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PHILOSOPHICAL RESPONSES TO THE HOLOCAUST: MIDTERM Introduction Holocaust (Shoah ) • something wholly obliterated/ offered up for a sacriFce • Did the people who took part in the burnings feel as if they were sacriFcing something? Dates • 1933-1945 is the period of the nazi takeover • 1939-1945 was the real destruction (churban) Sacrifcing - according to the Jews, the people sacriFced in the holocaust are known as holy and pure - it was their way in sanctifying the way of God - holy and pure = people who had a choice - the choice was to give up judaism and their membership in the Jewish community and become something else - if they were to convert to another religion, they would be allowed to live and integrated into community but if they refused they were killed - you are supposed to “ die as a martyr ” in response to strange worship - In the holocaust, there was NO choice - the nazis did not care about whether or not you were jewish, but it was a racial notion - you could not pick what race you were born to - people like to assume , that the victims willingly turn their lives to God “All the victims were not Jews, but all the Jews were victims” - Elie Wiesel - survivor of the holocaust and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize - 20 million people died, 3 million of them were Jews - minority percentage , the majority were non-Jews - the reason is that the holocaust was a planned program - its prime purpose was the total and complete destruction of the Jewish people as a whole - “ fnal solution of the problem of the Jews in Europe” (1942) - it was quite clear that the nazis were going to begin in Europe, but would not spare the Jews in Canada or the Middle East - makes it a genocide / total and complete destruction of every last man, woman and child - this does not mean that other victims of the holocaust should not confront what was done to their people - it is not Fair to think that the Jews “own” the holocaust - ex: the polish people, most of the Jews that died were polish Jews, but their suffering was different
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- they were regarded as a lower form of humanity that were meant to be slaved, not sub- human - it was under these circumstances that the killing of the polish people should be recognized and understood, but it is distinct from the holocaust as perpetuated amongst jews Problem of Christians - in Europe , the vast majority of the people are members of the Christian churches or organizations - What happened to the Christians during the holocaust? - there was the question of “ did traditional Christian anti-judaism inFuence the nazism ±nal solution? - Christians suffered and died because they resisted the nazi regime - they had a CHOICE , much like the Jewish victims of the Crusades “Righteous Gentiles” - Berel Lang - AKA: saints of the nations of the world - pious Christians/people who risk their lives to house/ help victimized Jews - A righteous person is a person who is not guilty - A saint is a person who goes above the call of duty
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course RLG 220H1 taught by Professor Professornovak during the Fall '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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