k a u s e I wanted to be a historian ofkws. The liolocaust was unfortunately, I soon realized, the central event in modern or perhaps all jewish history And when I said to my friend and mentor Abba Kovner, surnvor,poet, and fighter, that that realization scared me, he answered that king scared was &'excellent basis for studying the Holocaust me
~ s p e e c b k ~ . ~ ~ I m d a ~ t o t h i s a t e k i n g the Holocaust. And I am still scared.

What Was the Holocaust?

chapter one'

The objectivity of the historian bees an issue with subjects besides the Holocaust, but a historian ing with the Holocaust cannot avoid h e issue. !lowing upon some ideas put forward by Karlheinz Deschner, ng others, it is important to start by denying the possibility of an ective" stance.1 Many have said this before: we are the product of environment,tradition, education, prejudices, and so on. The influof our environment can be disastrous, for we may be swayed by a me and its consensual impact,or even by a consensus created by our w-historians, and hence write what is "politically correct," even wingly suppress what we feel should be said. Worse, we sometimes ly believe that what we say is our own view, even when it is nothing t a reflection of the views of a majority, or a groupi or a charismatic ual, or some other outside source. We need to be aware of our our subjective approach, in order to formulate an interpretafacts that will be legitimately rooted in the ahnosphere and the

namely. it would not have done so. The American Revolution happened. is a subjective choice. in their own best interest as it turned out. A legitimate conclusion is one that not only avoids identification with known outside pressures or interferences but also reflects an attempt to understand the period under discussion from its own perspective and in its own terms. i tbat is. it can happen again. My bias is. The Hole ! 1 I callst can be a precedent. on the strength of the f historical evidence. because it reilets the chaos ofan infinitechain ofeventn. And because it happened once. or it can become a warning. political: I believe we ought to do everything in our power to make sure it is a warning. it was the obstinacy of the French royalist regime that led to tbe storming of the Bastille. In all this I am and otl~er . Morality. SIICII conclusions would avoid the traps of a mindless objectivism. it also serves as a possible precedent. rather than wit11 others. in jI this context. We realize that another age will reinterpret the same events in its own distinct way. by Britain. I believe. France. if it is followed by similar events. and the USSR. hopefully. and before we deal with the definition of Holocourt. ifwe state. but an objectivity that would reject these starting points would be nonobjective. a chaos that in itselfhas no meaning: Do we then conform to a subjectivism that dictates t l ~ e rewriting of history in every generation? In a sense. "Only a mindless person is objective"and indeed. we have to sidestep what appears to be another pitfall. sees human life as a supreme value. it had to happen. either. And although no event will ever be repeated exactly."Johann G. not a precedent. besides being totally unacceptable to me 1 l d counter to what I assume-another clear bias-to because it w o ~ ~run Ii be the understanding that most people have of morality. Any historical event is a possibility before it becomes a fact. people in every period look at past events from a different perspective: the historians of9089 will look at the French Revolution differently from the way the historians of 1789. Morality as here presented is an absolute value. may be. but when it bemmes a fact. It 11ap pened because it could happen. Yet the knowledge and self-perception that accompany an approach whose biases are articulated can neutralize those biases to a considerable degree--never completely. I think that the planned total murder of a people was an unprecedented catastrophe in human civilization. in a sense. partially After all. someaspcts of reality. to live fully. Let me state my biases. what our biases. if it could not have happened. objectivism is basically uninteresting. 1889. or 1989 looked at it. become the first in a line of analogous happenings. Now that 1 have stated my biases. had they overcome their mutual suspicions. but sufficiently to enable the historian to draw what may be termed 'legitimate" conclusions from his or her study. "Every fact is already a tl~eoi-y. then-absolute. Droysen. not being "objective". is based on the idea that acts or intentions that run counter . the nineteenthcentury German historian. as late as June 1939 (when military delegations of the three Powers were discnssinga possible alliance against Germany). Worst from what point : of view? From a basically liberal p i n t of view that. it will. If Britisl~ politicians had understood the importance of the tax issue to t l ~ American e colonists and the danger ofa successful rebellion. said. as long as one posits the continuation of the human race as a desired condition. we do. hence their unacceptj ability. and an endless relativization of facts. that the Nazi regime was just about the womt r+ ' gime that ever disfigured the face of tl~is earth. 1 My second bias is that 1 am not neutral as between Nazism and antiI Nazism. I am against antisemitism and racism of any sort. our propensity to say that because someti~ing happened. i I 1 i . I detest Nazism. they might well llave turned events toward a Canada-like resolution.i context of whatever period we describe. a solipsistic subjectivism. World War I1 might well have been averted. to ourselves as well as to our public. I am not neutral there. We must be aware of the obvious truth that thevery decision todeal with solnefacts. in line with Jewish 1 traditions. our own findings will become part ofany future analysis. to the right of individuals and groups to exist. Goethe said. but it did not have to happen. also run counter to the existence of human life altogether. likewise.

But we may well have here a statement that llitler intended as a general guide to action.the H D l O C B U l t l what wu the H O ~ O C U U ~ ~ 5 The scourge of determinism. German expansion. the person who discussed these things " with the dictator and received his instructions was flimrnler. The situation that he had ''predicted in 1939had come about. for instance. and incidentally. Hitler spoke in front ofsome fifty top Nazi officials. It was. then the Holocaust was not inevitable. given Nazi ideology. On the 18th 11e notes that he'discussed the "Jewish question" (Judcnjage) with Ilitler and that the result was "ah Partisam ausxumf~n"-"toextern~inate Ctl~em]as partisans. True.as Joseph Goebbels's diary shows. and Lucy Uawidowicz.wit11 some effort. publisl~ed in Germany in 1999. or before that. It cannot refer to the countries outside the occupied areas of the USSR. In the occupied Soviet areas extermination had been going OII for months already. is very nt1rc11in evidence in discussions of the 1lolocanst. in the process leading up to the Holocaust are central becauseof thegodlike position he occupied in the regi~ne. did not envisage mass murder before 1941. indicates that Reinhard lleydrich occupied asubordinateposition. the other Nazis were an indispensable supporting cast. according to Jlickel. and the time had wme todo what he had told the Jews he would do: Ymidrfung(annihilation).' French-Soviet talks in the late spring of 19. puts this discussion-which in any case has been superseded by analyses that co~nbine the two perspectives-in a new light. on December 12. 9 9 .as his memorandum of May 25. On December 11. They do not believe that idmlogy or decisions by central authorities wereat all crucial. because in 1941 it would not have made any sense to accuse German or Czech or Italian Jews of being partisans. ! might have prevented the development toward war and thus the opportunity for the Nazis to act upon their murderous ideologys Intentionalist historians. was rather u~~comfortable about the developing decisions to mass-murder the Jews? Iieinrich Iiimmler. A part of lieinricl~ Himmler's appointment notebook has come to light. It also. and Hitler had been receiving the detailed reports of the Einsa&gn@en (murder squads).99might have prevented . Six days before that. for December 1941. This alone already indicates that Hitler was involved as the central decisionmaker. Germany had declared war on the United States in the wake of Pearl Harbor and the Arnerican declaration of war on Japan. a different coalition of Powers around the S~rleten issue in 1938. But ifwe retreat in time from early 1941 to the beginning of the war in 1 9 . such as Eberhard Jackel. 11esays there that the idea of physically destroying a nation was a Bolsl~evik concept unacceptable to Germans! Structuralistsor functionalists.' We probably do not have before us a Hitler "decision. and I nncst say clearly that the Holocaust happened but that it did not have to." wl~icl~ probably means to exterminate them on the pretext that they are partisans. at least in the form that it ultimately took. Marxist or otherwise. Anglo. but even i tl~ey would agree that without approval by Hitler and his closest circle the nn~rder would have been impossible? A new finding in the Moscow archive. from a certain point onward-and one could perl~aps. such as Hans Mommsen and Goetz Aly. IIelmut Krausnick. The entourage of Ilitler. have argued that Hitler's intentions. shows. to be sure. and German political and military superiority in Europe. on the treatment of aliens in Poland. Or perhaps it became inevitable that annihilatio~~ sl~ould be attempted. 1939).1941." because Hitler rarely operated that way. 1940. Gerald Fleming. in effect a call to his . have explained the factors bringing about the Holocaust by concentrating on the development of social and economic structures that led to impasses that more or less forced the Germans to take the most radical solutions. the development of German society and ! bureaucracy. Gaeleiters and others.4 What Ils. Equally.coupled with thedisaffection of the German military group led by Ludwig Beck. The Himmler note may indicate approval by Hitler of a propaganda line that had been purs~~ed in the East vis-a-vis theGerman soldiers and that could be used for Germans generally. as hepet it on January so. and therefore his role. one of the possibilities inherent in the Europea~~ situation. but not the only one. and reminded them that he had warned of the mn~ing ar~nihilation of theJews ifa world war brokeout (initiated by the Jews. establish that point-the annihilation of the Jews became inevitable.

t C. These transfers were planned around been uttered in any formal way. 1 am afiaid I cannot a m p t that Another recent. On the faceofif tlie intentionalists have it. then. You cannot identify with what is inexpliinitiatives led to the mass execution of Jews in late 1941 and early cable. perhaps only in private discussions But the "green table" at the Berlin center. The mystifiers. the Holocaust is a human event. so it can ---+: ~ ~ I = i * ! * S -.! In the past he himself had used the expression "the unease of the . Herbert talks of mutual [. poets. F .on to be molticausal. that the old rift between intentionalists and funccloser examination. were motivated by .There thestrategicdecisions were on December 12. would not have formally expressed it. An aspect of that discussion means the only one. 1997). but it is clear that the explanation has ordered things to happen. and he was not the weak dictator that some histobelongs here: the inclination ofpeople who take refuge in mysticism to rians have posited. Belorussia (Belarus). there was a clear expression of what was known made. ~ -?X ." Hitler the Holocaust. so IIitler was undoubtedly preaento I sliall return to the Nazi in the Third Reich as "the FUhrer's wish"-a euphemism for the way he decisionmaking process later. Saul Friedlhder explained understanding and ofwnstant communication between central authorii. and the lower ranges cism is usually reserved for the Holocaust. because superfluous mouths to feed. or to avenge the killings of German soldiers "indescribable" human suffering is forever there and is forever being hy the F & u & q m L d rn-Zr-52: k! w . because it was perpetrated for what were unfortunately developed prior to the war by a radicalized. both at the top and at the middle. s o m of the historians' Just as the murder ofthe Jews was not inevitable. be explained." ties and the periphery. however. it was not inexplicadebates are now out ofdate: Hitler was the decisive factor. artists. .kbi1. the opposite of their presumed aim. Most historia~~s do not think that such a guideline had ever involving population transfers. or to do away with far as this is concerned. or pliers will forever grapple with the problem of articulating it-and as to carry out resettlements of Germans and Poles. and France that show how local and empathy with tlie victims.. as I will argue in the next chapter.. which is to achieve identification the %eneralgouvernement" (Poland).I? 50. In principle. and philosocal considerations. 5 .' Nazi core elite expected them to.1941. German society was intimes call it-cannot ultimately be explained. and writers. On the who found it natural to adopt the ever more radical solutions that the $ contrary.groups could have acted without the other. such as the "need" to find lodgings for Germans. Plainly.6 m a t w t h a HOIOCUIIH minions to get to work and to show initiative in implementing tile racist political ideology when they insisted on large-scale "solutions" guideline. achieve present examples from eastern Galicia. < -E ~ .and important correction to our understanding is exception to the rule.1. human reasons This does not mean that the explanation is easy. The murder was committed by humans for reathat added by agroupofyoung German historians working with Ulrich sons whose sources are found in history and which can therefore be Herbert. the Holocaust is certainly not unique. deemed liable to rational explanation.6 Herbert and his coautl~ors rationally analyzed.'oThis retreat into mystivolved. though by no ble. course of a discussion of his latest book. Lithuania. True. with the best of intentions. antisemitic intelligentsia. %:. The Berlin leaders. of the University of Freiburg. in the . the depth of pain and suffering of Holocaust victims is 1949. too.(hatthe Holocaust presents problems that have SO far not been solved. He was directly involved. The perpetrators rationalized these murder campaigns by practidifficult to describe. whereaa all other events are became part of the consensus. and that ideology'is the central determinant of party and state structures to accept and execute this "wish. he says. He pointed out the direcargue that an event of such magnitude-a"tremendum. we see that without the readiness of the tionalists is outdated. on December 94." as they sometion in which he wanted things to develop. Neither the Berlin center nor the local In a brilliant statement (in Jerusalem. dramatists.11 c k described.

The historical context for Lemkin's work in early 1949 consisted of the information he possessed as to what was happeningto PoleqCzechq Serhs. a radical and murtlerous denationalization acmmpanied by mass / morder. with the aim of a n ~ g t ~ g ~ @ d e ~ l " ~ ' (It seems that he intends to say "the groups as such. in late l94e or early 1943. And ifexperience shows that the definition does not fit reality. genocide is defined as 'My of the following acts committed with the intent to destrop in wholeor in p ~ f a nat~onal. he d e f i n e s ~ ' & a s the " * n in ofi~&&gn&nkg~up. this argument is almost self-evident and would hold true for any historical (and many other) investigations. be wrongthere is nothing terrible about that-and. definitions. I t may perhaps be argued that partid j mass annihilation leads to total extermination. 11e wanted to avoid what he called "closure" of the argument. the destruction of the nat~onal economic structure. approved on December 9.) Yet in the preface of the same book he says that "the practice of extermination of nations and ethnic groups. though such a possibility certainly cannot be discounted. . and others. and. it mwthe compared tootherevents ifit iq as I havejust argued." Again. We ran but hope that they approximate descriptions of reality. then the definition has to be changed. Russians. Generally speaking. ethnical or religious group. That makes it even more important for our definitions to be as precise as possible in defining at least those parts of the phenomenon that they claim to define. 1 1 1 adopted. Inevitably. . our definitions are selective--they deal with parts of a phenomenon.18. but decent human beings evinced an . is called I1. as though we historians had found satisfactory answers to our questions. both meanings . In the Genocide Convention.8 what W U the Holocmurt! historian. its moral fiber. Because life is infinitely more complex than any definition. Inorder todefinetheHolocaust. which destroy? the group as an entity but leaves many or most ! of the individuals composing it alive. murder of every single I individual of the targeted group. by &$nition. by the author 'genocide. its religious institutions." not necessarily all the individuals in them. but i~ecause convin~ing explanations are still unavailable or are being argued about. selective mass killings of parts of the targeted . It is only by comparison that we can answer the question of whether it is unprecedented and has features not found in similar events. he implied..can never he fully adequate to the events they are supposed to define."" I l e did not mean that these proble~ns cannot ultimately be ~~nderstood. Is the Holocaust definable? Is it desirable to define it? After all. are included.19. and the phrase "in whole or in part" indicates that what is meant is not the development of partial destruction into total murder but two variations that do not necessarily follow one upon the other. the other. others will come along and present new findings and insights. as such. What WU theH0lOCaUItI 9 . : genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation. He advocated a certain open-endedness whenever we put forward our views: we might. We now w m e to the problem of definitions.-The term a refugee Polish-. IIedid not want to imply a mystical interpretation of the llolocauvt events.yl)n the one hand. Len~kin's ! definition is contradicto~. by-the United Nations.. its education system. according to Lemkin. always. but it is especially apposite regarding the Holocaust. definitions are abstractions fiom reality and are useful only insofar as they help us to better understand the world around us. in any case. But this is not what 1i Lemkin says. not the other way around.'' What he describes are two distinct alternatives: j one. a human event. genocide was coined bv 1 Jewish lawyer in the Uniterl States. but that tremendous difliculties stand in the way of understanding them. / The discussion here is not just academic Lemkin's definitions were I 1 I E . Any historiographical definition is designed to help us understand the event or events being defined.' " The destruction of the essential foundations of natlonal life includes. On the face of it. all I am trying to say in these chapters sl~ould therefore he taken as obviously subject to discussion and change. in large part. Because I basically agree with FriedlUnder's approach. It is intended rathe* s i m ac o o r d i n p l a n f f m actions aiming at the destruction of essential f o u n d ~ ~ _ o f t h e l i f e o f n & g r s p s . ' population. Horrifying information had been received concerning the fate of the Jews.

or a Rom ("Gypsf). It seems that 11emade his definition fit real historical developmentsas he saw them. joining the Communist Party was often-not always-a way ofavoidiig stigmatization as "bourgeois. Documents emerging from that quarter are less than perfect. (c) Deliberately inflictingon the groupconditions of l i e calculated to bring about its pl~ysicaldestruction in whole or in part. The lack of consistency in the U.N. and the differences : : between them remain to be seen. in principle if not always in practice. Even in Soviet Russia. (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. for instance. Thus. Most of the leading Bolsheviks were originally "bourgeois" intellectunls and sometimes former aristocrats In Nazi Germany.(b) Causingserious bodily or mental harm to members ofthegroup. fitted Lemkin's description of denationalization accompanied by selective mass murder. One cannot change one's ethnicity or nationality or "racew-only the penecutor can do that. there is absolutely no way out for the member of a targeted ethnic or national group: that person is a Pole. they were usually released. But those few members of the gmup who yielded and joined the army or who acknowledged the Nazi state as having autl~ority over r hem were no longer persecuted. a member of the Russian aristocracy. it and gmocj& are clearly connected. the deshuction ofpolitical groups within the definition of genocide. I will argue that Holocaust can be used in two ways: to describe what happened to the Jews at Nazi hands and to describe what might happen to others if the : Holocaust of the Jewish people becomes a precedent for similar actions Whichever way Holocaustis used. and ifthey were in concentration camps. go over to the persecutors' religious faith and save themselves. One can change one's religion or one's political color. What waa happelling to some of tl~ese people. and he would probably have agreed to extend his category to include so-called racial groups.le Neither of these last two additions makes much sense. membership is a matter of choice--again. because they reflect political pressures and horse trading between states.10 What WasU~e Holocaurtt What Wasthe H o l W u r a t l ft - understandable reluctance to believe that the accounts were literally and completely true. The next p i n t to consider is crucial: which groups to describe when we talk about genocide." Alexandra Kollontai. I I they belong to the same species of human action. We then come to 1948. means any of the following acts: "'(a) Killmgmembersoftl~egroup. The U. became a leading Bolshevik and sewed as Soviet ambassatlor to Sweden. I would suggest retaining the term for " @ murder and the termt H for t m o n . The persecution of theJews in theMiddle Ages is an excellent example: accepting baptism usually-not always-meant rescue. mainly perhaps the Poles. if not always in practice. in principle. To make this as simple I as possible. (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another gro~p. or a . DuringtheNazi regime. wnvention is apparent the moment wecontinue the quotation: Genocide. it says. The United Nations is not a symposium of scholars-far fmm it."'~ We again see inclusion of both partial and total destruction.N. People persecuted because of their religious beliefs can. unsuccessful pressure was exercised in 1948 to include. millions of Communists became loyal Nazis For both religious and political groups. beyond the obvious one of partial versus total destr~~ction. Jehova11's Witnesses were persecuted in Germany because they refused to recognize the supreme authority of the state and objected to being recruited into the army. the vagueness with which he contemplates the possibility of murdering all Jews reflects the state ofconsciousness in America of the Jewish fate. Lemkin talked only about national or ethnic groups. The same applies to political persecutees. as the Germans did when they "Germanized Polish adults and children. W~thout such action. convention adds religious groups. A number of scholars have added political groups aa well. The inclusion of religions groups-not a part of Lemkin's definition-was accepted after a long struggle. The conclusion to draw is that one ought to differentiate between the intent to destroy a group in a context ofselective mass murder and t l ~ e intent to annihilate every person of that group.

How can one measure his suffering against the horrors that Japanese civilians endured at H i r o s h ' i How can one measure the suffering of a Ram woman at Auschwitz. then. or a Serb." or even "better." than another. and that occasionally one form merges into another. It is now time to turn to cnmparisonsthat will clarify the difference. overwhelming majority of them by nondemocraticregimes. such mass murders. and in some future perhaps do away with such h o r n In the end. Hence my wnclusion that the term genocide should b used only for attacks on the groups specified by Lemkin. He says that 38 million of the people killed were victims ofgenocide (he uses the definition of the U.from wars. e t ~ )the . but elsewhere. via the murder of civilians for a vast variety of reasons. national. are committed at the instigation of governmenta and quasi-governmental organizations. How important is such a definition? It may help us differentiat~ between differentcrimes against humanity.convention. which are reciprocal mass murders wmmitted by opposing groups of people. and close to 6 million of those were killed in the Holocaust There is no reason not to expand Rummel's paradigm to include wars. The differencebetween the Holocaust and less radical genocides lies not in the amount of sadism or the depth of hellish suffering. because b~ destroyingother humans. against the sufferingof a Jewish woman at the same camp who underwent the same experiene? Extreme forms of human suffering are not comparable. cated by far than our attempts to describe i t I would therefore suggest that these definitions be used to describe a continuum of h u k n mass destruction. and one should never say that one form of mass murder is 'less terrible. usually males. He calls this phenomenon "democide" (killing of people). the perpetrators very radially diminish their avn humanity. No gradation of human suffering is possible. A soldier who lost a leg and a lung at Verdun suffered. ethnic or racial group using measures like those outlined by Lemkin and th UN. reality is more compli. to genocide and Holocaust This does not mean that wars are %better" than I ' genocides.I2 W h l k . or racial group. Genocide. who L U W her husband and children die in front ofher eyes.N. the ultimate purpose of suct analyses being to help lessen. nor that the mass murder of civilians is less reprehensible than genocide. C Wthe W O l o C u u t l Jew. it does mean that thereareobvious connections between all these. Holocaust ia a radicalization of geno cide: a planned attempt to physically annihilate every single member o a targeted ethnic. measures that accompany the selective mass murder c members of the targeted group. too. One could even use the term re~-dLstruction. convention). is the planned attempt to destroy a national. distinguished from one another by funny clothes called uniforms. Rummel in his books D m ' & a n d Dcath by G m m m t . 1 . as I have pointed out. Such an approach may well use the paradigms proposed by Rudolph J. between 1900 and 1987 close to 170 million civilians (and disarmed ~ o w s were ) killed by governments and quasigovernmental organizations (political parties. " According to Rummel. Adding wars gives us a continuum ofhuman actions of deadly violence ranging .

chapter three I have said already that the only way to clarify the applicability of definitions and generdizatiom is with mmparisons The question of whether the Holocaust had elements that have not existed with any other form of genocide (whereas there are n o major elements of other genocides that cannot be found in yet other genocides) is extremely important if we want to find out more about mial pathology in general. unprecP dentedness can mean only that the event is not human-in other words. in the last resort. Unless one finds a measure of comparability. What is totally unsatisfactory isanattempt toescap historical responsibility by arguing that this tragedy is sometl~ing rnys terious that cannot be explained. then the criminals would become tragic victims of forces beyond human control. More than one satisfactory explatla. Comparisons with Other Genocides . I do not claim that tl~isexplanatory model is final. it is intended mo as a stimulant for discussion. If this were true. the groor~dworl~ was Inid 1. There are rather obvious psychological barriers to understanding . ia not historical-in which case it is useless to talk about it except in putative theological or mystical contexts.I S the Holocaust ExpllCabIeI and "ordinary" Ilon~anians. The fact that the Holocaust is explicablt does not imply any kind ofclosore. of other intellectuals. tioncan beoffered. To saj that the Holocaust is inexplicable. the immediate question is.' When one discusses unprecedented elements in a social phenomenon. is to justifj it.y two gctlcua1 t tions ofthe best Romanian intellectnals and executed with t l ~ c g~~i~lana. Unprecedented in comparison with what? The very claim that a historical event is unprecedented can be made only when that event is compared with other events ofapresumably similar nature with which it shares at least some qualities.

or a monotheistic God who hides his face-stem from that immanent inner conflict. Later generations of sages had the unenviable task of explaining it away-but let it be said that they felt uncomfortable about the murder and did notwant it to become a precedent for the Jews' behavior. whom we invented for the purpose. whether the Indian Vedas. the mark of a reasonably advanced civilization. millions of Christians and non-Christians have been killed by other Christians in the name of a loving God. some of us will call our straying a sin. we have our G(g)od(s) instruct us to do so. however. or evil gods. in order to have an authority that will prevent us from becoming what we know we can become and fear to become--namely. We all know that l~un~an evince a tendency to deny the existence of life-tl~reateningevents." This strategy of changing . the wounded. According to t English ballad of the late sixteenth century about the great l a r d Wit." Well. including the cutting-off of limbs and the like. for the twentieth century. The result.40 Comparlroiu with Other Ganoclder mass lrn~rders aud genocidal events such as those tlescril~edby ll~~dol Rumrr~el. whose work was mentioned in the first chapter and will bet basis of mucl~ of what is said here as well. Palmerstons. won the battle ofAusterlitz-but was he there alone? Was not helped a little bit by a few tens of thousands of soldiers whom (and others) led into battle? How many soldiers were killed on both sides? We do not usually find these figures in history textbooks. is Rummel's statistics. and the lifedestroying urge. the "libido" described by Freud (in much too sexual terms). wives and children. 'To soldiers that were mainled. or transcelldental nonl~uman beings generally who are supposed to be t l ~ e repositories of morality. instance. on the whole. omnipresent. or a just. and wounded in the fray. and all-powerful I Comparlronr wlthOthe~Gen0clder 41 Gud. descriptions of what happened to those mutilated. of course.texts by (re)interpreting them is. or the Bible. We all know that human history is colored wit11 blood. Eric11 Fromm used the concept of Thanatos. ness of the various Napoleons. to explain our behavior? It appears that humans veer between the urge for life. to examine the question of whether monotheism is not more murderous than other forms of religion. or the Duke of Marlborough? And what about the civilians near the roads that the armies traveled on? What about the dead. wars are described in terms ofpolitical or other m vations and in terms of military strategies and tactics. to come back to us and impose a "good" morality upon us. Napoleon. When we stray from the straight and narrow. school textbooks. the raped. one must admit. the destructive instinct. or von Moltke. and their opposite-devil figures. this dark side of l~istory. When we want to sin. Th meaning ofsuch statistics is discussed even less. and the dispossessed? We teach ourcl~ildren about the great. and Bismarcks as political or military leaders and thus sanitize history. ignore. We try to minimize. As a Jew. I must live with the fact that the civilization that I inherited also encompasses the call for genocide in its canon. and we want to avoid danger by looking the other way. The point is that the monotheistic God of the Middle East . 1 would argue that the idea of "good" gods. We make these gods. We have these opposites within us. We rarely find accou of medical practices. We transfer these qualities outside ourselves and create images of transcendental beings who will personalize these qualities for us. 1 don't know what is. not teach a b u t . we can be either "good" and 'Sust" and "humane. and soon. or a God." or the opposite. genetically fixed by a long history of human development. Other soldiers in other wars were not lucky enough to have thegreat Lord Willoughl~y put in a word with Queen Bess-were such songs written about Napoleon. loughby's exploits in Flanders. so they did their pathetic best to eradicate it by "interpretation. "bad. In the previous chapter 1 mentioned the story about the murder of the Midianites (Numbers 31). because it is a constant threat to our feelingofsecurity. If that story is not a "divine" justification for genocide. it would be worthwhile. isnot mentioned. The rest-medical treatment. Genocide and mass murder are described in all swalled sacred books. that's something. After all. Theological justifications for mass murder and genocide exist outside the monotheistic religions. or the Quran. the Queen allowed a pension of eighteen pence a day." "devilish" creatures.



This. by implication. thedominant cliqueof 1111t11s. the Arnmenians naturally tended to see1 i support from the Russians. commerce. whicl~it had precede i on what later became Turkish territory by many centories. The latter were to be murdered. In the territory of the German Reich. Recent research has shown that from early 1949on." I will deal with this issue below. independence-seeking Armenian poli~ b ical parties increased Turkish suspicions and were.lo T h e definition of the Can~bodia~~ disaster as genocide preseltts prolrlems. was a 1 pragmatically motivated genocide. because the aim of the Khmer perpetrators was obviously not the I disappearance of the l(hmer people. during. there were three groups ofvictims: ethnic Khrner who were city dwellers or who in sorrle other way were deemed potential or real enemies.led by a French-educated intelligentsia. matters were different. distinguished between sedentary and wandering Roma. in large part by their annihilation.' In thecaseoftheTutsisin Rwanda. e althougll there were some e x c e p tions. a minority that had comprised the traditional ruling class for centuries and had a record of oppressing the I1ut11majority. in Turkisl~eye$ a threat at the very heart of Turlcish ethnic territory. With the Holocaust. What concerns us here is that the motivation for the murder of Khmer by Khmer was the achievement of a class-based utopia." Even in the case of the Roma (Gypsies) the pragmatic aspect stands out. Chams. and the conversion to Christianity an ideological "superstructure. a tremendous effort was exerted to rob the Jews of their property or to take it after they were ofwhom managed to escape to Vietnamese territory. One major difference between the Holocaust and other forms ofgenocide is. II' supported Armenian aspirations. but outside the Reich. then." It would be superfluous to analyze the motivation for the annihilation of the Caribs at the hands of the Spaniards. that pragmatic considerations were central with all other genocides. Agricultural com- I I I I . coln acquisition of land. because they were in the way and could not be integrated in a future Germandominated political order. Yet it certainly has elements of a genocide. predominated. or the genocide of MeGcan and Peruvian Indian peoples that followed-clearly. jI Persecuted by the Turks. The settled Roma (the definition of who was "settled" was vague) were largely treated like other local inhabitants. confiscation of riches. according to which the putative real interests of potentially oppositional city dwellers were to be eliminated by annihilating the city dwellers themselves. the quest for gold. and natural riches was the central motive. and the satisfaction of chauvinistic impulses of the revolutiom I ary coreof the dominant etl~nic group. pragmatic considerations were marginal. The Ar~neuians were abar~donell an1 j before. hut dropped them when it was nl t longer in their interest to do so. and after World War I were killed in 11uge numbers i Their genocide served the pragmatic purposes of political expansion . elimination of econo~nic petition. Nazi policy toward the Roma was hazy. and Vietnamese living in Cambodia. impulses exacerbate11by feeling! of utter frustration and humiliation in a crisis-ridden and disintegrat ing empire. a racist ideology demanding their complete removal. The Westerr ! Powers used Armenian aspirations to press the Ottoman a~rtl~orities tr 1 give up important elements of Ottoman sovereignty. I munlsm of an extreme sort'co~ld be assured only by removing all possible centers of dissen t-a clear political motivation. which showed a kind ofdistorted rationality despite the irrationally extreme sadism and brutality wit11 which it was executed. Yes. the Wehrmacht. abstract ideological motivations less so. the bitter enemies of the Otto~nar~ E~npirc Autonomist and.46 COmpYlsons wlthother Genocides Compnrlsonswlth Other Genoclda 47 civilization competed wit11 'li~rliisl~ civilizatio~~. was after the land that the Tutsis occupied-in an agric~rlturalecorlolrly where land is scarce-and aftel : the base of power of the l'utsi llwandan class cum ethnic group. rnany / b . they seer~~ingl. The Nazis did not usually bother about t l ~ former. According to Ben Kiernan's findings. Muslims who were massacred in large numbers. again. probably following a consensus emanating from the Party.

A third element sets the Holocaust apart fmm other genocides: ita intended totality. German Jews did not control the German economy. In the case of the Jews. and so on). there was no governmental plan for total extermination. One could argue . on the other hand. not necessarily elsewhere. Hitler's well-known expression. Uganda. Further. All other genocides were limited geograpli d l y . the Nazis did not attempt to register Roma outside the Reich. indeed. but again. humiliation. planned total murder. had not yet developed. In Ottoman Turkey. even the Armenians in Jerusalem. in most cases. Such apolicy has never been applied in human history before and would have undoubtedly been applied universally if Germany had won the war. The Turks targeted Armenians in ethnically Turkish areas.The Jews had no territory to he coveted. but outside Germany. not itscause. Just as Christian antisemitism was based on theological speculations that fulfilled important practical functions. the basic motivation was purely ideological. Further. Khmer and Cham in Cambodia [Kampuchea]. universal character.'+Because the Germans fully intended to cor~trol not just Europe. Wandering and settled groupsofRoma were murdered in Germany.the world. and murder was the outcome of national policies. some Armenian women and small children were spared to be sexually used or to be educated as Turks. everywhere. Uut no serio~rs historian has ever claimed that rol~l~ery wat the basic reason for the murder. If we compare this to other genocides-for instance.48 Comparisons wlth Other Ganocldea ComparlsonrrrtUlOther Genocides 49 1 murdered. which was considered to be ethnically Arab and which was controlled by the Ottomans. they did not care aboot Armenians elsewhere. on hallucinations. pragmatic means. the minister of foreign affairs. and the complicated hureaucratic structures guided by universalistic utopian ideologies.The Nazis were looking for Jews. No genocide to date had been based so completely on myths. persecution started in Germany but spread all over what the Germans called the German sphere of influence in Europe and then became a policy of total mu. the case of the Caribs. Robbery was the outcome of the Ilole caust. where an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world was o p posed to a parallel Aryan quest. the technology. so Nazi antisemitism. and. on the one hand. whether directly or through allies. who were indeed totally exterminated by Spanish policies-we find that there were never plans to achieve that aim. This global character of the intended murder of all Jews is unprecedented in human history. and Zaire. The murder of the Jews took place because a murderous ideology motivated it. but first the ideology overcame contrary ideas and notions in German society in the concrete historical context of converging crises. the only proniinent Jew in the Weimar Republic after 19sa was Walther Rathenau. No. for all Jews. on abstract. translated its murderous abstractions into grad~~ally developing policies of segregation. which originated in the same Christian clel~rsions but whicl~ahancloned the moral principles of Christianity along with its religious beliefs. had a clear universalist implication. Tutsi mainly in Rwanda. that in fighting the Jew he was doing the work of the Lord. they had no military power. starvation. this meant that Jews would ultimately be hunted down all over the world. although that was the practical outcome. ideology-which then was executed by very rational. nonpragmatic. all persons with three or four Jewish grandparents were sentenced to death for the crimeof having been born. Burundi. In genocidal attacks on peoples before the twentieth century. were not targeted. Contrary tc legend. as I pointed out above. and in Germany itself their political powerwas marginal at best Politically. settled Roma were of no special concern." A second reason why the Holocaust is unprecedented is its global.rder. it was antisemitism that was exported 'om Nazi Germany. the targeted group lived in a reasonably well defined geographic locale (Indian peoples in the Americas. According to Nazi policy. although they were prominent in some of its branches-and they did not act ar a p u p but as competing individuals.but. Indeed. and he was murdered in 1999 by right-wing extremists. finally. Armenians were intended to be eradicated in mainly ethnic Turkish areas. nor was it express statepolicy to do so. North American Indian tribes were victims of genocide for reasons of greed and exploitation. rooted in an illusionary world of Nazi imagination.

i I that had the murder of the Caribs and the North American Indians taken place at a time when state-directed a~~tiil~ilation was possible. and they established an armed force directed from the center to serve as the chief agency for perpetrating the murder. that policy would have been followed. This may well be so. wedo not know who the Jews may be if there is a next time. In other words.1 seem to be the case. although with German encouragement and in large part under German supervision. to date. will readily acknowledge.'~ This explanation is less than convincing. no Nazi document has been found that points to a discussion of how to humiliate victims." T h e suffering of the victims of this genocide was in no sense greater than the suffering of victims of other genocides-there is no gradation of suffering. to . ifanything. Romanian troops and police showed their mettle at such death traps in Transnistria as Rogdanovca and during the death marches of Bessarabian Jews into the Transnistrian territory: some 260. Probably the best example is 1 the Armenian case: the ~ u r k i s hperpetrators used the telegraph to . On the other hand. inform their people of the steps to be taken against the targeted victims. in North America.'^ What is meant by "extreme" is expressed by the three elements described above: the ideological. but by anyone toward anyone. but in some other genocides. too. In other words. Also novel in its extremity. probably the most extreme form of humiliation known to us was thenatural result ofthe Nazi system. What they did to their hapless victims was to transfer their own abandonment of all previous norms accepted as "civilized" onto n a N y 1 ! I r? i . Is modern efliciency a special hallmark of the Holocaust? That may . And in all other genocides known to us. Collaborators with the Nazis from among other European nations were certainly no less brutal than the Germans were. Especially novel was the intricate procedure by which they deprived inmates of their "normal" human attributes by systematic humiliation. the Holocaust can be repeated. if anything. they used railways to transport troops. some quasi-genetic." One might make a similar argument regarding the destruction of the North American Indians at the hands of white Americans.. It was the Jews the last time round. The same basic policy was followed in the East European ghettos. The conclusion is inevitable: humiliation was not the result of planning but of a consensus that did not require orders or bureaucratic arrangements. The Croatian concentration camp of Jasenovac was. as anyone who has researched t l ~ Spaniards e in the New World. not to be sure in exactly the same way. It is important to restate what is meant here by "extreme. though not in its essence. Various commentators have labeled as unprecedented a number of other aspects of the Holocaust. I believe one should as far as possible avoid the term dehumnnixution to describe what happened to the inmates of camps and ghettos. The extremeness of the Holocaust is what makes it unprecedented. the contemporary state of technology was fully utilized. peculiarly German expression of extreme violence or sadi~m. and total character of the genocide of the Jews. the fate of Roma victims at Auschwitz was exactly parallel to that of the Jewish victim^. not by Germanq not toward Jews. which reached its peak in their use of what may be called excretionary control-total humiliation by controlling human excretions. which sl~ows not only that the Holocaust was unprecedented but that human civilization is prone to make Holocausts possible when conditions are ripe-which is another central point in our argument. because. the term fits the Nazis: they "dehumanized" themselves. more horrible than its Nazi counterparts.000 Romanian and 100. although the Nazis did not invent the concentration camp. One is the supposed fumr icuhninrs. If this analysis is correct.000 Ukrainian Jews were murdered by Romanian perpetrators" Most Lithuanian Jews were murdered by Lithuanian collaborators. Cambodian communists or Hutu perpetrators. global. Thus. the perpetrators acted similarly. they developed it in new ways. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this development is that. European settlers . was the Nazi use ofcamp inmates against other camp inmates. then the Holocaust is an extreme form of genocide. ! name but a few. quite apart from smacking of reverse racism.

I would argue. or religious belief dominant while or subordinating others. If one is to believe llermann Rauscllning's record of his talks with Hiller--and Illat may he problematic* because hewrote them down from memory and published them years after they took place-then Hitler appears to llave been aware Of Ille tremendous import Of his rei7e11ion winst humanit~Po I would go further than that and Claim that the National Socialist rebellion against humanism. those of their victims who survi not. or religion. because it was the Nazis who lost the cl~aracteristics lized human beings When that minority ofinmates who survived liberated. ill the name of a new principle. they had tooppose. even more forcefully. originally at least. that Nazism saw the Jews as its main enemy was logical in a way.*llulnanU and tile victim as] than human. was the most radical attempt at changing the world that history has recorded to date: themost novel and the most revolutionary.Iewish population apart from Others (many people I I . with the Germanic peoples of the Aryan race at the top of new hierarcl?y.The Nazi regime was unprecedented. claimed preeminence and absol ~~~~i~~ nussia absolute power for monarch racy and the orthodox churcll. Arguably. Toreach such a utopian sitnation. the principle of "race. Why alloU1d this be sop TI1e Jews are a peculiar group Of people They most certainly cannot be defined in racial-genetic terms. rnoved hy ttleir interpretation of the racial doctrine. It refers to the regime fro the Holocaust sprang. for instance. and so on. conservatism. but in fact Nazi treatment of those interned in camps and ghettos sllowed of opposite.52 C~mpurIsons wlth Other Genocides civilized beings. the Nazis remained dellurn even after the nightmare ended. Attempts like these have been made before the twen Catholicism."Tlle world was to be ruled by thestronger. t . nut. better races. they distanced themselves progressively from a purely German ideology. pacifism. It is lheUnprecedented quality Of the Nazi regime that goes far in explaining the unprecedented nature of the Holocaust In attacking everythi% that llad been defined as humane and Inoral before it. wllicl~ appa very few of them did. to use the term I have suggested as a description of the Holocaust. socialism. democracy. ~l~~ lncas over w l ~ i c only l ~ a certain class of people l ~ a d a say in rnnrli same applied. Jews and others. In other words. and ultimately the world. and may provide some of its contex revolutions before ~ ~ ~ socialism i ~ that ~ aimed a l at organizirl ity were made in the name of class. it is higllly d ful whether their torturers did. ~ h ~ indeecj. Today.tionwouldleave tlleperpetrator as tile . despite the better representstion ofcertain illnesses among Jews than among others and despite the mc"?nt clairrl that certain genetic qualities set the priestly or quasipriestly part Of the . the fundamentalist regimes of and Sudan try to make their version of Islam the definin society. they returned to their civilized ways life. was the intended outcome. unless they repented. ~h~ list of revolutionaries includ nists. tried to define structure of society. one may add a fourth element of unprece ness to the threementioned above: because the Jews wereat the of the hell that was the Nazi concentration camp. they were the of amunprecedented crime of total h~nniliationand fared wo others who were victims of the same crirne. in the caste syste I ComparI%on% Wth Other Genoddes 53 I 8 of Nazis tried to rule notjust G e r ~ n a n but ~ Enrope. especially the legacy of the French Revolution and the Emancipation. the major achievements of the European culture that preceded them. therefore." True. in the past. they started from nationalism and acted in the name of the German people. The fascinating document of July 1940 sllows that the murder campaign was intended todecimate the German people as well-the monster was about todevour its children. liberalism. Yet a finh element might be added. who.'l'he common nseofthe tern1 dchumo &a. nation. T attempts to reshume society and make one real or imagine ethnic or national group.

If the Jews are not a "race. the Old and tl Testaments. and they are neit nor worse than any other group. Both were largely written by Jews. an But Athens and Rome. was riddled with inefficiency. If. means "priest" share certain genetic cllaracter tics). Indian. Anyone reading modern Hebrew can read texts that were written three thousand years ago without a dictionary. which was composed of two parts. T h e Jews tl~en~selves do not follow t l ~ precepts any more than anyone else does. which are the source of modern aes of modern literature. in his monumental. But the Jews are still here. and their culture is. Cohen. so the next generation was fully Jewish. one of the oldest continuing civilizations we know. their children converted at birth. civilization created a vast oral hadition. Ilowever. in evidence in Nazi . Moroccan. Others empllasize ence to the extent ofcreating an impassable barrier between and others Western or Northern civilization (ifone can call it a civili Auschwitz) is built on two pillars: Athens and Rome. and much else. In Jewish sources of t l ~ period e are called "the God-fearing ones" and appear to have joined Je communities without full membership. they no longer write continuations of the same literature.54 Comparlronswith othar Genocidal ~ompnr4rons with Other Qenocldes 55 wllose name. Christiani lslamsreoffshoots ofthis tradition. and Russian Jews sllow result of intermingling wit11 other groups. which became a writte dition and decisively influenced modern civilization. althol~gl~ most of perately want not to be different at all. if more. The impact Jewish tradition can he seen in all of 'Western" or "Nortllern" from Chaucer. brilliant. Let a modern reader of English try that wit11 Chaucer. Ethiopian. In actual fact. who were the symbolic surviving remnant of thevalues and Nazis wanted to destroy." they certainly inherited s culture civilization in which their unique religion played a dominant part. nor do they follow similar customs. and much leeway was 1 initiatives. it would have l. and there were the sis and war. and that was the result not of natural increase but of the addi to the Jewish people of large numbers of gentiles by a process w details are still not quite clarified. which sometimes clashed with planned ng descriptions. are no p r a r y Greeks and Romans speak different languages. Shakespeare.say. one might perhaps dare to suggest rienced pre-Nazi bureaucrats filled responsible p s i - colnpetition between quasi-feudal Nazi lords reother bureaucratic structure. according to a leadership principle that encouraged self- ot. if not the oldest. In tlle first century of Common Era (the century that saw the destruction of the Jerusa Temple) the Jewish pop~~lation multiplied by at least loo percent. they no longer worship the same gods. unis of the Nazi bureaucracy may not have intended to he picture of a stereotypically efficient "teutonic" but is what many observers have seen. and Dante to Polish and Russian lit from the impact of the moral teachings of the prophets to legal and the Rights of Man. in my new. modern law. and. derived though they are from the ancient ones. Rut they are different inso are the bearers of this special tradition. as some have argued. or a modern reader of Indian languages e that there was an internal logic to the Nazi attack on the Jews. Clearly. This may be a contributing nition of the Holocaust. in theeighteenth cent ordinary European possessed a book at all.e Christian Bible.

qua community. and mass murder. Wolfgang Abel of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. A first draft of the so-called Generalphn Ost."" He proposed to Germanize some and deport the rest to western Siberia. there was an intent to eliminate the Polish people qua pecple. work in fields and factories. by the destruction ofautonomous Polish economic structures. The way a modern society that had given the world some of the most important achievements of a humanistic culture became. we need not be troubled too mucl~. and by the prevention of any kind of Polisli political structures. The anti-German elements would be annihilated Ukrainians who could not be Germanized would also be used against the Russians. presumahly by methods that would include the liquidation of the intelligentsia and any potential leaders.S. In order to do so. people who could have been used..P'the murder of these multitudes. Erhard Wetzel. Defined in this way. The Baltic peoples were to be eliminated as separate groups. All this was accompanied by enslavement. as an exheme case of genocide. .'~ anxiety repression. a recruiting ground for brutal murderers is a fact with What is so stunning is the which we have to grapple con~tantly. to other genocides. What is frightening is the thought that if it conld happen in Germany. to what the Nazis attempted t o do to the Polish people. and those who were not Germanizable (cindnrtschungsfdhhig)were to be invited to become the ruling class of the Slavic expellees in the East Wetzel found it "obvious that the Polish question cannot be solved in sucl~ a way that one would liquidate the Poles in the same manner as the would be a standing accusation against the Jews. which was submitted to Himmler at the end of 1941 by Dr. t o p d u c e armaments. The discussion about the unprecedented features of the lloloca~rst leads us into the question of tlie relation and comparison of the Holocaust. and the Belorussians would form a helot population reserve. Convention. the term gmocidc would be applicable. and some hundreds Poles and Soviet pows were also gassed in tlien~). which had been proposed by Dr. with Germans. forceful Germanization. for instance. and because "we" are not It is an obvious case of Germans. in a lrorrifyingly short time.Treblir~ka.~' participation of a vast majority of the Germans in genocidal projects. so dear to many Jews and non-Jews. I would argue that genocide is the proper name for the brutal process of group elimination accompanied by mass murder resulting in the partial annihilation of the victim population as described by Lemkin and the U. The plan did not go into any details.56 Comprrlsonswlth Other Gbnocldbl (Auscl~witz-Uirltenau. where their antagonism to the Russians would ensure that no united anti-german front would ever be formed. Cl~elmno. first and foremost against Jews. to be used for lat~or. the Germanizable elements were to be absorbed. at the very least. There was no intent to annihilate everg Pole.N. kidnapping of children. is a way ofsaying that it conld happen only in Germany. Subibor. The stereotypical genetic accusation against Gern~ar~s as such. foresaw the expulsion of 31 million people in the Polish and Soviet areas and the Germanization of the rest. Uelzec. an important S. by the decimation of their religious leadership. official and racial expert. but also against others. was opposed to modern economic principles. JosefMengele ofAusc1iwitz notoriety. . a policy that had in any case been pursued vis8-vis the Poles from September 1959. there were no plans for total annihilation.D. these were later considered by Dr. Total annihilation can he labeled Holocaust for want of a more acceptable word. Wetzel likewise opposed the total mass murder of the Russians. The parallels between tlie genocide of the Jews and the genocide of the Poles are obvious What a? the differences? For the Poles.. Such a solution German people into the far distant future. it can happen elsewhere. build airfields or roads. the same illustrious institution of academic learning that had supported that other famous medical doctor with a Ph. let us return for the moment to tlie vexed question of existing definitions. Wetzel thought that Russians would be needed . Another aspect of unprecedentedness is perhaps more elusive. Maly 'I'rostinetz)PLwere designed to kill Jews (several thousand Ro~na. Konrad Meyer-IIetling. by the de- structior~of all educational institutions.

that nineteenth-century Americans were responsible for the murder of There. that what they call the H o b group and sometimes a combination of both." The Jews were equally abandoned by the this denial does to Turkish national identity is another matter. IIim~~ller's reactio~~ to vene in their favor. establishing a homogeneous nation (with the exception of the Kurds in demanded autonomy. although the Turkish not racial. and Spain has recognized what Spaniards did Armenians in what was considered to be Turkish ethnic territory were in the Americas. The parallels and differences are : the murder of another people. as not Holocaust well as the murder of other victims The United States has accepted The term genocide applies to the Armenian case even more aptly. to death in order to make food available for Germanys7 So: slavery. The Nazis might well have tried to trausagin. who kept expressing their sympathy for their fate. in a series of publications. too. No less important was the plau-which did not work in in the Jewish case (one-third of theJews of the world were killed-which practice-to starve about 30 million of the conquered Soviet population may be colnparable to the Tutsi case as well). incensine:Turkisl~ nationalists.58 Compvtwns wlth Othar aanocldes 1. sometimes a purely religious ' have argued. One Western Powers. contrary to the Armenians vis-a-vis the Turks. the differences being that the Armcnians were a recogA similar conclusion might be drawn from the murder of Roma. the Holocaust. destruction of nationalities as identifiable groups. forced an exchange of popl~lations with Greece. as [Iitler is supposed to Kemalist government. thanks to the efforts of the the Armenians and their tragedy was forgotten. murder by hunger and by active killing-in other words. genocide. Nobody cared about genocide. Sybil Milton and Henry Friedlander. but were left in the eastern Turkey). the mass destruction of the Armenian people. whereas the Jews were American (Jewish) historians.000 ofwhom were murdered in the first stage of what . acknowledged the murder of the Jews. as in the Jewish case. Vichave said in regard to them when discussing the fate of the Poles before torious powers need not search for skeletons in their cupboards What his armies attacked Poland. The fateof the Ottoman Armenians was republican regime established by Mustafa Kemal Pasha Atatllrk at one decisively fleeted by adevelopment already alluded to: the Great Powpoint not only. TWO nized ethnic group within the Ottoman Empire. and became determined to suppress thememory of the lurch by those who had seemingly supported them. theelimination ofArmenian identity was aspired to. encouraged by the stand of the Powers. In the Armenian case. acknowledged the facts but explicitly ers intervened in favor of the Armenian desire to develop cult~rral and condemned the government of 'Young Turks" that had been responsipolitical autonomy within the framework of the Ottoman E~npire in ble. contrary to the Armenian case. adamantly refuses to acknowledge nian everywhere was not postulated as an aim. tile number of victims compared to the total number of the tarlate these plans into practice had the defeat at Stalingrad not put an geted population (probably at least one-half) is most likely higher than end to them. but could argue that Turkey will never achieve a balanced identity unless it Jews. sometimes considered an ethnic group. nor was there an intercallst is what the Nazis did to Jews. although the death ofevery single Armb not all. again apparent. Modern Turkey. and all North American Indians. thereby low through. in his own words. But by contrast. mass heirs of the perpetrators Nazi Germany was defeated. however. and its heirs. One striking feature of the Armenian genocide is its denial by the deportation. It could do that because it became." and the German handinational legal precedent that would have obligated the Powers to intercapped (ahout 70. "Gypsies.p9 Republican Turkey reversed the defeat of the Turkish armies at order to influence and weaken the empire. these proposals was positive. in a very real sense a victorious power. This is true of some other genocides as well. never actually acknowledges that the predecessors of the present regime presided over demanded anything from the Germans. though extinguished by mass murder. but were not prepared to folAllied hands. The Armenians. Compmrlaonswlth Otheraenocldm 1 59 for labor but had to be kept on a very short leash. Persecution was ethnic.

They had become. The Nazis set up a special organization. and many thousands more half-secretly afterwar~l). "Recent research" had made it clear "that there are positive racial elements also among the Gypsie~. nortl~westernIndia. Ofcourse.976 as "half-breedq" e.607 "Gypsies" in Germany according to "race": 1.we as "more German than Gypsy."~~ Bormann was assured that there was no plan to let the Gypsies wander a11o11t in Reicii territory. 6. However.even while Italy was an ally of Germany. especially when Gypsies were. however.9. Tor instance. some Slavs were treated as sublrun~an Aryans." e. S. implying that the "Gypsy" problem (like the Jewish one) was basically a problen~ of social (preventive) medicine.S. and some of them. The institute was run hy a yonng doctor. in Nazi eyes. This stereotyping can be docun~cntedfrom a large number of Nazi sources. Himmler therefore decided to separate German Gypsies in accordance with Ritter's findings.65n as "Germans who behaved as Gypsies:'sl In 1938. The American historians mentioned above quote this objection to show that nothing came of Aimmler's idea to segregate pureGypsies in order to keep themalive. others were not. 194. Croats. and as a result. and e. Himmler informed the minister ofjustice.931 as uncertain. and quite a number were sent to concentration camps-a problem arose for Himmler: after all. later). and U~tlgariansall Slavs-were allies. They managed to divide 18. blacks). He even considered giving them permission to maintain their life of wandering. Instead.~" The argil ment is that the Nazis' policies regarding the Roma and the 11andi capped weremotivated by the same kind of racist ideology as was tlieil policy on the Jews. In the wake of the lem sl~ould arrest of many German Roma (of the Sinti clans in the main)-many were pat in special camps. Slavs wen considered to be inferior Aryans. and in principle Nazi ideology was supposed to respect the unique qualities of every race (except Jews and. aRer all. the "pure" Gypsies.GO Comparlsons wlth Other Genocldas I was e~~pl~ernistically known as the "eutl~anasia"IIrogranl. so there was no general antiSlav policy. presumably.079 were classified as "pure" Gypsies. Otto Thierack. they were to be permitted to . and those who were more Gypsy than German would be protected from destruction under an arrangement reminiscent of the Jewish Councils: nine S i t i chiefs would run these groups. it is true formulated in racist terms and based on a biological-racist ideologj Quotations by these and other authors from orders by I-limmler anc opinions and policy directives by other Nazis are adequate proofof that The fact. officers werc not allowed to marry Italian women without receiving special permis sionq because Italians were not considered to be equal to the master race. Nazi attitudes toward Rollla were complicated by their place of origin. w11icl1made them Aryans The solution was to label them low-type Aryans who had mingled with the lowest of the European Aryans (including the lowest of theGerman population itself). demurred (December 3. that "the Gypsy quesbe discussed further in accordance with information retion" s11011ld ceived from the party secretariat (Bormann). there now are new findings: Himmler met with Hitler on December 6. Robert Ritter.922 of the 28. but Slovaks." e. it was impossible to maintain these racist principles in the real world. Himmler declared that the "solution" of the Gypsy probbe in accordance with racial principles. had to he treated even better than the part Aryans. The pure Gypsies. Eva Justin (who received her M.D. 111lti1 A I I ~ I I S 1941. on February el. ancl a medical practitioner-nurse. Latins were considered to be better than Slav8 but the poor performance al Italian soldiers on the battlefields apparently caused some do1111ts about that in the minds of good Nazis. Sinti Gypsies were not Jews. 1943. Hitler's powerful secretary. is that aNNazi policies toward other peoples werr governed by their racist approach. hereditary asocial criminals. Martin Bormann. Forscl~ungsstelle the Rassenhygienische und Bevolkerungsl~iologiscl~e des Reichsgesundlleitsamtes (Researcl~Institute for Racial Hygiene and Population Biology at the Reich Health Office). 1942). Nazi policies toward the Roma and the handicapped were. at least part Aryan. Thus.999 as "n~ore Gypsy than German.

new findings may change the conclusions he reached. did not look for Roma. his wnclusions all the other Roma in the Reich would be "removed.S. was one of penetration of Gypsy blood into the Aryan along with 99% Roma women and children. and between 6. pure Jew! by the Germans Although many of the others suffered and died in did not.Himmler ordered all the Roma in wit11 other social problems tl!e tendency for the Nazi regime was to the Reich not included in the pure category (and some others) to be solve it by murder. By contrast. sent to concentration camps.And on October :>fewRoma were victimized. but the order to remove Gyp three Einsatzgrnppen. the main assault or lin. both times during '. as working force: on December 16. In Serbia. Then all Jewish men and. and. Roma.>r &Nazis. pure Roma in the Reicl~had a chance of survival. from a Naz and 7. women and children as well demus attack was on Jews who had three or four Jewish grandparents were murdered. using the same location for both "HalfJews" (Mirchlingc) had a chance of s~trvivalbecause the Nazi! Jews and Roma. Here I must point to two major differences between the treatment ol The first massacre was a reprisal for the killing of German soldiers by Jews and the treatment of Roma. although . Hitler complained about the suffering of German peasants st : murdered "all" Gypsies "because they were not settled. next to the Roma settlement near Belgrade. were a minor imtant. and C. massacres of Roma and Jewish men occurred.a camp was established at Semwere unsure how to deal with them." which would the hands of Gypsies and opined that Hungarians were like G y p s i e ~ . such mixing was possible because Roma were no1 the Roma fanlilies were released. was of marginal importance to the Nazi regime. is nonsense. 1940. the central enemy. were incarcerated there. On December 8. 1941. and also some Roma. of course. including women and children. ~ I indicate that he targeted wandering Roma. about 1. all Jews were murdered. a metahistorical satan who rest of the German Roma were to be murdered after being used as a had to be destroyed. hy German police. which was the first country where der or by sterilization.travel in a circumscribed area o~~tsi(le the Reich's boundaries. A. Once. as a result of these discussions with IIitler.000 Roma in Serbia Jews. the main mur. point of view. ginal problem. Although pure Roma.000. Thus. to let these Roma live. on May 2. presumably.mainly men. Those who were not to be sent there Roma living in the Reicl~were but a very small minority of the would be sterilized (discussions held early in January 1943 between European Roma. It seems clear that Ilimn~ler lem. had been killed Hence." By contrast.600 Jews. it had to be prevented in 1943. the Jews were. who would in any case not be permitted to stay in Germany. It is simply a fact that the It also appears that. In the Jewish case. Michael Zimmermann has examined a great amount various branches of the S. later. Orders given to the Eisatzgruppen in August 1941apparrambling afterdinner conversations. in principle at least. including some as victims of anti-partisan GerA second point is much more important: the whole Gypsy prohlem man atrocities and some as partisans and soldiers. race. so relatively siesfrom thearmy was not issued until February 1941.& the Nazis. In principle.1949. The Jews were murdered. Otto Ohlendorf's gmup D ! 9. in groups have stated repeatedly that the Nazis saw in the Roma a marginalprob controlled. but because mixing was undesirable. Ritler himself ap The real test of Roma-related policies comes in the occupied Soviet pears to have mentioned the Gypsies twice only.).980 the Roma was on the "half-breeds. not settled ones. partisans." because the danger. B.territories.By the end of the war. and was attacked for having said that I thought they were a marhad decided."There were 1 15." whether by murare well worth repeating. the vast majority survived. the course of the war. with the possible exception of the of material on the Roma living in other European countries. 1941. Hitler ob jeded to the presence of Gypsies in the Wehrmacht and said that he ently extended the murder from Jews and Communists to Roma But would talk to Wilhelm Keitel about that. this.

and exhaustion. not very reliable Romanian source says a total of 36. through the commander of the Order Police there. and more than 13.000). quoted by Zimmermann.000 Roma (out of 300."* For occupied Poland. Only with the Jews did the Germans "help": the remnants of Croat Jews were deported to death camps in P ~ l a n d ? In ~ Romania.there is no clear corroborating evidence. and an additional 1."'~ There were exceptions. ' ~ Friedrich arl Knecht. on August 1.000 are estimated to have died. fifty years later. %.000 Roma from the Reich detained in various concentration 'camps. Himmler. Then on May 11. it would appear that more research is needed. Especially in Estonia.800 Roma died. 8. for a total of 31.000 prewar Roma is problematic. the local fascist regime deported aome 20. disease."~ The Ostministerium (responsible for civilian administration in the Baltic areas and parts of Belarus) run by Alfred Rosenberg provides a good example of this wavering policy. Of the deported Roma.250 Austrian Roma died (out .000.000 were murdered?* If now. Probably the only area where no distinction between settled and wandering Roma was made was Croatia. 1943. was to differentiate between settled and wandering Roma. as did half of the h u t 1. 42. Jerzy Ficowski. though in practice. and of the 9. Of the German and Austrian Roma. decided that 'bnly vagabond Gypsies" should be exterminated. however. As a result. when an order suggested by the local administration was sent to Berlin for review. although one. In all.ooo Roma in Poland. the general commanding the rear areas on the Northern Front decreed that "settled Gypsies." The losses in Slovakia and Hungary were small by comparison and took place in the final stages of the war. the new policy came too late to save the small local Roma p~pulation.600 died of hunger. when the commander of the Order Police (Ordnungspolizei. who wanted to kill all Gypsies. with their attendant confusion and the increased brutality of the withdrawing German armies. to Transnistria. claims that out of e8. over 50 percent died. some 81 percent of whom came from the Reich and the "Protectorate" (the Czech lands) and 6 percent from Poland. tens of thousands of Roma. 8. where between 26. 1941. the Romanian-administered area between theDniester and the Bug in occupied Ukraine. which was an indescribable disaster. along with 170.000-26.000 Jews. In addition. the general policy. In 194% it was decided not to differentiate between settled and wandering Roma. the figure of 28. and are under no political or criminal suspicion. sl~ould be left a10ne.000 and b0. this distinction was not necessarily made until April 1942. slowly. plus 17. a o cording to incomplete information. with the Germans looking on benignlythere was no need for them to intervene or guide.000 Jews in early 1949.000-9. The Croat fascist regime under Ante Pavelic murdered hundreds of thdusands of Serbs. such as the commander of the 339th Infantry Division.646 Jews in late 1941. mGerman and 8.= In the Cri~nea. not soldiers or craftsmen.9.007 Austrian Roma who were deported to the Jewish ghetto of Mdt died at Cl~elmno. wbo have been living in the same place for two years. in Latvia for instance. There. ordered that there should in principle be no police intervention against settled Gypsies?' That such decisions left a great deal ofroom for murderous initiatives is obvious. Himmler made it clear that "settled Gypsies should be treated like the local population. A Polis11historian.OOO Roma were murdered. mainly): 844 Roma.000 Roma in Poland. 1942. or o ~ ~ o ) . 6. about 1 5 .600 Roma were deported to Auschwitz.~' Yet.500 were sterilized. But from early 1944 on. the initiative most certainly was not German but local. in a sense worse than death. The Auschwitz records show that more than 6. as Zimmermann shows for the Baltic region. settled Ron~a were murdered as well as wanderers (hy Ol~lendorf's men. almost on+halFof Latvia's 3. there are considerably more than 100.330 deported to Poland from Germany in the early stages. In accordance with Himn~ler'sorders.000 Roma died in Romania during the war. in terms of the Roma culture. some of whom were probably settled. a different policy evolved. and about 10. and some 35.683 Roma. On November 21.600 were gassed.000 Jews.

and other placeq most of us are bystanders. we arrive at a grand total of about 150. there is no point in making any difference latwee~~ Inass ir~urder.000. and the utmost brutality and sadism. are so obvious? There are a couple of answers. That leads 11s to a second reason why the differences should be analyzed: by learning what has happened last time. What we have here is a genocide. The Nazis did not intend to murder all the Roma In fact. T l ~ e root of the error might be expressed in the very legitimate question What is the point in emphasizing differences when thc parallelq especially the basic fact of the mass murder. after a meeting with Hitler. nor its implementation (as far as the perpetrator managed to complete it). wandering Roma were murdered. We all are possible victim$ possible perpetrator4 possible : bystanders. or deportation. W l ~ e l l ~tl~ose e r who were not killed were pure Gypsies or more Gypsy than German is not clear. Because we do not know how many Roma there were in 1939. Just as we cannot I fight cholera. They are not repeated exactly but approximately and with the same characteristics ofparticularity And that is exactly what makes them of universal significance. we have a moral obligation. What happened before can h a p 1 pen again. Cambodia. on April 90.= The view expressed so often by various historians that the Germans planned to annihilate all Roma is wrong. say. who have so far learned very little h m the past.in the spirit of Kantian moral philosophy. But if there is even a chance in a million that sense . typhoid. by murder. Himmler writes in his appointment diary. We differentiate for a pragmatic reason: to facilitate the struggle against all these kinds of murder. One is that if we consider all brutalig and murder to be the same. the amok killing ofchildren in a Scottisl~ village by a disturbed individual: all victims of murder would be classified alike. Thou shah not be apassivc victim and Thou most c d i n l y shalt : ~ t ba ebystnndet: We do not know whether we will succeed in spreading this knowledge. that is. former Yugoslavia. theNazis wanted to eliminate tlie Roma as anidentifiablegroup ofpeople. Outside the Reich. It adds three command. sterilization. the bearers of a culture. genocide.f6 I wish to repeat that there is no gradation of suffering and that the number of victims does not determine the cruelty of the onslaught Clearly. we learn not only about the perpetrators but also about the so-called bystanders and about the : behavior of the victim populations and their leadership groups under this kind of ultimate threat. this meant total elimination. but if we add up the figures for individual European countries contained in his rp search. we cannot estimate the losses in percentages. They carried out this policy by mass murder.thould prevail. to try. Within the Reich. Acquiring knowledge makes clear the diaI lectic relationship between tlie particularism and the universalism ofthe horror. . mass murder $ for political reasons has to be. whereas settled Roma were. and. to murder every single individual of the targeted population on a global scale. and cancer with the same medicine. The flolocaust is a warning. All historical events are concrete in this manner: they happen with particular people for particular reasons at particular times. not a Holocaust. "KcintVcrnichtungder Zignner" (No extermination of the Gypsies). not an intent. after a period of hesitation and mixed signals.oW. hy and large.66 ComparlsonawIthOther aenoclder Comparlsonrwtth Other (ienocldes 67 of a total of s~. cxcludi~~g for our pllrl)oses tl~ove clefi~~ed by Ritter as Germans behaving like Gypsies). I have devoted some attention to the comparison of the llolocaust with the genocide of the Roma because of what I believe to be an erroneous interpretation that is gaining ground in the literature about genocide. left alone. 1 '. 1949. The Holocaust happened to a particular people for particular reasons at a particular time.fought differently than genocides and fiolocausts. With Rwanda. humiliation. Z i r m a n n provides no overall figure of Roma losses. ments to the ten of the Jewish-Christian tradition: Thou shalt not be a pcrpctratnr.

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