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Historians of the Jews and the Holocaust$
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David Engel

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804759519

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804759519.001.0001

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“The Jewish People Murdered Itself”

“The Jewish People Murdered Itself”

(p.134) Three “The Jewish People Murdered Itself”
Historians of the Jews and the Holocaust
Stanford University Press

This chapter focuses on the impact of the book The Destruction of the European Jews (1961) by Raul Hilberg, a Vienna-born Jew who had fled Austria with his parents following the 1938 annexation to the Third Reich, settled in New York, served in the U.S. army in the Second World War, and completed his doctorate in political science at Columbia University in 1955. The book was an adaptation of his doctoral dissertation. In it, Hilberg depicted the Holocaust as the handiwork of a bureaucratic “machinery of destruction,” operated by an ever-expanding circle of civil servants, business administrators, party functionaries, and military desk jockeys, who arrived at the idea of mass murder not out of any special antipathy toward Jews but as a result of the bureaucracy's own internal momentum, gathered while endeavoring to solve what Nazi policymakers defined as the problem posed by the presence of significant numbers of Jews in key territories under the Reich's domination. This portrayal would become the exordium for all academic discussions of the encounter between the Third Reich and the Jews.

Keywords:   Jewish history, Jews, European Jews, Raul Hilberg, Holocaust, Nazis, Third Reich

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