USF Libraries | Special & Digital Collections | Exhibits

Comparing the Holocaust and Other Genocides

Dublin Core

Title

Comparing the Holocaust and Other Genocides

Subject

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
Genocide.

Description

Oral history video clip featuring Yehuda Bauer, Professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This video was originally produced by Media Entertainment, Inc., for the 2000 documentary The Genocide Factor.

Creator

Media Entertainment, Inc.

Source

Genocide Factor Collection, Oral History Program, Tampa Library, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

Publisher

Tampa, Fla. : University of South Florida Tampa Library.

Contributor

Bauer, Yehuda

Relation

G36-00013
Tape number: 4241F

Format

video / mp4

Language

English

Type

Oral History

Coverage

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewee

Bauer, Yehuda

Transcription

My conception of the Holocaust in its relation to other genocides is quite different from that of many of my colleagues. See, in my eyes, the Holocaust is an extreme form of genocide. It includes, therefore, a very large number of elements that are found in other genocides as well: the main one being the suffering of the victims, because the suffering of the victims is the same in all mass murders. There is no gradation of suffering. The Jews didn't suffer more or less than the Armenians or the Assyrians in Iraq or the Kurds or the Hereros or the Tutsis or anyone else or, in fact, any Russian peasant who in World War II lost his family and his home and his property at the hands of the perpetrators. Compare him with any Jewish sufferer. You can't compare. It's the same. You have to say it's the same kind of suffering. So, there are parallels, clear parallels.

The differences lie in the fact that the Holocaust, to my knowledge, is the only genocide we know of where every single individual of the targeted group was destined to be killed for the crime for having been born. There has never been such a thing in human history. Every single individual: not just in Germany, Poland, France, Soviet Union, but anywhere in the world. So, it's the totality and the globality of the Holocaust, and then the ideology. Every other mass murder or genocide always has a pragmatic ideology behind it. Eliminate a group because they are in our way to create a wonderful new world, a wonderful new empire, a terrific culture, whatever.

The Jews were a small minority. They had no economic control. They were prominent, but they had no economic control -- certainty not as a group, because they acted as individuals. The whole basis of Nazi anti-Semitism was an ideology which they derived from the Middle Ages, and on which they superimposed a new concept, that of a racial hierarchy. They wanted to create a new world in which the world would be divided by races. We know that there are no races in existence. We all come from Africa, originally. Some of us who have spent time in northern climates, our pigmentation has changed, but we all originally come from the same place. But this illusion of races they developed into an idea that they were part of the Nordic peoples of the Aryan race. They should be on top, and everyone then in a kind of hierarchical arrangement below that. This was going to be true not just of Germany, Central Europe, or Europe, but of the whole world.

And in that kind of a concept, you see, the Jews were the Satan. They translated medieval philosophy or medieval concepts into these racist terms. The Jews had been introduced to society by some Satanic influence: this is a quote from Hitler. And so, this ideology is totally non-pragmatic, purely fantastic, purely a fantasy. And so, for instance, they murdered their own armament workers, Jews, when they needed arms. They murdered Jews working on roads, military roads, which they have to build. And then they were surprised that they didn't have any workers, because they killed them.

So, this is a totally non-pragmatic ideology. These are elements that do not exist in other genocides. But it's not unique, because it's a precedent. It can be repeated, so it's not unique.

Original Format

Beta tape

Duration

00:04:41

Citation

Media Entertainment, Inc., “Comparing the Holocaust and Other Genocides,” USF Library Special & Digital Collections Exhibits, accessed September 18, 2019, http://exhibits.lib.usf.edu/items/show/454.

Geolocation