Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust

Historian article

By Sarah Newman, published 1st November 2010

Daniel Goldhagen defines anti-semitism as ‘negative beliefs and emotions about Jews qua Jews.' Nazis believed Jews to be the source of Germany's misfortunes, and that they must be denied German citizenship and removed from German society. Hitler never compromised on the need to settle what he regarded as the Jewish question.

Nazi racial theory led to the wartime attempt systematically to exterminate all Jews. The Holocaust refers to the Nazi effort to achieve the systematic destruction of European Jewry. ‘Holocaust' is a term implying an attempt by a modern state, an advanced industrial nation, to implement genocide. Historical anti-semitism seems relevant to, but is not the primary cause of, the Holocaust, though some see in anti-semitism one of the most powerful propaganda weapons used by the Nazis to gain mass support...

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