the Holocaust: its Cause and Effect

    June 2011          
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Holocaust Was The Murder Of Six Million Jews

By Bernhard Rosenberg

The Holocaust is the systematic mass murder of European Jewry by the Nazis. The term Holocaust literally means a fire that causes total destruction .Yehuda Bauer, one of the world's most eminent historians of the Holocaust, differentiates between the term genocide and Holocaust by defining the term genocide as partial murder .While there have been numerous instances of genocide, the total annihilation of a people was never an officially sanctioned purpose of a national government as it was in Nazi Germany. It is precisely this which differentiates the Nazi action against the Jews from other genocidal attempts against a people.

The Nazis wished to conquer the world and therefore threatened the very existence of every single Jew in the world. The principle target of the Nazis was always the Jews. Yes, it is true that as many as 50 million human beings were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. The Nazis destroyed the lives of Gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally disabled, Jehovah's Witnesses, communists, socialists, trade unionists and religious opponents. But it was only the Jews who were singled out for the Final Solution.

The Jews, according to Hitler were maggots, a virus that had to be eliminated. Hitler saw himself as the German Messiah doing God’s work by destroying the Jew. Let us not forget that all people with three or four Jewish grandparents were sentenced to death. Regarding the Polish population, there were no plans for total annihilation. Slavs were looked upon as being inferior Aryans; however Slovaks, Croats, and Bulgarians were Slavs who served as German allies, It was only the Jew that Hitler and the Nazis considered to be like the Devil and therefore inhuman. In the Jew Hitler saw the image of Satan. According to Hitler it was only the Jew who wished to dominate the world, and it was the Jew Hitler wanted to destroy.

Hitler and the Nazis created a policy of selective mass murder against the homosexuals, Gypsies, Poles, Russians, prisoners of war, Catholic priests, Jehovah's Witnesses', the physically and mentally disabled, dissidents and others. But it was the Jew that was seen as a virus, a bacillus that had to be destroyed before it infected the entire world. It was the Jews who poisoned the mind of mankind. The policy of making the world Judenrein applied to the entire world. The group Hitler hated above all was the Jews. He made himself the supreme racist.

In his final hours, Hitler continued to urge the destruction of the Jew . Hitler had diverted trains and soldiers to Concentration camps when he desperately needed them for the war effort. Germany was destroyed due to this mad man and at the end all he could think about was murdering more Jews.

This mad man was responsible for the murder of my grandparents, two siblings, uncles, aunts, and cousins. My father, Jacob, of blessed memory survived Auschwitz and my mother, Rachel of blessed memory survived Skazyskokarmiene. I became a Rabbi to do everything in my power to prevent another Holocaust and to teach the world the lessons of the Holocaust. My fear is that after the death of the final Holocaust survivor and eventually the death of the children of Holocaust survivors, history will be re-written and the Holocaust will no longer be a Jewish issue but rather a universal one. The number will no longer be The 6 million Jews but rather or 50 million casualties of war. Many still persist in saying there were six million Jews and 5 million non- Jews who were exterminated by the Nazis. We all should mourn and honor those who fought and died, Jew and non-Jew alike. However, let us never forget and always remember that it was the Jews who were the primary target of Hitler and the Nazi regime. The historian Yehudah Bauer wrote;' Simon Wiesenthal, as he admitted to me in private,( invented the figure six million Jews and five million non-Jews) inorder to create sympathy for the Jews- in order to make the non-Jews feel they are part of us.'

I was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany of Polish parents. I came to America as a refugee. I pray that the Holocaust and the memory of those who perished will be kept alive by our grandchildren and future generations. Let us not dilute the memory of the holocaust by stressing holocaust and genocide. while it is important to stress that we should never be innocent bystanders while others are murereded or disrcriminated against, we also should never dilute the singular significance of the holocaust. I fear that 50 years from now the holocaust will be forgotten and become only a date in history together with other genocides. I will do all I can now to prevent this.

Bernhard H. Rosenberg, is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth-El, Edison, New Jersey. He is the son of holocaust survivors of blessed memory Jacob and Rachel Rosenberg and was founder and president of the New Jersey 2nd Generation Holocaust Organization. He teaches at Yeshiva Uuniversity in N.Y.. and Rutgers University in N.J. ordination and doctorate is from Yeshiva University.


from the June 2011 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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