the Road to the Holocaust
The murder of European Jewry had
its origins in the anti-Jewish policies that started in the early history of
The Nazis could point to these
policies as a justification for their own behavior.
All of which contributed to the
road to extermination.
Combined with the prevailing
racialist world view that found its way into science and medicine the Holocaust
would become a foregone conclusion.
The objective is to look at the
early Christian precedents and they role played in the tragedy we know as the
We should remember that Jews for
centuries have been victims of Christian persecution.
We should ask, what was the
purpose of those persecutions?
What were the aims of those who
pressed for conversion?
Impact of those Persecutions
We should remember that Jews
have been victims of horrible persecutions.
But why were they persecuted for
in the first place?
How did Jews respond?
Where did they go?
The Hilberg Model
Starting at the Beginning
We should realize that the first
anti-Jewish policy did not start with the Nazis.
Throughout Western history the
persecutions came in three waves.
The first wave started nearly
four centuries after Christ.
Beginning in the time of
Constantine, when Christian Church got a leg up as the official religion in the
The Early Role of the Catholic Church
The early Church fathers
demanded adherence to the Church.
The goal of believers was to
have unbelievers accept Church principles.
This was done through
The Church believed that
Christianity was the only true religion.
The ONLY religion.
Jews would have to convert.
Jews and the Early Christians
Saw Christians as part of a
Since the first Christians
followed Jewish law.
But the early Christians just
adopted some non-essential practices.
But problems emerged when the
Christians did accepted some bizarre practices.
Like elevating Christ to
The Jews and the Christian God
To the Jews there was only one
That God is invisible.
He is a jealous God.
And there could be no others.
He is no Christ and Christ is
From that time onward
Christianity and Judaism were irreconcilable.
Christian Hopes of Jews Abandoning Judaism
Ever since antiquity and well
into the Middle Ages, Jews did not abandon Judaism.
With escalating pressure the
Church thought the Jews would see the error of their ways.
Soon the Church would use every
means possible to have obstinate to convert.
The Church never permitted put
on individual Jews.
But the clergy put pressure on
the whole Jewish population.
The Official Policies of the Catholic
The first was to force Jews to
The purpose was to rescue or to
It was thought that
non-believers would experience the pits of hellfire.
It was the duty of believers
everywhere from keeping that from happening.
The early Christians believed
that they were the one, true religion.
How Did The Church Do It?
The standard method was to use
patience and persistence.
Jews were not convinced and
moved towards force.
The early Papacy did not permit
pressure against individual Jews, instead, they used pressure on the Jewish
Impact on the Jews
If a Jew accept Christ, he lost
Abandoning Judaism was not an
Individual Jews actively
resisted attempted conversion regardless of the time period.
The Churchs Defensive Measures
To combat the Jews the Church
adopted defensive measures against them.
Believing that the faithful need
to be protected against the Jews.
How did it work?
Intermarriage was prohibited.
Discussion of religion was
The Talmud was burned.
Jews were barred from public
The Need for Religious Purity
If if a Jew converted, there
were grades of new Christians Half New Christian, Quarter New Christian,
One-Eighth New Christian.
In Spain certificates of
purity were issued.
If conversion failed
would take more drastic measures.
The Church Sees No Other Option
The Church feels that they have
no other option.
To many, the Jews were too
dangerous to have around.
Some, event he Protestant Martin
Luther, felt that the Jews were blind.
The Church had invested to much
over the last 1,200 years.
What Else Can Be Done?
Between 1100 to 1600 the Jews of
England, France, Germany, Spain, Bohemia, and Italy were given the choice of
expulsion and conversion.
Expulsion became the second
Anti-Jewish policy in history.
The initial expulsions happened
before the rise of nation-states.
With previous policies
conversion expulsion was an indication of a failed policy.
King Philip Augustus of France
expelled the Jews from France in 1182, gaining the support of the Church.
Edward I expelled the Jews from
England in 1290.
Jews were expelled from Spain in
The Blood Libel
One of the main charges against
the Jews was the blood libel.
The blood libel is an
allegation that a particular group was involved in a form of human sacrifice.
Often involving children.
While many groups were charged
with the blood libel, for the most part Jews were saddled with this canard.
The standard was that Jews
killed Christian children.
Used their blood to make
Variations of this charge was
around since the first century C.E.
And would continue into the
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Map of Expulsion of Jews in Regions of
The Ghetto of Rome
One method of further control was
the establishment of the ghetto.
Earlier Jews lived freely in Rome
ever since antiquity.
But all of that changed by Pope
Paul IV who introduced the Papal Bull Cum nimis absurdum.
Which meant Since it is absurd
and utterly inconvenient that the Jews, who through their own fault were
condemned by God to eternal slavery ....
This allowed the Church to openly
restrict the Jews even further.
The Persecutions Continued
Jewish males had to wear a
Jewish women had to wear a
Sometimes they also had to wear
a yellow badge as well.
Yellow in the Middle Ages was
considered a sign of worthlessness.
Jews were limited in where they
What they can do.
If That Was Not Enough
They had to attend a required
sermon on the Jewish Shabbat.
Where they were attacked by the
The Jews were forbidden of owning
real estate outside of the ghetto.
Practice medicine among
Employee Christian women of
childbearing years as a maid
Higher education was prohibited.
Entry into the fields of law,
pharmacy, notary, design, and painting was closed to Jews.
Jews could not rent property
outside of Ghetto with the approval of the
Jews and Taxes within the Rome Ghetto
Besides the other discriminatory
practices, the Jews had to pay taxes and other fees/fines.
The Jews had to pay a yearly
stipend for the upkeep of the Catholic Church that maintained the Ghetto.
A yearly sum, 5,250 Lira, had to
be paid to the Roman Catholic Church to finance the missionary work among the
Jews in Rome.
Likewise, additional funds had
to be provided for those Jews who had already converted.
The Background for Nazi Persecution
When the Church said that the
Jews do not have the right to live among us.
The Nazis said the Jews have no
right to live.
The medieval Church used forced
conversions to drive Jews into exile.
The Nazis wanted to complete the
Elements that Aided Nazi Persecution
The Administration Process.
The Germans were more efficient
than other persecutors.
The industrial component made
Especially during World War I.
It made the persecutors
desensitized to the rouge violence of the period.
Two other issues dramatize the
link between the Church and Nazi persecutions the Yellow Star and ghettoizing
Sample of Church and Nazi Persecutions
Prohibition of intermarriage and
of sexual intercourse between Christians and Jews.
Jews and Christians not
permitted to eat together.
Jews not permitted to employ
Jews not permitted on the
streets during Passion Week.
Burning of the Talmud.
Marking of Jewish clothes with a
Law for the Protection of German
Blood and Honor (Sept. 15, 1935)
Jews denied the right to dinning
cars (Dec. 30, 1939)
Law for the Protection of German
Blood and Honor.
Decree baring Jews from the
street on Nazi holidays.
Book burnings in Germany.
Decree of September 1,1941.
Raul Hilbergs Position
He argued that when Hitler
raised the Jew as a threat, many Germans were already programmed to accept
When Hitler went further and
proclaimed that the Jews should be punished, the German public would agree.
This is getting close to
Goldhagens argument of eliminationist Anti-Semitism.
The key was Martin Luther.
Germans and Martin Luther
Many knew about his writings
including The Jews and their
Here Luther outlined his case
against the Jews.
They wanted to rule the world.
They were arch-criminals.
They were both a plague and a
The seeds were sown for what
The Jews had developed a clear
pattern to external persecution throughout history that have lasted for 2,000
Often the term Jews refers to
those who experienced the Diaspora, the
expulsion of the Jews from Palestine, long before the creation of the modern
state of Israel.
The Jews are a rebellious lot.
When the Jews of Palestine were
revolting against the Romans, the Jews of Alexandria were doing the same.
How did Jews of the
respond to persecution?
How did Diaspora Jews Respond to
Persecution Prior to the Holocaust?
Examples of Historical Alleviation to
A Standard course was
In 1942, Bulgarian Jews
petitioned the authorities not to be removed from their apartments.
In the Middle Ages, the Jews of
Nurnberg paid 80,000 Guilders to stop a pogrom (Duke received 15,000 and his
The same would happen in
Slovakia and Hungary to stop the transports east.
Sometimes the victims, seeing no
avenue of escape, complied with the wishes of the persecutors.
Other Forms of Alleviation
Rescue and Relief were other
approaches to the same effort to end the persecutions.
Often this was lead by
They raised money from the
outside to encourage immigration.
In the 1860s, German Jews raised
money to protect and help Russian Jews.
Following the persecution, there
would be Reconstruction to restore the damaged or destroyed Jewish community.
The Evasion Reaction
This was not as marked as
Jews rarely fled in the wake of
Instead they lived through it.
They survived and this too shall
This happens when there is no
avenue of escape or all else fails.
Likewise, the persecutor finds
strength from the inability of the victim to flee.
This happened to World Jewry
between 1941-42, when the decisions were being made for the Final Solution.
The final action was compliance
best seen with the establishment of the Judenrat or Jewish Councils that
worked with the Germans in the Ghettos.