holocaust (New York: Rutledge Press, 1981). This book is a monumental collection of more than 350 reproductions of drawings and paintings, which are organized into art from the ghettos, the transit camps, and the concentration camps. With a preface by Irving Howe and an historical introduction by Henry Friedlander, this work is among the best introductions to its topic. For a perspective that focuses significantly on the ghetto and transit camp at Theresienstadt (Terezín), see Anne D. Dutlinger, ed., Art, Music, and Education as Strategies for Survival: Theresienstadt 1941–45 (New York: Herodias, 2001).
On this point, see Ella Liebermann-Shiber, On the Edge of the 2d ed. (New York: Sanford C. Bernstein, 1994). See also Nelly Toll, Without Surrender: Art of the Holocaust (Philadelphia: Running Press, 1978).
For more detail, see Serge Klarsfeld, David Olère: L’Oeil du Témoin/The Eyes of a Witness (New York: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989).
Mary S. Costanza, The Living Witness: Art in the Concentration Camps and Ghettos (New York: Free Press, 1982).
Leo Haas, “The Affair of the Painters of Terezín,” in Art from the Ashes: A Holocaust ed. Lawrence L. Langer (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1995), 670–75.
See Blatter and Milton, Art of the plate 94.
Costanza, The Living 33.
Henry Koerner, Unfinished Sentence (unpublished manuscript, 1956). See also Feinstein, ed., whose cover reproduces Koerner’s famous painting My Parents 1946.
For further detail on Bak’s life and work, see the following: Samuel Bak, Painted in Words: A Memoir (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002); Samuel Bak, Lawrence L. Langer, et al., Between Worlds: The Paintings and Drawings of Samuel Bak, 1946–2001 (Boston: Pucker Gallery, 2002); Samuel Bak and Lawrence L. Langer, Landscapes of Jewish Experience: Paintings (Waltham, Mass.: Brandeis University Press, 1997); Lawrence L. Langer, In a Different Light: The Book of Genesis in the Art of Samuel Bak (Boston: Pucker Art Publications, 2001); and Lawrence L. Langer, Preempting the Holocaust (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998), 80–120.
See Herschel B. Chipp, Theories of Modern Art (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), 553.
For a full description of the Segal sculpture, see James E. Young, The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1993), 309–19.
For detail on the Washington museum’s architecture and design, see Adrian Dannatt, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: James Ingo Freed (London: Phaidon Press, 1995) and Jeshajahu Weinberg and Rina Elieli, The Holocaust Museum in Washington (New York: Rizzoli, 1995).
See the New York 23 April 1993.
This information was retrieved from
George F. Will, “Telling Their Truth,” Washington 22 April 1993, A23.
See Yaffa Eliach, There Once Was a World: A Nine-Hundred-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok (Boston: Little, Brown, 1999).
For an analysis of the Berlin museum, see James E. Young, At Memory’s Edge: After-Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000), 152–83.
See Architectural Record 188 (January 1999): 76–91.
Quoted in the preface to Daniel Libeskind: Jewish Museum in text by Bernard Schneider, photography by Stefan Müller (Munich: Prestel Verlag, 1999).
On this point, see Amos Elon, “A German Requiem,” New York Review of 15 November 2001, 40–44, and Julia M. Klein, “The Jewish Museum,” Chronicle of Higher 9 November 2001, B15–17.
Victoria Newhouse, “Designs That Reach Out and Grab,” New York 4 June 2000.
Apel, Memory 20.
See ibid., 173.
For additional and valuable information about art and the Holocaust, see the following internet site:
Chaim A. Kaplan, Scroll of Agony: The Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. rev. ed., ed. and trans. Abraham I. Katsh (New York: Collier Books, 1973), 400.
For more information on this topic, see Michal Grynberg, ed., Words to Outlive Us: Eyewitness Accounts from the Warsaw trans. Philip Boehm (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2002); David Patterson, Along the Edge of Annihilation: The Collapse and Recovery of Life in the Holocaust Diary (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999); and Alexandra Zapruder, ed., Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2002).
Stories that emerged from the Holocaust, orally passed from one person to another and from one community to another, form a significant category in their own right. Yaffa Eliach has collected and traced to their origins almost ninety examples. See her Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust: The First Original Hasidic Tales in a Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982).
Especially when Holocaust literature focuses on memoirs, fiction, and poetry, the foremost interpreter is arguably Lawrence L. Langer. His numerous works on this topic include Admitting the Holocaust, The Age of Atrocity: Death in Modern Literature (Boston: Beacon Press, 1978), The Holocaust and the Literary Imagination (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1975), Preempting the and Versions of Survival (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982). See also Langer’s useful edition, Art from the For other noteworthy studies of Holocaust literature, see Alan L. Berger, Crisis and Covenant: The Holocaust in American Jewish Fiction (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985); Sidra Dekoven Ezrahi, By Words Alone: The Holocaust in Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); Sara R. Horowitz, Voicing the Void: Muteness and Memory in Holocaust Fiction (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997); David Patterson, The Shriek of Silence: A Phenomenology of the Holocaust Novel (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1992); Alvin H. Rosenfeld, A Double Dying: Reflections on Holocaust Literature (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988); Robert Skloot, The Darkness We Carry: The Drama of the Holocaust (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988); and Sue Vice, Holocaust Fiction: From William Styron to Binjamin Wilkomirski (New York: Routledge, 2000). Helpful encyclopedias about Holocaust literature include Lillian Kremer, ed., Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Works (New York: Routledge, 2002); David Patterson, Alan L. Berger, and Sarita Cargas, eds., Encyclopedia of Holocaust Literature (Westport, Conn.: Oryx Press, 2002); and Thomas Riggs, ed., Reference Guide to Holocaust Literature (Farmington Hills, Mich.: St. James Press, 2002).
Virtually all the works referenced in this chapter wrestle with problems pertaining to representation of the Holocaust. For additional resources on this topic, see Inga Clendinnen, Reading the Holocaust (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Geoffrey H. Hartman, The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust (New York: Palgrave, 2002); Dominick LaCapra, Writing History, Writing Trauma (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001); Berel Lang, Holocaust Representation: Art within the Limits of History and Ethics (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000); Alvin H. Rosenfeld, ed., Thinking about the Holocaust: After Half a Century (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997); and James E. Young, Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988).
David Rousett, The Other trans. Roman Gutherie (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1947), 168.
Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi
Klemperer’s study of Nazi language has been translated into English as The Language of the Third Reich: LTI—Lingua Tertii Imperii: A Philologist’s trans. Martin Brady (New York: Continuum, 2002).
Klemperer, I Will Bear 2:28.
Our discussion of Delbo draws on material prepared by John Roth for Roth et al., The Holocaust
Charlotte Delbo, Auschwitz and trans. Rosette C. Lamont (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1995), 167.
Charlotte Delbo, Days and trans. Rosette C. Lamont (Marlboro, Vt.: Marlboro Press, 1990), 2.
Delbo, Auschwitz and 4–5. Our interpretation of Delbo is indebted to Langer, The Age of 201–44.
Delbo, Auschwitz and 28–29.
Ibid., 33, 64–65, 67, 225.
Ibid., 145, 151.
Ibid., 226, 230.
Ibid., 239, 258.
See Primo Levi, The Drowned and the trans. Raymond Rosenthal (New York: Summit Books, 1986), 36–70.
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and trans. Barbara Vedder (New York: Penguin Books, 1967), 175.
Ibid., 176, 122.
Ibid., 38, 46, 49.
Ibid., 58, 83, 84.
Ibid., 110, 90, 89.
Ibid., 110, 98, 100.
Ibid., 112–13, 115–16.
Ibid., 122, 131, 142.
Ibid., 163, 168, 166–67.
Ibid., 177, 179.
Elie Wiesel, trans. Stella Rodway (New York: Bantam Books, 1982), 28. In his review of Lanzmann’s film (see New York 3 November 1985), Wiesel notes that it took him a long time to understand the anger of the prisoners who met his transport at Auschwitz. Later he learned that this squad was the one to which Rudolf Vrba belonged. With Alfred Wetzler, he had escaped Auschwitz weeks earlier to warn the Hungarian Jews and to tell the world about Auschwitz. Apparently the effort had been in vain—hence the anger.
Ibid., 32, 1, 109.
For more detail on Wiesel’s authorship, see Against ed. Irving Abrahamson; Michael Berenbaum, God, the Holocaust, and the Children of Israel (West Orange, N.J.: Behrman House, 1994); Robert McAfee Brown, Elie Wiesel: Messenger to All rev. ed. (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989); Harry James Cargas, Harry James Cargas in Conversation with Elie Wiesel (New York: Paulist Press, 1976); Jack Kolbert, The Worlds of Elie Wiesel: An Overview of His Career and Major Themes (Selinsgrove, Penn.: Susquehanna University Press, 2001); Carol Rittner, ed., Elie Wiesel: Between Memory and Hope (New York: New York University Press, 1990); John K. Roth, A Consuming Fire: Encounters with Elie Wiesel and the Holocaust (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1979); and Elie Wiesel and Richard D. Heffner, Conversation with Elie ed. Thomas J. Vinciguerra (New York: Schocken Books, 2001). For a specific emphasis on see Harold Bloom, ed., Elie Wiesel’s Night (Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2001). For an extremely critical, and controversial, view about see Naomi Seidman, “Elie Wiesel and the Scandal Rage,” Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, and Society 3 (fall 1996): 1–19.
Elie Wiesel, “Why I Write,” trans. Rosette C. Lamont, in Confronting the Holocaust: The Impact of Elie ed. Alvin H. Rosenfeld and Irving Greenberg (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978), 201.
Ibid., 201–2. See also Elie Wiesel, The trans. Marion Wiesel (New York: Random House, 1973), 154.
Elie Wiesel, Legends of Our trans. Stephen Donadio (New York: Avon Books, 1970), 230.
Elie Wiesel, A Jew trans. Marion Wiesel (New York: Random House, 1978), 164.
Wiesel, Legends of Our viii.
Wiesel, A Jew 144–45.
Elie Wiesel, The Trial of trans. Marion Wiesel (New York: Random House, 1979), 129.
Robert McAfee Brown notes this tale in “Wiesel’s Case Against God,” Christian 30 January 1980, 109–12.
Wiesel, A Jew 136.
Ibid., 149, 152.
Elie Wiesel, Messengers of trans. Marion Wiesel (New York: Random House, 1976), 35–36.
Elie Wiesel, The trans. Marion Wiesel (New York: Summit Books, 1981), 9.
On the elements of continuity and singularity between the Holocaust and other genocides, see Rubenstein, The Age of See also Chalk and Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide; Rittner, Roth, and Smith, eds., Will Genocide Ever Rosenbaum, ed., Is the Holocaust and Isidor Wallimann and Michael Dobkowski, eds., Genocide and the Modern Age: Etiology and Studies of Mass Death (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1987). On Rwanda, see Linda R. Melvern, A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide (London: Zed Books, 2000) and Power, Problem from
Helpful overviews of post-Holocaust religious reflection include Cohn-Sherbok, ed., Holocaust Theology; Michael L. Morgan, A Holocaust Reader: Responses to the Nazi Extermination (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000); Roth and Berenbaum, eds., and David G. Roskies, Against the Apocalypse: Responses to Catastrophe in Modern Jewish Culture (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1999).
Isaiah 45:7 is thought to be such a rejection: “I form light and create darkness; I make weal and create woe; I the do all these things.”
G. W. F. Hegel, “Introduction: Reason in History,” in Lectures on the Philosophy of World ed. Johannes Hoffmeister, trans. H. B. Nisbet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), 43 (italics added). For further Holocaust-related discussion of Hegel and other philosophers who have dealt with radical evil—Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hannah Arendt, and Emmanuel Levinas among them—see Richard J. Bernstein, Radical Evil: A Philosophical Interrogation (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002) and Susan Neiman, Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002).
Theodore W. Adorno, Negative trans. E. B. Ashton (New York: Seabury Press, 1973), 361–62.
For further discussion on this theme, see Roth, Holocaust 27–32. See also Stephen T. Davis, ed., Encountering Evil: Live Options in 2d ed. (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001) and Glover,
James H. Markham, “Over Philosophy’s Temple, Shadow of a Swastika,” New York 4 February 1988.
Heidegger’s letter to Marcuse, dated 28 January 1948, is found in the Marcuse archives in Frankfurt. See Thomas Sheehan, “Heidegger and the Nazis,” New York Review of 16 June 1988, 42.
See Laqueur, The Terrible 1–40, 196–208.
See Rubenstein, The Age of 132.
Irving Greenberg, “Cloud of Smoke, Pillar of Fire: Judaism, Christianity, and Modernity after the Holocaust,” in Auschwitz: Beginning of a New Era? ed. Fleischner, 9–13.
Elchonon Wassermann, Ma’amar Ikvossoh Demeshicho Vema’ma’amar al Ha’Emunah (Treatise on the footsteps of the Messiah and on faith) (New York: 1939, in Yiddish), cited in Gershon Greenberg, “Orthodox Theological Responses to Kristallnacht: Chayyim Ozer Grodzensky (‘Achiezer’) and Elchonon Wassermann,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 3 (1988): 431–41. We are indebted to Greenberg for his authoritative and continuing help over the years on the subject of Orthodox responses to the Holocaust. See also Bauer, Rethinking the 186–212, and Greenberg, “Orthodox Religious Thought,” in The Holocaust ed. Laqueur, 457–65.
Quoted in Greenberg, “Orthodox Theological Responses to Kristallnacht,” 439.
Joseph Isaac Schneersohn, “Redemption Now,” Netzach Yisroel III (1948): 6–7 [Hebrew], cited in Gershon Greenberg, “Reflections upon the Holocaust within American Orthodoxy, 1945–48,” unpublished paper, 1988.
Joseph H. Hertz, ed., The Authorized Daily Prayer Book (Bloch Publishing Co., 1948), 820–21. See also Richard L. Rubenstein, The Religious Imagination (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1968), 127–30.
Marc B. Shapiro, Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy: The Life and Works of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg 1884–1966 (London: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 1999), 177–78.
See, for example, Rittner, Smith, and Steinfeldt, eds., The Holocaust and the Christian World and Rittner and Roth, eds., “Good News” after Auschwitz?
See Paul van Buren, A Theology of the Jewish Christian 3 vols. (New York: Seabury Press, 1980–88).
Van Buren, Discerning the vol. 1 of A Theology of the Jewish Christian 116.
Van Buren, A Christian Theology of the Jewish vol. 2 of A Theology of the Jewish Christian 62–63.
Van Buren, Discerning the 119.
Ibid., 151, 181.
A second, extensively revised edition of After Auschwitz appeared in 1992. See Rubenstein, After Auschwitz: History, Theology, and Contemporary In revising this chapter, the authors had to omit material that remains pertinent for the issues under consideration. Interested readers can consult the first edition of Approaches to Auschwitz (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1987), 290–336.
Ignaz Maybaum, The Face of God after Auschwitz (Amsterdam: Polak & Van Gennep, 1965), 36.
Ibid., 63. For this citation, we are indebted to Steven T. Katz, Post-Holocaust Dialogues: Critical Studies in Modern Jewish Thought (New York: New York University Press, 1983), 162.
See Rubenstein, After 201–10.
On the “Grüber office,” see Barnett, For the Soul of the 144–46.
Cited in Rubenstein, After 1st ed., 54–55.
“Ein Wort zur Judenfrage, der Reichsbruderrat der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland,” 8 April 1948, in Der Ungekündigte ed. Goldschmidt and Kraus, 251–54.
Richard L. Rubenstein, Power Struggle: An Autobiographical Confession (New York: Charles Scribners’ Sons, 1974), 66.
Rubenstein’s statement in the Commentary symposium also appears in After 1st ed., 144–53. The passage quoted here appears on 153.
See Zachary Braiterman, (God) after Auschwitz: Tradition and Change in Post-Holocaust Jewish Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998), 62–84, 87.
Kaplan (1881–1983) was the founder of the Reconstructionist movement in Judaism. Rubenstein affiliated with the movement in the very early years of his rabbinate. Like Soloveitchik, Kaplan’s roots were in Lithuania, from which his family immigrated to the United States when he was nine years old. Kaplan believed in human progress and held an optimistic view of the course of human history. Rejecting belief in an all-powerful Creator God of history, he held that God is the “power that makes for salvation in the world,” a view he asserted before the Holocaust and continued to maintain thereafter.
Rubenstein has a brief discussion of Heschel’s influence on him in Power 62–63, 87–88, and 128–129.
Martin Buber, Eclipse of God: Studies in the Relation between Philosophy and Religion (New York: Harper & Row, 1952).
Buber’s failure to deal with the theological implications of the Holocaust in Eclipse of God is discussed in Rubenstein, “Buber and the Holocaust: Some Considerations on the 100th Anniversary of His Birth,” Michigan Quarterly Review 18 (summer 1979).
Braiterman, (God) after 67; Martin Buber, “The Dialogue between Heaven and Earth,” in his At the Turning: Three Addresses on Judaism (New York: Farrar, Strauss & Young, 1952), 61–62.
“Though His coming appearance resembles no earlier one, we shall recognize again our cruel and merciful Lord” (Buber, At the 62).
Abraham Joshua Heschel, A Passion for Truth (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973).
Abraham Joshua Heschel, Israel: An Echo in Eternity (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1967), 113. We are indebted to Zachary Braiterman, (God) after 70, for this citation.
Edward Kaplan, “Mysticism and Despair in Abraham J. Heschel’s Religious Thought,” Journal of Religion 57 (Jan. 1977): 33–47.
Joseph Soloveitchik, “Kol Dodi Dofek,” (The voice of my beloved knocks) in Theological and Halakhic Reflections on the ed. Bernhard Rosenberg and Fred Heuman (Hoboken, N.J.: KTAV, 1992), 60.
Soloveitchik had studied and was clearly influenced by the works of the Danish Christian thinker, Søren Kierkegaard (1813–55), especially Fear and trans. Alastair Hannay (New York: Viking Penguin, 1985), which contains a singularly influential meditation on the Akedah.
See Michael L. Morgan, Beyond Auschwitz: Post-Holocaust Jewish Thought in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 106–8, and Braiterman, (God) after 94–95.
Rubenstein, After 1st ed., 151–52.
Rubenstein was invited to participate in a Playboy interview and write about the “death of God” for that magazine at a time when the magazine was widely read by college students: “Religion and the New Morality: A Symposium,” June 1967 and “Judaism and the Death of God,” July 1967. His theology was also reported on extensively in the New York Times and in a Time profile. For further information on related topics, see Stephen R. Haynes and John K. Roth, eds., The Death of God Movement and the Holocaust: Radical Theology Encounters the Shoah (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999).
For an elaboration on the theme of the rabbi as symbolic exemplar, see Jack H. Bloom, The Rabbi as Symbolic Exemplar (Binghamton, N.Y.: Haworth Press, 2002), 137–153, esp. 142.
On the Armenian genocide as cultural and psychic inheritance, see Michael Arlen, Passage to Ararat (New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1975).
For Jewish attempts to downgrade the significance of the Holocaust, see Stephen Kepnes, Peter Ochs, and Robert Gibbs, Reasoning after Revelation: Dialogues in Postmodern Jewish Philosophy (Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 1998), 40–42, 70–71, 84–86. For an account that minimizes the significance of both the Holocaust and the state of Israel, see Marc H. Ellis, Ending Auschwitz: The Future of Jewish and Christian Life (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994).
The prayers are “Sound the great horn for our freedom; raise the ensign to gather our exiles, and gather us from the four corners of the earth. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who gatherest the dispersed of thy people...” and “And unto Jerusalem, thy city, return in mercy, and dwell therein as thou hast spoken; rebuild it soon in our days as an everlasting building, and speedily set up therein the throne of David. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who rebuildest Jerusalem” (Hertz, Prayer 143).
The idea of “an end to history” has roots in both classical theology and Hegelian philosophy. The American political philosopher Francis Fukuyama made a somewhat similar point about the collapse of communism and the triumph of liberal democracy as the “end of history.” Fukuyama did not foresee an end to conflict between groups, but he argued that liberal democracy constituted the “end point of mankind’s ideological evolution” and the “final form of human government,” and, as such, constituted the “end of history.” He argued that “if we looked beyond liberal democracy and markets, there was nothing else towards which we could hope to evolve; hence the end of history” (Francis Fukuyama, “The West Has Won,” Guardian [London], 11 October 2001). Fukuyama’s ideas were first set forth in “The End of History?” National summer 1989. He expanded on his ideas in The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992).
For a frank discussion by the leaders of Hamas of their long-range objectives, see Joel Brinkley, “Bombers Gloating in Gaza as They See Goal Within Reach: No More Israel,” New York 4 April 2002.
For example, Fatma Abdallaj Mahmoud, a regular columnist in the official Egyptian state newspaper, has said, “With regard to the Holocaust...this is no more than a fabrication, a lie, and a fraud!...I, personally...complain to Hitler, ‘If only you had done it, brother, if only it had really happened, so that the world could sigh in relief [without] their evil and sin’ ” (Fatma Abdallaj Mahmoud, “Accursed Forever and Ever,” [Cairo], 29 April 2002).
See Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response (New York: Oxford University Press), 154–55.
The Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Youssuf reported on 17 November 2001 that the Protocols had been dramatized in a thirty-part series entitled “Horseman without a Horse” for broadcast by Arab Radio and Television (ART) to the Middle East, North America, Latin America, Australia, and Africa.
On 14 December 2001 Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, gave the al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day sermon at Tehran University. In the sermon he declared that use of a nuclear bomb against Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam News [English], Teheran, 15 December 2001).
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958), 16 (part 1, chap. 13).
Fred M. Donner, “The Sources of Islamic Conceptions of War,” in John Kelsay and James Turner Johnson, Just War and Jihad: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives on War and Peace in Western and Islamic (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001), 51.
Later, Islamic legal scholars added a third category, dar the “abode of treaty,” that comprised those non-Muslim states with which it was deemed permissible temporarily to enter into treaties to avoid potentially harmful conflicts (Kelsay and Johnson, Just War and 98–99).
Hobbes, 107 (part 1, chap. 13).
Braiterman, (God) after 99–100.
See Fackenheim, God’s Presence in 8–14, and Emil L. Fackenheim, To Mend the World: Foundations of Future Jewish Thought (New York: Schocken Books, 1982), 9–22.
In traditional Judaism, the number of commandments given by God to Israel is said to be 613. The passage originally appeared in Judaism 16 (summer 1967): 272–73. The text of Fackenheim’s contribution to that journal’s symposium on “Jewish Values in the Post-Holocaust Future” is reprinted in Fackenheim, The Jewish Return into History: Reflections in the Age of Auschwitz and a New Jerusalem (New York: Schocken Books, 1978), 19–24. See also Fackenheim, God’s Presence in 84–98. In the 1997 edition of the latter work, Fackenheim includes a new preface, “No Posthumous Victories for Hitler: After Thirty Years, the ‘614th Commandment’ Reconsidered.” Noting that the phrase “ ‘no posthumous victories for Hitler’ became a slogan, often poorly understood, and as such liked by some, disliked by others, mocked by a few,” Fackenheim adds that “what ‘no posthumous victories for Hitler’ asked of Jews was, of course, not to spite Hitler, but to carry on in spite of him” (xii, Fackenheim’s italics).
One of the most noteworthy competitors for that distinction would be Irving Greenberg’s “working principle,” namely, that “no statement, theological or otherwise, should be made that would not be credible in the presence of the burning children.” See Greenberg, “Cloud of Smoke, Pillar of Fire: Judaism, Christianity, and Modernity after the Holocaust,” 23.
Fackenheim, The Jewish Return into 31 (italics added).
Fackenheim, To Mend the 10.
Fackenheim, The Jewish Return into 97.
Ibid., xiii. Italics added.
Braiterman, (God) after 152.
Fackenheim, Encounters between Judaism and Modern Philosophy (New York: Basic Books, 1973), 167–68.
Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996).
Fackenheim, The Jewish Return into 197–98.
Ibid., 282. The quotation comes from a chapter in the Encyclopedia Judaica Yearbook 1974 (Jerusalem: Keter, 1974) entitled “The Holocaust and the State of Israel: Their Relation,” which Fackenheim published originally in 1974. Significantly, in the 1997 edition of God’s Presence in Fackenheim chose to reprint this same chapter, along with his new preface. Commenting on his decision to reprint the chapter about the Holocaust and Israel, and referencing Saddam Hussein and Hamas explicitly, Fackenheim wrote the following, which remains as insightful as it was in 1997: “Currently, just one thing is certain: Only with true peace in Israel will the Jewish people be at peace. Only then will they be, at long last, rid of Hitler’s shadow” (xvi).
For the views of Paul of Tarsus on Israel’s “unbelief” and her ultimate conversion, see Romans 9–11.
Shmuel Krakowski, “Forced Labor,” in Encyclopedia of the ed. Laqueur, 210. See also Allen, The Business of Genocide; Joseph Borkin, The Crime and Punishment of I. G. Farben (New York: Free Press, 1978); and Benjamin B. Ferencz, Less Than Slaves: Jewish Forced Labor and the Quest for Compensation (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979).
See, for example, two essays by Peter Hayes: “State Policy and Corporate Involvement in the Holocaust,” in The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the ed. Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Peck (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), 197–218; and “The Degussa AG and the Holocaust,” in Lessons and Legacies V: The Holocaust and ed. Ronald Smelser (Evanston, III.: Northwestern University Press, 2002), 140–77.
This SS document is cited in Jacob Robinson, And the Crooked Shall Be Made Straight: The Eichmann Trial, the Jewish Catastrophe, and Hannah Arendt’s Narrative (New York: Macmillan, 1965), 285. Another telling example of efficiency calculations in the German destruction process is cited in Lanzmann, 103–4. He quotes from a document dated 5 June 1942 and sent from the killing center at Chelmno to Berlin. The memorandum urges that trucks ordered from the Saurer Company and slated for delivery to Chelmno must meet the technical requirements “shown by use and experience to be necessary.” The vans were slated for use as mobile gas chambers using carbon monoxide.
Victoria J. Barnett, Bystanders: Conscience and Complicity during the Holocaust (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2000), 149.
See, for example, Guy B. Adams and Danny L. Balfour, Unmasking Administrative Evil (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1988); Götz Aly and Susanne Heim, Architects of Annihilation: Auschwitz and the Logic of trans. A. G. Blunden (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003); Rainer C. Baum, The Holocaust and the German Elite: Genocide and National Suicide in Germany 1975–1945 (Totowa, N.J.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1981); Bauman, Modernity and the Harold James, The Deutsche Bank and the Nazi Economic War Against the Jews: The Expropriation of Jewish Owned Property (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); and Henry Ashby Turner Jr., German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).
For more on Mengele, see Gerald Astor, The Last Nazi: The Life and Times of Dr. Joseph Mengele (New York: Donald I. Fine, 1985); and Gerald L. Posner and John Ware, Mengele: The Complete Story (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1986). Further insights about the role of the German medical profession during the Hitler era can be found in Alexander Mitscherlich and Fred Mielke, Doctors of Infamy: The Story of the Nazi Medical trans. Heinz Norden (New York: Henry Schuman, 1949); Richard Grunberger, The 12-Year Reich: A Social History of Nazi Germany 1933–1945 (New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1971); Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 3:936–47 and 3:1002–13; Helen Kubica, “The Crimes of Josef Mengele,” in Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death ed. Gutman and Berenbaum, 317–37; Lifton, The Nazi Doctors; Robert Jay Lifton and Amy Hackett, “Nazi Doctors,” in Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death ed. Gutman and Berenbaum, 301–16; Francis R. Nicosia and Jonathan Huener, eds., Medicine and Medical Ethics in Nazi Germany: Origins, Practices, Legacies (New York: Berghahn Books, 2002); and Rubenstein, The Cunning of 48–67.
See Lucette Matalon Lagnado and Sheila Cohn Dekel, Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz (London: Pan Books, 1992).
For helpful detail, see George J. Annas and Michael A. Grodin, eds., The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992) and Benno Müller-Hill, “Human Genetics and the Mass Murder of Jews, Gypsies, and Others,” in Berenbaum and Peck, eds., The Holocaust and 103–14.
See, for example, Jonathan D. Moreno, Under Risk: Secret State Experiments on Humans (New York: Routledge, 2000) and Peter Williams and David Wallace, Unit 731: Japan’s Secret Biological Warfare in World War II (New York: Free Press, 1989).
See Müller, Hitler’s Justice: The Courts of the Third Also helpful are Grunberger, The 12-Year 285–323, and Telford Taylor, “The Legal Profession,” in The Holocaust: Ideology, Bureaucracy, and ed. Henry Friedlander and Sybil Milton (Millwood, N.Y.: Kraus International Publications, 1980).
See Grunberger, The 12-Year 285–323. For more information on education in Nazi Germany, see Gregory Paul Wegner, Anti-Semitism and Schooling under the Third Reich (New York: Routledge, 2002).
Two relevant discussions of these topics are Gilmer W. Blackburn, Education in the Third Reich: A Study of Race and History in Nazi Textbooks (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984) and Christa Kemenetsky, Children’s Literature in Hitler’s Germany (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1984).
For more detail, see Geoffrey J. Giles, Students and National Socialism in Germany (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999) and Jacques R. Pauwels, Women, Nazis, and Universities: Female University Students in the Third Reich, 1933–1945 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1984).
See Alan Beyerchen, “The Physical Sciences,” in The ed. Friedlander and Milton, 151–63. For more detail, see Alan Beyerchen, Scientists under Hitler: Politics and the Physics Community in the Third Reich (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1977).
See Thomas R. Hughes, “Technology,” in The ed. Friedlander and Milton, 165–81.
See Christopher R. Browning, “The Government Experts,” in The ed. Friedlander and Milton, 183–97, for a summary elaboration of some aspects of this dimension of the Holocaust. For more detail, see Christopher R. Browning, The Final Solution and the German Foreign Office: A Study of Referat D III of Abteilung Deutschland 1940–43 (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1978).
A significant early study of the activity in the Holocaust is available in Raul Hilberg, “German Railroads, Jewish Souls,” Society 14 (Nov.–Dec. 1976): 60–74. See also Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 2:407–16, 486–88 and 2:424–33, 507–9.
Alfred C. Mierzejewski, “A Public Enterprise in the Service of Mass Murder: The Deutsche Reichsbahn and the Holocaust,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 15 (spring 2001), 34. Mierzejewski is also the author of The Most Valuable Asset of the Reich: A History of the German National 2 vols. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000).
Mierzejewski, “A Public Enterprise,” 36.
Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 2:411 and 2:428–29.
Mierzejewski, “A Public Enterprise,” 41.
See Patrick Hayden, ed., The Philosophy of Human Rights (St. Paul, Minn.: Paragon House, 2001), 353.
A helpful analysis of this trial is provided by Michael R. Marrus, The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: 1945–46: A Documentary History (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997).
Our account of the Nuremberg Trial draws on material prepared by John Roth for Roth et al., The Holocaust
Bradley F. Smith, Reaching Judgment at Nuremberg (New York: Basic Books, 1977), 14. Other helpful accounts of the Nuremberg trials include Eugene Davidson, The Trial of the Germans: An Account of Twenty-two Defendants before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (New York: Macmillan, 1966); Stephen Goodell et al., In Pursuit of Justice: Examining the Evidence of the Holocaust (Washington, D.C.: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1996); Michael R. Marrus, The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial; Joseph E. Persico, Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial (New York: Viking Penguin, 1994); Bradley F. Smith, The Road to Nuremberg (New York: Basic Books, 1981); and John and Ann Tusa, The Nuremberg Trial (New York: Atheneum Publishers, 1984). For important pretrial background and documentation, including interrogations of some of the defendants at Nuremberg, see Richard Overy, Interrogations: The Nazi Elite in Allied Hands, 1945 (New York: Viking, 2001).
Smith, Reaching Judgment at 14.
Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 3:1077 n.72 and 3:1159 n.72. See also Borkin, The Crime and Punishment of I. G.
For more detail on these matters, see Adams and Balfour, Unmasking Administrative Evil and Allan A. Ryan Jr., Quiet Neighbors: Prosecuting Nazi War Criminals in America (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984), 344. Between 1979 and the time of this writing, the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), an arm of the U.S. Justice Department that began operations in 1979, has sought to bring former Nazis to justice. At the time of this writing, the OSI’s work includes the following results: about 70 people implicated in Nazi persecutions have had their American citizenship revoked, more than 50 others have been deported for similar reasons, and approximately 160 suspected Nazis have been refused entry to the United States. The remaining ex-Nazis are aging; their numbers dwindle. Racing against time, the OSI’s work continues.
Ferencz, Less Than 156.
Rubenstein, The Cunning of 65.
For instructive sociopsychological discussions about rationalizations and interpersonal dynamics that expedited the Holocaust and facilitate the potential for future genocides, see Browning, Ordinary Men; Ervin Staub, The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); and James Waller, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).
For a useful discussion of the various defense mechanisms employed by Nazis to justify their actions in the Holocaust, see Hilberg, “The Nature of the Process,” in Survivors, Victims, and ed. Dimsdale, 5–54. See also Robert Wolfe, “Putative Threat to National Security as Nuremberg Defense for Genocide,” in Reflections on the ed. Shur, Littell, and Wolfgang, 46–67. As he sized up the excuses that German industrialists offered, Benjamin Ferencz, an American prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, added that as far as German business leaders were concerned, “it was only those who had nothing to be ashamed of who expressed a sense of guilt and culpability.” See Ferencz, Less Than 192.
G. W. F. Hegel, Philosophy of trans. T. M. Knox (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), 12–13.
The quotation is from Littell’s concluding plenary speech at Remembering for the Future 2000, a major international conference on the Holocaust held in Oxford, England, 16–23 July 2000. See Remembering for the ed. Roth and Maxwell, 3:8–9.
On these points, see Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust and Glover, Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth
Calel Perechodnik, Am I a Murderer? Testament of a Jewish Ghetto ed. and trans. Frank Fox (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1996).
Richard L. Rubenstein, The Cunning of 91. The italics are Rubenstein’s.
For an important study of bystanders during the Holocaust, see Barnett, which eloquently makes the case that the inaction and indifference of the bystander—a category containing vastly more human beings than the categories of perpetrator, victim, or rescuer—is extremely important when the questions are “Why did the Holocaust happen?” and “Will genocide ever end?” Omer Bartov complements Barnett’s account when he writes, “The majority of the estimated 300 million people under German rule during the Holocaust were neither victims of the camps nor perpetrators. They were bystanders of various degrees and types. Some belonged to Greater Germany, and their kin were either fighting for Hitler or running his camps. Others belonged to Germany’s allies, and more likely than not were more supportive of the partnership with the Third Reich in the early phases of the war than toward the end. Others still belonged to the occupied nations, and stood a good chance of becoming victims themselves, especially if they resisted Nazi policies or tried to protect those slated for extermination. But by and large, those who did not carry out genocide and related atrocities, and those who were not subjected to these policies, namely, the vast majority of German-occupied Europe’s population, mostly watched in silence or did their best not to see at all....Genocide cannot take place without a majority of passive bystanders.” See Bartov, ed., The 204. Points akin to those emphasized by Barnett and Bartov are effectively amplified in Gordon J. Horowitz, “Places Far Away, Places Very Near: Mauthausen, the Camps of the Shoah, and the Bystanders,” in The Holocaust and ed. Berenbaum and Peck, 409–20. See also Gordon J. Horowitz, In the Shadow of Death: Living Outside the Gates of Mauthausen (New York: Free Press, 1990). For Hilberg’s discussion of bystanders—neighbors, as he calls them—see The Destruction of the European Jews (2003), 3:1119–26.
Berenbaum, The World Must 220.
An insightful study of rescue during the Holocaust is David P. Gushee, The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust: A Christian rev. ed. (St. Paul, Minn.: Paragon House, 2003).
Gerald Fleming, “Engineers of Death,” New York 18 July 1993, E19. In our discussion of Fleming’s findings, all the quotations are from this same source and page.
Three especially significant works on Auschwitz are Gutman and Berenbaum, eds. Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp; Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt, Auschwitz: 1270 to the and van Pelt, The Case for In the context of this discussion, the following essays in Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp are particularly relevant: Francisek Piper, “Gas Chambers and Crematoria,” 157–82, and Jean-Claude Pressac with Robert Jan van Pelt, “The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz,” 183–245. For further information about Kurt Prüfer and his associates, see Auschwitz: 1270 to the esp. 269–71, and The Case for esp. 296–97, 350.
For an important discussion of these themes, see Haas, Morality after Related topics are discussed in John K. Roth, ed., Ethics after the Holocaust: Perspectives, Critiques, and Responses (St. Paul: Paragon House, 1999).
Even with respect to Berenbaum’s appealing idea that the Holocaust is a negative absolute, this judgment remains valid. There is no guarantee that universal moral reason or intuition exists or that, if they do, they will automatically conclude without disagreement that the Holocaust is a negative absolute. In ethics, the human will is decisive in determining how good and evil, right and wrong are understood. Reason and intuition inform our willing and choosing, but without the latter, our senses of good and evil, right and wrong, lack the force that gives them full reality and makes them effective. Willing and choosing alone do not determine what is ethical, but in the fullest sense no determination of right and wrong takes place without them. For a careful and important ethical study that emphasizes rationality in a more universalistic way, see David H. Jones, Moral Responsibility in the Holocaust: A Study in the Ethics of Character (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999).
Rubenstein, Cunning of 90.
Jean Améry, At the Mind’s Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and Its trans. Sidney Rosenfeld and Stella P. Rosenfeld (New York: Schocken Books, 1986), 86. The book was originally published in 1966.
Perechodnik, Am I a Murderer? 211.
Carl Friedman, trans. Arnold and Erica Pomerans (New York: Persea Books, 1994), 134.