USF Libraries | Special & Digital Collections | Exhibits

Dehumanization and the Beginning of Genocide

Dublin Core

Title

Dehumanization and the Beginning of Genocide

Subject

Genocide.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)

Description

Oral history video clip featuring John Loftus, president of the Florida Holocaust Museum. 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.

Date

1999-04-23

Contributor

Loftus, John

Relation

G36-00064
Tape number: 4000D

Format

video / mp4

Language

English

Type

Oral History

Coverage

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewee

Loftus, John

Transcription

Well, Hitler had a laundry list of people he wanted killed. Apart from the Jews, there were the Sinti and the Roma, the people that we call the Gypsies, and they were just marked for annihilation. Their Holocaust may reach as high as a half a million. Jehovah’s Witnesses, the sweet little religion—you know, the people who knock on your door on a Saturday morning. Because they wouldn’t swear absolute loyalty to the Führer, they were marked for death. The leadership of the clergy, Catholic priests and nuns in particular, were marked for execution. They were to be rounded up as potential leaders of Nazi opposition. The list went on. Racial types: if you were of African ancestry, you didn’t quite make it. I mean, I’m blond and blue eyed. That was the ultimate type of human being that would survive in the racial pool, the genetic seed for Hitler. But Hitler himself didn’t; he had, you know, black hair and brown eyes; he wouldn’t have met his own racial criteria. But the list would have gone on and on.

I think dehumanization is the first step in carrying out a genocide. You have to convince yourself that this other group is different; they’re really not human beings. And it wasn’t just the Germans. I mean, the ancient Romans wrote that the Britons were too stupid to be slaves. And centuries later, the British wrote that the Irish were absolutely hopeless: just get them off the land, because they didn’t even know how to farm it properly. The Irish came to America and wrote that the African Americans were just ignorant savages. So, what we have is a lot of cultural differences, and you can use those cultural differences to dehumanize the target group, and that is always the first step of genocide. But I’m a cynic. I think the root of all genocide is money. Someone makes a profit off of it.

Original Format

Beta tape

Duration

2:21

Citation

Media Entertainment, Inc., “Dehumanization and the Beginning of Genocide,” USF Library Special & Digital Collections Exhibits, accessed May 25, 2019, http://exhibits.lib.usf.edu/items/show/584.