1.) I’m not sure if I would call this a revelation. However, this week I finally learned what the word Nazi means. Nazi was a term coined for the National Socialist German Workers Party. The interesting part about this is that the Germans were quite the opposite of socialists. The Germans were deviant, and obviously manipulative because they chose this name to lure people in. The Germans knew that this would better help them garner support. I can’t believe I was unaware of this fact till recently.
2.) The second revelation I had is that the Nazi’s separated both the men and women. I’m unsure as to why they did this. However, after reading Night this week. I learned that they did that as well. As if they couldn’t have separated all of them enough. This included children as well.
3.) My last revelation The Nazi’s targeted those with disabilities. I know that they came for any person that wasn’t of the Aryan type. Nonetheless, I was disgusted to find out that they sought out the disabled as well. The German’s saw them as easy targets. This specific hatred led to them killing the mentally ill, because they were deemed as “useless lives.” Also, this tied into their goal of cleansing society of all they deemed unworthy of living.
My question for you all would be, what do you think would have satisfied the Nazi’s and Hitler? I personally feel that nothing would have made them rest. Evil never rests is what it seems.
- The first revelation I had this week is that the Jews were killed in gas chambers as well as being burnt alive. Something that sparked my interest was that the Jews were put through a shower at the beginning of their stay at any new concentration campsite. They were stripped of all their clothes and sent into the showers to bathe, where they were given new clothes after the shower. Which makes me think about how easily the officers were able to trick the Jewish people into believing they were just about to take a shower, when in reality they were killing them with gas.
- The second revelation I had this week is that the word Holocaust comes from the Greek word “holokauston” which means to make a sacrifice by fire.
- And the last revelation I had was that the term NAZI was short for national socialist German Workers Party. But the Nazi’s were not socialists, in fact they only chose this name because they thought it would make people support them more.
My open-ended question to the class this week is, when you think of the holocaust, what are the first things that come to your mind? Is it the torture the people were put through, the way the Jews got to their camps, the camps themselves, the gas chambers, or something else?
1) In a single sentence IN YOUR OWN WORDS (IYOW), provide an OVERVIEW of this section.
This section traces the evolution of anti-Semitism from the crusades, the rest of the middle ages, the enlightenment, the revolutions of the French and Americans, World War I, and the thoughts and words of Hitler and the German laws.
2) For each chapter (1-4), provide a THESIS sentence and THREE specific pieces of evidence to support your thesis – what is each writer’s MAIN argument, and how does each writer support said argument? (Use 2-3 sentences for EACH and feel free to number them.)
The book has been delayed in shipping but I was able to find the readings:
1. Bernard Lewis: What Lewis is showing that anti-Semitism evolved from being primarily being anti-religious Judaism to being primarily anti-racial.
He supports said argument by showing first the it was primarily a religious motivation among Christians to discriminate against the Jews, “the basic themes of anti-Judaism were established at the very beginning of the Christian Era. The ﬁrst, and by far the gravest, charge in the indictment was deicide,” (Gigliotti and Land, 33). They had been primarily blamed by the Christians for the death of Christ and therefore all the Jewish people shared the blame—which is a claim that the Catholic Church itself took a while to admit was wrong.
This hatred evolved into being more and more racial, with the adaptation of the Jews being children of the Devil and themselves being impure, even after having been baptized. He shows during the high middle ages, the Spanish Catholics, even when the Jews had converted and had been baptized, cared less about that and more about the ethnic background, which “brought in time an unmistakably racial content to the hostility directed against [the Jews and Moors],” (Gigliotti and Land, 20).
From here and with the development of the Enlightenment and new waves of pseudo-science, he shows the Jews begin to be seen as racially evil, perhaps because of religious people forcing them into isolation or because they were Semites, “As anthropology had provided the pretext for the earlier wave of antiblack racism, so now philology provided a theory and a vocabulary for anti-Jewish racism. The peoples of Europe were Aryans; the Jews were Semites. As such, they were alien, inferior, and noxious,” (Gigliotti and Land, 28).
2. Robert S. Wistrich: He does not believe it is probable to show the effect of Anti-Semitism as the main reason for the rise of the national socialists.
He says that it was the “Nazi penetration of the countryside and of urban-middle class groups just as the Great Depression began to bite in Germany after 1929 helps to explain the remarkable increase in their vote in the September 1930 elections,” (Wistrich, “Hitler and the Holocaust,” Ch. II). There was, of course, critical support of anti-Semitism among the Nazis, but this was of low priority to most of them compared to other issues at hand that appealed to others, such as the depression. There appeal gave them votes.
The Nazis also, in comparison to other parties, had a message of nationalism that made them transcend all other groups. Wistrich says that as a result of nationalism being of so much importance, “[Hitler] temporarily toned down the full-blooded anti-Semitism that lay at the core of his worldview,” (“Hitler and the Holocaust,” Ch. II).
What Hitler did instead of focusing on anti-Semitism for the time being, until totally acquiring power, was to “regenerate economic life in the face of mass unemployment and adapted his message to the longing for stability, law and order felt by so many ordinary Germans.” Hitler, according to Wistrich, was not “shrewd” enough to employ mass appeal to anti-Semitism till his total rise of power in 1933 (“Hitler and the Holocaust,” Ch. II).
3. Adolf Hitler: Bluntly put, Hitler argues that race mixing and the Jews are not good.
Hitler suggests that race mixing is bad because it weakens the human being, “Any crossing of two beings not at exactly the same level produces a medium between the level of the two parents. This means: the offspring will probably stand higher than the racially lower parent, but not as high as the higher one. Consequently, it will later succumb in the struggle against the higher level. Such mating is contrary to the will of Nature for a higher breeding of all life. The precondition for this does not lie in associating superior and inferior, but in the total victory of the former. The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel, but he after all is only a weak and limited man; for if this law did not prevail, any conceivable higher development of organic living beings would be unthinkable.”
Hitler suggests that the result of race mixing is what kills off the strength of peoples and cultures, “Blood mixture and the resultant drop in the racial level is the sole cause of the dying out of old cultures; for men do not perish as a result of lost wars, but by the loss of that force of resistance which is contained only in pure blood.”
He argues that the mixing of the Jews and Gentiles has been nothing but bad for the Germans. They act, according to him, like “parasites” and diminish the nations they enter, “Probably the Aryan was also first a nomad, settling in the courseof time, but for that very reason he was never a Jew! No, the Jew is no nomad; for the nomad had also a definite attitude toward the concept of work which could serve as a basis for his later development in so far as the necessary intellectual premises were present. In him the basic idealistic view is present, even if in infinite dilution, hence in his whole being he may seem strange to the Aryan peoples, but not unattractive. In the Jew, however, this attitude is not at all present; for that reason he was nevera nomad, but only and always a parasite in the body of other peoples. That he sometimes left his previous living space has nothing to do with his ownpurpose, but results from the fact that from time to time he was thrownout by the host nations he had misused. His spreading is a typical phenomenon for all parasites; he always seeks a new feeding ground for his race.”
4. Nuremberg Laws: Hitler is not arguing, rather declaring that Jews and Germans cannot mix, or they will be punished.
He says that they cannot marry and whatever marriages have occurred are invalid: Marriages between Jews and subjects of the state of German or related blood are forbidden. Marriages nevertheless concluded are invalid, even if concluded abroad to circumvent this law.
Jews cannot even employ younger German women: Jews may not employ in their households female subjects of the state of German or related blood who are under 45 years old.
Anyone who violates these rules will be gravel punished: 1) Any person who violates the prohibition under § 1 will be punished by a prison sentence with hard labor. 2) A male who violates the prohibition under § 2 will be punished with a prison sentence with or without hard labor. 3) Any person violating the provisions under § 3 or 4 will be punished with a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine, or with one or the other of these penalties.
3) Select ONE of the documents that you find MOST illuminating, and explain WHY in 4-5 sentences.
The document I find most illuminating was Robert S. Wistrich’s work. It seems to be that among many that what encouraged the rise of the Nazis was anti-semitism. He shows that this was not the case and that even Hitler himself realized that this could not appeal to all the people. Anti-Semitism was, of course, very popular, but also nationalism and anti-Communism, though the three coincided with one another often.
ideas you find MOST troubling or problematic, and why, with 3 specific pieces of evidence.
What I find the most troubling, to me at least (though I think at the larger scale, there are more troubling things such as Hitler’s racial anti-Semitism and views on race-mixing), Hitler’s view on Jesus Christ. He says, “Of course, [Christ] made no secret of his attitude toward the Jewish people, and when necessary he even took to the whip to drive from the temple of the Lord this adversary of all humanity, who then as always saw in religion nothing but an instrument for his business existence. In return, Christ was nailed to the cross, while our present-day party Christians debase themselves to begging for Jewish votes at elections and later try to arrange political swindles with atheistic Jewish parties-and this against their own nation,” (Hitler, Mein Kampf). I, myself, believe he does not get the proper context of many of the passages he is appealing to and forgets that many early Christians–and Christ himself–was also a Jew. It is not entirely his fault for thinking this of Christ, because many Protestants (such as Martin Luther), Catholics (especially the Catholics of the middle ages), and the Church Fathers (as Bernard Lewis points out for example: St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom on page 34) often would falsely blame the entirety of the Jews for the death of Christ and forsake the Jewish roots–from the apostles to the scriptures–of Christianity at the risk of “judaizing,” (Gigliotti and Land, 12).
What is fueling anti-Semitism in today’s world?
Gigliotti, Simone, and Berel Lang, editors. The Holocaust: A Reader. Wiley, 2005. Accessed 7 September 2022.
Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf: Nation and Race, 1925.
“Nuremberg Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, September 15, 1935.” Yad Vashem, https://www.yadvashem.org/docs/nuremberg-law-for-protection-of-german-blood-1935.html. Accessed 7 September 2022.
Wistrich, Robert S. Hitler and the Holocaust. Random House Publishing Group, 2001. https://books.google.com/books?id=3WShwlmz3aEC&printsec. Accessed 6 September 2022.