Re: Is Bob Only Exaggerating?

Eugene Holman (
20 Jan 1997 19:14:10 GMT

In article <>,
<> wrote:

> Less exaggeratedly: There were other mass killings than those of the
> Nazis, such as those undertaken when Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were
> in power. But liberal opinion regards Hitler as far worse because of his
> racial ideas. Is this the case?
> I invite, of course, others to respond.

Ethnic cleansings, genocides, and systematic campaigns by colonizers to
destroy indigenous cultures are, unfortunately, inseparable parts of human
history. As horrible and inexcusable as the millions of deaths which
resulted from attempts to implement communism were, they are still, in
terms of purpose and scope, not much different from what the U.S. Cavalry
and American government did to the Indian population between 1830 and
1890, what the Australian settlers did to the population of Tasmania
during the first decades of the 19th century, or what the French
revolutionaries were doing to those of their compatriots suspected of
treason during the Reign of Terror. The technological innovations of the
twentieth century have only meant a *quantitative* increase, by a few
orders of magnitude, in the number of people that could be killed within
the framework of a specific campaign. The horrors of ex-Yugslavia and
Ruanda appear to be further examples of how efficient twentieth century
killing technology can be when a specific segment of the population is
singled out for destruction within the framework of a campaign run
implemented in essentially military fashion.

The Holocaust, in contrast to the above lamentable chapters in human
history, represented a *qualitative* leap in the destruction of a segment
of the population. Never before in human history has a network of centers
working according to an industrial rather than a military regime been
systematically designed, constructed, and equipped with the specific
purpose of collecting, humiliating, and then destroying millions of
people, no matter what their age, sex, education, or social status solely
on the basis of the fact that the people in charge did not like them.
Never before did a nation make such a concerted and deliberate effort to
rid itself, its neighbors, and it hoped, the entire world of people on the
basis of the psychopathic hate felt by of a handful of its leaders. It is
these qualities which set the Holocaust off from other instances of mass
murder as a qualitatively unique crime.

The Holocaust reveals such a depth of human evil that it is understandable
that many people would prefer to forget it or even deny that such a thing
could ever take place in the 'Land der Dichter und Denker'. There are far
too many documents and Holocaust survivers, some of whom are still in
their 50s, as well as far too much physical evidence of a systematic
campaign aimed at the massive and total destruction of certain groups of
people in Nazi Germany and the areas it controlled for any but the most
irresponsible and uncritical to deny its existence.

- Eugene Holman