The Holocaust

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The Holocaust

The first research in the late 1940s and early 1950s focused on the

Jewishness of the Holocaust. Called the "Final Solution" by the

Germans, it was the object of two pivotal studies, both of which had

the Jews at the center of their treatment. The first was The Final

Solution by Gerald Reitlinger and the second The Destruction of the

European Jews by Raul Hilberg. Most major studies since have had the

same focus: Lucy Dawidowicz (The War Against the Jews; Leni Yahil (The

Holocaust); Hilberg (Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders); Daniel

Goldhagen (Hitler's Willing Executioners); Martin Gilbert (The

Holocaust); Arad et al (Documents on the Holocaust); Yitzak Arad

(Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps) and

so on.

Modern research has begun to deal more extensively with the suffering

of other victims of the Nazi genocide. For example, homosexuals,

Gypsies, prisoners of war, Russians, Poles, Catholic priests,

Jehovah's Witnesses and others were more or less systematically

murdered as the Holocaust continued. By the end of the war, as many as

6 million of these people had been killed, along with between 5 and 6

million Jews.

Does the focus on the Jewishness of the Holocaust take away from or

minimize the suffering of the millions of non-Jews who were

persecuted? Do the Jews, unintentionally perhaps, try to keep all the

suffering for themselves? No. On the other hand, does the Holocaust

have a particularly crucial and central Jewish element, even though

millions of others died? Simply put, the answer is yes. The Holocaust,

from its conception to its implementation had a distinctly Jewish...

... middle of paper ...

... was Hitler's driving force and central point,

perhaps even the only element that moved him. The German people,

German greatness, the Reich, all that meant nothing to him in the

final analysis. Thus, the closing sentence of his Testament sought to

commit us Germans to a merciless hatred of the Jews after the

apocalyptic downfall. I was present in the Reichstag session of

January 30, 1939 when Hitler guaranteed that, in the event of another

war, the Jews, not the Germans, would be exterminated. This sentence

was said with such certainty that I would never have doubted his

intent of carrying through with it.

It should be remembered that the centrality of the Jews in the

Holocaust in no way lessens the killing of others. The Gypsies were

marked for extermination in the same way as the Jews were and suffered

terribly
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