HISTORY 178 Lecture 1: Lecture 1

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John Efron

Lecture 1 11717 Nazis robbed from Jews the idea that their death had a meaning, served a high purpose For Nazis, on other hand, was meaningful, a glorious page in german and world history head of SS Elie Weisel was scared memory of Holocaust would be forgotten or abused It has been getting stronger, the memory And is being abused 25 students enrolled to hear how the Jews lived and 90 enrolled to hear how they died. Why? It is cultural symbol of evil in Western civ but why it rather than any other genocide? Holocaust represents the complete collapse of Western civ at that time and place There is a museum on The Mall when America didnt cause it and American Jews didnt die Since 80s word it has been including other groups targeted by Nazis (Roma people (gypsys), homosexuals, jehovah witnesses, disabled) This wider range is not found in Europe Holocaust: holo = whole, kausto = burnt sacrifice offering (Greek) Shoah: catastrophe, comes in the 60s, word appears in Bible Systematic state sponsored murder of European Jewry (bigger definition on slides) Holocaust suggests religious offering to gods and Jews of Europe were not sacrificed for any religious purpose Uniqueness Every historical episode is unique (history doesnt repeat itself) On one hand, unique in totality (the numbers are gigantic ratio of Jews in Europe 6mil9mil vs. 20 mil kiled by Stalin) thats 23rds essentially ceased to exist culture of European Jewry Unique in hisotry of Judaism, Jews never saw it coming, couldnt prepare Judaism is an ethnic group not only religious There are Jews in Europe now but theres no European Jewry Decolonization of French empire, from Algeria, Arab speaking Jews, in France is biggest Jewish pop. in Europe today Jews in Germany vs. German Jews, many Jews in Europe today feel this way In most countries Jews were killed in Europe, they made up the middle class No matter how poor, always something for Nazis to steal (wedding rings, etc.) Unique that didnt exists in Rwanda or Cambodia etc is the robbery thta preceded the murder, that consisted a lot of skill, dedication, and organization, that no ones ever seen before Difficulties Studying the Holocaust Nazi Germany Jan 30 1933 May 8 1945 seen as dates of Holocaust but tjhats problem for East Europe because only affected at 1939 (majority of Jewish killed in it) Czechoslovakia 19381945, Western Poland 19381945, Eastern Poland 1941 1945 So when does Holocaust begin? In Hungary, only starts in 1944
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