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The Scholarly and Public Reception of the Holocaust

jan peczkis|Friday, September 11, 2015

The reader may erroneously get the impression that this book is primarily about the trivialization of the Holocaust, or a retreat from its moral gravity. Such themes are only a modest portion of this book. Most of it is about how the Holocaust has been treated by academia and the media, little of which involves a softening or trivialization of Nazi crimes. A good deal of it is about how Germans try to relativize the crimes of their forebears.



Author Gavriel D. Rosenfeld includes both sides of the Holocaust uniqueness debate—a debate that he considers spent. However, he keeps falling back on the premise that the Holocaust was unique insofar as the Jews were targeted for complete annihilation. (e. g, p. 81, 110, 119). Who decides that a total genocide is qualitatively more significant, of greater moral gravity, or more deserving of historical memory, than a less comprehensive genocide? Furthermore, who decides that there should be ANY kind of meritocracy, for genocides, in the first place? Finally, it is not true that the Nazis targeted all known Jews for annihilation. Nazi leaders, including Hitler himself, deliberately spared thousands of German Jews by re-labeling them Aryans. Please read my detailed review (October 26, 2005), of HITLER"S JEWISH SOLDIERS.

The author features numerous alternative histories revolving around WWII. For instance, Gavriel D. Rosenfeld critiques Patrick Buchanan’s book, on the alleged preventability of WWII, by pointing out that Buchanan fails to appreciate the racist and expansionist nature of Nazi philosophy. (p. 54, 56). [In addition, WWII did not start over Danzig (Gdansk). That was merely a smokescreen. It was about Poland’s sovereignty as a whole. In addition, Poland would have fought for her freedom even had there had been no promise of assistance from France and England.]

Even the actual “normalization” of Hitler, far from making him look less evil, may actually be based precisely on the fact that Hitler was uniquely evil. For instance, when a politician calls an opponent “Hitler” or “Nazi”, it is precisely because Hitler and Nazism are irrevocably and recognizably evil. Of course, overuse of Hitler can dull sensitivity to his acts.
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