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What makes the Holocaust a uniquely unique genocide?

Authors:
Journal of Genocide Research (2000), 2(3), 411–430
[The issue of uniqueness has been around for several years. It has been discussed and
debated extensively, though by no means de nitively, to everyone’s satisfaction. At times
the dispute has generated more heat than light, largely not on philosophical grounds, not
even on semantic ones. Though the question of uniqueness has centered primarily on the
qualities of the Holocaust, it has far broader rami cations than just for this single (and
singular?) genocide. At issue, no less, is the fundamental question: is each incident of
genocide so distinct from another that comparison is unproductive, a cul-de-sac? Can each
case be examined by itself divorced from other like cases?
The following essay by Professor Gunnar Heinsohn may concern itself primarily with the
Holocaust in mind as an event apart; yet it is more than that. Its analysis could be a model
for teaching the incomparability of any genocide besides the Holocaust.
By agreement with Professor Heinsohn, a “rebuttal” essay will follow his contribution in
a subsequent issue of Genocide Research. We hope the readers will be drawn into this
debate with comments of their own. The editors in particular are interested in promoting
this dialogue in order to promote the comparative approach, namely, the speech for both
similarities and dissimilarities.]
What makes the Holocaust a
uniquely unique genocide?
GUNNAR HEINSOHN
Jewish “race” but not Jewish faith as target of the Holocaust?
It was not for their faith that the Jews were persecuted in Hitler’s day—that is precisely
why the extermination campaign astounded the Jews and the rest of the world. It was as
if forces of hatred and destruction unparalleled in recent history—forces whose potency
was unsuspected by the peoples of the so-called enlightened world—had burst forth from
the depths of the human soul.1
Leni Yahil has summarized a scholarly consensus by ruling out the Jewish faith
as the aim of Hitler-Germany’s genocide of the Jews. There is much less
agreement about what Hitler was actually aiming at. Yet, a majority of authors
would probably settle for racist anti-Semitism, i.e. a program of strengthening a
German-Aryan master race by purifying it of “inferior blood.” There can be no
doubt that the annihilation of European Jewry was justi ed time and again in
terms of racism by German perpetrators including Hitler himself. In public Hitler
has employed every brand of anti-Semitism to carry out his genocidal agenda.
ISSN 1462-3528 print; IS SN 1469-9494 online/00/030411-20 Ó2000 Research Network in Genocide St udies
GUNNAR HEINSOHN
He has sided with Christian Jew-haters, with jealous economic or intellectual
competitors of Jews, with supposed victims of “international Jewish  nance,”
with Slavic nationalists, with Baltic anti-Bolsheviks, etc. All these alliances
betray Hitler’s  exibility in carrying through his objective. Yet, what exactly
was it? After all, personally he did not believe in racist anti-Semitism. This can,
last but not least, be gleaned from a correspondence to Martin Bormann on
February 3, 1945:
I have never been of the opinion that the Chinese or Japanese, for example, are racially
inferior. Both belong to old cultures and I admit that their tradition is superior to ours. […]
I even believe that I will  nd it all the easier to come to an understanding with the Chinese
and the Japanese, the more they persevere in their racial pride. […] Our Nordic racial
consciousness is only aggressive toward the Jewish race. We use the term Jewish race
merely for reasons of linguistic convenience, for in the real sense of the word, and from
a genetic point of view there is no Jewish race. Present circumstances force upon us this
characterization of the group of common race and intellect, to which all the Jews of the
world profess their loyalty, regardless of the nationality identi ed in the passport of each
individual. This group of persons we designate as the Jewish race. […] The Jewish race is
above all a community of the spirit. […] Spiritual race is of a more solid and more durable
kind than natural race. Wherever he goes, the Jew remains a Jew […] presenting sad proof
of the superiority of the ‘spirit’ over the  esh.2
Hitler did not only understand that there was no Jewish race in a biological
sense but he had the same insight regarding the Germans or any people. Again,
he expressed this in private—even before 1933—because he had no intention to
forego the bloody help of the racists:
A people in today’s political sense is no longer a racial unity, a pure racial community. The
large migrations of world history, wars, periods of enemy occupation, but also natural
mixing becoming ever more frequent through international trade, have caused everywhere,
within the borders of a state, all existing races as well as mixtures of races to live together.3
Much closer to racism was Hitler’s attitude towards Slavs. Yet, he only
harbored a personal dislike for Czechs.4The Slavic nations as a bloc he
considered as unquali ed for statehood and, therefore, as easy prey for his
conquest of settlement space (Lebensraum). It is interesting to observe how
Hitler—in his second book which was written in 1928 but only published after
the war—has evaluated Slavs in connection with Jews to point out from another
perspective that his own anti-Semitism cannot be identi ed with racist anti-
Semitism:
It is only natural that in the Bolshevik revolution Jewry took leading positions in all  elds
of Russian life. Slavdom [Slawentum ] as such and out of itself lacks any organizational
talent. It is not capable to build states and to preserve them. If you pull out all non-Slavic
elements out of Slavdom its state structures will immediately collapse.5
Though Hitler’s planned solution for the Slavic states was quite  nal and
de nitely genocidal on an enormous scale—we will come back to that—there
412
THE HOLOCAUST: UNIQUELY UNIQUE?
was no persecution of the strong Slavic element within Germany or anywhere
else outside the Slavic territories.
Only when it came to black Africans did Hitler show himself as a full-blown
racist. The relevant passage from Mein Kampf is signi cant because Hitler
condemns them in the context of an attack on the Jews. It is directed against the
Jewish code of ethics—e.g., “Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me,
O children of Israel?” (Amos 9:7)—but in no way against a Jewish “race”:
From time to time magazines call the attention of the bourgeoisie to another case of the  rst
Negro ever to have become a lawyer, teacher, even a pastor or star tenor or the like. While
the feeble-minded bourgeoisie marvels at this miraculous feat of trained performance, full
of respect for this fabulous result of present-day pedagogy, the Jew slyly takes advantage
of the opportunity to construct new proof of the correctness of his theory of the equality
of human beings which it is his mission to hammer into the heads of the nations. It does
not dawn on the degenerate bourgeois world that in truth what we have here is an offense
against all reason, that it is outrageous lunacy to keep drilling a native anthropoid until one
is convinced of having made a lawyer of him.6
Although Hitler placed no people below the black Africans, the SS never
received a command pertaining to the “ nal solution of the Negro question.” For
the colonial territory to be gained in Africa, strict Apartheid was planned in
order to keep the Africans in permanent servitude.7Nevertheless, according to an
estimate by the Swiss historian Micha Grin, some 2,000 black women and men
were deported from Germany and the occupied territories to concentration and
internment camps. Though they were not destined for systematic annihilation
hundreds of them perished.8Four hundred Afro-Germans had been forcibly
sterilized by 1937.9Yet, others lived in Germany through all of the Nazi
period.10 Hitler’s treatment of the black Africans demonstrates the inappropriate-
ness of the view that Auschwitz was the product of an extreme form of racism.
Hitler did indeed cultivate such a form of racism. But it was leveled at “the
Negro.” According to the logic of the racist theory, Hitler’s main war should
have been waged against black Africans. But since it was waged against Jews,
reasons other than those of racism must be investigated. Is the Question as to the
Contents of Hitler’s Own anti-Semitism “unanswerable” and, therefore, the
Holocaust Inexplicable?
Brigitte Hamann’s 1996 study Hitlers Wien came as a shock to many
researchers because for the period of Hitler’s life in Austria (1889–1913)
no anti-Semitic statement of the young H. has been transmitted. […] Why anti-Semitism
became the ultimate focus of H.’s career cannot be answered from his time in Linz and
Vienna. This development belongs to later years. In 1919 [after World War One was lost
by Germany; G.H.] he already used very aggressive anti-Semitic phraseology.11
What Hitler had learnt in Vienna was Social Darwinism, his belief in the
victory of the strong over the weak. Yet, that could be learned in every European
city. In Vienna, however, Hitler had not yet understood that it was the Jewish
code of ethics that stood in the way of applying the rules of the animal kingdom
to humankind.
413
GUNNAR HEINSOHN
After anti-Semitic Vienna had been identi ed by many researchers as the
seedbed of Hitler’s personal anti-Semitism they now had to learn that he actually
sided with the Jewish oppressed. This was summarized by one of those scholars,
Gordon A. Craig, in his review of the English translation12 of Hamann’s book:
Hamann tells us of a stormy discussion in 1910 about Empress Elizabeth’s veneration for
Heinrich Heine, in which Hitler defended the [German-Jewish] poet and regretted that there
were no statues to him in Germany. In other discussions in the men’s hostel, he was
reported to have praised Maria Theresia’s great reforming minister Joseph von Sonnenfels
and Jewish musicians like Mendelssohn and Offenbach. He had Jewish friends with whom
he discussed religious questions and the future of the Zionist movement and upon whom
he could rely for loans and other help in his worst times. He always preferred to sell his
watercolors to Jewish dealers, because he thought that they were more honest and gave him
better prices. No reliable source has reported Hitler making any anti-Semitic remarks in his
Vienna period; on the contrary, he was known to have expressed admiration for the courage
with which the Jews had withstood a long history of persecution.13
As late as 1938, after Germany’s annexation of Austria, the dictator personally
saw to the safe emigration of his venerated Jewish family doctor from Linz,
Eduard Bloch.14 Whenever Hitler saw  t, especially after 1930 in addresses to
industrialists, he delivered speeches in which anti-Semitism played no role at
all.15 It is most of all the striking absence of Radau-Antisemitismus (rowdy
anti-Semitism) in Hitler that has brought many a student of the Holocaust to
categorize it under the inexplicable. Germany’s leading cultural weekly, Die Zeit
(author Karl-Heinz Janssen), judged Hamann’s book as a starting point “after
which Hitler research can fully begin for the  rst time.” The most successful
Hitler biographer ever, Joachim Fest, after Hamann’s 1996 book, regarded the
question as to the content and origin of Hitler’s anti-Semitism as “unanswered
and perhaps unanswerable.”16 Ian Kershaw, author of “the classic Hitler biogra-
phy17 of our time,”18 two years later was no less prudent than his German
predecessor: “Hitler has demonstrated in the most terrifying way what we are
capable of. Yet, Auschwitz lies at the limit of explicability. Historians can
describe how it got that far but why it happened is a completely different
question.”19 One of the most gifted of the younger researchers in Germany,
Ulrich Herbert—though not without hope for future progress—could only agree
with Kershaw:
Simply to state the inexplicability of the [Holocaust] event will lead nowhere. […] Since
a theory of the Holocaust is lacking […], the desire for understanding this event can only
be ful lled through time and again occupying oneself with it.20
The Nestor of Hitler research in the English-speaking world, Alan Bullock,
told Ron Rosenbaum in 1998: “The more I learn about Hitler, the harder I  nd
it to explain.”21 And yet, scholars share a strong feeling that “Hitler was the
culprit who gave all the other culprits their chance.”22 Eberhard Jaeckel did not
see it differently: “There are still unanswered questions. We will have to turn our
attention to Hitler once more. He stood alone at the top!”23 Yehuda Bauer,
Israel’s outstanding Holocaust expert, added con dence that new insights in that
414
THE HOLOCAUST: UNIQUELY UNIQUE?
direction should be possible: “Hitler is explicable in principle, but that does not
mean that he has been explained.” 24 Could it be that there is a way from Hitler’s
principles to understand him in principle? This author is inclined to think so.25
Hitler’s  rst principle: strengthening Germany through the extermination
of Germany’s weak
On November 5, 1937, Hitler addressed the highest military leaders of Germany
to summarize his political grand design. The protocol (Hossbach-Protokoll ) of
this four-hour meeting became one of the most important pieces of evidence in
the Nuremberg Trials (1945/46) to prove Germany’s intention to commit crimes
against peace as well as crimes of war. The protocol, completed on November
10, 1937, stated:
The prime goal of the policy of Germany is the safeguarding and preservation of the
population masses as well as their increase. Thus, one has to deal with the problem of
space.26
Hitler-Germany’s program of systematic exterminations began on September
1, 1939, with “full-blooded Aryans.” It affected the mentally handicapped
including newborn, as well as soldiers severely wounded during the war
launched against Poland on September 1, 1939. Some 300,000 patients in some
600 German psychiatric clinics were destined to be killed in gas chambers or by
injections. Some 70,000, including an unknown number of soldiers, had been
murdered before internal resistance brought this secret action of “euthanasia” to
a provisional standstill in November 1941. It was a public sermon (August 3,
1941) by the Catholic Bishop of Muenster/Westphalia, Clemens August von
Galen, which eventually forced Hitler into a reluctant tactical but by no means
 nal retreat (50,000 more patients were killed later):27
If one is allowed forcibly to remove one’s unproductive fellow human beings then woe
betide loyal soldiers who return to the homeland seriously disabled, as cripples, as invalids.
[…] Then, it is only necessary for some secret edict to order that the method developed for
the mentally ill should be extended to other “unproductive” people, that it should be applied
to those suffering from incurable lung disease, to the elderly who are frail or invalids, to
the severely disabled soldiers. […] Woe to mankind, woe to our German nation, if the holy
commandment of God, “Thou shalt not kill,” pronounced by the Lord amidst thunder and
lightning on Sinai, engraved by the Lord upon the conscience of mankind from the very
beginning, is not only violated, but if this violation is tolerated and its commitment goes
unpunished.28
The reference of the Bishop, a conservative and nationalist prelate, to Sinai
may be revealing. Why mention the Jewish locus of the law at all? Why this
demonstration of Christianity’ s Jewish side, its Verjudung (Jewi cation) as the
Nazis would say? In the  rst edition of Volume I of Mein Kampf (1925), Hitler
had written: “The exposure of sick, weak, deformed children, i.e. their annihila-
tion, was in reality a thousand times more humane than the deplorable lunacy of
our present-day time.”29 Where, for example, infanticide is replaced by prophy-
415
GUNNAR HEINSOHN
lactic birth control, and every child born is thus a wanted child, the “obsession”
emerges
of “saving” even the weakest, even the sickest, at all costs. […] A stronger race will banish
the weaker ones, for in the end the instinct to survive will always break the ridiculous
bonds of a so-called humanity of the individual, allowing the humanity of nature to take
its place, a humanity which destroys the weak to provide space for the strong. Therefore,
he who wants to ensure the existence of the German nation through a self-limitation of its
reproductive process is depriving it of the future.30
Hitler did not leave us in the dark regarding the identity of the originator of
this so unnatural “humanity”: “In recognition of the consequences [of birth
control], it is not, coincidentally, the Jew above all who so skillfully sets about
embedding such mortally dangerous ideas in the minds of our people.” 31
At the 1929 party convention in Nuremberg, Hitler publicly opposed the
“Jew’s train of thought,” citing an older—Indo-Germanic—right:
If one million children were born in Germany per year and 700,000 to 800,000 of the
weakest eliminated, the  nal result might possibly even be an increase of strength. The
worst danger is that we are interrupting the natural selection process ourselves (by caring
for the sick and weak). The most far-sighted racial state of history, Sparta, systemati-
cally implemented these racial laws.32
When the killing of the handicapped was fully under way, on December 4,
1940, a High Consistory of Stuttgart, Reinhold Sautter, engaged, in a private
discussion Eugen Staehle, Hitler’s of cial in charge of the gassing facilities in
the psychiatric clinic of Grafeneck, Wuerttemberg. Staehle reprimanded Sautter
urging him to stop the transgression of a divine law, saying “The  fth
commandment: ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ is not a commandment of God at all but a
Jewish invention.”33 Basically, Staehle let Sautter know that the clergyman—
though probably not a friend of the Jews—was verjudet, like all the churches,
a victim of Jewi cation.
Hitler’s people knew about the “Jewish invention” of the prohibition of
killing, no less than the Bishop of Muenster. There was an indirect dialogue
going on between the two sides. Of course, we cannot prove that Staehle’s
statement was made according to highest orders. Yet, we know that he himself
is not on record for having carried out investigations on the history of the
Occidental code. W e know , however, that he hit upon a correct observation— the
civilization of the world did indeed receive its law forbidding murder from
Judaism: “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17).
Pagan authors of antiquity already reported on the extensive elaboration of
this Judaic law. It is the  rst to comprise protection of the newborn, whose
killing was allowed in the Greco-Roman cultural complex when called for by
considerations of birth control or health. In 300 BCE, for example, the Greek
philosopher Hecateus of Abdera was positively astounded by the fact that the
Jews raise all of their children.34 In the  rst century CE, the major historian of
the Roman empire, Tacitus, wrote of the Jews, “It is a mortal sin to kill an
416
THE HOLOCAUST: UNIQUELY UNIQUE?
unwanted child” (Histories Vol 5).35 Philo, a Jewish scholar from Alexandria,
explained the connection between the “Thou shalt not kill” and charity in the
 rst century CE:
At the same time an even greater [wrong] is prohibited [for the Jews], the exposure of
children—an atrocity which is common practice among many other peoples as a conse-
quence of their innate misanthropy. […] But who might better be called man-haters than
the haters and ruthless enemies of their own children? Only a fool could believe that
persons who have treacherously treated those bound to them by descent will show kindness
toward strangers. Those who lay their hands on their children, suffocating and suppressing
the  rst breath of life with an insensitivity both brutal and horrible, as well as those who
throw them into a river or sea, weighted with a heavy object to make them sink
faster—such persons themselves provide the clearest proof of their identity as killers and
child-slayers. Others take the children into the wilderness to abandon them—in the hope of
their preservation, as they say themselves, but in reality to subject them to the most
dreadful ruin. For all the man-eating beasts approach unhindered to help themselves to the
children, the grand feast served them by the children’s former guardians, those primarily
committed to their preservation, father and mother; and the relics are gnawed at by the
birds of prey which then come  ying down—if their attention has not been attracted earlier,
for if it has been, the birds will  ght the beasts for the entire body. (De specialibus legibus,
Vol III, p 20).
The most important passage of the Torah—for all forms of Judaism— empha-
sizes the sanctity of life as the core of the law and as a value identical with
goodness (“the good law”):
See, I have set before thee this day life and good. […] I call heaven and earth to record
this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing:
therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19)
Not until the year 318 CE was the Judaic prohibition against infanticide
enacted by the Roman empire under Constantine the Great, never again to be
formally expunged from the criminal statutes of the Occident and the Eu-
ropeanized nations.36 India, under the British, outlawed infanticide in 1839.37 In
about 1900 Japan had done the same.38 In 1949, China followed suit.39 Hitler’s
circle had fully understood that the prohibition of infanticide is not a law of
nature but a moral principle created by man—by “the Jews”—and, therefore,
also abolishable by man.
Hitler’s second principle: strengthening Germany through the conquest of
settlement territories (Lebensraum) and the extermination of their inhabitants
In the speech of November 5, 1937, to his top brass Hitler was prepared to meet
resistance when coming to the decisive point in relation to the prospective role
of the German military:
The only way to achieve our goal [safeguarding and preservation of the population masses
as well as their increase] would lay in the winning of a larger living space [Lebensraum].
This may appear as dreamlike to you […] I am not dealing with winning new people but
417
GUNNAR HEINSOHN
with agriculturally usable space. […] To the solution of the German question there is only
the way of force and that can never be without risk.40
Within the Nazi party Hitler elaborated on such ideas much earlier. At the
beginning of the 1930s, he met Hermann Rauschning, the Nazi leader of Danzig
who later became his opponent and published a book on this meeting:
Our lawyers and lawmakers make a fundamental error in assuming that one can create life
with a code of laws and a constitution./Our revolution is not merely a political and social
one. We face a tremendous upheaval of moral principles and the spiritual orientation of
man. With our movement the intervening age, the middle age, has come to its end. We
terminate a wrong path of mankind. The Tables of Mount Sinai have lost their validity.
Conscience is a Jewish invention./It is our duty to depopulate, just as it is our duty to
provide appropriate care to the German population. We will have to develop a technology
of depopulation. What do I mean by depopulation, you will ask. Do I intend to eliminate
entire peoples? Yes, more or less. That is where it will lead to. Nature is cruel. We
therefore have the same right. […] For centuries people have been driveling on about the
protection of the poor. The time has come to address ourselves to the protection of the
strong from the inferior. One of the most important tasks of an eternally valid German
politics will be to use every possible means to prevent the further growth of the Slavic
peoples. Natural instinct commands every living being not only to defeat the enemy but to
destroy him. In earlier ages there existed the good right of the victor to exterminate entire
tribes, entire nations.4 1
There is a long-standing controversy regarding the authenticity of Hitler’s
statements in Rauschning’s report. The essential—though not word-for-word—
correctness of Hitler’s tone is supported by mainstream historians (e.g.
Schieder,42 and Broszat43) whereas others— including right-wing exponents like
Haenel44—refuse to acknowledge Rauschning as a historical source (e.g. To-
bias45). This author chooses a middle course, i.e. draws on passages borne out
by statements of Hitler made at other times and in other contexts. The fact that
Rauschning never supplied stenographic notes of his encounter with Hitler and
that his text contains interpretations of Hitler’s ideas is indisputable for all
participating in the controversy. Basic ideas of Hitler reported by Rauschning
strike one as being not only original but rich in consequences. Should one want
to reject them as a basic source one would have to acknowledge Rauschning
himself as the creator of these unusual thoughts. Yet there is no evidence
whatsoever to support the assumption that the formulations by Rauschning being
examined here are derived from his own research.
Strikingly similar to Rauschning’s report from the early 1930s is a protocol of
Hitler’s adjutant, Major Engel, for January 20, 1940, when Hitler was bathing in
the victory of the  rst Eastern war (Poland, 1939) and preparing the two Western
wars (France/Holland/Belgium as well as Denmark/Norway, 1940):
F. [Fuehrer] says literally “The war is in this respect […] a good opportunity.” Already in
antiquity entire peoples have been eliminated. Peoples were deported in passing.46
On August 11, 1939—twenty days before launching the offensive against
418
THE HOLOCAUST: UNIQUELY UNIQUE?
Poland—Hitler reassured his Swiss counterpart, High Commissioner of the
League of Nations for Danzig, Carl Jacob Burckhardt:
If I have war to conduct, I would rather conduct war today than tomorrow. I would not
conduct it like the Germany of William II, which constantly felt pangs of conscience about
the full employment of its armed force. I will  ght ruthlessly to the end.4 7
On November 11, 1941, Hitler, in a private discussion, gave his view why
Germany had lost World War I:
We experienced it during the World War: the only country which was religious was
Germany, and that was the country that lost.48
How does one have to read statements like these or the passage reported by
Rauschning—“The Tables of Mount Sinai have lost their validity, Conscience is
a Jewish invention./In earlier ages there existed the good right of the victor to
exterminate entire tribes, entire nations”? On December 5, 1940, Hitler approved
the plans of the Wehrmacht to attack Soviet Russia and to annex it up to the Ural
Mountains, i.e. up to the border of Asia.49 From different sources it becomes
clear what Hitler meant with his announcement from November 5, 1937: “I am
not dealing with winning new people but with agriculturally usable space.”
Basically, the program for the Soviet Union was the same as in the  rst
Eastern war, against Poland. On August 22, 1939—ten days before the attack—
Hitler, once again, had attuned his generals and admirals to his new Weltan-
schauung of winning space but not its inhabitants. Admiral Canaris, the chief of
German intelligence (Abwehr), had conveyed this to the British:
Genghis Khan drove millions of women and children to their death, consciously and
light-heartedly. […] I [Hitler] gave the order—and I will have anyone who utters even a
word of criticism shot—that the war aim does not consist of reaching certain lines but of
the physical destruction of the enemy. It is for this purpose that I have assembled my
death’s-head squads, for the time being only in the East, with the command to send [every]
man, woman and child of Polish descent and tongue to their death, mercilessly and
pitilessly. Only by these means can the Lebensraum we require be gained.50
After Germany’s own mentally handicapped and the seriously wounded
German soldiers, the Polish elite became—in late September 1939—the third
group to be exterminated by Hitler-Germany: “There must be [Hitler on October
2, 1940] no Polish members of the elite in occupied Poland. Where they exist
they have to be killed—even if this may sound hard.”51 His party’s race-political
of ce [Rassepolitisches Amt der Reichsleitung der NSDAP] had already de-
manded in Autumn 1939: “In the long run the complete deletion of the Polish
nation [Polentum]”52 must be achieved. Within eight weeks in Autumn 1939,
SS-Einsatzgruppen killed some 40,000–70,000 Poles (including family mem-
bers) with university degrees—many of them Jewish and nearly 2,800 of them
Catholic priests.53 Up to the end of the war 750,000 Poles were forcefully
deported from their homes—with a high killing rate in often deadly conditions
of cattle wagons or winter death marches.54 Simultaneously with the killing of
Poland’s elite, the SS began with the ghettoization and massacres of the Jews of
419
GUNNAR HEINSOHN
Poland as a preliminary step to the Endloesung” ( nal solution) as can be
concluded from Heydrich’s statements on September 21, 1939.55In the Soviet
Union, Germany’s attack with an army of 3.5 million soldiers took place on June
22, 1941. “ ‘A ridiculous hundred million Slavs’,” Hitler proclaimed [on August
6, 1942], “will we absorb or expell?”56 Already in June 1940, Heinrich Himmler,
chief of SS and police, had informed twelve leaders of the SS that “30 million
of the Slavic population57 of the Soviet Union were to be killed outright.
“Twenty-nine million”58 were to be worked to death to lay the infrastructure for
some 20 million German settlers. The remaining 30–40 million were to be
expelled to Siberia—with a killing rate of such deportations reaching some 30
percent or 10–13 million. The expelled were even to keep their leader, Stalin,
whom Hitler characterized, on July 11, 1941, as one “of the most extraordinary
 gures of world history.”59
On June 25, 1941, only three days after the attack against the Soviet Union,
the Holocaust began—not yet with gas but with mass shootings of Jews by SS
units, Einsatzgruppen, and local collaborators wherever the German front in-
cluded a Jewish community. Gassing of exhausted Jewish slave workers began
in August 1941 in gas chambers of the euthanasia program within Germany. On
September 3, 1941, experimental killings in gas chambers were started in
Auschwitz-Birkenau. The killing with gas trucks was introduced on December 5,
1941, in Chelmno.
All seemed to go according to Hitler’s program with the Soviet war. Another
Blitzkrieg of between two weeks and up to a few months was expected by nearly
everyone. Half of the Soviet air force was destroyed on the ground right at the
beginning of the war. The chief of staff of Great Britain already prepared itself
for Stalin’s defeat around August/September 1941.60 Hitler, meanwhile realized
his extermination policy:
I can imagine that many are astonished: How can the Fuehrer destroy a city like
Petersburg! When I see that the species is in danger, ice-cold reasoning takes the place of
feeling: I see only the sacri ce demanded by the future if no sacri ce is made today. […]
Petersburg is to disappear. Here one must revert to antique principles; the city must be
razed to the ground. Moscow as the seat of the [communist] doctrine will [also] disappear
from the face of the earth. I feel nothing when I raze Kiev, Moscow and Petersburg to the
ground.61
The recipe of moving back behind the “Tables of Mount Sinai” to “antique
principles” was set in full motion. We know that, eventually, Hitler-Germany
failed. Therefore, the death toll did not reach the planned 70 million. Yet, around
11.5 million perished. Some 8.2 million Soviet civilians62 as well as 3.3 million
prisoners of war63 were killed in addition to the soldiers who died in battle and
the Soviet Jews killed in the Holocaust. That is something to consider for
anti-Semitic admirers of Hitler. If only one out of two Slavs killed by his forces
belonged to the anti-Semites, then the German leader took the life of 5–6 million
of their rank and  le.
In the cold language of comparative genocide research one could say that
420
THE HOLOCAUST: UNIQUELY UNIQUE?
Hitler’s movements against Slavic peoples—Czechs,64 Poles, White-Russians,
Ukrainians and Russians—were textbook genocides. They were monstrous
crimes but not enigmatic like the Holocaust. Historians ascertain that archaic war
was “ecological in motivation: it redistributed land from the weak to the strong,”
for which traditionally the methods known as “displacement of the weaker
party” and “annihilation” suf ced.65
That was Hitler’s recipe from early on: “The one and only goal of Germany’s
foreign policy lies in space in the East,”66 he wrote in 1928. He waited only four
days after taking power to let the German High Command know on February 3,
1933, about this strategic ambition: “Conquest of new Lebensraum in the East
and its ruthless Germanization.”67 The chiefs of army and navy did not believe
him. One participant recalled that after Hitler had left the gathering the phrase
by Schiller was quoted: “The word is always bolder than the deed” (“Stets
kecker war die Rede als die Tat”).68 The admirals and generals were not ready
for genocide. As professional of cers they had internalized the laws of warfare
and had no intention to break them. Later, they were only too willing to make
Germany a world power and go to war for their Fuehrer. Yet, to kill prisoners
of war, to eliminate civilians, to shoot women and to smash babies was not on
their agenda. Hitler understood this only too well.
Cleansing the Germans from Judaism’s principle of the sanctity of life by
eliminating the Jews
In hindsight, we know a lot about the crimes of the Wehrmacht and not only of
the SS. But Hitler was worried to the end that he would fail in his re-education
of the average German male. After all the purges of his of cers’ corps it still did
not function as ordered. General Blaskowitz— chief of staff in occupied Poland,
a devoted German nationalist and soldier—did not only show a lack of
ruthlessness. He collected information on the atrocities of the SS units and the
Einsatzgruppen killing the Polish elite and sent it—on November 27, 1939—to
his superiors in Berlin. On February 2, 1940, he demanded—together with
General Ulex—to use the Wehrmacht to round up the SS units and remove
them:69 They wrote to Berlin:
The army views the SS and the police [under SS command] with abomination and hatred.
Every soldier feels disgusted and abhorred by these crimes committed in Poland by citizens
of the Reich and representatives of the state. He does not understand how such atrocities—
taking place, so to speak, under his protection—can go unpunished.70
Hitler had prepared himself for his soldiers’ pangs of consciousness” and,
therefore, had kept his genocidal policy a secret—as he had done with
“euthanasia” within Germany. Other than with “euthanasia,” 71 however, there
was—very much like in the Holocaust—no order signed by Hitler himself to
eliminate Poland’s elite.72 The orders came from the SS to whom Hitler had
given verbal orders. Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the SS-police, wrote on July 2,
1940:
421
GUNNAR HEINSOHN
The orders for the police were so radical—e.g., the order to liquidate many Polish elite
circles amounting to the thousands—that, of course, could not be conveyed to the
commanding of cers in the  eld or to their superior staff [in Berlin].7 3
The Germans—as Hitler saw it—were still in the grip of the Jewish code of
ethics or Jewi ed Christianity. On January 20, 1940, his adjutant reported him
saying:
The Wehrmacht is still running to the drumhead services. […] But, at the same time, the
education of the SS points to the right direction. It would prove that—with the right
ideological education—one can be courageous without God.74
The SS education especially assaulted the Jewish commandments pertaining to
charity and the protection of life. In the place of love, honor was demanded; in
the place of sympathy, duty.75 The removal of Jewish ethics from Christianity
was, however, estimated to be a tremendously dif cult task, for from the
beginning this religion was “subjected to decomposition/destruction [Zersetzung]
by the Jews.”76
There can be no doubt that this education went back to Hitler’s own ideas. On
February 17, 1942, at his headquarters, he lamented that:
The same Jew who once smuggled Christianity into the world of antiquity and destroyed
it, that wonderful thing, has now found another weak spot: the dazed conscience of our
present generation. […] Peace can only come by way of a natural order. The order demands
that the nations merge in such a way that those who are capable lead. He who is inferior
thus obtains more than he could ever achieve on his own. This order is being destroyed by
the Jews.77
It is important to understand, however, that the theological con ict between
Jews and Christians— the son saving the God of Abraham against the salvation
coming from the Son sacri ced by the God of Christianity—is of no importance
to Hitler, though, of course, he readily employed the Christian resentment
deriving from it.
Hitler’s evaluation of the concept of conscience most probably transforms
ideas originating with Friedrich Nietzsche. He had studied parts of his writings
in Landsberg prison in 1923. Nietzsche had written in 1882:
Sin is a Jewish feeling and a Jewish invention, and in view of this background to all
Christian morality, Christianity was in fact out to “Jewify” the entire world.7 8
The conviction of the “Jewi cation” of Christianity was also preached in
Hitler’s political camp by Erich Ludendorff, Germany’s chief of staff at the end
of World War I. In 1929, in the magazine Ludendorffs Volkswarte he had the
 gure of a “Rabbinerfrau” (rabbi’s wife) say:
The Germans came indeed from the woods and the groves; they had strong gods who were
heroes  t to  ght; they were pure, proud and strong; it was good to slay the enemy, and
blood vengeance was their foremost principle. But they were to be robbed of all of these
things—they were given Semitic Christianity.7 9
When attacking the Soviet Union—20 months after the Polish war—Hitler
422
THE HOLOCAUST: UNIQUELY UNIQUE?
was still not sure about a suf cient killing mentality of the Wehrmacht. On June
6, 1941, he gave order to kill every “Kommissar” (basically every member of the
Bolshevik party in the Red Army) captured in battle:
They are not to be recognized as soldiers and, therefore, are not under the protection of the
international laws of war. After separation they are to be  nished.8 0
Hitler insisted that “these ‘tasks’ are so dif cult that one could ‘not demand
them from the army’.”81 Therefore, the army had only to turn over communists
to the SS which, then, did the killing. Yet, on October 18, 1942—nearly 16
months into the Soviet war—Hitler still was angry with the Wehrmacht:
He would know very well that the army followed orders—e.g. the kommissar-order—only
reluctantly or not at all. That is to put blame on the High Command willing to turn the
soldier’s profession into a caste of pastors. How many other things would have been left
undone if he had not had his SS.82
Nevertheless, the re-education of the German male had made some progress.
On September 23, 1941, General Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel, head of the
Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht, defended the killing of the Komissars as
the “extermination of an ideology” which he “condoned” and “approved.”83 Was
the Holocaust also the “extermination of an ideology”?
In September 1943, Hitler formulated as his legacy that “the SS is the best he
leaves to his successor. […] The formation of the Wehrmacht in the future Aryan
state has to take place under the control of the SS.”84 To turn the entire German
military into a gigantic death squad, to change every German male into a killer
was no small task, a program with no end in sight as Hitler already had noted
in 1928: “Wherever our success will lead us it will only be the starting line for
a new battle.”85 This would not work if the soldiers were time and again exposed
to the Jewish code of ethics with the sanctity of life at its core. One cannot
prepare to eliminate millions and millions and, simultaneously, made to listen to
“Thou shalt not kill” or to “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself/And if a
stranger sojourn with thee in your land, you shall not vex him. But the stranger
that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt
love him as thyself” (Leviticus 19: 18; 33 f). Already in August 1930, Hitler had
diagnosed the in uence of this code: “In every human being the Jew destroys the
natural instinct of self-preservation.” 86
Unlearning the Jewish–Christian code by doing the opposite became one of
the major measures during the second Eastern war. Two codes of law (subsumed
under the term “Martial Jurisdiction Command”) were issued by Wilhelm Keitel
on May 13, 1941: (1) the “Handling of Crimes Committed by Enemy Civilians”
and (2) the “Handling of Crimes Committed by Members of the Armed Forces
and its Attendants against Native Citizens.” The latter command gave the simple
soldier a license to kill without being court-martialed:
Deeds of members of the Wehrmacht committed against enemy civilians must not be
prosecuted even if the deed constitutes a crime of war.87
423
GUNNAR HEINSOHN
More than 10 million German men serving on the Eastern front between 1941
and 1945 were encouraged to kill civilians and prisoners of war at will and so
they did. Massacres and the burning of entire villages occurred in hundreds of
cases by army units or even by individual soldiers.88 Attempts of high-ranking
of cers to control this behavior were to no avail because the highest comman-
der—the Fuehrer—was behind this practice.
It was part of his program to remove the in uence of “the Jew,” “the racial
tuberculosis of the nations”89 from the German mind. According to Hitler’s
convictions a successful removal was only possible if the living carriers of the
disease—the respect for life—were treated like other infectious germs, i.e. were
killed off. As early as August 7, 1920, he had put this idea into words:
Do not think that you can  ght a disease without killing the causative agent, without
destroying the bacillus, and do not think that you can  ght racial tuberculosis without
seeing to it that the nation is freed from the causative agent of racial tuberculosis. The
in uence of Judaism will never fade as long as its agent, the Jew, has not been removed
from our midst.90
“The Jewish race is above all a community of the spirit,”91 he underlined
nearly a quarter of a century later. What is the power to zersetzen (destroy) this
spiritual bacillus? Four priests—three Catholic one Protestant—were hung on
November 10, 1943, in Luebeck because they had followed the model of Bishop
von Galen and distributed his sermon with its “ ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ pronounced
by the Lord amidst thunder and lightning on Sinai.” Their crime was Wehrkraft-
Zersetzung,92 the destruction of a soldier’s will to  ght and to kill.
One does not  nd the term Zersetzung (decomposition or destruction) in the
encyclopedias dealing with the Holocaust93 though it is frequently applied by
Hitler to describe the work of “the Jew” as the destruction in the sense of the
decomposition of the readiness to kill. With our Nazi “movement the intervening
age, the middle age, has come to its end,” Hitler had declared at the beginning
of the 1930s. He may as well have called it the age of destruction.
In Catholic philosophy, since St. Augustine’s fourth century CE, the middle
part of its tripartition of human history was called the era sub lege (period under
the law). It de ned the time from the law of Moses to the incarnation of God
as Jesus Christ. The  rst part was called the era ante legem, the period before
the law of Moses (“Thou shalt not kill!”). Its barbarity was de ned by the
absence of a prohibition against homicide. In the Christian view, the  rst age had
the worst reputation; Hitler, however, wanted to recreate it. The third Christian
age, the era sub gratia (period under the grace of Christ lasting to the end of
days) was as much an aberration to him as the period under the law of Moses.94
Why was the Holocaust a uniquely unique genocide? Conclusion
The Holocaust was “uniquely unique”95this author claims—because it was a
genocide for the purpose of reinstalling the right to genocide. Hitler was not
unprecedented in ruthlessly and massively breaking the commandment “Thou
424
THE HOLOCAUST: UNIQUELY UNIQUE?
shalt not kill!”; he was irreducibly distinct from other megamurderers by
abrogating it.
Of course, Hitler’s intention to eliminate the Jewish code of Occidental ethics
did not lead right away to the extermination of Europe’s Jewry. Discrimination,
expropriation, expulsion, and annihilation through slave labor were preliminary
steps on the “twisted road to Auschwitz.”96 The turn from merely pushing the
Jews into misery to murdering them outright, the acceleration or the slowing
down of the killings, the exploitation of the opportunities of the war, the
ambitions of competing Nazi leaders and minor bureaucrats trying to impress
their Fuehrer, the mental state of the slaughterers, the material needs of the
German military and occupation regime—all these d eadly factors are dealt with
in thousands of articles and books. They give us an ever more accurate anatomy
of the Holocaust. This work is far from complete. Israel Gutman—chief historian
of Yad Vashem—has declared on August 29, 1999 that “the most interesting
subject for scholars now is the role played during the Holocaust by local
communities: people, churches, underground movements and newspapers. The
focus is on mutual relations between Jews and non-Jews, and on personal and
individual recollection and testimony.”97 It is, thus, not so much the anatomy of
the Holocaust and its environment but the anti-Jewish motive of Hitler as its
initiator that lacks explication.
If Hitler went against the Jewish code it does not come as a surprise that not
only Jews, but also every Christian daring to defend his Jewish heritage, i.e. the
commandments regarding love and protection of life fell prey to Nazi per-
secution. In the  rst Hitlerian model province—the “Warthegau” annexed from
Poland—the Lutherans were put under Nazi control. Not before the age of 21
could one join the church—and then only after having obtained permission from
an SS panel. The Polish Catholic clergy was targeted to be killed. The German
Catholics were d eprived of the Concordat privileges which were con ned to the
1937 borders of the Reich. German Catholic priests of the Reich were forbidden
to visit the new province.98 Even Hitler’s Berlin secretary of state for the
churches was not allowed to go there.99 However, for a Christian to be taken
away by Nazi authorities and killed he had publicly to stand up for the values
of life and love whereas Jews—as their “incurable” carriers—could not even
save themselves by renouncing their faith.
Whereas SS men were expected to be ready to kill right away and the many
million soldiers of the Eastern front learnt killing by doing, the Hitler Youth
became the subject of the most systematic education aimed at the deletion of the
Jewish code of ethics. Der neue Glaube (“The new belief”), for example,
replaced “Thou shalt not kill” with neo-archaic commandments concerning the
“eternal struggle”:
You shall not spare the enemy, but meet him with grim resistance, for he desires to be slain
by you.
His mission is to goad you, and your mission: to vanquish him.
425
GUNNAR HEINSOHN
Fear not that one day no enemy will remain to you; new ones will always come forth. All
vermin is fertile to a point of excess, and usurious; hence it forces us to combat it.100
On March 14, 1943, Hitler himself praised the  rst signs of success in his
endeavor to mold the German army into a large-scale, militant SS. Very young
men in tank divisions of the Waffen SS had helped to overpower superior
Russian units in Kharkov to whom the Wehrmacht tank divisions had already
submitted:
The young people of the Hitler Youth  ght fanatically, […] young German fellows, some
of them sixteen years old. These Hitler lads usually  ght more fanatically than their older
comrades.101
The supposedly unanswerable question as to the content of Hitler’s own
anti-Semitism is answered by this author by pointing to Hitler’s deadly ani-
mosity to the very core of the Jewish faith—the sanctity of life. Hitler wanted
to reintroduce the archaic rights to (1) infanticide—to strengthen Germany
internally by killing the handicapped 102 including the newborn and to (2)
genocide—to give Germany strategic superiority externally by annihilating the
monotheistic people of the Ten Commandments whom—as distinct from the
Ancient Israelites—he regarded as the  rst abolishers of these archaic practices.
To Hitler the sanctity of life was the ultimate Jewish Weltanschauung which
could be eliminated like any other ideology— e.g. the communism of the
commissars in the Red Army—by exterminating its “carriers.”
Soon after 1918, Hitler had reached the conclusion that Germany could have
won World War I if it had acted more ruthlessly, i.e. if it would have shed all
respect for life and the laws of war. He seriously—albeit wrongly—believed that
only the German Reich had been weakened by the adherence to “religion” and
“pangs of consciousness.” He was convinced that in that war Germany “did not
even think of resorting to really aggressive means.”103 Not to repeat this outcome
of Germany’s “Jewi cation” (Verjudung) became the focus of his entire political
career.
In the cold language of the computer age one could say that Hitler smashed
the hardware—Jewish men, women and children—to destroy the software—the
Jewish code of ethics. The German males were entrusted with the wearisome and
bloody work of permanently conquering the vast Eastern Lebensraum territories
to be emptied of their inhabitants. To perform these massive genocides, the
Germans were to be relieved of the inhibitory effect caused by the infection of
the Judaic “Thou shalt not kill!” Hitler understood that the implementation of a
neo-archaic code of killing would require generations—a “work for a hundred
years” (Alfred Rosenberg).
To this very day, Holocaust researchers are convinced and, at the same time,
puzzled that “Nazi Germany ranked the murder of the Jews over the war
effort.”104 Yet, the war in the East constituted not so much a war but a series of
gigantic genocides for which the Germans had to be trained whilst they were
executing them. There are very few studies105 taking these genocides into
426
THE HOLOCAUST: UNIQUELY UNIQUE?
account when trying to understand the Holocaust. The elimination of the Jewish
code of the sanctity of life by exterminating the Jews was—in Hitler’s mind—
meant to boost the genocidal effort in the East as well as every future war
conducted by the Germans.
Notes and References
1. L. Yahil, The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990
[original Hebrew 1987]), p 5.
2. H. Trevor-Roper and A. Francois-Poncet, eds., Hitlers Politisches Testament. Die Bormann Diktate vom
Februar und April 1945 (Hamburg: Albrecht Knaus, 1981), pp 66, 68, 69; italics G.H.
3. O. Wagener, Hitler aus naechster Naehe: Aufzeichnungen eines Vertrauten 1929–1932, H. A. Turner, ed.
(Frankfurt am Main: Ullstein, 1978), p 288; italics G.H.
4. B. Hamann, Hitlers W ien: Lehrjahre eines Diktators (Munich/Zurich: Piper, 1996), p 32.
5. A. Hitler, Außenpolitische Standortbestimmung nach der Reichtagswahl Juni–Juli 1928 (1928;  rst
published as Hitlers Zweites Buch, 1961), in Hitler: Reden, Schriften, Anordnungen. F ebruar 1925 bis
Januar 1933, Vol IIA, with an introduction by G. L. Weinberg; G. L. Weinberg, C. Hartmann and K.
A. Lankheit, eds (Munich: K. G. Saur, 1995), p 118.
6. A. Hitler, Mein Kampf [1925/27], people’ s edition in one volume (Munich: Franz Eher Nachfolger,
1930), pp 478 ff; italics G.H.
7. R. Giordano, Wenn Hitl er den Krieg gewonnen haette. Die Plaene der Nazis nach dem Endsieg [1989]
(Munich: Knaur, 1991), pp 140 ff.
8. B. Schaefer, afterword to the German edition of M. Maillet, Schwarzer Stern [1990] (Berlin: Orlanda
Frauenverlag, 1994), p 188.
9. M. Opitz, “Rassismus, Sexismus und vorkoloniales Afrikabild in Deutschland” [1986], in K. Oguntoye,
M. Opitz and D. Schultz., eds, Farbe bekennen: Afro-deutsche Frauen auf den Spuren ihrer Geschichte
(Frankfurt am Main: Fischer T aschenbuch, 1992), p 58.
10. Cf. the memoir of H.-J. Massaquoi, ‘ Neger, N eger, Schornsteinfeger!’ : Meine Kindheit in Deutschland
(Bern: Fretz und W asmuth Verlag, 1999).
11. B. Hamann, Hitlers Wien: Lehrjahre eines Diktators (Munich/Zurich: Piper, 1996), pp 498, 502.
12. B. Hamann, Hitler’s Vienna: A Dictator’s Apprenticeship [1996] (New York: Oxford University Press,
1999).
13. G. A. Craig, “ ‘Working Toward the Fuehrer’,The New York Review of Books, March 18, 1999, p 35.
14. B. Hamann, Hitlers Wien: Lehrjahre eines Diktators (Munich/Zurich: Piper, 1996), pp 56 ff.
15. D. Grieswelle, Propaganda d er Friedlosigkeit: Eine Studie zu Hitlers Rhetorik 1920–1933 (Stuttgart:
Enke, 1972), p 193.
16. J. Fest, “Der Auftrag kam von Hitler,” Die Woche, November 29, 1996, p 39.
17. I. Kershaw, Hit ler, 1889–1936: Hubris (London: Allan Lane, 1998).
18. G. A. Craig, “ ‘Working Toward the Fuehrer’,The New York Review of Books, March 18, 1999, p 32.
19. I. Kershaw, “In gewisser Weise war er der Mann ohne Eigenschaften: Die Geschichte Hitlers ist auch die
Geschichte seiner Unterschaetzung. Ein Gespraech mit Ian Kershaw, dem Verfasser der neuen großen
Hitler-Biographie,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, October 1, 1998, p 44.
20. U. Herbert, editor’s introduction, Nationalsozialistische Vernichtungspolitik 1939–1945: Neue Forschun-
gen und Kontroversen (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch Verlag, 1998), pp. 65 ff.
21. R. Rosenbaum, Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origin of his Evil (New York: HarperCollins,
1998), p 7.
22. C. James, “Blaming the Germans: The much lauded revisionist study of the Holocaust [by Goldhagen]
goes too far,” The New Yorker, April 22, 1996, p 50.
23. E. Jaeckel, “Der SS-Intellektuelle: Bedurfte es keiner Befehle Hitlers, um d ie Vernichtungspolitik in die
Welt zu setzen?,” Die Zeit, March 29, 1996, p 18.
24. R. Rosenbaum, Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origin of his Evil (New York: HarperCollins,
1998), p 7.
25. The following thoughts extend ideas  rst d eveloped seven years ago in G. Heinsohn,
“Umweltapokalyptiker und o¨kokrieger: Die Zukunft des Vo¨lkermords,” in Landeshauptamt S tuttgart,
Kulturamt/J. Wilke, eds, Zum Naturbegriff der Gegenwart. Kongreßdokumentation zum Projekt “Natur
im Kopf,” Stuttgart, 21–26. Juni 1993 (Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Problemata Frommann-Holzboog, 1994),
Vol 1, pp 225–260. A more detailed study appeared as G. Heinsohn, Warum Auschwitz? Hitlers Pl an und
die Ratlosigkeit der Nachwelt (Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1995).
427
GUNNAR HEINSOHN
26. F. Hossbach, “Niederschrift [of November 10, 1937] ueber di e Besprechung in d er Reichskanzlei am
5.11.1937 von 16.15 Uhr bis 20.30 Uhr,” in F. Hossbach, ed., Zwischen Wehrmacht und Hitler
1934–1938 (Wolfenbuettel/Hannover: Wolfenbuetteler Verlagsanstalt, 1949), p 207.
27. During the so-called “wild euthanasia” between November 1941 and December 1944 another 30,000 are
killed. To this  gure has to be added the death of 20,000 patients tracked down in Polish and Soviet
psychiatric clinics.
28. H. Portmann, Kardinal von Galen. Ein Gottesmann seiner Zeit. Mit einem Anhang: Die d rei welt-
beruehmten Predigten [1948] (Muenster: Aschendorff, 1961), pp 357 ff.
29. W. Hammer, Adolf Hitler—ein Prophet unserer Z eit? Dialog mit dem “Fuehrer” (III). Ideologische
Aspekte (Munich: Delp, 1974), p 21.
30. A. Hitler, Mein Kampf [1925/27], people’s edition in one volume (Munich: Franz Eher Nachfolger,
1930), p 145.
31. A. Hitler, Mein Kampf [1925/27], people’s edition in one volume (Munich: Franz Eher Nachfolger,
1930), p 149.
32. H.-W. Schmuhl, Rassenhygiene, Nationalsozialismus, Euthanasie. Von der Verhuetung zur Vernichtung
“lebensunwerten Lebens,” 1890–1945 [1987] (Goettingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1992), p 152.
33. H.-W. Schmuhl, Rassenhygiene, Nationalsozialismus, Euthanasie. Von der Verhuetung zur Vernichtung
“lebensunwerten Lebens,” 1890–1945 [1987] (Goettingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1992), p 321.
34. M. Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism. Volume One. From Herodotus to Plutarch
(Jerusalem: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1976), p 29.
35. M. Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism. Volume Two. From Tacitus t o Simplicius
(Jerusalem: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1980), p 26.
36. Cf. G. Heinsohn, “Theorie des Toetungsverbotes und des Monotheismus bei den Israeliten sowie der
Genese, der Durchsetzung und der welthistorischen Rolle der christlichen Familien- und
Fortp anzungsmoral,” in J. Mueller and B. Wassmann, eds, L’invitation au voyage zu Alfred Sohn-Rethel
[Festschrift fuer Alfred Sohn-Rethel zum 80. Geburtstag] (Bremen: Unibuchladen Wassmann, Contribu-
tion No 7).
37. Cf. L. Panigrahi, British Social Policy and Female Infanticide in India (New Delhi: Munshiram
Manoharlal, 1972).
38. Cf. I.B. Taeuber, The Population of Japan (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1958).
39. Cf. Ping-ti, Ho, Studies in the Population of China, 1368–1953 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press, 1959).
40. F. Hossbach, “Niederschrift [of November 10, 1937] ueber di e Besprechung in d er Reichskanzlei am
5.11.1937 von 16.15 Uhr bis 20.30 Uhr,” in F. Hossbach, ed., Zwischen Wehrmacht und Hitler
1934–1938 (Wolfenbuettel/Hannover: Wolfenbuetteler Verlagsanstalt, 1949), pp 209 f, 212.
41. H. Rauschning, Gespraeche mit Hitler [1938] (Wien: Europaverlag, 1988), pp 189, 210, 129ff; italics
G.H.
42. Th. Schieder, Herrmann Rauschnings “Gespraeche mit Hitler” als Geschichtsquelle (Opladen: West-
deutscher Verlag, 1972).
43. M. Broszat, “Enthuellung? Die Rauschning-Kontroverse [1985], in M. Broszat, ed., Nach Hitler. Der
schwierige Umgang mit unserer Vergangenheit [1986] (Munich: dtv, 1988), pp 249ff.
44. W. Haenel, Hermann Rauschnings “Gespraeche mit Hitl er”—Eine Geschichtsfaelschung (Ingolstadt:
Veroeffentlichungen der Zeitgeschichtlichen Forschungsstelle Ingolstadt, 1984).
45. F. Tobias, “Auch Faelschungen haben lange Beine. Des Senatspraesidenten Rauschnings ‘Gespraeche mit
Hitler’ ” [1988], in H. Corino, ed., Gefaelscht! Betrug in Li teratur, Kunst, Musik, Wissenschaft und
Politik (Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn, 1990), pp 91 ff.
46. H. v. Kotze, Heeresadjutant bei Hitler 1938–1943: Aufzeichnungen des Majors Engel (Stuttgart:
Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1974), p 71.
47. E. Deuerlein, Hit ler. Eine politische Biographie (M unich: List, 1969), p 144.
48. H. Picker, Hitlers Tischgespraeche im Fuehrerhauptquartier. Vollstaendig ueberarbeitete und erweiterte
Neuausgabe mit bisher unbekannten Selbstzeugnissen Adolf Hitlers, Abbildungen, Augenzeugenberichten
und Erlaeuterungen des Autors: Hitler wie er wirklich war [1951] (Stuttgart: Seewald, 1976), p 77.
49. Cf. A. Hillgruber, Hitlers Strategie: Politik und Kriegfuehrung 1940–1941 [1963] (Bonn: Bernard &
Graefe, 1993), pp 367, 543 ff.
50. Cf. Deutsches Auswaertiges Amt, Akten zur deutschen auswaertigen Politik 1918–1945. Aus dem Archiv
des deutschen Auswaertigen Amtes, Series D (1937–45), Vol 7 (Baden-Baden: Imprimerie Nationale,
1956), p 171; italics G.H.
51. M. Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik 1939–1945 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1961), p
23.
428
THE HOLOCAUST: UNIQUELY UNIQUE?
52. M. Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik 1939–1945 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1961), p
24.
53. M. Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik 1939–1945 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1961), pp
44 ff.
54. M. Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik 1939–1945 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1961), pp
100–102.
55. A. Hillgruber, Hitlers Strategie: Politik und Kriegfuehrung 1940–1941 [1963] (Bonn: Bernard & Graefe,
1993), p 519, n 11.
56. A. Speer, Der Sklavenstaat. Meine Auseinandersetzung mit der SS (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt,
1981), p 422.
57. P. Witte, et al., eds., Der Dienstkalender Heinrich Himmlers 1941/42 (Hamburg: Christians, 1999), p
172.
58. A. Speer, Der Sklavenstaat. Meine Auseinandersetzung mit der SS (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt,
1981), p 421.
59. A. Hillgruber, Hitlers Strategie: Politik und Kriegfuehrung 1940–1941 [1963] (Bonn: Bernard & Graefe,
1993), p 540, n 21.
60. Cf. E. L. Woodward, British Foreign Policy in the Second World War (London: HM SO, 1962), p 153.
61. A. Speer, Der Sklavenstaat. Meine Auseinandersetzung mit der SS (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt,
1981), p 422; italics G.H.
62. Cf. G. A. Kumanev, “The German occupation regime in occupied territory in the USSR (1941–1944),”
in M. Berenbaum, ed., A Mosaic of Victims: Non Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the Nazis (New
York/London: New York University Press, 1990), pp 128–141.
63. Cf. A. Streim, Die Behandlung sowjetischer Kriegsgefangener im “Fall Barbarossa” (Heidelberg:
Mueller, 1981).
64. Some 50,000 members of the non-Jewish Czech elite as well as the left were killed. Two million out of
the 7.5 million Czechs were destined for elimination, the rest for absorption. Cf. D. Brandes, Die
Tschechen unter deutschem Protektorat (Munich/Vienna: Oldenbourg, 1969/1975), 2 Vols.
65. J. Keegan, A History of Warfare (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993), pp 101, 387, 29.
66. A. Hitler, Außenpolitische Standortbestimmung nach der Reichtagswahl Juni–Juli 1928 (1928;  rst
published as Hitlers Zweites Buch, 1961), in Hitler: Reden, Schriften, Anordnungen. F ebruar 1925 bis
Januar 1933, Vol IIA, wi th an introduction by. G. L. Weinberg; G. L. Weinberg, C. Hartmann and K.
A. Lankheit, ed. (Munich: K. G. Saur, 1995), p 119.
67. T. Vogelsang, “Neue Dokumente zur Geschichte der Reichswehr. Nr. 8,” Vierteljahreshefte fuer
Zeitgeschichte, Vol 2, 1954, p 435.
68. T. Vogelsang, “Neue Dokumente zur Geschichte der Reichswehr. Nr. 8,” Vierteljahreshefte fuer
Zeitgeschichte, Vol 2, 1954, p 436.
69. H. Krausnick, Hitlers Einsatzgruppen: Die Truppen des Weltanschauungskrieges 1938–1942 [1981]
(Frankfurt am Main: Fischer T aschenbuch, 1985), p 84.
70. H. Krausnick, Hitlers Einsatzgruppen: Die Truppen des Weltanschauungskrieges 1938–1942 [1981]
(Frankfurt am Main: Fischer T aschenbuch, 1985), p 84.
71. The order reads: “Reichsleiter Bouhler and Dr. Brandt M.D. have been commissioned under order of
responsibility to extend the powers of certain d octors, to be appointed by name, in such a way that
persons judged to be incurably ill can be granted euthanasia on the basis of a critical assessment of their
condition. Signed: Adolf Hit ler.” Cf. H.-W. S chmuhl, Rassenhygiene, Nationalsozialismus, Euthanasie.
Von der Verhuetung zur Vernichtung “lebensunwerten Lebens,” 1890–1945 [1987] (Goettingen: Vanden-
hoeck und Ruprecht, 1992), p 190.
72. M. Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik 1939–1945 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1961), pp
19 ff.
73. H. Krausnick, “Hitl er und die Morde in Polen,” Vierteljahreshefte fuer Zeitgeschichte , Vol 11, 1963, p
207.
74. H. v. Kotze, Heeresadjutant bei Hitler 1938–1943: Aufzeichnungen des Majors Engel (Stuttgart:
Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1974), p 71.
75. B. Wegner, Hitlers politische Soldaten: Die Waffen-SS 1933–1945 [1982] (Paderborn: Schoeningh,
1990), p 51.
76. B. Wegner, Hitlers politische Soldaten: Die Waffen-SS 1933–1945 [1982] (Paderborn: Schoeningh,
1990), p 69.
77. H. Picker, Hitlers Tischgespraeche im Fuehrerhauptquartier. Vollstaendig ueberarbeitete und erweiterte
Neuausgabe mit bisher unbekannten Selbstzeugnissen Adolf Hitlers, Abbildungen, Augenzeugenberichten
und Erlaeuterungen des Autors: Hitler wie er wirklich war [1951] (Stuttgart: Seewald, 1976), p 106.
78. F. Nietzsche, Die froehliche W issenschaft [1882, 1887] (any edition), aphorism 135.
429
GUNNAR HEINSOHN
79. E. Ludendorff, Judengestaendnis: Voelkerzerstoerung durch Christentum (Munich: Ludendorff Verlag,
1936), p 2.
80. H. Buchheim, et al.,Anatomie des SS-Staates [1965] (Munich: dtv, 1967), p 502.
81. H. Buchheim, et al.,Anatomie des SS-Staates [1965] (Munich: dtv, 1967), p 452.
82. H. v. Kotze, Heeresadjutant bei Hitler 1938–1943: Aufzeichnungen des Majors Engel (Stuttgart:
Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1974), pp 130 ff.
83. A. Hillgruber, Hitlers Strategie: Politik und Kriegfuehrung 1940–1941 [1963] (Bonn: Bernard & Graefe,
1993), p 530, n 62.
84. B. Wegner, Hitlers politische Soldaten: Die Waffen-SS 1933–1945 [1982] (Paderborn: Schoeningh,
1990), p 314.
85. A. Hitler, Außenpolitische Standortbestimmung nach der Reichtagswahl Juni–Juli 1928 (1928;  rst
published as Hitlers Zweites Buch, 1961), in Hitler: Reden, Schriften, Anordnungen. F ebruar 1925 bis
Januar 1933, Vol IIA, with an introduction by G. L. Weinberg; G. L. Weinberg, C. Hartmann and K.
A. Lankheit, eds., (Munich: K. G. Saur, 1995), p 33.
86. E. Syring, Hitler. Seine politische Utopie (Berlin: Propylaeen), p 42.
87. N. Mueller, U. Loebel and U. Freye, Europa unterm Hakenkreuz. Sowjetunion. Die faschistische
Okkupationspolitik in den zeitweilig besetzten Gebieten der Sowjetunion (1941–1944) (Berlin: Deutscher
Verlag der Wissenschaften, 1991), p 133.
88. Cf., e.g. H. Krausnick, Hitlers Einsatzgruppen: Die Truppen des W eltanschauungskrieges 1938–1942
[1981] (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch, 1985), pp 230–245.
89. E. Jaeckel, Hitlers Weltanschauung. Entwurf einer Herrschaft [1969, 1981] (Stuttgart: Deutsche Ver-
lagsanstalt, 1991), p 56.
90. E. Jaeckel and A. Kuhn, eds, Hitler. Saemtliche Aufzeichnungen 1905–1924 (Stuttgart: Deutsche
Verlagsanstalt, 1980), pp 178 ff.
91. H. Trevor-Roper and A. Francois-Poncet, eds, Hitlers Politisches Testament. Die Bormann Diktate vom
Februar und April 1945 (Hamburg: Albrecht Knaus, 1981), p 69
92. H.-W. Schmuhl, Rassenhygiene, Nationalsozialismus, Euthanasie. Von der Verhuetung zur Vernichtung
“lebensunwerten Lebens,” 1890–1945 [1987] (Goettingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1992), p 351.
93. Cf., e.g. W. Benz, H. Graml and H. Weiss, eds, Enzyklopaedie des Nationalsozialismus (Stuttgart:
Klett-Cotta, 1997); I. Gutman, E. Jaeckel and P. Longerich, eds, Enzyklopaedie des Holocaust. Die
Verfolgung und Ermordung der europaeischen Juden [Hebrew 1991; English 1993] (Berlin: Argon,
1995), 4 Vols.
94. For this historical periodicity, cf. G. Heinsohn, Why Was the Holocaust Different from all Ot her
Genocides? (Bremen: Raphael Lemkin Institut, 1998), pp 18–65.
95. A term coined by A. L. Eckhardt and A. R. Eckhardt, “The Holocaust and the Enigma of Uniqueness.
A Philosophical Effort at Practical Clari cation,” in I. G. Shur, F. H. Littell and E. Wolfgang, eds,
Re ections on the Holocaust: Historical, Philosophical, and Educational Dimensions, Vol 450 of The
Annals of t he American Academy of Political and Social Science, July 1980, pp 165–178.
96. A term coined by K. A. Schleunes, The Twisted Road to Auschwitz 1933–1939 (Urbana: University of
Illinois Press, 1970).
97. Interview with Warsaw Voice, September 5, 1999, p 6.
98. M. Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik 1939–1945 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1961), p
165.
99. M. Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik 1939–1945 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1961), p
174.
100. T. Fritsch, Der neue Glaube, 3rd edn (Leipzig: Hammer, 1936), p 169.
101. G. H. Stein, Geschichte der Waffen-SS (Du¨sseldorf: Droste, 1967), p 186.
102. The killing of supposedly socially handicapped also shows that race was not the subject. Those af icted
the hardest by these atrocious measures were the S inti [from Sind
5
India] and Roma. These Gypsies
were the purest Indo-Aryans living in Europe.
103. A. Hitler, Außenpolitische Standortbestimmung nach der Reichtagswahl Juni–Juli 1928 (1928;  rst
published as Hitlers Zweites Buch, 1961), in Hitler: Reden, Schriften, Anordnungen. F ebruar 1925 bis
Januar 1933, Vol IIA, with an introduction by G. L. Weinberg; G. L. Weinberg, C. Hartmann and K.A.
Lankheit, eds (Munich: K. G. Saur, 1995), p 94.
104. M. Berenbaum, “The uniqueness and universality of the Holocaust,” i n I. Charny, ed., Encyclopedia of
Genocide (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999 [published 2000]), Vol II. , p 568; italics G.H.
105. “To this very day, an integral documentation of the war against Poland and the murders committed in
it is lacking./The largest de cit [in the research on Nazi-Germany] pertains to the exterminative war
against the non-Jewish population of the Soviet Union.” Cf. D. Pohl, “Die Holocaust-Forschung und
Goldhagens Thesen,” Vierteljahreshefte fu¨r Zeitgeschichte, Vol 45, 1997, pp 44–45.
430
... The term 'youth bulge' was first coined in the 1990s by a German social scientist, Gunner Heinsohn. This was in reference to a demographic phenomenon that describes a burgeoning of youth cohorts (Heinsohn 2000). The phenomenon was later popularised by two American political scientists, Gary Fuller and Jack Goldstone (Fuller/Goldstone 1990). ...
... Hypothesis 1: Countries that experience youth bulges are more likely to experience political violence than countries that do not, Hypothesis 2: The higher the dependency burden, the stronger the effect of youth bulges on political violence, Hypothesis 3: The lower the economic growth, the stronger the effect of youth bulges on political violence, Hypothesis 4: The greater the expansion of higher education, the stronger the effect of youth bulges on political violence, Hypothesis 5: The more autocratic a country is, the stronger the effect of youth bulges on political violence and Hypothesis 6: The higher the urbanisation rates, the stronger the effects of youth bulges on political violence (Reeler 2015: 3). Heinsohn (2000) claims that countries with youth bulges can easily slip into violent conflicts, without any external influences. This normally happens when there is a mismatch between the available economic and social opportunities vis à vis the expectant youth cohorts. ...
... Generally speaking, the people who go out and kill other people are males between the ages 16 and 30' (Huntington 2001: 1). Heinsohn (2000) concludes that prominent violent conflict episodes like wars and revolutions took place at moments when those countries were experiencing youth bulges. This, however, may unfortunately cast the youth bulge in a bad light and makes it appear as if the proponents of the youth bulge theory are anti-youth. ...
Chapter
Zimbabwe is facing a challenge common to most African countries, that of having a ‘youth bulge’ of people aged 18 to 35. This youthful population exists against the backdrop of limited economic growth and employment opportunities, deteriorating social services and skewed development. Older men occupy positions of power in government, the private sector, non-government organisations and traditional institutions and are reluctant to share this power with youth. The situation has often been described as a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Based on documentary data and interviews from key informants, this chapter argues that the country’s government faces a severe threat as a result of the youth bulge. New and imaginative thinking is essential in devising solutions and this process must involve youth. In addition to being a potential threat, youth are also an asset for sustainable development.
... Space does not allow us to extensively detail the origins of this 'Holocaust-based' (Moshman 2010: 71) conception of genocide, but we should emphasise it represents a particular reading of the Holocaust's phenomenological nature and status. Depicting the destruction of Europe's Jews as paradigm is a move which -wilfully or otherwise -necessarily stakes a claim for its uniqueness among other genocides; asserting, in effect, that the Holocaust is 'uniquely unique' (Heinsohn 2010). Yet 'subscribing to the idea of the Holocaust's special difference', even if employing 'euphemisms and 'near-synonyms' rather than the word "unique" (Bloxham 2013: 64), has become ever-more untenable given advances in genocide studies and, to a lesser extent, post-colonial studies in recent decades. ...
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The article investigates the role played by the youth bulge in the turbulence of the Mediterranean region over recent years. The theory predicts that the combination of a very young population structure (at least 30% belongs to the 15–29 age bracket, or at least 20% is in the 15–25 age bracket), and a precarious socio-economic situation in a country can lead to riots, civil wars, enlistment in terrorist organizations and migration. According to some studies, 80% of conflicts in the world take place in contexts that are characterized by youth bulges. After an overview of the literature and some historical examples, the article focuses empirically on the Mediterranean region, showing that many of the countries in the study have experienced a youth bulge that can be associated with geopolitical risk. The analysis was carried out specifically in the years preceding the Arab Uprisings. The conclusions stress the particular importance of human capital for security and stability, and of demographic projections for future geopolitical interpretation.
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The research develops the discovery made by Thomas Mann who revealed and identified the phenomenon of humanization of myth (the report on the four-part novel Joseph and His Brothers in the Library of Congress, US, 1942). In this monograph, humanization of myth becomes the subject of systematic research for the first time, and is conceptualized as an integrated and consist- ently verifiable literary phenomenon. It is based on examining of the intellectual prose of the 20th century represented by such names as Th. Mann, H. Hesse, J. L. Borges, F. Dürrenmatt, A. Camus, M. Sebastian, R. Akutagawa, G. Stein, P. Walser, F. Kafka, A. Bitov, Yu. Aleshkovsky, K. Čapek, D. Kharms, T. Pratchett, G. K. Chesterton, and V. Nabokov. The study becomes possible through the use of special tools – components of the concept of humanization of myth developed by the author. The most important components include three dynamic constants of humanization of myth: the totem / non-totem dichotomy, the myth of laughter, the myth of the abolition of the non-totem-death. The concept of humanization of myth as an experience of system research of the phenomenon of the same name is based on a number of humanitarian discoveries of the 20th century. A special place among them belongs to an interpretative approach by Clifford Geertz, the “cen- tral thesis” by Northrop Frye, the totem / non-totem dichotomy by Olga Frei- denberg, and works by M. Bakhtin, V. Propp, K. Kerenyi, C. G. Jung, M. Eliade, A. Schweitzer, E. Fromm, and K. Jaspers. The concept as a whole makes it pos- sible to identify and verify the inmost meanings present in the unconscious which, while creating catharsis, do not become the property of the conscious without specialized analysis. For the first time, the research includes the scientific definition of the liter- ary phenomenon of humanization of myth which is characterized by the fol- lowing traits: completeness; internal consistency; revealing the illusory nature of the contradictions that may seem to be found in Thomas Mann’s statements on this phenomenon. Humanization of myth is interpreted by us as ethisizing harmonization of the Universe (world view) created in the literary text through mythological structures (mythologems) presented in it explicitly or implicitly. For the first time, the uniform (derived from the definition) method of verifying the phenomenon of humanization of myth in a literary work is formulated. The monograph reveals the invariance of the phenomenon to variations of a number of factors, demonstrates its formation through constants of humaniza- tion of myth, detects the special type and subtype of the basic mythologems of intellectual prose, etc. Also the research shows that the components of the con- cept we use are an effective tool for literary analysis. Исследование развивает открытие Томаса Манна, который выявил и обо- значил феномен гуманизации мифа (доклад о тетралогии «Иосиф и его бра- тья» в Библиотеке Конгресса США; 1942). В данной монографии гумани- зация мифа впервые стала предметом системного научного исследования, причем осмысляется как целостный и единообразно верифицируемый ли- тературный феномен. Объект исследования – интеллектуальная проза ХХ века, представленная такими именами, как Т. Манн, Г. Гессе, Х. Л. Борхес, Ф. Дюрренматт, А. Камю, М. Себастьян, Р. Акутагава, Г. Стайн, Р. Вальзер, Ф. Кафка, А. Битов, Ю. Алешковский, К. Чапек, Д. Хармс, Т. Пратчетт, Г. 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This paper examines educational recommendations and teaching materials on anti-Semitism issued by international and national (Austrian) organizations. It finds that anti-Semitism is not treated as a political phenomenon, but at the level of the individual, as “a certain perception of Jews” that needs to be corrected by breaking down prejudices, debunking stereotypes, and showing a realistic picture of the diversity of Judaism. This paper disagrees, and points out that anti-Semitism – such as racism in general – can only be understood if its respective function for the various interest groups of society is recognized. To clarify this, Brian Ferguson's concept of Identerest is used. Identerest policy consists in creating a security dilemma, polarizing society and defining the interests of a collective in such a way that they coincide with the interests of the social elites. This is discussed using the example of the function that the Nazi anti-Semitic policy had for the destruction of democracy, the establishment of dictatorship and the preparation of the war of conquest. The analytic tool Identerest is also applied to other forms of racism. In order to fight racism, it is necessary for people of different "identities" to recognize to what extent these identities are constructed, what the function of these constructions is, what shared existential interests actually bind them together, and how identity constructions prevent them from acting together for common interests. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dieser Beitrag untersucht Unterrichtsempfehlungen und Unterrichtsmaterialien zum Thema Antisemitismus, herausgegeben von internationalen und nationalen Organisationen. Dabei wird festgestellt, dass Antisemitismus nicht politisch betrachtet wird, sondern auf der Ebene des Individuums, als eine bestimmte Wahrnehmung, die korrigiert werden soll, indem Vorurteile abgebaut, Stereotypen entlarvt werden und ein realitätsgerechtes Bild der Vielfältigkeit des Judentums gezeigt wird. Dem wird entgegengehalten, dass Antisemitismus – wie Rassismus überhaupt – nur verstanden werden kann, wenn seine jeweilige Funktion für die verschiedenen Interessensgruppen der Gesellschaft erkannt wird. Dazu wird Brian Fergusons Begriff des Identerest herangezogen. Identerest-Politik besteht darin, ein Sicherheitsdilemma zu schaffen, die Gesellschaft zu polarisieren und die Interessen eines Kollektivs so zu definieren, dass sie mit den Interessen der gesellschaftlichen Eliten zusammenfallen. Das wird unter anderem anhand der Funktion behandelt, die die nationalsozialistischen antisemitischen Politik für die Zerschlagung der Demokratie, die Errichtung der Diktatur und die Vorbereitung des Eroberungskriegs hatte. Das Analysewerkzeug Identerest wird auch auf andere Formen des Rassismus angewendet. Um Rassismus zu bekämpfen, ist es notwendig, dass Menschen unterschiedlicher „Identitäten“ erkennen, inwieweit diese Identitäten konstruiert sind, was die Funktion dieser Konstruktionen ist, welche gemeinsamen existenziellen Interessen sie eigentlich miteinander verbinden und wie Identitätskonstruktionen sie daran hindern, gemeinsam für gemeinsame Interessen einzutreten.
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This article offers an analytic, integrative review of select themes associated with one of history's greatest atrocities: the Holocaust. Much of this review considers general and Holocaust-specific themes as they pertain to the nature of senseless violence and evil. The importance of having a greater understanding of the sheer brutality of violence perpetuated in the Holocaust is emphasized. As part of this discussion, considerable attention is given to how Internet-based photographs and videos from the Holocaust era can provide greater insight into understanding the evil associated with this genocide. Some consideration of the larger meaning of the Holocaust, particularly for Jews, is also examined.
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We live in a memory-obsessed age. Western culture is suffused with autobiographies, especially with traumatic life narratives about the legacies of abusive childhoods. Tourism consists to a large extent of the consumption of ‘heritage’ such as castles and stately homes; memorials and museums increasingly dot the landscape, and commemorative events seem to occur with increasing frequency. The history of genocide is also affected by these broad cultural trends; indeed, in some respects it exemplifies them. The perpetration of genocide requires the mobilisation of collective memories, as does the commemoration of it. For the individual victims of genocide, traumatic memories cannot be escaped; for societies, genocide has profound effects that are immediately felt and that people are exhorted (and willingly choose) never to forget. ‘Dark tourism’ — visits to death camps or other sites of mass murder — is fully integrated into the tourist trail.1 Although thinkers as diverse as Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernest Renan, Paul Ricoeur and Marc Augé might be right to suggest that forgetting is essential for the health of society, genocide is less amenable to willed oblivion than most events because of the deep wounds it creates; thus, in the memory politics that surround it, genocide can scar societies long before and long after its actual occurrence. This chapter shows how genocide is bound up with memory, on an individual level of trauma and on a collective level, in terms of the creation of stereotypes, prejudice and post-genocide politics.
Chapter
How does the Holocaust relate to genocide as a concept and an event? This question has caused considerable controversy because scholarly discourse and identity politics cannot be separated neatly. While the term ‘genocide’ was coined during the Second World War and enshrined in international law in 1948, the Holocaust as a specifically Jewish tragedy did not become an object of consciousness until almost two decades later. Ever since, those highlighting a distinctive experience for European Jewry have sought to separate it from that of other victims of the Nazis as well as other cases of ethnic and racial extermination.1 Sometimes this endeavour takes on sectarian overtones. When President Carter established the United States Holocaust Museum and Memorial in 1979 and referred to ‘eleven million innocent victims exterminated’ — a figure that included five million non-Jewish Nazi victims — the Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer accused him of attempting to ‘de-Judaize’ the Holocaust. Indignant survivor groups led by Elie Wiesel campaigned successfully to ensure that the permanent exhibition made only passing reference to ‘other [non-Jewish] victims’.Z Bauer went so far as to condemn tendencies to ‘submerge the specific Jewish tragedy in the general sea of suffering caused by the many atrocities committed by the Nazi regime’ as part of a ‘worldwide phenomenon connected with dangers of anti-Semitism’.3
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Conceptions of genocide profoundly shape our perceptions of history. Is genocide rare or common? Which events are genocides and which, however objectionable or horrifying, are not? Which persons or groups are victims of genocide, which are perpetrators, and which are neither — or both? Our perception of historical events as genocides depends not only on what happened in the past — who did what to whom for what reasons, under what circumstances, and with what results? — but also on how we conceptualize genocide: which combinations of perpetrators, actions, victims, reasons, circumstances, and results constitute genocide and which do not?
Article
This philosophical analysis seeks to foster understanding between representatives of diverse disciplines in the study of the Holocaust. The article inquires whether there are ways to avoid the mystification of the Holocaust without losing its singularity. Three concepts of uniqueness are utilized: ordinary uniqueness, unique uniqueness, and transcending uniqueness. Eight propositions are submitted that concern: the salience of facticity, the challenge of the Holocaust to conventional tools of study, the relation of historic antisemitism and the Holocaust, the relevance of eschatological images, the bearing of the Holocaust upon soteriological expression, ideology as a weapon against the Holocaust's concreteness, the theft of the Holocaust for antisemitic and anti-Israeli purposes, and the jointure of nomothetic and idiographic interpretation as a possible aid to understanding. In conclusion, the category of transcending uniqueness is applied to the moral dimension of the encounter with the Holocaust in a way that links a social ethic and the sociology of knowledge.