Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
Those that believe the Holocaust to be an anomaly are the reason that the Holocaust was possible and has been and will be recreated. Their denial of the depths of man’s depravity gives all those that perpetuate these acts an open door with full access to implement genocide. The Holocaust forced the world to admit that evil resided in man.
Genocide has been defined as “a belief in cultural superiority…as well as a shaky group self-concept that requires self-defense“ that leads man to turn on another man. (1) Arrogance and superiority is nothing new to man. Violence toward others is not new either. This proves that mankind is predisposed to such acts. (2)
The Nazi’s’ Holocaust was an entirely different event. It was not just the death of millions of people with the majority from a particular culture. This was the first time in the history of mankind that there had “been an attempt to kill every man, woman, child and baby of a particular group of people” with the intent “to make use of the hair, skin and gold teeth of the dead.” (3)
Churchill was one of the few world leaders who saw the danger Hitler was to the world. Pretending that all was well opened the door for Hitler to walk in and destroy millions. Yet, the world did not heed the lesson as others such as Pol Pot in Cambodia and the Rwanda genocide in Africa showed that the world still looks at genocide as isolated events. Mankind has begun a trend of not wanting to jump too quickly into war as they did when Hitler came into power. The execution of Saddam Hussein who used genocide in his own country was protested by many around the world.
The Holocaust was the worst of genocide acts, yet it is not the first nor the last. The world has yet to learn from the events of the Holocaust. Denial of the evil within man dominates the world. The door is still open for another Hitler-figure to take advantage.
(1) Leonard S. Newman and Ralph Erber, Understanding Genocide: The Social Psychology of the Holocaust, ( Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 17.
(2) Ibid, 18.
(3) Carrie Supple, From Prejudice to Genocide: Learning about the Holocaust, (Strattfordshire: Trentham Books, 2009), xiii.