Asked in HolocaustJudaism
What is the significance of the Holocaust in Judaism?
October 11, 2008 5:42AM
The word Holocaust is from the Greek word holo-kauston or "all burnt". The original sense, referring to a completely-burnt sacrifice is known today as the systematic killing mainly of six million Jews, but also of Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals and other "undesirable" groups in Europe during World War II as part of the "Final Solution" or "Die Endlösung". It was a program of deliberate extermination planned and executed by the National Socialist German Worker's Party (NAZI) regime led by Adolf Hitler.
Although I believe the Third Reich's motivation of the "Final Solution" is certainly open for debate, It is widely accepted that the motivating reason for this atrocity according to the NAZI's was to purify the human race in response to rid the world of genetic criminal tendency. This of course was based on the fallacy that crime was a result of bad genetics and that Jews and other "undesirables" could not help themselves.
The significance of the Holocaust is that a anyone is capable of anything given the right circumstances. More to the point, a society can turn a blind eye to what they know is morally abhorrent by denying and/or ignoring the actions of there representatives without question or civil recourse. (Ref: The effects of the Treaty of Versailles on the Germany and its people)