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Lesson 5 Essay The Holocaust

Lesson 5 Essay The Holocaust

There are a number of historians who regard the Holocaust as a unique occurrence unparalleled by other crimes in human history. On the basis of what you have just learned about the history of anti-Semitism over the last 2,500 years, would you agree with this view? Why or why not?

Anti-Semitism is the prejudice or hostility against Jews. The most extreme anti-Semitism occurred in Germany, resulting in the Holocaust. Although some historians argue that anti-Semitism was initiated by Adolf Hitler, the prejudiced attitudes date back to the Middle East, where Jews were denied citizenship and subjected to poor living conditions. During the 19th century, the Russian Empire was characterized by pogroms which were anti-Jewish riots, and in later years, anti-Semitism spread to other regions in North America and Europe. The anti-Semitism tradition had also been experienced in ancient Rome, Greece, and the Babylonia empires, where Jews were often persecuted and criticized for the efforts, they took to remain a unique cultural group instead of considering the social and religious customs of those who had conquered them. There was, therefore, a rise in the spread of anti-Semitism with the rise of Christianity. The continued spread of anti-Semitism caused the emergence of the Holocaust, and many Jews were subjected to a long period of suffering and being blamed for occurrences beyond their control, such as Germany losing the First World War. The Holocaust is therefore not a unique occurrence unparalleled by other crimes in human history because it is connected to a history of human discrimination and the loss of Germany in World War One.

Besides the connection between anti-Semitism, Christianity, and Germany’s loss in the First World War, many anti-Semitism practices were drawn from medieval Europe. In most cities in Europe, Jews were set aside in specific neighborhoods. In some countries, they were required to wear a yellow badge to distinguish themselves from Christians. They faced economic resentment when they began engaging in money lending and banking because early Christianity prohibited money lending. In Germany, France, Spain, and Portugal, Jews were expelled during the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries and were denied civil liberties and citizenship. In the early modern era and the Middle Ages, Germany had already been dominated by anti-Semitism. This was evident in the Crusades. In the Middle Ages, the Jews were criticized for being called ‘Christ-killers,’ agents of the devil, and truth rejecters (Lindemann, 2014). They were denied permission to own land and join groups that would allow them to engage in unpopular jobs such as money-lending and trade. Nazism became the direct implementation and expression of racism that came into existence between 1870 and 1900 based on ideas being spread in Germany in the 19th century’s last quarter. It is argued that nationalist and racialist thoughts, as well as ethnicity in science, developed from misinterpreted Darwinism (Munson, 2018). There was additional demand for the right way to eliminate some humans, thus resulting in the adoption of an anti-Semitic basis to the beliefs of Nazis and the culmination of the Holocaust.

In 1933, the Nazis celebrated their victory by attacking Jews, and on 1st April of the same year, they proclaimed a boycott of shops owned by Jews for a whole day. During that month, the Jews were denied legal and civil rights and eliminated from civil service. They were also excluded from the economy and society by setting both economic and social barriers. Most of them were also thrown out of Germany, and their writings were banned (Seeman, 2020). They were additionally dismissed from theatres, universities, the press, and the publishing industry. Some laws, such as the Nuremberg Laws, were set to only allow Germans to be citizens. Jews were forbidden from sexual intercourse and marriage between them and non-Jews. The public humiliation and prejudice extended from the top authorities in the country, with Hitler employing every anti-Semitism brand to implement his genocide agenda. He allowed local authorities to kill Jews as he focused on making what he termed to be a clean sweep. His resentment of the Jews was due to the fact that Germany had lost the First World War and was humiliated Seeman, 2020). The Jews were blamed for the loss, with the argument being that they had worked with communist sympathizers to conspire against Germany by secretly holding power levers and seeking to help one another across national boundaries.

Christianity can be considered the main foundation of anti-Semitism, and it played an active role in initiating the Holocaust. Historians arguing that Christianity does not bear any responsibility for the Holocaust mainly emphasize the difference between the traditional Christian hostility towards Jews and the Nazis’ racial anti-Semitism. They, however, agree that the Holocaust was mainly caused by the Nazis’ racial anti-Semitism, but Christianity also played a vital role. According to Munson (2018), this argument can be supported by considering the actions of groups such as the German Christian movement that supported Hitler and synthesized Christianity hence creating religious and racial anti-Semitism. Many Christians in Germany were also not happy with Jews expressing their faith by holding crusades. The Jews were often accused of ritual murder and poisoning well after the Crusades, and they could be killed for that in some instances. Martin Luther also denounced the Jews after they failed to attend his church. He had assumed that his church would be full of Jews because they were showing interest in his studies. Since the early 19th century, anti-Jewish sentiments of Protestant Europe and Catholicism became secularized and targeted the ethnicity of the Jewish people (Munson, 2018). It was also economically and politically motivated, thus making it hard for the Jews to defend themselves. Christians also accused Jews of using black magic, and this notion spread across Europe hence creating a foundation for Martin Luther’s writings and philosophies. Luther’s writings also created a foundation for the Neo-Nazi movement in Germany hence creating a connection between Christianity and the Holocaust.

The Holocaust is one of the historical events interpreted from different perspectives. There are many incidents that occurred as a result of anti-Semitism, and all had a significant contribution to the Holocaust. This research has established that the Holocaust is not a unique occurrence unparalleled by other crimes in human history because it was already connected to past crimes in human history such as discrimination and the First World War. The concept of discrimination is depicted in how non-Jews and Christians treated the Jews, including accusing them of poisoning their water so that they could be killed for using black magic. Discrimination is also evident in how the government and leaders such as Hitler treated the Jews by denying them the right to own property and restricting their social interactions by stating that they could not marry non-Jews and could not join groups allowing them to trade. The connection between the Holocaust and Germany’s involvement in the First World War is demonstrated in how Jews were accused of making Germany lose the First World War and were punished by being thrown out of Germany and denied legal and social rights.


Lindemann, A. S. (2014). Anti-semitism before the Holocaust.

Munson, H. (2018). Christianity, anti-semitism, and the Holocaust. Religions, 9(1), 26.

Seeman, M. V. (2020). Anti-semitism, the Holocaust, and intergenerational transmission of trauma. Anti-Semitism and Psychiatry, 205-220.


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Lesson 5 Essay The Holocaust

When you can accomplish the learning objectives for this lesson, you should begin work on the lesson essay described below. You may use any assigned readings, your notes, and other course-related materials to complete this assignment. Be sure to reread the essay grading criteria on the Grades and Assessments page.

Lesson 5 Essay The Holocaust

Lesson 5 Essay The Holocaust

This essay should be about 1,000 words long, typed double space with one-inch margins on each side. It is worth 150 points and should address the following:

  • There are a number of historians who regard the Holocaust as a unique occurrence unparalleled by other crimes in human history. On the basis of what you have just learned about the history of anti-Semitism over the last 2,500 years, would you agree with this view? Why or why not?

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