The Holocaust: Definition

“The Holocaust: definition and preliminary discussion”[1]

The Holocaust, as presented in this resource center, is defined as the sum total of all anti-Jewish actions carried out by the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945: from stripping the German Jews of their legal and economic status in the 1930s; segregating and starvation in the various occupied countries; the murder of close to six million Jews in Europe.

This resource center is called Yad Vashem (YV), and its goal is to document “the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust.” Its goal is not to present the Holocaust defined as the murder of close to six million Jews in Europe. According to Yad Vashem’s website: “Since its inception, Yad Vashem has been entrusted with documenting the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust period, preserving the memory and story of each of the six million victims, and imparting the legacy of the Holocaust for generations to come through its archives, library, school, museums and recognition of the Righteous

The Yad Vashem Law states that the authority is established to commemorate the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their helpers;   the sons and daughters of the Jewish people …Among the tasks that the law assigns to Yad Vashem are to establish memorial projects; to gather, research, and publish testimony of the Holocaust and its heroism and to impart its lessons; to grant commemorative citizenship to the victims; and to represent Israel on international projects aiming at perpetuating the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and of World War II. … The law also provided that the minister of education issue regulations for the authority’s method of operation.[2]

Therefore, research and information on North African Jewry during WWII should continue to exist, as it had before, at Yad Vashem. From the 19th century until 1950s, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia were France’s possessions, and considered part of Europe. Why is YV supporting a special center for North African Jews outside YV?

* The Holocaust, as presented in this resource center, is defined as …  the murder of close to six million Jews in Europe. It appears that it is spreading false information. 

Is there another Holocaust to be defined differently in another center? By law, YV must present the whole story of one Holocaust of the Jewish people.

Yad Vashem. “Yad Vashem was established to commemorate the six million Jews murdered in the Shoah[3]

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM):The Holocaust. The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.”[4]

There was one Hitler’s war against the Jews, and one Holocaust.

Professor Y. Bauer, “A Past That Will Not Go Away”; p. 13: “Let us be clear: the Holocaust, Shoah, Churban, Judeocide, whatever we call it, is the name we give to the attempted planned total physical annihilation of the Jewish people, and its partial perpetration with the murder of most of the Jews of Europe.”[5]

Bauer at a presentation to the Amsterdam Conference on Remembrance, May 2001: “The Holocaust…as a defining moment …  in the midst of a civilized continent, a monster could arise that threatened a whole people with total extinction … the unprecedentesness of the Holocaust as an attempt to eradicate a people, all of them, every single individual of their number, ultimately everywhere in the world, by a modern industrial machinery, is based on unprecedentedness of National Socialism as a threat to all humans.”

Yehuda Bauer (יהודה באואר) is a historian and scholar of the Holocaust. academic adviser to Yad Vashem; academic adviser to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research, and senior adviser to the Swedish Government on the International Forum on Genocide Prevention. … former Director of the International Research Institute, Yad Vashem. Bauer is a respected authority on the subjects of the Holocaust)[6]

Dan Michman, chief historian at Yad Vashem, interestingly, gives a different definition than the one at YV. He wrote it for an encyclopedia online:   “Holocaust: Term commonly used in English (Hebrew, Shoah) to denote anti-Jewish policies conducted by the Third Reich (Nazi Germany, 1933–1945), resulting in the systematic and bureaucratically organized genocide of approximately 6 million Jews…”[7]

Nazi ideology presented the Jews as a satanic and corrupting element and demanded their “total removal” (the formulation of Germany’s dictator, Adolf Hitler: “Entfernung der Juden überhaupt” ) from human society. They held a special place among a variety of undesirable elements (Gypsies, homosexuals, people deemed genetically defective or incurable) that had to be eliminated. …

History. …The Holocaust cast its shadow over the Middle East and North Africa as well as over Europe. For several months during 1942, the Jews of Palestine feared the prospect of annihilation… Jews in German-occupied Tunisia and Libya were not so fortunate. They suffered humiliation and persecution—some were deported to Italy and others were brought to the Bergen-Belsen camp—…were spared the full force of the Final Solution.”[8]

The Holocaust … has special significance due to the exceptional attitude with which its perpetrators – the Nazis – regarded their Jewish victims. In the Nazi terminology the Jews were referred to as “world Jewry,” a term unparalleled with respect to any other ethnic, ideological, or social group.

C.D.J.C. (Center for Jewish Documentation), 388-25: February 3, 1943: “the present war is clearly of Jewish origin and that, … the invasion of North Africa is the work of the international Jewry” – Tunisian Jews were also held responsible for the Ango-American attack against North Africa.

* The Nazis’ proclaimed goal was the eradication of European Jewry.  It appears that it is spreading false information, by not looking at other quotation, it appears to  reject all evidence and research that contradicts their views.

Hitler: “In a letter written…September 1919…Hitler… concluded, the ‘final aim’ … had to be ‘the removal of the Jews altogether.’”[9]

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “ “Nazi plan to exterminate the Jewish people.”[10]

Hitler: “In a letter written…September 1919…Hitler… concluded, the ‘final aim’ … had to be ‘the removal of the Jews altogether.’”[11]

Feb. 24, 1939. Hitler’s Speech in Munich, 24 February, 1939: “the Jewish question today was no longer a German problem: it had become a world problem.”[12]. quoted in N H Baynes, The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, Oxford University Press, 1942, Volume I, pp.743)

October 25, 1941. Hitler told Heydrich and Himmler: It is good that we are precededby an aura of terror for our plans to exterminate Jewry. 

March, 1942. Joseph Goebbels wrote admiringly in his diary on 27 March 1942: ‘No other government and no other regime would have the strength for such a global solution of this question,[13][14]

Summer 1941. SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler, head of Hitler’s SS police, and also in charge of the death camps in the East, said: ‘the Fuehrer has ordered that the Jewish question be solved once and for all. The Jews are the sworn enemies of the German people and must be eradicated. Every Jew that we can lay our hands on is to be destroyed now during the war, without exception. …obliterate the biological basis of Jewry.’[15]

July 31, 1941. Goering’s Order. On July 31, 1941, Heydrich received orders from Goering to prepare plans “for the implementation of the aspired final solution of the Jewish question” in all German-occupied areas. On July 31, 1941 SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reichssichterheitshauptamt (RSHA), the main police authority in Hitler’s Reich, secured a ten-minute interview with Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, who was head of the Four Year Plan, and obtained his signature on a Vollmacht (authority) empowering Heydrich to draw up arrangements for an overall solution or settlement (Gesamtlösung) to the Jewish Problem.

Dec. 12, 1941. What Hitler said about the Jewish question on December 12, 1941, is reported: “In respect of the Jewish question, the Fuehrer has decided,” so says Goebbels, “to make a clean sweep. The world war is here, the annihilation of the Jews must be the necessary result. … If the German people have sacrificed 160,000 dead in the eastern campaign, so the authors of this bloody conflict will have to pay for it with their lives.”[16]

Feb. 22, 1942. Hitler “Just five weeks later (after the Wannsee conference held on January 20, 1942 on February 22, to make for smoother intra-governmental cooperation in the implementation of this “Final Solution” to the “Jewish Question”) Hitler was recorded saying “We shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jew” to his closest associates.”[17]

“Echoing his above statements along with the January 30, 1939 speech by Hitler, in an article written in 1943 entitled “The War and the Jews” Goebbels wrote:

“None of the Führer’s prophetic words has come so inevitably true as his prediction that if Jewry succeeded in provoking a second world war, the result would be not the destruction of the Aryan race, but rather the wiping out of the Jewish race. This process is of vast importance, and will have unforeseeable consequences that will require time. But it can no longer be halted. It must only be guided in the right direction.”[7]


[1] http://www1.yadvashem.org/Odot/prog/index_before_change_table.asp?gate=0-2

[2] http://www1.yadvashem.org/about_yad/jubilee/history_Brief.html

[3] http://www1.yadvashem.org/righteous_new/pdf/abdelwahhab.pdf

[4] http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005143

[5] Bauer, Yehuda. “A Past That Will Not Go Away”; p. 13

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yehuda_Bauer

[7] Michman, Dan. “Holocaust.” Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. The Gale Group Inc. 2004. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3424601269.html <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

[8] Michman, Dan. “Holocaust.” Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. The Gale Group Inc. 2004. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3424601269.html <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

[9] Ian Kershaw. Hitler’s role in the Final Solution. http://www1.yadvashem.org/about_HOLocaust/studies/vol34/Kershaw%20E.pdf

[10] http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007704

[11] Ian Kershaw. Hitler’s role in the Final Solution. http://www1.yadvashem.org/about_HOLocaust/studies/vol34/Kershaw%20E.pdf

[12] quoted in N H Baynes, The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, Oxford University Press, 1942, Volume I, pp.743)

[13]  The Goebbels Diairies, 1942-1943, ed. And trans. Louis P. Lochner (Garden City, N. Y., 1948), 148.

[14] Marrus, Michael R., The Holocaust in History. University Press of New England, Hanover, 1987, p. 28.

[15] Commandant of Auschwitz: The Autobiography of Rudolf Hoess (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1959).

[16] http://www.holocaust-history.org/december-12-1941/

[17] http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Holocaust#cite_ref-1

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