The Holocaust: A German Historian Examines the Genocide Report
The author and the purpose of the book
The Holocaust: A German Historian Examines the Genocide deals with one of the most debatable issues of the history of the twentieth century, i.e. Holocaust. In this book Benz depicts facts telling the “story with exactness and absolute candor” (ix). The uniqueness of the book is that it is one of the first books on “Jewish issue” written by a German scholar.
Thus, there is no biased perception of the historical facts, since “Benz seeks only to provide the basic and incontrovertible facts” (ix). Of course, Benz pertains to the nation which was involved in this conflict of humaneness and common sense.
Nevertheless, being German Benz has an opportunity to make a deeper analysis of those distant events. He does not try to acquit Nazis or hush up some of their horrors. The book provides many facts which took place and had an impact on the history of two nations (Germans and Jewish people) and the whole world.
Benz wrote his book more than 50 years after the events took place. This can be good evidence that the book uses only reliable and unbiased data. The book concisely reveals all the events which led to the “unique crime in the history of mankind” (p.152). For instance, Benz starts with depicting Wannsee Conference when Nazis revealed the first plans and inclinations concerning the “Jewish problem”. After this Benz considers the beginning of discrimination of the Jews which grew into anti-Semitism, massacre and genocide.
Interestingly, the book tackles various issues which others did not highlight. For instance, Benz dwells upon emigration of Jews. Admittedly, many people think that the most appropriate solution for Jews living in Germany in 1930-40s was to leave the country.
Moreover, many people (especially youth) suppose that there could be no genocide if the Jews simply abandoned their homeland. Nevertheless, Benz gives quite substantial explanation why Jewish people had to stay in Germany and other countries in constant danger and fear. Benz mentions major factors which prevented Jews from emigration, one of which is as follows: “the confiscation of assets and the crippling fees limited the possibilities for emigration” since no “country accepting immigrants is interested in impoverished newcomers” (p. 34).
Apart from highlighting difficult and controversial issues the book reveals many details which make the picture complete. Thus, Benz points out some facts which are known to Germans and those who live in Germany (or lived there in 1930-40s). Creating such atmosphere Benz manages to make his narrative more illustrative and more persuasive. The reader can not only find out some facts but can understand how this or that could happen.
The target audience
The book in question is great historical narrative which can be a valuable source of knowledge on the issue. Nevertheless, I would like to point out that although the book contains bibliography where many reliable sources are mentioned, there are not footnotes in the text.
Although there are many citations the reader cannot know the source of those quotations. This peculiarity makes the book quite inappropriate for using as a source for some substantial academic writing. However, the book can be used in schools sine it is very informative and illustrative. The book can be a really good source for young people since there are many precise facts and explanations of the most difficult issues. Moreover, the language of the book is not too sophisticated and will be understandable for many students.
The significance of the book
Of course, there are many different books about Holocaust. However, the exclusive significance of the book in question is that it does not reconsider the issue, but it simply provides comprehensive information about the events of that period. According to Hertzberg (1999) there are many “revisionist historians” who try to prove that there was no Holocaust and that “the gas ovens in Auschwitz were disposal units for the bodies of those who died in the cam from disease” (vii-viii).
So, books like The Holocaust: A German Historian Examines the Genocide are very important since they reveal the real history without any “amendments”. The book makes the reader know the past of humanity which an enable people to build up their future without making the same mistakes. Apart from this, the book makes people think of many important or even essential issues. Many people can learn not only some historic facts but the basic values of humaneness.
What readers can learn
Thus, the reader can learn many details which became a basis for the obscure page of the human history. The reader will understand why many solutions which seem obvious now were inappropriate for people living in that period. What is more important, the reader will remember about the horrors which took place some decades ago.
They will see that those massacres grew from quite abstract ideas. Initially, those abstract ideas could seem quite positive and patriotic but in some time they transformed into a plan of genocide. After reading the book, people will be able to feel the danger of some “positive ideas” emerging nowadays. Apart from this the reader will be able to learn that all people are equal and no nation or individual should decide who deserves to live and who does not.
Finally, the reader can learn that Germans accept their past with its mistakes but they are ready to move on. They do not want to covert the deeds of their predecessors, but on the contrary, they want to reveal real historic facts which enable all people of the world know exactly what was happening in that difficult period.
Recommendations for reading
I would like to recommend the book to teachers and students. In the first place, teachers should know that there is such a book concerning Holocaust written by a German scholar. They should know that there is that particular viewpoint on the events of 1930-40s. This will definitely enlarge teachers’ horizons and enable them to provide their students with more comprehensive and at the same time more precise information.
On the other hand, students should read the book since they need to know this part of the world history. They should be aware of those terrible things which took place in the world in the twentieth century so that they could never repeat those mistakes. Young people should read the book which will make them remember what can happen to the world if certain ideas win.
In conclusion, I would like to stress that unbiased and comprehensive data provided in the book makes it one of the most valuable sources for students to learn about the Holocaust which took place in the twentieth century.
Benz, W. The Holocaust: A German Historian Examines the Genocide. (Sydenham-Kwiet, J., Trans.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1999.
The Horror of the Holocaust in Different Styles of Writing Expository Essay
“They came there in the morning –
Trains coming from all sorts of places in Germany –
Until the Jews numbered thousands.
Here they were searched
And if anybody had more than ten marks
The rest was taken away…”
Charles Reznikoff, pp.3
Almost every person in the world knows something about the Holocaust. It was a period during World War II, because of which more than six million of Jews died.
Adolf Hitler did not know any mercy to Jewish people: he ordered to create numerous camps and put to death all Jews. “For Hitler, Jews represented evil incarnate. Wherever Jews settles, he wrote, they strove for mastery over the host population.” (Fischel 4) Many writers try to represent the horror of those times. Some of them use interesting details to help the reader plunge into the history.
Some writers describe the events in general and underline how unfair all those actions of Hitler’s were. The idea of the Holocaust and the horror people lived during World War II ties closely three works of different writers: A Dead Child Speaks by Nelly Sachs, Babii Yar by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and After Auschwitz by Anne Sexton.
These three writers, Nelly Sachs, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and Anne Sexton are the representatives of three different countries, which were involved into the process of the Holocaust somehow. Sachs is a representative of German literature, Sexton is an American writer, and Yevtushenko is a writer from Russia. Their works are three different positions, three different opinions on one and the same event.
Nelly Sachs in her A Dead Child Speaks tries to individualize millions who died during the Holocaust. Instead of analyzing the mystery and reasons of why the Nazis used such terrible methods to lead other people, she concentrates on certain universal themes and metaphors. “Someone raised the knife of parting” (Sachs)
It is not an ordinary knife, which each woman has in the kitchen. It is a symbol of something that separate people forever. The Nazis did not pay attention whether they kill children, young women, or old men. People had no distinctions in age or sex. The only point that played an important role was a race. If a person is a Jew, he/she did not have the right to live.
At the end of the poem, the author repeats once again the presence of parting knife. “As I was led to death/ I still felt in the last moment/ The unsheathing of the great knife of parting” (Sachs) Such literature device as repetition helps the reader concentrate on one concrete detail. The word-combination “knife of parting” appears at the beginning and at the end to underline the hopeless that something may change.
After Auschwitz by the American writer, Anne Sexton, presents another picture of the events during the Holocaust. In this work, the author describes her own experience, her feelings about the brutality of camps, which found and killed all Jewish people. “Each day/ each Nazi/ took, at 8:00 A.M., a baby/ and sautéed him for breakfast/ in his frying pan” (Sexton) The last two lines is a kind of metaphor, which underlines how crass all humankind is.
In this poem, the writer tells about her hate for all males, the Nazi leaders. The major point of this poem is its last line. Many sources do not present this line. However, it exists and underlines the very sense of the story. “I say those things aloud/ I beg the Lord not to hear” (Sexton)
However, “on the other side of the ocean, the American writer, unless he actually participated in the military liberation of the concentration camps, had no direct contact with the life and death struggles of the victim of Nazism.” (Ezrahi 176) This is why the work by Yevgeny Yevtushenko Babii Yar represents more clearly those events and presents the real terror that happened during the times of the war.
“No monument stands over Babii Yar/A drop sheer as a crude gravestone/I am afraid.” (Yevtushenko) From the very first lines, the author tries to present how terrible the situation is; and he, as a viewer cannot hide his fear. Babii Yar is a ravine not far from Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, where the Nazi killed more than 70,000 Jews in several days. Many Jews got the order to dig the ravine and place all sick and killed people there, and then the Nazi killed the rest, who were alive.
One of the thematic thread that unites these three works of the writers from different countries is their attempt to reproduce how cruel and unfair the actions of the Nazi were. Nelly Sachs, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and Anne Sexton do not mention the term Holocaust in their works. The Holocaust, the judgment of the Holocaust and its consequences is an enthymeme that is inherent to these works.
It is so terrible, when people do not have the right to make the decisions or just the right to live. The times of war always remind people of such unfairness and cruelty. The writers’ major purpose is to describe all war events and present them using numerous literature techniques, which help to concentrate readers’ attention on the necessary details.
Ezrahi, Sidra, D. By Words Alone: The Holocaust in Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.
Fischel, Jack. The Holocaust. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998.
Reznikoff, Charles. Holocaust. David R. Godine Publisher, 2007.
Schilb, John and Clifford John. Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005.
Peter Eisenman; Building Germany, the Holocaust memorial Term Paper
The onset of the year 1933 in Germany was marked by the inauguration of the Nazi government into power. This government orchestrated the mass murder of the Jewish settlers in their country; Germany. These killings were methodical, technical and were financed by the Nazi government. In total, by the end of the Second World War, about six million had died as a result of the activities of the Nazi and its allies.
This event was named the holocaust, a Greek word that meant to ‘sacrifice by fire’. The proponents to this state of affairs (the Nazis) were spurred on by the feeling that theirs’ was a superior race and the Jews were the inferior, and for that they were a foreign threat to their race and their sovereignty.
The Jews were not the Nazi’s only victims during the holocaust, other casualties were the weak and disabled people in the society, who were killed on the pretext of the Euthanasia program. This program involved isolating the mentally ill and the disabled people (both adults and children) in the German society, keeping them in some form of concentration camps under the pretext of medicating them.
The whole agenda behind this was that the Nazis wanted a perfect society, one representation of their own perceptions of themselves, and they could stop at nothing (Gilberts, 21). These people were collected and murdered in the concentration camps through overdose of medication and keeping them hungry. Children as young as three years who showed or had any symptoms of mental disorders were also killed.
The other category of people affected in Germany is those who had been serving the German households as workers and slaves to their farms; these included the Russians and the Polish. Politics, contrasting and differing opinions, weird characteristics that were not at par with the accepted social norms like homosexuality were given as the reason as to why other people were prosecuted. The people in this group included those with communist ideas, the socialists, and the people who belonged to the church called Jehovah’s witnesses.
When the Nazi took over, the Jewish population was over nine million, but as it would happen, they lived in countries that Germany would later conquer or have direct influence over their affairs during the Second World War. Around ten years after they took control of government, the Nazis had killed two out of every three Jews, though some two hundred thousand people with mental cases, mostly Germans had been killed through the Euthanasia program.
The Germans and the people who supported them during this ghastly acts mini-estate they referred to as ghettos and other concentration camps, this was to help them monitor the number of the Jews in their country as well as to make it easier when they would later depot them. With time the soviet republic became subject to German rule as they had been conquered by Hitler’s troupes in the year 1941. Organized killing units, then referred to as “Einsatzgruppen” trailed The German forces(Gilberts, 65).
They carried out mass-execution of the Jews, the people of the soviet republic and officials of the communist party in the Soviet. These people mentioned above were mainly killed using the gassing facilities, where they were held in confinement and poisoned the air they inhaled inside the chambers causing instant death.
This led to the death of millions of Jewish men women and children, until several years down the line when other forces came together and led a series of attacks against the German forces. In spite of this, they still came across people of the Jewish race in death matches and other prisoners. The allied forces piled pressure on Germany until May 7, 1945, when they were downed their tools in defeat (Gilberts, 75).
After this, the distraught survivors of the Holocaust obtained protection from Displaced persons camps which had been put up by an alliance of the allied forces that thrashed Hitler’s army. The three years after the holocaust witnessed mass movement of the Jews to Israel and other countries.
The Holocaust memorial is a commemorative building designed by architect Peter Eisenman and another Engineer Buro Haplod. It has been put up one block to the North of Brandenburg, in Friedrichstadt. Structurally, the building is erected on a nineteen thousand square meter parcel of land, calculated to round up to 4.7 acres of land. Its construction began in April 2003after much hullabaloo from the political sides.
By December 15th 2004 construction was complete, but its inauguration was delayed up to May 10th 2005, when it would coincide with the day the Second World War ended. It was open to the public on May 12th 2005. The total cost of construction was put at around twenty five million Euros (Eisenman, 24).
The construction of the memorial was not an easy task as it faced setbacks from every quarter of the German population and even the international community. The quest to erect a memorial as a memento to the atrocities of the past was driven by a journalist called Lea Rosh, and in 1989 formed a group that would advocate for its construction and help source for funds. As time went by, more and more people supported their initiative and the Bundestag resolved that the project should go on. The design of the memorial was obtained in a rather funny way.
Artists were called over and requested to give their designs on what they think the memorial should be (Eisenman, 31). It was so open to the point that the only rules outlined were that whatever their designs, their construction costs should not surpass Twenty five million Euros.
Quality was stressed upon, and the submissions were to be vetted by judges whose professions revolved around art, architecture, history, politics and other dimensions and fields the symbolic building would represent. Over five hundred proposals were submitted, and the jury would start their work on January 15th 1995 led by their chairman, Walter Jens, of getting the submissions.
The days that followed would witness the elimination of all but thirteen of the submitted designs after thorough scrutiny. As pre arranged earlier, the jury met again on the 15th of March, and this time eleven of the submissions were brought back to the contest as had been requested by some judges.
In the months that followed, thorough review of the submissions led to the recommendations by the jury; an enquiry into whether the costs of some two top most designs would be completed within the price range given. The concept behind one of the finalist’s submission was that of Simon Ungers, a native of Humburg.
It entailed an 85x 85M square girders that were made of steel (Eisenman, 73). The girders were placed above concrete blocks situated at the corners, and on this they would display the names of the various concentration camps. This would further be projected into visibility to the people around by sunlight.
The other design which reached the final two was a project by Cristine Jackob-Marks. The idea behind her design was that of a concrete plate whose dimensions measured 100x 100 M, and its thickness 7M thick.
It could lie at an angle, and reached a peak of eleven meters, special paths to tread had been designed in the structure. The names of the victims of the holocaust were to be written on the concrete slab, and spaces left for people whose names were still a mystery.
The plans to these designs were to be finally vetted by the then chancellor, Helmut Kohl. In 1997, the Bundestag decided on Peter Eisenman’s design of the project through another round of the competition. He had modified his design by attaching a source of information or museum close to the memorial center (Eisenman, 125).
Another incident that almost bugged the construction and put to question the credibility of method of sourcing companies was the Degussa incident. This was a big issue in the country that was trying to forget what it had gone through and live as one nation. The company had in a big way contributed to the state persecution of Jews.
One of its associate companies was involved in the production of Zyklon B, a gaseous substance that had been used by the regime to kill the Jews in the concentration camps. This made the construction of the memorial to be stopped so that the pending issues could be resolved.
After lengthy discussions they decided to proceed with the construction, since they could not exclude all the Nazi companies out of the project (Eisenman, 163). Many people debated on the Degusa incident while the architect himself did not have an issue working with the company. Their resolution set the stage for the completion of the project.
December 15th 2004 marked the completion of the project, and was dedicated on May 10th the following year; this coincided with their 60th commemorations of the V-E day. It was opened to the public a few days later and estimates show that on the first year alone the memorial center received about 3.5 million visitors and the number has grown ever since.
Does Global English Mean Linguistic Holocaust? Essay
It is not difficult to find examples of the extinction of languages in the wake of the introduction of English. On every continent, there is some region where colonial English has apparently supplanted or wiped out the indigenous linguistic forms. Furthermore, there is ample evidence that languages are going extinct today at a rapid and alarming rate, coincident with the spread of English as a language of commerce.
However, it is too narrow a view to blame the language itself for this phenomenon. Rather, it has been, and continues to be, the attitude and the means with which English has been introduced and used that has had a pernicious effect. Our ideal should be, this paper will assert, a bi- or multi-lingual globe, benefitting from the diversity of world-views embedded in different languages. Only a change in attitude, and resulting practice, will achieve that goal, and avoid further loss of linguistic richness and variety.
It is well documented, and widely accepted, that languages are going extinct with precipitous speed. Some estimates suggest that one language is being lost irretrievably every several weeks (Moffet). Some of the most active areas of extinction include the American West, where a variety of indigenous peoples from all over what is now the ‘lower 50’ states of the USA were forced to re-settle in the 1800’s (Weiss).
However, there are indeed linguistic extinctions occurring all over the world. The National Geographic Institute and the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages have together identified areas of highest language extinction. These are located in Northern Australia, Central South America, the Northwest USA Pacific Plateau, Eastern Siberia, and the above noted Southwestern portion of the USA, especially the state of Oklahoma (Moffet).
What ties most of these together is the imposition/introduction of a different language. This has usually happened within the last millennium, perpetrated by a group of people wielding greater power. Such power is usually based on weapons and technology. However, the language imposed on these areas was not uniformly English.
Note that in Central Siberia, the language imposed is likely to have been Russian in most cases (Lydersen). In Central and South America, the obvious imposed language is either Spanish or Portuguese. In each of these cases, indigenous peoples were subjugated and often deliberately deracinated and demoralized as part of a take-over for political and economic gain.
The guilt of English speaking people in such linguistic extinction is just as severe, and the spread of damage is wider. However, it is not unique, as these above examples demonstrate. What is responsible is not a particular language, but a set of attitudes and intentions, all of which can be held by persons of any language background.
English ‘imperialism’ can be cited in the British Isles themselves. The suppression of Gaelic over the last several centuries has been one element in a conscious suppression of all distinctive Scottish cultural features. These included outlawing of indigenous dress, bagpipes, and weapons, among other items, as well as discrimination and relocation of large blocks of the Scots population to Northern Ireland known as the Ulster Plantation. As a tragic result, Gaelic is now spoken by less than 2% of the population (Gaelic Survival in the Balance).
Welsh is another casualty of English prejudice and suppression. The centuries-long pattern of outright racism has been so persistent that as recently as 2000, there were calls for the end of such racist behavior (BBC). The result of compensatory attempts to teach Welsh has been that now 21% of the population can speak some of the language. Welsh may be the only Celtic language that survives at all (Thomas and Gathercole).
In Australia, the suppression of indigenous languages and cultures is attested to by the peoples themselves (N.A., Languages). This type of colonial settlement is paralleled by the US pattern of crowding out and removal of indigenous peoples, or in some cases, as in the Tainos, genocidal extermination (Crawford).
In the case of the USA, children were specifically taken from their families and sent to special schools where only English was allowed to be spoken. This government policy has been so deeply toxic that a Federal law (Native American Languages Act of 1990) was passed to counteract the several generations of mistreatment (N.A., Fighting for Validity: Credentialing Native American Language Teachers).
In much more modern times, recent immigrants, especially Asian, have voluntarily suppressed their own language expression. They have done this to ‘get ahead’ and help their children to ‘get ahead’. This has occurred in places like Hawaii (Conklin), and in other communities with Asian immigrant communities.
In such cases, there may be a concomitant desire to cherish and preserve traditions and culture from the country of origin. This pattern of aspirational language suppression has resulted in partial loss of linguistic facility, even when an effort is made to teach the mother tongue to the next generation. This is termed “heritage language attrition” (Hinton).
The current generation of young people all over the world largely has access to the internet, where the language most used is English. The assertion is made that global use of English on the internet causes the loss of minority languages (Fuller). On the other hand, this same source notes that technology can be harnessed to document and preserve vanishing languages (Fuller).
Crawford identifies several factors that can cause language loss: demography (migration), economic opportunities open only to speakers of the dominant language, mass media that carries with it the stamp of desirability, and social aspiration (Crawford). These, factors can operate, it should be noted, when any language, not just English, is associated with what people want or think they need.
More insidious perhaps are value shifts, which can occur in the contact of indigenous cultures with the dominant global industrialized culture. Crawford identifies individualism, pragmatism, and materialism as antithetical to the valuing of a heritage language (Crawford). Of course, these represent the stereotypical values that are popularly associated worldwide with irreligiousness, and breakdown of family values. Again, these are not uniquely tied to English as a language.
The problem, rather, is the assumption on the part of English speakers, or speakers of any language associated with empire, that they have the right to impose anything of their culture on others. This cultural arrogance causes trouble. It is cultural arrogance, spread globally via merchandising and the internet, which contributes to language loss.
There is much evidence that bilingualism is a healthy and positive state of being (Wenner). It is also notably undervalued in the USA and Great Britain, as popular strereotypes confirm.
Note that great empires such as those of the Romans and Persians functioned well without overtly suppressing indigenous languages, and in fact, used third languages (Greek, and Aramaic, for example) to operate and succeed for generations (N.A., Culture). This suggests that such tragic linguistic obliteration as we have seen in the Americas, the British Isles, and Australasia, among many other places, is largely unnecessary.
While linguistic attrition (as opposed to obliteration) may be inevitable to some extent as a result of voluntary adoption of another language, a deep change in attitude could help preserve those languages we still have on this earth. Valuing bilingualism can help. This is a very simple statement with vast implications beyond the scope of this paper.
However, rather than vilifying one language, changing the way we regard each other, might be far more constructive in preserving linguistic diversity. The question of prestige has been identified as key to the successful creation and maintenance of a truly bilingual community: we all need to accord one another respect to make this happen (Chapel, Castelló and Bernard).
Finally, having a common language in which to engage in commerce has contributed to peace and prosperity in various places and times in the past (N.A., Culture). Should our goal not be to retain as many of our diverse languages as we can while sharing a common one (perhaps English, perhaps not) in which to deal with each other peacefully?
BBC. “Anti-Welsh Racism Protest.” 2000. BBC. Web.
Chapel, Laetitia, et al. “Viability and Resilience of Languages in Competition.” 11 November 2009. Pub Med. Web.
Conklin, Kenneth. “Was Hawaiian Language Illegal? Did the Evil Haoles Suppress Hawaiian Language As A Way of Oppressing Kanaka Maoli and Destroying Their Culture?” 2010. Angelfire. Web.
Crawford, James. “Seven Hypotheses on Language Loss: Causes and Cures, from (1996), Stabilizing Indigenous Languages.” 1996. University of Maryland University College Europe. Ed. G. Cantoni. University of Maryland University College Europe. Web.
Fuller, Nicolle. “Endangered Languages.” 2010. National Science Foundation. Web.
“Gaelic Survival in the Balance.” 2010. Hebrides News Today. Web.
Hinton, Leanne. Involuntary Language Loss Among Immigrants: Asian-American Linguistic Autobiographies. Web.
Lydersen, K. “Preserving Language is about More than Words.” 2010. Web.
Moffet, Barbara. “Languages Going Extinct Fastest In 5 Regions Around World: One Language Dies Every 14 Days .” 2009. National Geographic. Web.
N.A. “Culture.” 2010. The Ancient World. Web.
—. “Fighting for Validity: Credentialing Native American Language Teachers.” 2010. AICLS.org. Web.
—. “Languages.” 2010. Muurrbay.org. Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Cooperative. Web.
Thomas, Enlli and Virginia Gathercole. “Minority Language Survival: Obsolescence or Survival for Welsh in the Face of English Dominance.” 2010. Googledocs. Web.
Weiss, Rick. “Vanisihing Languages Identified.” 2007. Washington Post. Web
Wenner, Melinda. The Neural Advantage of Speaking Two Languages. 2010. Web.
The ‘Banality’ of Abstraction: Western Philosophy’s Failure to Address the Moral Implications of the Holocaust Essay
Two of the 20th Century’s most prominent philosophers were Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt, who happened to live and work during the time period in which the atrocities of The Holocaust were committed. In addition to a strong mutually beneficial intellectual relationship, the two of them had a romantic affair.
The fact that he was a German and she was a Jew makes their story all the more interesting. Why would a man who loved a Jewish woman be a strong supporter of German politics during the Holocaust? Why would Arendt forgive him? Can Heideggerian philosophy account for the catastrophic crimes committed against the Jewish race? What good are philosophic ideals if they do not address morality in everyday life?
In this essay, I attempt to address some of these questions. Additionally, I would like to address the relationship of Arendt and Heidegger in the context of The Holocaust, and the effect that it had upon their philosophical works. Also, I attempt to prove that Heidegger’s political failings, and a refusal to admit any wrongdoing on the part of the German government, undermine his philosophical credibility, while Arendt’s public endorsement of him and his ideals weakens her credibility as a voice of the Jewish people.
Philosophy is the study of and the admiration for wisdom itself. It comes from the Greek words “philos,” meaning love and “sophia,” which means wisdom. After his mentor Husserl, Heidegger was a major proponent of “phenomenology,” the philosophic study of structures of consciousness—sort of a detailed look at what the process of thinking is itself, and how philosophies are created. In 1923 Heidegger took a position at Marburg University, working as an associate professor.
He continued to work in phenomenology and also lectured on Aristotle. During this time period, he worked on his treatise, Being and Time, which was ultimately seen as a major philosophical work. Partially due to this accomplishment, Heidegger was awarded the position of Philosophic Chair in 1928 at Freiberg University.
With Hitler’s rise to power, Heidegger’s life entered a more controversial stage, referred to as “the turn.” Though he had been rather apolitical prior to the 1930’s, the increasing demands of university hierarchy necessitated a certain degree of political involvement. He was elected rector of Freiburg University in 1933, and soon after joined the NSDAP party.
His infamous rector’s address from that post is often seen as evidence of Nazi support, though the movement is not specifically mentioned. However, actions speak louder than words, and during his rectorship, Heidegger willingly transformed the university into the National-Socialist mold, expelling Jewish academics, and not even objecting to the firing of his previous mentor Husserl.
Perhaps surprisingly, a year later Heidegger resigned from the post, and expressed some covert criticism of Nazi ideology, engendering the surveillance of The Gestapo, and eventually sent to dig trenches. Heidegger’s ambiguous relationship with the Nazi party has sparked a great deal of criticism, and continues to this day.
Books like The Political Ontology of Martin Heidegger by Pierre Bourdieu, Heidegger and “the Jews” by Jean-François Lyotard, and The German Genius: Europe’s Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century by Peter Watson question whether Heidegger’s philosophy should be considered valid in light of his political sympathies. He was considered a great ideologist and was banned from teaching at the same time.
Even in his own time, Heidegger’s loyalties were questioned. On the one hand, his actions garnered the suspicions of the Gestapo and were anti-government enough to get him a post digging trenches. On the other hand, because at one point he’d been an openly anti-Semitic rector, he was banned from teaching until 1949. The ban was lifted in part due to Hannah Arendt’s willingness to vouch for him (Rosenbaum), interesting in its own right. Still, he continued to write until his death, with increasingly obscure texts.
In 1924 Hannah Arendt enrolled as a student at Marlburg University to study philosophy, and took classes with Martin Heidegger a year later. The contradictory nature of their relationship encapsulates the cognitive dissonance between the ideals of the National Socialist Movement and its reality.
Though a brilliant philosopher, Heidegger as a man failed to address the moral implications of the Holocaust, and as a result lost the respect of his peers, students, and by extension, Western philosophy as a whole suffered. He was the most prominent philosopher of his time, gaining near-celebrity status, but he was a contradictory man.
He espoused virtue, yet cheated on his wife. He loved Hannah Arendt for her mind, yet made her feel as though she must stifle her intelligence in his presence so as not to threaten his egoistic intelligence. He cared deeply for a Jewish woman, and his best teacher was a Jewish man, Edmond Husserl, yet he upon becoming rector of The University of Freiburg, he banned Jewish intellectuals from the establishment.
The relationship between Heidegger and Arendt can be seen as a metaphor for the arc of philosophy as a whole during the time period in which they lived.
First, Heidegger alone was prominent, garnering fame through books like Being and Time (1927) and The Task of Thinking (1964) and teaching notable courses that gained him fame and recognition uncommon for a philosopher. At this time, philosophy was a mainstay in German society, something upon which people could rely at a time when government wasn’t fulfilling the needs of its people.
Cultural zeitgeist—a return to nature—a metaphysical observation of details and thoughts and principles, not the rigidity of prior ideas introduced by Nietzsche, the key notable feature of which was the natural approach that was later applied to all fields of science and industry as well as education and politics.
Then, Arendt entered the picture, representative the increasing presence of women at the university level, and all for which that stood—she was said to have brought a conscience to the world of philosophy, weighing the grand ideas of her time against private principles of good and evil, applying them to reality. With the change in government, everything shifted. Arendt was interned, then escaped to America,—excised from academic society as all Jews and most women of the time were.
Heidegger gained prominence during this same time period, delivering a rectorial address promoting the Nazi Socialist Movement based on the ideas that development of a man and technological progress should be simultaneous and be carried out highlighting the triumph of a man over technology though focusing on the importance of a symbiosis between a man and technology.
As the Holocaust dragged on, and it became increasingly clear that it was not a movement of ideals but one of hatred and destruction, the banished point of view of Hannah Arendt became the mainstay in public opinion.
With her publication years later of Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil (2006), she captured the thought of the time, answering for herself questions full of emotional coloring and philosophical ideas of why people make others suffer through the most sophisticated and cruel crimes against the humankind (Avineri).
However, the answers were nothing without actions but she could do nothing physically to prevent those crimes and humiliation, destruction and devastation.
Finally, we see the difficult but grand triumph of forgiveness over ignorance and intolerance. Though Heidegger never apologized for his political actions, and never even explained the reasoning behind why he acted in the way that he did, Arendt forgave him.
The two reconnected with a tenuous academic friendship, mostly in the form of letters that contained a touch of the inspired romance the two had once known. Though in action they were opposites, the gentle Jew and the fox-like Gentile, they were perfect academic counterparts—inspiring one another with lofty ideas, and praising each other’s attempts for the sake of mutual growth.
The concept of Heidegger being a fox is discussed closely by Arendt in her personal diary Denktagebuch of 1953 where she kept interesting thoughts about people, the situation, and some notes from notable books she liked or disliked (Forrest 6). Arendt even took the step of helping Heidegger to regain his reputation.
The world was skeptical of German intellectuals after the war. Hadn’t their ideas made a direct path to the dogma that caused the Holocaust? Arendt argued that this was not so; “He did his duty…; he not only obeyed orders, he also obeyed the law” (Arendt, Eichmann 135).
She helped him to regain his standing, and for the most part forgave him, though in private she still expressed sorrow and a bit of skepticism about his moral conduct (Forrest 6). This was another way the world reflected her views. Germans tenuously rebuilt their reputations, but many retained private resentments, and the world at large still remembers them as the society in which Nazism could thrive.
The philosophical environment in Germany was favorable for development of ideologies and different concepts that could be used to encourage people for changes and increase their moral spirits. The political ideology was created in the same time as the philosophical one though people did not recognize the applicability of ideas to the political life of the country and, as it later turned out, most part of the world. As such, it is questionable whether the ideology itself was negative or its implementation in practice was ineffective and perverted.
The political ontology of Martin Heidegger interpreted by Pierre Bourdieu referencing youth Zeitgeist suggests that it was based on the natural approach and its popularity for cultural use. In addition, Heidegger’s “turn” and his belief in “inner truth and greatness of the movement—namely the encounter between global technology and the modern man” (Bourdieu 9) can be considered decisive for shaping his views and people’s perception of his ideas referring to the Nazi ideology and him as an integral part of it.
The Holocaust’s effect on philosophy was great because any event that takes place in the world and raises a great number of different views that are often opposing each other makes the world of philosophy revive leading to strong criticism or support to the event or people who provoked it. As such, philosophical ideas by Nietzsche that were provoked by the Holocaust can be used for a more thorough analysis of interactions in the society in that period so that people stopped talking about the dissemination of ideas.
If people do not agree with the Nazi philosophy and are not ready to support the movement, why should they act in a strongly negative and destructing manner. Some of Nietzsche’s famous quotes about the Holocaust include the following: “Under conditions of peace the warlike man attacks himself” and “The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”
‘Holocaust Theology’ can be regarded as an individual strain of thought because it explained the desire of people to dominate and their high level of patriotic views while any patriotism when received in high doses can be harmful and leading to fascist views. At the same time, Martin Heidegger who was considered one of the prominent philosophers of the time supported the Nazi ideology and Adolf Hitler as the ideological leader of this discriminating movement full of hatred and humiliation towards other people and nations.
Heidegger was known for criticizing the academic approach to the exploration of the concept of being. As suggested by Loving, “A stereotypical criticism of much of traditional academia is that it only studies ‘dead white males’” (97).
However, he also supported the Nazi ideology which made him a rather controversial person for the period right after the war and till the current moment because people cannot understand how such an educated and prominent philosopher could fail to understand the destructing nature of fascism. This can be explained through the notes in Hannah Arendt’s diary where she uses an allegory of a fox to analyze the behavior of Heidegger and his inability to identify the “difference between a trap and a non-trap” (Forrest 6).
As noted by Habermas and McCumber, “Heidegger’s work has long since detached itself from his person” making him a great philosopher who supports the Nazi though.
Arendt was a prominent political theorist though she was often referred to as a philosopher. The relationships between Arendt and Heidegger were unclear for the entire world as they supported each other in all difficulties and troubles.
Honan claims that “Arendt, whose fiery reproach had extended to European Jews whom she said had ‘collaborated’ with the Nazis in their own destruction, did almost everything she could to whitewash the unrepentant Heidegger…” (26). Another characteristic of their relations by Honan suggests that they were two strong persons who could not reach the compromise in a way we all got used to and their struggle continued:
“The book [Hannah Arendt/Martin Heidegger by Elzbieta Ettinger] shows that Arendt was so arrogant that she thought she alone could decide who should be forgiven and who should not,” said Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate who has written of his experiences in the Auschwitz death camp. “I’m not so sure her moral stature will remain intact.”
The effect of the relationship between Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt was evident in their work as she tried in all possible ways to make him look less Nazi-supporting than he was at the same time opposing his views.
Heidegger was brilliant in terms of his ideas, concepts, and other philosophical issues he created and introduced in his works though he was negatively perceived due to being a supporter of Hitler. ‘The Banality of Evil’ in contrast with Arendt’s original phrase “radical evil” can be interpreted as her attempt to reconcile her view of Martin’s evil and make an accounting for it so that she can forgive herself for loving an evil man.
The lasting Impact of the works of Heidegger and Arendt is their books like Heidegger’s Being and Time which questioned the concept of being as it should be applied rather than it have been applied since Plato’s ideas introduced and Arendt’s books Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil where she tries to justify her affection for a man who commits evil and The Origins of Totalitarianism which can be considered one of the great political theories of all times.
To conclude, the abstraction of philosophy renders it impotent—in the case of Heidegger, his refusal to allow his ideas to stand up to real-world examples makes them meaningless. Heidegger was considered weak because he could not decide which of the parties he wants to support.
At the same time, he was strongly criticized by all activists of the time for his positive reaction to the Nazi ideology and antisemitism whereas the most active critic was Hannah Arendt who was also his major supporter because she tried to clean his reputation.
She forgave him everything and reflected her justification for their relationships in her books and notes where she claimed that he was like a fox that could not identify the trap. Both the events of one’s life and the major relationships one has in one’s lifetime have a significant impact on intellectual work. Martin Heidegger’s abstraction of moral concepts sidesteps any real ethical judgments… and Arendt’s public endorsement of him and his ideals weakens her credibility as a voice of the Jewish people.
Arendt, Hannah, and Martin Heidegger. Letters, 1925-1975. Uncorrected Proof ed. Orlando: Harcourt, 2004. Print.
Arendt, Hannah. Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil. New York, NY: Penguin, 2006. Print.
Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. 2nd Enlarged ed. Breinigsville, PA: Benediction Classics, 2009. Print.
Avineri, Shlomo. “Where Hannah Arendt Went Wrong.” Haaretz Daily Newspaper. 2010. Web.
Bourdieu, Pierre. The Political Ontology of Martin Heidegger. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1991. Print.
Forrest, Rosanna. Hannah and Martin: Study Guide. Web.
Habermas, Jurgen, and John McCumber. “Work and Weltanschauung: The Heidegger Controversy from a German Perspective.” Critical Inquiry 15.2 (1989): 431. Web.
Heidegger, Martin. Basic Writings: from Being and Time (1927) to The Task of Thinking (1964). Comp. Krell David. Farrell. London: Harper & Rowe, 1993. Print.
Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Trans. Joan Stambaugh. Comp. Dennis J. Schmidt. Albany: State University of New York, 2010. Print.
Honan, William H. “Book on Philosopher’s Life Stirs Scholarly Debate Over Her Legacy.” Editorial. New York Times 1995, Sunday ed.: 26. Web.
Loving, Gregory David. “The Forgotten: Implications of Lyotard’s “Heidegger and The Jews”: Issues of Race in Philosophical Discourse.” Philosophical Studies in Education 39 (2008): 97-105. Web.
Lyotard, Jean-François. Heidegger and “the Jews.” Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1990. Print.
Rosenbaum, Ron. “Troubling New Revelations about Arendt and Heidegger. – By Ron Rosenbaum.” Slate Magazine. 2009. Web.
Watson, Peter. The German Genius: Europe’s Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century. New York: Harper, 2010. Print.
Conduction of The Holocaust Essay
The Holocaust is the term used to denote the execution of more than six million Jews which was perpetrated by the National Socialist Germany Workers [Nazis] Party during the Second World War. Holocaust [Shoah] signifies the era of the reign of Adolf Hitler as the chancellor of Germany from 30 January, 1933 to 8th may, 1945.
This genocide represented two-thirds of European Jewish population, and a third of the world Jewish population. Those Jews who were killed were victims of intentional and systematic efforts of the Nazi to annihilate all Jews in Europe, but not casualties of Second World War which devastate Europe (“Jewish virtual library,” par. 1).
Following the success of the National Social Germany Workers Party in the 1932 elections, Adolf Hitler was appointed Germany chancellor. The Nazis, capitalized on the then unstable Germany government to gain an electoral foundation. The Nazis provoked conflict with the communist, organized numerous demonstrations, and conducted a ferocious propaganda crusade against its political rivals -the Weimar authority, and the Jews who they held accountable for the all the Germany evils (“Jewish virtual library,” par. 3).
Why did it happen?
Propaganda against Jews
The common media the Nazis used for the campaign against the Jews was the Weekly Nazis newspaper, “The attacker.” At the bottom line of the front page of the newspaper, a slogan, “the Jews are our misfortune!” was inscribed in bold letters. The attacker often featured Jewish cartoons characterized with hooked-noses and ape statures. In fact about half a million copies of “The Attacker” were supplied per week (par. 4).
Shortly after Hitler attained chancellorship, he organized for new elections in endeavors to acquire full power over Reichstag (parliament) for his party. The Nazis terrorized other parties using government’s resources. After the Reichstag house was burned down, the German’s democracy was placed in jeopardy.
Immediately, the Nazi’s government eliminated various privileges including the sovereignty of press, freedom of expression, the right to assemble and the privilege for privacy. In the March 5 election the party succeeded by securing more than 50 percent parliament seats (par. 6).
The Nazis immediately transformed their authority into dictatorshipvia the Enabling act passed on March 23. This act legitimized Hitler’s dictatorial ideas and allowed him to implement them over generally all areas. Additionally, the Nazis organized their propaganda machine, Der sturmer, and overshadowed their critics. In addition the put up a well organized military and police unit. Any opposition to the Nazis authority culminated to imprisonment in the concentration camps, which initially served as political prisoners (par. 7, 8).
Eventually, Hitler gained full authority over Germany and reinforced his campaign against the Jewish community in Europe. The Nazis accused the Jews of contaminating pure German traditions with their “mongrel” and “foreign” exertion. They depicted an evil and cowardly impression of the Jews, as opposed to the Germans who they expressed as truthful, brave and industrious. The Nazis alleged the Jews for the weakened German’s economy and civilization, because they occupied considerable positions in finance, commerce, the press, art, theatre and literature (par. 9).
Another element which contributed to the holocaust is race perceptions in which there was a misconception that the superior race was the “Aryans” which signifies the Germans (Leni Yahil 36).
It is believed that the holocaust was perpetuated by the sentiment European Christians had about the Jews. These sentiments are proven by various anti-semantic myths that were held across Europe (Ashliman, par. 1). These myths portrayed the Jews as very brutal and sacrilegious people, causing them to be hated by the rest of the communities in Europe.
The proceeding paragraphs reviews one of the anti-Semitic myths. Most of these legends were propagated in Germany which explains why Germany was the setting of the holocaust. I am going to review one of the twelve anti-Semitic legends to emphasize why there was such ferocious hate for the Jews.
“The Jews’ stone,” is a story of a peasant who sold his child to some Jews. The Jews then took the child and brutally persecuted her on a large stone till death. From hence forth the stone was denoted the Jews’ stone. The mother of the child who was working at the farm sensed that a terrible thing has befallen her child. She hurried home to inquire about the child from the father who told her, he had sold the child. In the mean time the money turned to leaves.
The mother went to look for the child and she found her hanged on a tree and brought it down and took it to the church. The father was shocked and he lost his mind and shortly died. The stone was placed at the grave side of the child and it is believed that it is still lying there up to the present. Later on a shepherded shopped the tree down, but he broke his leg when trying to carry it home and he later died of the wound (Ashliman, par. 1).
The other anti-Semitic legends include; “the girl who was killed by the Jews,” “Pfefferkorn the Jew at Halle,” “the expulsion of the Jews from Prussia,” “the bloody children of the Jews,” “the imprisoned Jew at Magdeburg,” “the chapel of the holy body at Magdeburg”, “the lost Jew,” “the story of Judas,” “malchus the column,” “buttadeu, and the eternal Jew on the Matterhorn” (Ashliman, par. 1).
The way the Holocaust was conducted
The Nazis reinforced their genocidal activity against the Jews with their racist hypothesis in conjunction with Darwinian Theory of evolution. Hitler started terrorizing the Jews and he imposed harsh legislation on them. These racist intents entailed a wide range of activities including exclusion from public proceedings, investment and assets confiscation; exterminating their professions and public learning institutions, and burning books of Jewish author(s). The most notorious of the anti-Jewish policies were the Nuremberg laws. This legislation constituted the legal foundation for the Jews elimination from Germany (“Jewish virtual library;” par. 12).
These reforms triggered a massive Jewish emigration from Germany to the neighboring European nations. Nevertheless, tough immigration policies hindered the Jews from leaving Europe. In fact such frustrations compelled a Jewish boy aged 17 to shoot and kill a third secretary in the Germany Embassy in France.
Nazi hooligans used this assassination as the excuse for initiating a famous night of destruction known as Kristallnacht. They plunder and spoiled many Jewish possessions including their residence, enterprises and place of worship, the synagogue. During these skirmishes, many Jews lost their lives and 30,000 of them were arrested and taken to the concentration camps (par. 13).
Jews confinement in the ghettos
During the onset of the Second World War, Germany invaded Poland and developed ghettos for the Polish Jews. There were about three million Jews in Poland, representing about 10 percent of the entire polish population. The Nazis authority forced the Jews from their homes to live in ghettos isolated from the rest of the ethnic groups.
This concentration in ghettos facilitated the Jews deportation to concentration camps by the Nazis authority. The ghettos were characterized by shortage of food, water, sanitary amenities, and space. Deprivation and starvation contributed to the deaths of many Jews in the ghettos (par. 17).
The “final solution”
In 1941 the Nazi invaded the Soviet Union and culminated into a plan of execution which they termed the “final solution.” In the same year four itinerant the Nazi developed einsatzgruppen A, B, C, and D, whose duty was to move around killing the Jews. The duties of this group were to systematically collect Jews from towns, parade them to pre-dug pits, strip them, align them, and execute them with sub-machineguns. One such popular massacre is the Babi yar’s in which between 30,000 to 35,000 Jews were murdered within a period of two days (par. 18).
The pinnacle of Nazi authority met to develop the a system to use to implement mass killing of the Jews. This discussion, the Wannsee Conference, indicated the preliminary for massive, thorough Jewish execution, and developed the plan for its administration which ensued shortly following the completion of the conference (Yahil, p. 328, qtd in “Jewish virtual library,” par. 19).
Although the Nazis killed other nationalities and communities including various soviet prisoners of war, gypsies and polish academics, just the Jews were targeted for methodical and complete annihilation. The Jews were specially exterminated by often chlorine gas poisoning (par. 20)
Noteworthy, all the execution points were situated along the railway lines to allow for easy transportation of the Jewish victims. A huge structure of camps backed-up the execution camps. The support camps played various roles such as serving as workforce camps, transportation camps, concentration camps, while others as death camps (par. 21).
In almost all the colonies of the Nazi, the Jews were obliged to wear badges to distinguish them from the other ethnic groups, so that they could be gathered into ghettos or alternatively concentration camps to be gradually conveyed to the death camps. Thousands of Jews were conveyed to the death camps from all the Nazi colonies. Shortly after their arrival, the victims will be gas poisoned’ and the bodies blazed. An estimated 3.5 million Jews were murdered via death camps (22).
Nevertheless, the able bodied young Jews were spared, to be used in the Nazi’s war effort and to provide forced free labour. They were confined in labour and concentration camps, and forced to labour in Germany’s munitions and other manufacturing plants including I. G. Farben and Krupps, and in every place the labour was necessary. These slave laborers were exerted from dawn till night with inadequate food and cover. Many of these Jews were essentially labored to death by the Nazi in conjunction with their collaborators (22).
Eventually, in the final months of Adolf Hitler’s reign, the Nazi military began to parade the survivors in the concentration camps to the regions they still governed. The Nazi military pressured the emaciated and sickly Jews to trek so many miles to reach other concentrations camps in nation that were still their subjects. Approximately 250,000 Jews died naturally or were shot during the marches (23).
Ashliman, D. L.(ed.). Anti-Semitic Legends. Jewish virtual library; The American Israel Cooperation Centre. 2010. Web.
Jewish virtual library. History of the holocaust – an introduction. West Bloomfield: Holocaust memorial center; The American Israel Cooperation Centre. 2010. Web.
Leni, Yahil. The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry, New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Print.
Reinhard Heydrich’s Role in the Holocaust Term Paper
In 1933, the population of people belonging to the Jewish race stood at above nine million in Europe. Majority of this Jewish population lived in the countries that Germany deserved to occupy and or have impeccable influence during the Second World War.
The holocaust entangled “the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators” (Gilbert 1986, 13). Germans who came to power in 1933 believed in a big way on the racial superiority of the German as compared to other people coming from different races. They considered the Jews as racially inferior.
Consequently, the people had advocated for mass slaughter of Jews. In fact, the word holocaust refers to the “sacrifice by fire” in Greek. Because of the perceived beliefs of racial inferiority, the German authorities also targeted other races not related to Jews. Such groups included disabled, gypsies, Russians among others. About 200,000, gypsies, about 200,000 physically or mentally challenged patients from German race were also murdered.
Additionally, “…other groups were prosecuted on political, ideological and behavioral grounds, among them communists, socialist, Jehovah’s witness and homosexuals” (Dawidowicz 1975, 3). Many of the people belonging to holocaust target group, particularly the religious leaders and those whose behavior did not much some of the prescribed social norms principally died out of starvation, mistreatment and or neglect.
Reinhard Heydrich was one of the Germans high-ranking officials who played proactive roles in the Nazi government holocaust incident. Perhaps his inspirations for his involvements in the holocaust were long inbuilt within him right from the age of sixteen. Gilbert, reckons that “At the age of 16 Heydrich took up with the local Freikorps and became strongly influenced by the racial fanaticism of the German Volk movement and their violent anti-Semitic beliefs” (1986, 33).
After two years, he abandoned Halle in an endeavor to a career with the German navy at the capacity of signals officer. In fact by 1926, he had risen up to the “rank of second lieutenant in the Baltic Command of the German Navy (Admiralstabsleitung der Marinestation Ostsee)” (Dawidowicz 1975, 11).
It is while serving at this capacity that he made his initial encounter with “admiral Wilhelm Canaris of the German military intelligence” (Dawidowicz 1975, 11)). Although the two became influential friends they latter ended up being enormous foes. On being accused of being involved with a woman, sired a child and later refused to marry her, his dreams of becoming an admiral within the German navy hit a dead end. On dismissal, from the commission, he joined the Nazi party.
At the age of 27, in 1931 he became officially a member of SS. Gilbert reckons that “It wasn’t long before his Aryan looks and strict attention to detail caught the eye of the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, with whom he managed to secure an interview for the role of SD Chief” (1986, 18). Borrowing from his experience as a signals officer, he was able to pass the interview.
His tenure at the SD saw the organization grow from a small entity into a gigantic organization capable of controlling nationwide informants’ networks. As Dawidowicz notes, “He collected information and created files on Communists, Trade Unions, Social Democrats, wealthy industrialists, Jews, even Nazi party members and SA leaders” (1975, 37). With aid from Goring and Himmler, he organized for the fall of Ernst Röhm: the SA leader. During this incident, many SA leaders were murdered.
This saw the end of SA term in power. Through this incident, he gained an enormous reputation for being a merciless and efficient mass killer. Gilbert posits, “When Hitler needed a pretense to invade Poland he turned to the master of intrigue and Heydrich delivered” (1986, 19). This reputation perhaps saw him appointed as the president of Interpol in 1940. Reinhard Heydrich chaired the Wannsee conference in 1942 while still serving as the president of Interpol.
The main agenda of this conference was to come up and lay strategies for the ‘ final solution’: deportation coupled with extermination of every Jew who occupied territories that deserved to be solely occupied by Germans. This is what is termed as holocaust. This paper presents his role in the holocaust around the Wannsee conference shading light on the affects it had on the holocaust. It also unveils whether the murdering of the Jews was an incident already determined before the holding of the conference.
Reinhard Heydrich’s role in the Holocaust
Reinhard Heydrich was among the holocaust engineers. He took orders and answered to all matters involving the extermination and deportation coupled with the imprisonment of Jews.
Such orders and queries emanated from his bosses Himmler and Hitler. In 1938, “During kristallnacht, he sent a telegram to various SD and Gestapo offices, helping to coordinate the program with the SS, SD, Gestapo, uniformed police (Orpo), Nazi party officials, and even the fire departments” (Dawidowicz 1975, 41). The telegram permitted the destruction, as well as acts of arson against Jewish synagogues together with their businesses.
The telegram also gave direction to remove all archives material positioned in the synagogues and community centers belonging to the Jews. According to Graber, the telegram also insisted that “as many Jews – particularly affluent Jews – are to be arrested in all districts as can be accommodated in existing detention facilities” (1980, 9). Soon after the conducting of his arrests, there was the need to contact the necessary concentration camps according to the telegram.
This endeavor aimed at ensuring the placement of all the Jews in the camps in the shortest time possible. The directions given in the telegram well indicates that he had the capacity to manipulate and control the Nazi government tools of governance. Any attempt by the law enforcers to concentrate all the Jews in the concentration camps consequently, arguably were conducted at his command and influence of the powers conferred to him.
Reinhard Heydrich had an impeccable ability to control the police and tools of state security. With the help of his boss: Himmler, they used political forces to influence the police in an attempt to ensure the consolidation of the Nazi administration in the entire nation of Germany.
In 1934, he was chiefly responsible for running the largest political police force: Prussian Gestapo. As Ron reckons “In 1935, he described the police as “the state’s defensive force that could act against the legally identifiable enemy” with the SS as “the offensive force that could initiate the final battle against the Jews”” (1998, p.13).
The final battle was perhaps the early stages for holocaust. Even as the initial violence constructed by the Nazi regime principally to attack Jews begun in 1938, Reinhard Heydrich still headed the police force. His orders were mainly “”Whatever actions occurred should not endanger German lives or property; synagogues could be burned only if there was no danger to the surrounding buildings” (Ron 1998, 27).
On 21 September 1939, he called a conference in which he reiterated the significance of confining Jewish population in the fewest possible concentration camps. As a prerequisite for facilitation of this call, he gives an authority for the establishment of Jewish elders’ council. This council had the chief mandate of ensuring the execution of every order given to the Jews without giving excuses. If the council failed in the realization of this noble duty, the “were to be threatened with “the severest measures” (Ron 1998, 29).
During the 12 November 1938 meeting, Reinhard Heydrich insisted that measures to ensure restriction of the “external sub humans”: There were no adequate strategies to get rid of them completely. Later in January the following year, Goring asked Reinhard Heydrich to tackle the Jewish problem through evacuation coupled with emigration strategies.
In June 1940, Heydrich “wrote to the Reich Foreign Secretary Joachim von Ribbentrop that emigration alone could not take care of all the Jews and that “A territorial final solution has thus become necessary” ( Ron 1998, 35). Reinhard Heydrich joined the German navy when his country had just been defeated during the First World War. He thus had the opinions held by his parents of blaming the Jews for the defeat. Consequently, he could have done anything to ensure the incapacitation of the Jews who were to survive the holocaust.
Goring offered him a position to head the ‘central office for Jewish emigration’. While working in this capacity he incredibly dedicated a lot of effort to ensure coordination of differing initiatives geared towards fostering dominance of policies that favored SS, as opposed to Jews. He also credited a lot of his time to work on the initiatives that would facilitate the ‘final solution’.
Furthermore, while still serving as the head of the central office for Jewish emigration, in 1939, “Heydrich sent out a teleprinter message to the Chiefs of all Einsatzqruppen of the Security Police with a subject of “Jewish question in the occupied territory””(Dawidowicz 1975, 65). This telegram contained a detailed instruction addressing the appropriate strategies on how to round up the Jewish population for the purposes of placing them in ghettos.
It also addressed and advocated for the formation of Judenrat coupled with an order to conduct an urgent census. This census aimed at unveiling the much-desired information about the actual number of Jewish population occupying the German territories. The telegram also ordered for the “Aryanization plans for Jewish owned business and farms” (Graber, 1980, 45).
There was the issuing of orders for evacuation of Jews from the Eastern provinces by Reinhard Heydrich. These were evident in the 29 December telegram sent by him in 1939. With regard to Lehrer (2000), the telegram described “various details of the “evacuation” of people by railway, and giving guidance surrounding the Dec 1939 Census which would be the basis on which those evacuations were formed” (79).
During the Prague meeting held on 10 October 1941, he was among the invited senior official of the government. In this meeting, the members present discussed the agenda for deport 50,000 Jews occupying of Moravia and Bohemia protectorate. They were to hand over the Jews to the ghettos of Riga and Minsk. Additionally, the meeting tackled yet another crucial agenda. This entailed the decision to hand over about 5000 Jews Rash and Nebe.
Arguably, these two agendas were immensely consistent with the concerns of the Wannsee conference. The main idea was to get rid of the Jews immigrants who the people deemed racially insignificant as compared to the native Germans. As Lehrer (2000) comments, the conference discussed “The creation of ghettos in the Protectorate, which would eventually result to the construction of Theresienstadt, where 33,000 people would eventually die, and tens of thousands more would pass through on their way to death in the East” (76).
Amid being part and parcel of the officials dominating this meeting, later in 1941 he was appointed to take the responsibilities of implementing another essential decision that would help Germany deal with the perceived menace of the Jews presence in their territories by Himmler.
To this end, he was to facilitate the task of forcefully relocating the Jews to Lodz ghetto situated in Poland from Czechoslovakia, as well as Germany. The involvement of the Reinhard Heydrich in these meetings perhaps lays the foundation for his selection as the chair of the 1942 Wannsee conference that would result to holocaust.
During the 1942 conference, he presented to the German government officials the detailed plan that he deemed vital for dealing with the Jewish population. His plan perhaps well exemplify his reputation in possession of the capacity to conduct mass killing and ruthless interventional strategies to deal with anyone who happens to step on the spot forbidden by the Nazi government.
Jews happen to step on this spot: the German territories. Perhaps quoting from his speech, Graber posits, “Under suitable direction, the Jews should be brought to the East in the course of the Final Solution, for use as labor” (1980, 11).
As part of the final solution, mass moving of the Jews to areas that required heavy labor inputs was to follow. This happened with both sexes distantly separated. Reinhard Heydrich added that “the Jews capable of work will be transported to those areas and set to road-building, in the course of which, without doubt, a large part of them (“ein großteil”) will fall away through natural losses” (Graber 1980, 12).
Natural causes were used to avoid direct mentioning of the terms starvation combined with hard labor, which would have anyway killed the Jews rather than direct execution. The main intent here was to ensure that all the Jews died, if possible. Perhaps Reinhard Heydrich’s speech during the Wannsee conference reinforced this concern.
He argued that “The surviving remnant, surely those with the greatest powers of resistance, will be given exceptional treatment, since, if freed, they would constitute the germinal cell for the re-creation of Jewry” (Graber 1980, 12). Special treatment, or “special action” or “treated accordingly” as deployed in different connotations of varying Nazi correspondences, implies that the remnant Jews were to be killed through firing or gassing.
The SS squads had the obligation of arranging this nature of execution of which Reinhard Heydrich had full control. Furthermore, considering the way Reinhard Heydrich constructed his language in an attempt to disguise the actual actions, it evident that he took critical roles in the doctoring of the strategies presented to the government officials at the conference.
One evident concern of this speech is that Reinhard Heydrich was a racial stereotype. He seems to advocate for his proposed strategy to end the races that appeared as unimportant in comparison to his German race. This way, through his contributions in Wannsee conference, he acted to propagate racial hatred, which would then result to more increased mass exportation and killing of people belonging to Jewish race.
As a way of example, in his speech regarding the issue of the special treatment, he argued that “The person of mixed blood of the second degree has a particularly distressing police and political record that shows that he feels and behaves like a Jew” (Graber 1980, 27). This perhaps portrays well and justifies his merciless treatment of Jews in the due cause of the final solution decision of the implementation process.
In fact, the Nazi government had a dare need to control the reproduction of Jewish people. Some of the other official present in the Wannsee conference like Dr. Stückart, the then state secretary went on to advocate for forced sterilization, as a way of ensuring that the second-degree Jews hardly reproduced.
To him this would have permanently curtailed the replication of Jewish trait in Europe. In this extent, his proposal was well consistent with the dilemma that faced the Nazi regime: dealing with the high population of the Jews occupying its protectorates, especially as the Germany contemplated on getting into the World War II. Reinhard Heydrich was principle person mandated to ensure successful implementation of the final solution.
As Kimel posits, “State Secretary Dr. Bühler stated further that the solution to the Jewish question in the General Government is the responsibility of the Chief of the Security Police and the SD and that his efforts would be supported by the officials of the General Government” (2008 Para.5).
Reinhard Heydrich happened to the person holding this post. Indeed, at the end of the conference, members agreed that he had the noble responsibility to ensure a successful handling of the Jew question. They thus vowed to provide the necessary support.
Apart from his role as the holocaust mastermind, Reinhard Heydrich was the man solely charged with the implementation of the plan. Kimel posits, “The man entrusted with implementing Hitler decision to eradicate the Jewish population of Europe was Hitler’s deputy- Reinhard Heydrich” (2008 Para.1). Consequently, he was part of all phases of the final solution including his selection to chair the Wannsee conference.
A major part of the final solution entailed creation of concentration camps where the Jews would accumulate awaiting transportation to the killing centers or deportation to the areas where their death was to take place. In this extent, Reinhard Heydrich “created the master plan, organized the ghettos, trained and supervised the Einsatzgrouppen” (Kimel 2008 Para.1). In fact, he took proactive roles in the endeavors to ensure the resettling of the Jews in gas chambers.
As the chairperson of the famous Wannsee conference, he sealed the decision to solve the Jewish question. As notes, after this conference “he ordered the creation of the Ghettos in Poland, at railroad junctures to facilitate their future “resettlement”, he was in charge of rounding up and transportation of the Jews to the Death Factories” (2008 Para.5). This process required hefty mobilization of the German tools of maintenance of laws and order. Heydrich turned out as a gigantic genius at this.
His reputation as a mass killer perhaps gave him additional enthusiasm to execute his roles. His involvements in the holocaust are, additionally justifiable since “Heydrich had an incredible acute perception of the moral, human, professional and political weaknesses of others and he also had the ability to grasp a political situation in its entirety” (Kimel 2008, Para.9). Such a negative perception of the Jews values as compared to the Germans stands out based on the manner in which he classified Jews- first class and second class.
Those Jews who never had the German blood at were to face the weirdest treatment: executed immediately. He had an intense racial hatred that was essential for ruthless actions against the Jewish population. Gilbert, concurs with this argument adding that “His unusual intellect was matched by his ever-watchful instincts of a predatory animal, always alert to danger and ready to act swiftly and ruthlessly” (1986, 45).
Reinhard Heydrich was an ardent centre of evil in the Nazi administration. He changed the responsibilities of the police as dictated by the totalitarian states from tools for enhancing law and order into lethal weapons of the state. In this regard, Breitman claims that the police acted as instruments of “oppression of the citizens” (1991, 121).
He also deployed enormous steps to ensure that the police hardly acted in accordance to the interests of the state. Consequently, Reinhard Heydrich enabled the police to violate human rights. In fact, he provided an absolute assurance that they would not convict for their acts. The decision to murder Jews was a state engineered policy and hence police had to enforce it.
Reinhard Heydrich had proved in other instances as a merciless cold killer. According him the responsibility for implementation of the concerns of the final solution, guaranteed both his senior Himmler and Hitler incredible success of the decision to mass eliminate the Jewish population amounting to about eleven million. He was thus the disguised pivot upon which the Nazi regime oscillated. As Kimel (2008) notes, “The development of a whole nation was guided indirectly by this forceful character” (Para.7).
By noting that he had an immense power to manipulate all political centers of Nazi regime administration, his contribution to doctoring and subsequent implementation of Hitler decision was conspicuous. Fleming reckons, “He was far superior to all his political colleagues and controlled them as he controlled the vast intelligence machine of the SD” (1984, 56). The circumstances giving rise to the holocaust are arguably chiefly attributable to his position and perceived capabilities by his superiors particularly Hitler.
Opposed to somewhat many anticipation that the final decision: being one of the critical decisions made by Nazi government, to have more of the most senior administrator’s follow up, Reinhard Heydrich was responsible for the follow up of its proceeds. This was perhaps because he was an impeccable manipulator.
He even manipulated Hitler leave alone Himmler. Additionally, he employed “his extensive knowledge of the weaknesses and ambitions of others to render them dependent on himself” (Fleming 1984, 57). An introspection of his earlier life perhaps exemplifies his magnitude of atrocity against the Jews.
When he served in the army majority of his comrades initially thought that he was a Jew. He disputed immensely these allegations. As Graber reckons, “When Heydrich was a child in Halle, neighborhood children made fun of him, calling him “Isi” (Izzy), short for Isidor, a name with a Jewish connotation” (1980, 81). Such allegations made him incredibly angry especially when he served in the navy.
He, in fact, challenged everybody who made such allegations for tarnishing his personality. His hatred for Jews was thus a long-term concern. Now that he had the opportunity to wipe out this long hated race, people expected the holocaust perhaps to be even worse than it was.
The responsibility of the implementation of the final solution was not by coincidence that it landed to the hand of Heydrich. He was brilliant in giving witty ideas during the meetings between Hitler and Himmler. He, in fact, outshined Himmler in terms of ideas. As Fleming (1984) reckons, “He made Hitler dependent on him by fulfilling al his most insane schemes, thus making himself indispensable.
He supplied Himmler with brilliant ideas so that he could shine in conferences with Hitler, and would do it so tactfully that Himmler never suspected that these ideas were not his own” (57). Holocaust was evidently on Hitler’s insane scheme whose implementation was squarely dependent Reinhard Heydrich for its successful implementation.
Reinhard Heydrich made proactive steps towards solving the nightmare problem of Jewish population destruction. He initiated the steps to ensure that the fabric bonding the Jewish community was substantially torn. To do this, he adopted the strategies of starving, brutally mistreating the Jews, and making use of his foes (Jews) to initiate their process of self-extinction.
As Kimel notes, he “camouflaged the gas chambers as showers for disinfection, incited starved people to volunteer to “resettlement” by offering them bread and sugar and brought Jews from the west in first class railroad cars with dining cars to Auschwitz” (2008, Para.9). A vast myriad of dirty tricks against the helpless Jews had Reinhard Heydrich name conspicuously written behind them.
Reinhard Heydrich had the ability to covert masses of people other than police into murderers. As Kimel notes, “he personally selected the Einsatzgrouppen from ordinary people, not psychopaths; they were bankers, policemen, clerks and even one pastor” (2008, Para.11).
He perhaps managed to accomplish this through the aggravation of racial discrimination amongst the native German population. In this context, Jews stood out as lesser human beings who only served to deprive the native population off their rights. Killing them on a mass scale was then not a significant issue.
Reinhard Heydrich constituted one of the gifted Germans who would pursue whatever responsibilities accorded to them to completion. He would do anything to ensure the realization of his desires. During the holocaust, his desires changed from the roles that he had assumed in overthrowing the previous regime, to extermination and extinction of Jewish population. In fact, he was the most lethal person in Germany.
In Germany, it was almost impossible to gain power without using some black mail. Even though, Reinhard Heydrich had the immense ambition of becoming Reichsminister Minister and if possible the next top most leader of Germany he was not of much threat as compared to, Himmler before the eyes of the Hitler. The most positive way of dealing with Himmler was to subdivide his responsibilities. Implementation of the final solution happened to be one of the responsibilities deemed suitable for multiplication.
Without the contribution of Reinhard Heydrich in the implementation coupled with evaluation of the final solution, mass killing of Jews was not possible. As Kimel notes, “Heydrich was nominated by Hitler as the Protector of Czechoslovakia, and in this post he performed a remarkably admirable job; Heydrich introduced a series of liberalizing moves, decreased the level terror, increased the food rations” (2008, Para.9).
Czechoslovakia government ordered the killing of Reinhard Heydrich. This order excelled. What followed was his assassination in 1942. Upon his death, the implementation of the final solution was now to go to Himmler. As MacDonald notes, the “…cunning, bluffing and superior intelligence of Heydrich was gone” (1989, 12).
Consequently, amid brutal approach in the implementation of the final solution by Himmler ended up not being such a success as compared to Heydrich’s case. Consequently, some Jews survived in Hungary, Bulgaria and France. In October 1944, Himmler suspended the killing of Jews because of “disregarding Hitler’s orders and overruling the objection of the head of Gestapo, Miller” (MacDonald 1989, 15).
Evidently, it stands out safe perhaps to make an assumption that if Reinhard Heydrich was alive, hardly could have any Jew have remained. The manner in which the killings ended additionally justify that Reinhard Heydrich was the main architect and implementer of the final solution. His death resulted to non-completion of the aim of the final solution. Only around six million Jews died out of the targeted eleven million.
Decision to murder Jews
Right even before the holding of the conference to seek the final solution, in January 1942, the Nazi government had a clear intent to conduct mass killing of the European Jews. As Fleming (1984) notes, “The decision itself, to exterminate the Jews, was presumably taken before the conference was held.
People had approximated the number of Jews murdered before the Wannsee Conference took place to be 1 million” (1). The meeting, additionally, lasted for only ninety minutes. With the immense factors worth considering when making a decision, it was impossible arriving at ways of handling the possible threats posed by the Jewish people to Germany and the European territories it controlled within this short time span.
From the situation that was on goings in Poland and other territories in the Soviet Union, the conference hardly discussed or came up with new strategies of handling the Jewish question.
In fact, new extermination camps were in place at the time of holding the conference. As Cesarani reckons, “Fundamental decisions about the extermination of the Jews, as everybody at the meeting understood, were made by Hitler, in consultation, if he chose, with senior colleagues such as Himmler and Göring, and not by officials” (1999, 181).
Consequently, it must have been evident to the majority of the participants that the decision on the Jewish question had already been made. Reinhard Heydrich was thus acting within his capacity to brief the conference attendants on some policy under implementation.
Perhaps Reinhard Heydrich main purpose of convening the conference was mainly to make sure that conflicts such the ones experienced upon mass killing of Germans with Jewish blood was conducted in Riga. As Cesarani observes, “The simplest and the most decisive way that Heydrich could ensure the smooth flow of deportations was by asserting his total control over the fate of the Jews in the Reich and the east, and [by] cow[ing] other interested parties into toeing the line of the RSHA” (1999, 187).
Majority of content of the speech delivered by him happened to be news for the better part of the attendants. Again, they took remarkably little time to answer technical question regarding the strategies for solving the Jewish question. This perhaps well indicates that such decisions must have come from a non-disputed authority. This authority happened to be Hitler.
The decision to murder Jews was not arrived upon convening of the Wannsee conference. The chief purpose of holding the conference was perhaps to seek legitimatization of the mass killings of the vast Jewish people in Germany, as well as its territories.
On the closure of the meeting, he appeared to have managed to convince the participants on his strategies of dealing with the Jewish question. Many of them not only admitted having thought the plans as effective, but also promised to offer assistance that was within their capacity. The conference was thus a final step toward advocating for ruthless actions against the Jews. The aftermaths of the conference gave rise to an immense catastrophe on the Jews.
As Fleming notes, “They deported them in considerable numbers to the ghettos in the east and murdered them after the conference” (1984, 5). For the case of German Jews, this was a new thing, only that the magnitude of the exercise of this exercise was aggravated upon the convening the Wannsee conference.
Right from 1941, Reinhard Heydrich has sort for authenticity of plans to exterminate and murder Jews. Goring had as a repercussion accorded this authority European Jews deportation having yielded success. His main intention to call the conference was no predominantly depended on the need to come up with a plan mad by the top official, of the government.
This also appears as the thought of Cesarani who laments, “the main purposes of the conference were to establish the overall control of the deportation program by the RSHA over a number of significant Reich authorities, and to make the top representatives of the ministerial bureaucracy into accomplices and accessories to, and co-responsible for, the plan he was pursuing” (9).
In fact, special approval by the transportation minister was vital since the process of deportation entangled hefty logistical needs. With the existing economical difficulties, this was necessary since the appointment of the rail transport was essentially for this purpose.
Ron Rosenbaum, a journalist author, reveals that the term final solution had been used much earlier in the Nazi party documents even before the Wannsee was held. As at 1931, the Nazi party documents incorporated the terms to refer to putting the Jews forced labor entangling cultivation of swamps, which were predominantly administrated by the SS division (Ron 1998, 23).
This is perhaps giving rise to the Nuremberg laws. The proposition of the final decision was thus arguably implementation of Nuremberg laws in the extreme manner.
Hitler, on the other hand, on 16th of December 1941 in a meeting with the top government officials, had given hints on the decision to murder Jews well in reasonable time before the day of the conference. He had priory called for incorporation of plans to handle the Jews mercilessly. In this regard, he argued that the Germans had no need to spare the Jews or even any other person in the world, apart from their fellow Germans in one of meetings with his senior official in the Nazi government.
Ron expounds on this and records Hitler to have having commented that “if the combined forces of Judaism should again succeed in unleashing a world war that would mean the end of the Jews in Europe…I urge you: Stand together with me…on this idea at least: Save your sympathy for the German people alone” (1998, 67).
This call aimed at drawing the support for the mass killing of the Jews-holocaust. Additionally, Hitler noted that he was involved in a discussion that would finally see the Jews relocated to the east. Although, not all the 3.5 million of people were possible to shoot, according to Hitler, they had to do something about them. Additionally, he commented, “…is scheduled to take place in the offices of the RSHA in the presence of Oberqruppenfuhrer Heydrich.
Whatever its outcome, a prominent Jewish emigration will commence” (Ron 1998, 69). Hitler’s comments about the strategies of copping with the Jews menace perhaps gave the take and the decision to murder Jews well before the time of Wannsee conference. The argument here is that, Reinhard Heydrich was only reading the harsh decisions against the racially considered outfit group of people: Jews, during the Wannsee conference.
Upon losing in the first war, Germans associated the loss to the people who Heydrich termed as inferior subhuman: Jews. In 1933, the popu lation of this inferior race, stood at around even million. These Jews occupied the area that Germany thought it was its right to occupy and or influence.
Consequently, Goring directed Heydrich to solve the Jewish question through evacuation and emigration. On evacuation and emigration of around 200,000 Jews, Heydrich thought that evacuation and emigration was not adequate strategy for ensuring that the Jews entirely got out of the German colonies.
Consequently, he brought up the idea of the final solution. In the paper, it has been argued that Heydrich was much close to Hitler than Hitler was to Himmler: the boss to Heydrich. The paper continued to argue that Heydrich was part of the initial planning of the final solution decision, which translated to holocaust.
This line of argument is largely justifiable since as the paper has noted, Heydrich was an impeccable brilliant influencer, who influenced even Hitler. Whenever any plan to execute dirty deals, including the blackmails that saw Hitler come to power, Heydrich was there for Hitler to ensure successful implementation of the plan.
His roles in the holocaust were particularly significant. Right from the preliminary arrangements that saw mass killing of Jews emerge even before the convention of the Wannsee conference, Heydrich was largely involved with them. It is also apparent that the Wannsee conference aimed at briefing the senior members of the Nazi regime administration on the strategies worth taking to solve the Jews question for the last time.
The implementation process of the final solution solely fell in the hand of Heydrich. As the paper argues, the implementation process would not have been as successful as it would have been if pioneered by his boss Himmler. Perhaps this is incredibly justifiable by the manner in which the implementation process came to a dead end upon the assassination of Heydrich in 1942.
Breitman, Richard. The architect of genocide: Himmler and the final solution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.
Cesarani, David. Holocaust: from the persecution of Jews to mass murder. New York: Rouledge, 1999.
Dawidowicz, Lucy. The War against the Jews, 1933-1945. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975.
Fleming, Gerald. Hitler and the final solution. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984.
Gilbert, Martin. The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe during the Second World War. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1986.
Graber, Gyn. The Life and Times of Reinhard Heydrich. London: Robert Hale, 1980.
Kimel, Alexandra. Holocaust understanding and prevention. Web.
Lehrer, Steven. Wannsee House and the Holocaust. North Carolina: McFarland Jefferson, 2000.
MacDonald, Callum. The Killing of Reinhard Heydrich. New York: The Free Press, 1989.
Ron, Rosenbaum. Explaining Hitler: The Search for Origins of His Evil. Harper Books, 1998.
- In its strict sense, the term Holocaust implies a Jewish affair. Therefore, despite the presence of other races, the holocaust strictly targeted the Jews
- This is the reason as to why the found it easy to carry out any evil activity against the Jews
- This government also tortured other categories of people like the homosexuals. However, the degree of torture towards the Jews was pronounced
- This happened immediately after the first world war
- He was there to implement the plan put forth by Himmler of clearing the Jewish people from the face of Europe
- People referred him to as a genius who could successfully implement any plan given to him including orders
- He was appointed Himmler’s deputy in 1931
- This administration was entirely against the Jewish people. It could not tolerate anything that the people did, whether good of bad
- According to them, the Jews were inhuman and had not valid reason of living. Therefore, the only possible option was to exterminate them
- This was an activity done along the lines of racism
- He had identified the weaknesses of the Jews from all perspectives: morally, politically and even professionally. Therefore, according to him, these people were weak and useless. They could not bear any fruits in the European continent
- This was the best place where they could be tortured without affecting other people
- While in these places, the Jews could not access food, medicine, clothes, and or any other basic requirement. Therefore, besides the physical torture, they were also tortures in terms of their rights
- He had altered the duty of the police: instead of performing their noble role of maintaining law and order, they had become oppressive tools whose major duty was to kill, steal and destroy
- According to him, what he did and said was right and worth implementing. In fact, there is one instance where he literary impregnated a girl and declined his marriage promise that he had made to the girl. This paved way for another style of torture to the Jewish girls: raping
- Heydrich was the organizer of this service despite his being unemployed
- His pronounced wits made him stand a chance to manipulate both his boss, Himmler and Hitler. He had the ability to control them as he did to the central service system
- He even did these evils acts himself like raping girls
- They did every sort of evil to disrupt law and order for the Jewish people who had no powers to defend themselves
- They carried out acts of terror, blocked food from reaching the starving Jews, exposed them to stern environments and duties despite their deteriorated bodies
- In fact, he could even use the Jews to harm themselves unknowingly through the unhealthy foods he ordered to be given to them
- In fact, many people attribute his ruthless actions against the Jews to this name. He did not like it and consequently the Jews. The name significantly influenced his character.
- The admirable job in question included the organization of the arrest of massive number of people including the Catholic political aspirants. In fact, they say that the available accommodation space in the jail was inadequate following the massive arrests
- Arguably, this indicates the possibilities of inculcating some strategies of execution of some Jews
The Holocaust History Research Paper
The story of the Holocaust can be traced back to World War I. The First World War was the end result of a series of miscalculations and wrong decisions. Germany was forced to fight Great Britain, France, Russia, and the United States because it had an alliance with Austro-Hungary, Turkey and Italy. In the aftermath of the defeat Germany was humiliated through unreasonable demands by the victors such as the loss of lands that used to belong to the German people as well as restriction on their capability to build up a military force.
German patriots were not happy with the armistice and many were bitter. One of those who harboured ill-feelings towards his enemies was Hitler. But in his mind it is not only the foreign powers that must be blamed for the misfortune of Germany. Hitler said that the root cause of the problems were the despicable Jews of Europe. His plan to eradicate them led to the Holocaust.
Adolf Hitler was a young soldier during World War I. He could never forget the humiliating defeat. He developed a plan to strengthen the military capability of Germany and to restore the state to her former glory. However, he had a more sinister plan hidden from public view. With full support from the Nazi party, Hitler developed a plan to systematically eradicate all the Jews in Europe. At the end more than 6 million Jews were eliminated while others were displaced and had to seek asylum from foreign governments.
Hitler believed in his heart that he was not dealing with a moral issue. He was convinced that the problem is political in nature and must be dealt with in a business-like manner. Hitler used the ideas that he gleaned from social Darwinism theory that provided justification to racial profiling.
Hitler believed that Jews are part of a race that has distinct characteristics. Hitler also believed that these characteristics were inherited and the main reason why Jews behave and think in a certain way. Hitler despised the Jews and based on his reasoning he did not want their genetic makeup to be mixed with pure German blood. In his manifesto entitled Mein Kampf Hitler enumerated the reasons why he abhorred the Jews.
Hitler said that he did not the way they look (Rash 37). He also said that he did not approve the way the Jews conduct their business (Rash 37). Finally, he said that overall they are an inferior people (Rash 37). Hitler concluded that the German people cannot intermarry with Jews because they will produce inferior children (Rash 37). Hitler devised a plan to segregate and isolate them. But in the end what he really wanted was to execute what he called the Final Solution.
Hitler’s plan called for the construction of ghettos. When he gained success he was emboldened to carry out the other aspects of the Final Solution. At the height of Nazi power, Hitler shipped Jews as if they were cattle. At the end of their journey the Jews were exterminated or forced to work in concentration camps to produce products deemed necessary for the establishment of the Third Reich.
Millions of Jews were systematically murdered at the hands of Hitler’s elite soldiers. When the Soviets liberated a major concentration camp, the world saw the true extent of the Holocaust. It is easy to digest statistics especially when it comes to faceless victims. But when confronted with the personal belongings left behind by those who were victims of genocide, the reality sinks in.
Consider the following items recovered from Auschwitz alone: a) 348,820 men’s suits; b) 836,255 women’s garments; c) 5,525 pair of women’s shoes; d) 38,000 pairs of men’s shoes; and e) huge quantities of toothbrushes, glasses, false teeth, gold caps and filling from teeth and 7 tons of hair (Fischel 117). The seven tons of hair forces the reader to see the evil of the Holocaust.
It must be pointed out that it was not only the Jews who were targets of racial cleansing. Hitler wanted to preserve the purity of the German race from Jews, Negroes and Gypsies. In Hitler’s mind, these people have certain genetic flaws that compelled them to act in contemptible ways. Gypsies and Negroes were not Hitler’s priority because unlike the Jews, these people are not owners of business and influential members of society.
Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis and yet it is hard to believe that there was a government that could have authorized such a grisly plan. People must realize the severity of the crisis faced by the Jews during that time period. In order to fully comprehend what the Jewish people faced during that time, it must be pointed out that in 1933 the total population of Jews in Europe were only 9 million.
Hitler orchestrated a plan that made it possible to kill two out of three European Jews. d the magnitude of the genocide it is important to point out that in 1933 the Jewish population in Europe was estimated to be over nine million and therefore the Nazis orchestrated a plan to kill nearly two out of three European Jews (Griffiths 12). It can be argued that in the aftermath of the Holocaust there was no Jewish family that did not mourn the death of friends and relatives.
Present Day Israel
Hitler’s desire to eliminate the Jews in Germany and then, in Europe can be considered as genocide. It was an irrational action from an outsider’s point of view. It is difficult to understand the root cause of the hate and the aggression. The direct victims were the Jews but the rest of the world understood the consequences of inaction and the lack of resources to deal with a tyrant like Hitler.
The Holocaust was not possible without World War II or the rise of Hitler to power. Many realized that war could have been avoided if there was a mechanism to resolve conflict and diffuse a tense situation. If the German people were not agitated, Hitler could not have used their vulnerabilities to compel them to thrust him into power. Thus, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, global leaders pledged that the extermination of Jews will not happen again. A few years after Holocaust, the United Nations was established.
The UN is an example of a mechanism that can help prevent wars and bloodshed. The United Nations is an international agency that helps resolve international disputes so that this will not lead to war. Before a conflict is decided in the battlefield, the UN demonstrates the power of diplomacy.
The UN also serves as a guardian that assists member countries. If the UN was immediately established after, World War I bloodshed could have been prevented. It can be argued if the UN was already a functional entity during the time of Hitler, the pressure from the international community could have created problems for Nazi party’s plan to systematically eradicate the Jews.
The UN served another major purpose in favour of the Jews. The UN paved the way for the creation of a new Israel. The survivors of the Holocaust were scattered all over the globe. But there were those who chose to go back to Israel. Those who yearned for a fresh start migrated to present day Israel. However, Jews were scattered all over the planet. The United States and Israel account for 82% of the total number of Jewish people (Dashefsky, DellaPergola & Sheskin 14).
The main reason why Hitler was driven to systematically eliminate the Jews, Negroes, and Gypsies can be traced back to racial profiling as a result of studying the characteristics of human beings.
Hitler succeeded and the Nazi party became a formidable force in Germany. Hitler and the Nazi party were responsible for the murder of six million Jews and other members of the minority group. It was a tremendous blow for the Jewish community because two out of three European Jews were killed. Hitler was able to justify his actions and proved to all who listened to him that he had the power to make things happen.
Hitler exploited the vulnerabilities of the German people. As a result, they granted him the power to change Germany. But Hitler used his new-found power not to build but to develop offensive weapons and tactics to provide the Nazi party the capability to systematically eliminate the Jews. Those who survived the Holocaust were scattered all over the world. But the majority of the European Jews who survived Hitler’s wrath, majority went to the United States and Israel.
Dashefsky, Arnold, Sergio DellaPergola and Ira Sheskin. World Jewish Population 2010. CT: Connecticut University Press, 2010. Print.
Fischel, Jack. The Holocaust. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998. Print.
Griffiths, Williams. The Great War. New York: Square One Publishers, 2003. Print.
Rash, Felicity. The Language of Violence: Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2006. Print.
Holocaust and the Cold War Essay
Holocaust refers to the state sponsored genocide that took place in Nazi Germany in the duration preceding the World War 2. The major targets were the Jews. It is estimated that over three million men, two million women and a million children of Jewish descent died in this incident.
About two thirds of the Jews who were staying in Germany were executed. Led by Adolf Hitler, the Nazi party did not limit themselves to the Jews alone. They eliminated any government enemy, both real and imagined. Some of the victims were Germans, Russians and people from other descents.
Cold war refers to the military and political tension between the United States of America and the Soviet Union immediately after the World War 2. This was caused by economic and political differences between these two countries. Even though they did not engage directly in military fights, they supported supposed enemies of each other. Germany, once feared state before the wars, became the center stage for these wars leading to creation of the Berlin walls in 1948-1949. The Berlin Crisis later followed this in 1961.
The Germans found themselves between the two evils. They got involved both in the holocaust either directly or indirectly by either supporting or opposing the ideologies of Nazism, Capitalism and Communism. Adolf Hitler and the entire Nazi party propagated Nazism. Capitalism was propagated by the western block led by the United States of America while the eastern block was led by the Soviet Union, which propagated Communism.
This article focuses on the role played by German citizens in promoting or opposing these ideologies and the consequences of their actions. It is established that both the Nazi party and German nationals played a role in propagating capitalism, communism and Nazism. This means that without citizens, the three ideologies could not have materialized.
Nazism was an ideological concept that was propagated by Hitler and other Nazi party loyalists. Nazism started out as a movement against communism immediately after the World War 1. Started by Anton Drexler, this ideology was soon adopted by Adolf Hitler and attracted a large following.
It soon changed strategy and started fighting capitalism and big businesses in Germany. The Jews owned the majority of such businesses. It changed tone in 1930s to oppose Marxism in a bid to win the support of the industrial owners who sponsored the party.
Once in power, this party maintained that Aryan race was the future of German and in extension, the world. Other races were considered as a threat to this ‘holy’ race and therefore had to be eliminated. The targeted races were the Jews, Romani and the blacks. The homosexuals, physically and mentally challenged individuals, political opponents and Jehovah Witness followers were also considered undesirable elements in this society. This was the onset of holocaust.
Browning in his book ‘Ordinary Men’ reports that there was a well-organized mass murder of the Polish Jews in various ghettos and comps. The targets for the mass murder in the ghettos were women, children and the aging population. The Order Police carried out the execution. This involved mass shooting of the victims by the firing squad, while some were taken to gas chambers and gas vans where they were introduced to poisonous gases. The condition was very serious and tragic to other races.
The ordinary Germans played part in fanning or fighting this ideology. A population of the Germans believed that the Nazism was the best ideology for this particular nation. They believed that the mass execution done by the soldiers and police was very normal as they acted in the interest of the populace.
They were in solidarity with the state and some even accepted to be recruited into the military and the police force to enforce this ideology. They maintained that the state was within its mandate to authorize the mass murder as it was doing so in the interest of its citizens. A section of women played a very active role in the persecution of the perceived state enemies. However, a category of citizens was vehemently opposed to this notion and defended the social diversity of the nation.
Some indigenous Germans, who were members of the Jehovah Witness Church, believed in moderation and publicly rebuked the extremist actions of the government. They advocated for a policy that would enable all the Germans-Aryan or otherwise-exercise their democratic rights as citizens of this nation. They advocated for equality and non-discriminatory policies.
Capitalism v Communism: the Cold War Era
Immediately after the world war two, the United States of America and the Soviet Union emerged as the super powers. They developed suspicion towards each other as they differed in ideology. Each wanted the world to adopt the ideologies they were propagating.
Germany was, until the close of the world war two, considered a strong country both economically and militarily. When it fell to the hands of the allied forces, both the super powers wanted to control the country. This led to the split of the country into two: West Germany and East Germany.
After the fall of Nazi party and death of its leader, Germany was divided into East and West, with the larger West going to the United States of America and the East going to the Soviet Union. The tension between the super powers grew and they expressed this in their spheres of control.
Berlin, the capital city of Germany, had to be split into two, in what was famously referred to as the Berlin Wall. This was aimed at cutting off any link between the east and the west completely. No German citizen was allowed to cross the wall from one territory to the other.
To this end, most civilians in both parts of Germany found themselves victims of the circumstance. They had not anticipated that such eventualities would arise in their country. With Stalin taking East Germany as a satellite state of Soviet Union, the ordinary Germans were ushered into a new era of dictatorial leadership.
No one was allowed to cross the mighty wall to the West. The police and the military were keen to ensure that this was followed. The Germans had showed their dislike towards communism. However, the Eastern German had limited choice as they were under the control of a communist state. Many tried to move to the West, which was apparently fairing well but a number of citizens met their death in the attempt from bullets of officers who were under strict instructions never to allow the cross over.
Those who were on the West German prospered. They embraced capitalism and worked very hard to ensure that they reconstruct their nation. With the help of the US, West German developed its infrastructure and was soon on its foot. It recovered very fast and the ordinary citizens tolerated the idea of capitalism.
Ordinary Germans: Victims of Cold War and the Holocaust
The history of the cold war and holocaust depicts ordinary Germans as victims other than active agents of these wars. Schneider’s book, ‘The Wall Jumper’ depicts a scenario where ordinary Germans are trying to flee from the communist East to the capitalist West. Those who were not successful enough to cross over had to withstand the harsh economic situation in the east.
The ‘Ordinary Men’ by Browning introduces us to the reality in the military set up. Even though the police officers did the executions, most of them were not enthusiastic with the holocaust. Major Wilhelm Trapp instructed his battalion of the planned execution but appreciated that the plan was nasty, but he had no choice but to do as per the instructions of the highest office.
They found themselves swept along the wave, made to fight a battle that was not theirs and in the ensuing confusion, ended up to being victims after the end of the World War 2, which was their creation.
Browning, Christopher. Ordinary Men: Reserve Police 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. New York: Harper Perennial, 1998.
Orlow, Dietrich. History of Modern Germany: 1870-present. New York: Prentice Hall, 2007.
Schneider, Peter. The Wall Jumper. Chicago: University of Chicago press, 1998.
- Christopher, Browning. Ordinary Men: Reserve Police 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. New York: Harper Perennial, 1998 p. 2
- Christopher, Browning. Ordinary Men: Reserve Police 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. New York: Harper Perennial, 1998 p. 14
- Peter, Schneider. The Wall Jumper. Chicago: University of Chicago press, 19 p. 36
- Dietrich, Orlow. History of Modern Germany: 1870-present. New York: Prentice Hall, 2007. P. 31
Jewish Insight of Holocaust Essay
Holocaust, the extermination of Jews from the European land was the example of brutality and viciousness of the Nazi Germany. The post holocaust era was one of the remarkable eras in the Jewish history. It did not only jolt the Jewish history but also the world history. In order to interpret the results different Jewish responses came out and evaluated the issue according to their personal psychological aspect.
About 80,000 survivors of the holocaust immigrated to the United States only between the years 1945 and 1952. On one hand, they had to complete the thorny task of rebuilding their demolished lives and on the other hand they were trying hard to get back the previous normal state of their retarded minds which got hurt after the terrible incident.
Meanwhile, many historians were observing the situation critically and wanted to present their ideas about the Holocaust and the injustice of the Nazi Germany. All the Jewish responses are of course negative and sour but they also differ with respect to their difference in vision which makes us to mention those evaluations in this paper. We can find a great deal of literature about the evaluation of Holocaust by different Jewish historians and by which we will be able to present our evaluation about the matter.
In this paper, we will be discussing the evaluation of two Jewish historians which are considered as the masters of the Holocaust studies on their part respectively. We are going to elaborate the ideas of the post Holocaust era by the two famous historians Richard L. Rubenstein and Emil Ludwig Fackenheim. Rubenstein is regarded as one of the excellent religious writers of the past. He was an educator and an eminent writer in the American Jewish community. His study related to the Holocaust studies is commendable.
On the other hand, if we talk about the Fackenheim’s contribution towards the Holocaust study we can say that his contributions should be noted. He considered Holocaust as the one incident who brought a remarkable change in the Jewish history. Both the writers have elaborated their ideas in a different way but on few points they also agree with each other. We are going to discuss the perceptions and ideas of both the writers and then we will derive our evaluation.
If we talk about Rubenstein than he was the one writer who had not experience the Holocaust but the issue compelled him to write about it. He has observed the incident religiously. In his book “After Auschwitz” Rubenstein has in a way negotiated about the Jewish concept of religion in which people are observed by God and He will decide the punishment and reward of their sins or good deeds. He said that the Holocaust event has nothing to do with the personal doings of the Jews.
The incident cannot be considered as the negative reaction of Jewish sins and Hitler cannot be regarded as their Lord who is observing their acts and is ready to punish them. Rubenstein strongly oppose the Jewish ideology. He wants them not to follow such belief. This was actually due to His past bitter experiences of meeting Ruth Gruber (An American journalist) and of course the drastic Holocaust incident.
After the destructive incident of Holocaust which ruined the lives of many Jews, Rubenstein was cleared about his ideas that Jews should no longer worship their Gods because in his opinion there is nothing named as God. God is not present around the people. If He did than he could not allow the Nazis to slaughter His innocent people, if God was there He could not bear the mayhem in those horrifying concentration camps and if God was there He was not treating the people like the Nazis did.
Further he said that the Jews should forget about all their religious lives and the exchange of their prayers with their God because it is totally useless to worship a thing which does not exist. He considered that God is dead and He is not there for the people so people are making them fools if they are thinking that someone is listening to them.
By the realization of the Protestant’s Death-of-God movement Rubenstein was more confirmed and convinced about his thinking that God does not exist. But originally it does not mean that God is not present. It was just a hyperbolic statement by those who cannot accept the truth of God. They have basically overstated the matter that they don’t believe in God just to convince people and draw their attention towards their view.
The people should not be disappointed by the Rubenstein’s ideology about the existence of God. He just wants to depict the thought that if people want to understand the horrifying incident of Holocaust than they must realize his ideology. Furthermore, Rubenstein stated that Jews will have to rebuild their ethics. They will have to establish a thought which will connect them with their land. He suggested that the Jews should continue to worship nature and they should not carry on the old preaching.
However, most of the Jews preferred not to get back to Israel as many were killed during the migration towards Poland. Many Jews lost their faith too and adopted secular Judaism rather than converting themselves to any other religion. Thus, Rubenstein’s views about the existence of God were only due to his numerous confrontations with Him in the past so nobody should set any expectation from him as he is only conveying his thoughts.
The other side of the view is given by Emil L.Fackenheim who has a little bit same idea that the Holocaust event should not be considered as the punishment of Jewish sins. But his concepts differ immensely when he defines his idea about the existence of God. Basically Fackenheim has a positive sight. He visualizes the Holocaust in an optimistic manner. He said that although Jews had faced problems but they also fought with the difficulties.
Also he mentioned his believe that God is Omni-potent and Omni-present. He sees his people and help them too when they are in trouble. Fackenheim was of the view that God is present and it is up to the believer that he/she accepts His presence or not. Fackenheim also believed that many people will deny his saying by saying that if God was there than why He could not stop the barbarism which was going on in the camps but he has elaborated this in a different and positive way.
He said that if we can assume God’s presence on the Mount Sinai then why we can’t consider His presence in those camps? The Jews had served as the personification of gallantry and bravery in that throbbing time. Despite of the butchery carried on in those concentration camps the Jews continued their prayer life and religious practices. They set the example of patience and humanity by their courageous behavior. So, in this way they lived like heroes and died with dignity.
This portrays that after the 613 commandments given to the Jews in Torah this example of grit appeared to be the new 614th commandment for the Jews which was exposed to the innocent people in those camps by God. By having a precise over view on Fackenheim’s ideology of the Holocaust we can conclude that he was of the view that Jews should have to remember all the miseries, all the sorrows and all the pains they suffered in those camps during the Holocaust.
They should learn this lesson that one day they will be taking the revenge of the destruction of precious lives of their people. If the Jews will not be able to fight and negotiate than they cannot be considered as Jews. They should not lose the dignity and self-esteem. So, they must proud of what they did.
In short, both the historians have presented the Holocaust incident on the basis of religion. They differ in ideas but the level of analysis is similar. They have given clarifications about Holocaust by presenting the conflict in ideas about the existence of God. They have tried to compare the theory of Holocaust to the idea of God’s existence.
One of the theologies supports the idea that God is dead and he is nowhere. While the other theology tries to evident the divine presence of God by the courage of Jewish people who were surviving in those brutal camps.
They have basically focused a single side but also they have given the positive and negative sides of the matter. Basically the writers have tried to completely clarify their point of view and also have convinced people to an extent but if have to evaluate their theologies than I must say that they have only mentioned their thoughts about the religion, their thoughts about the presence of God not the Holocaust.
Actually they wanted to impose their religious concept about the existence of God on people so they took the example of Holocaust incident which is wrong. Because by this one of the writers has shown that he has a bad approach of emphasizing the people emotionally.
He has done this just to compel the people towards his thoughts due to the fact that in the past he had some awful experiences by which he drew himself towards the thought that God is nowhere. Similarly on the other hand Fackenheim although has not given the negative idea infect he showed a positive aspect related to the ideology of Death-of-God but he is basically negating the idea of Rubenstein and has only talked about the religious aspect.
But if I have to make a choice between two of the theologies on the basis of perspectives only than I will obviously second the Fackenheim’s perspective because he has a positive and sensible thought about the incident. He has talked about the optimistic view that God has surely a divine presence on Earth.
He is there for His people whether anyone accepts this or not. He has also specified a constructive view by saying that the presence of Jewish courage, dignity and bravery was evident of the presence of God as God provided them that zeal and enthusiasm to fight for their lives.
Fackenheim has elaborated this thought and his emphasize was on the fact that if can assume the presence of God and worship Him throughout our lives than why we cannot accept His presence on those camps. We know it really well that in our day to day life we experience different evidences about the presence of God and various acts which cannot be done by an ordinary person than why we raise questions over this. It’s noticeable and obvious.
So, it is cleared that God is present and He is there to see the on doings of His people. Also, the incident of Holocaust tells about the celestial existence of God by the Jewish acts of heroism which was a God gifted aspect of Jews at the time of sufferings. So, people should realize that answers can be easily given to the questions on presence of God.
We don’t need to look into complications because it is cleared from the evidences we get in our daily lives. If God was not there with His people in those camps then the Jews could not have survived to such extent. They could not be able to face those difficulties if they were not provided by the faith in God. Their ultimate faith and loyalty to their God is the brilliant example of their valor.
The Jews have basically showed the world that they have these strong basis and faith in the religion which made them to live like heroes and die like a martyrs. Various scholars, historians and writers have conflicted in their ideas of religion and Holocaust. Many failed in conveying their views and many got able to clarify themselves but among the two of the historians, Fackenheim’s idea was close to the originality.
Implications of understanding Judaism as more concerned with Orthodox than Orthopraxis:
The two terms Orthodox and Orthopraxis define two ideas: Firm Belief and Good, Effective Behavior. Orthodox is derived from Greek words “orthos” means Truthful and “doxa” means Belief. While on the other hand Orthopraxis is the other word which is derived from the combination of “ortho” as previously defined as Truthful and “praxis” means Behavior.
There has been a number of literature regarding the Orthodox and Orthopraxis in the western ideology in which the matter is supposed to be highlighted between Christians and Jews
The Christians support the Orthodox’s camp while Jews are related to the camp of Orthopraxis. Christians are of the view that firm Belief in anything can lead them to the top. While, Jews have the instinct that behavior and actions are very necessary in every situation. Christians and Jews have depicted this in many occasions.
If we want to know about the implications of understanding Judaism then we will come to know that Jews have always followed their idea of Orthopraxis. We can take example of the Holocaust incident when Jews were in a deep chaos. They had shown their support to the idea of positive actions and behavior by fighting with the terrible situation in an historic way
Braiterman, Z. “(God) After Auschwitz”  Princeton University Press. Web.
Edwards, J. “Orthodox c.”. Web.
Gray, J. “On Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy”. Web.
Irvine, A. “Liberation Theology in Late Modernity: An Argument for a Symbolic Approach”  Journal of American Academy of Religion , 1.
Jackson, T. “The priority of love: Christian charity and social justice”  Princeton University Press.
Morgan, M. “13 Emil Fackenheim, the Holocaust, and Philosophy” . Web.
Olachea, P. “A Dangerous Separation” . Web.
Patterson, D. “Emil L. Fackenheim: a Jewish philosopher’s response to the Holocaust”  New York: Syracuse University Press.
Ratzinger, C. “Eucharist, Communion And Solidarity” . Web.
Rubenstein, R. “Richard Rubenstein”  Worldlingo. Web.
Rubenstein, R. “Richard Rubenstein’s Theology on Holocaust” . Web.
Schwartzberg, S. “A Century of Recording and Making History” . Web.
Time. “Theology: The God Is Dead Movement” Time. Web.
Wallaston, I. “The Possibility and Plausibility of Divine Abusiveness Fackenheim, E.” . Web.
- Rubenstein, R. “Richard Rubenstein”  Worldlingo.
- Morgan, M. “13 Emil Fackenheim, the Holocaust, and Philosophy”.
- Braiterman, Z. “(God) After Auschwitz”  Princeton University Press.
- Schwartzberg, S. “A Century of Recording and Making History” .
- Time. “Theology: The God Is Dead Movement” Time.
- Rubenstein, R. “Richard Rubenstein’s Theology on Holocaust” .
- Patterson, D. “Emil L. Fackenheim: a Jewish philosopher’s response to the Holocaust”  New York: Syracuse University Press.
- Jackson, T. “The priority of love: Christian charity and social justice”  Princeton University Press.
- Wallaston, I. “The Possibility and Plausibility of Divine Abusiveness Fackenheim, E.” .
- Irvine, A. “Liberation Theology in Late Modernity: An Argument for a Symbolic Approach”  Journal of American Academy of Religion , 1.
- Olachea, P. “A Dangerous Separation” .
- Ratzinger, C. “Eucharist, Communion And Solidarity” .
- Gray, J. “On Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy” .