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BGU Scholar Sees the Holocaust as a War on Judaism

BGU Scholar Sees the Holocaust as a War on Judaism

April 21, 2015

Israel Studies, Culture & Jewish Thought

New Jersey Jewish News — BGU Prof. Alon Confino says that the Nazi plan to recreate a new German society did not begin with the idea of exterminating Jews, but rather of eradicating all traces of “Jewish” religious and historical influence.

The author of A World Without Jews: The Nazi Imagination from Persecution to Genocide, Prof. Confino also teaches at the University of Virginia and is a leading scholar of German memory and national culture. He recently spoke at the annual Raoul Wallenberg program at the Douglass College Center in New Brunswick.

RutgersConfinoBookAE_300_400_90Judaism, says Prof. Confino, represented to the Nazis “a kind of unclean modernity” that had to be cleansed in order to bring about their new world order.

He says that the Nazi idea “was to put forward a new civilization, a new society” that would be based on their own conception, featuring even a new Christianity purged of its Jewish origins.

In his book, Prof. Confino argues that the Nazis held Judaism responsible for a host of deviant and often contradictory ideologies, from liberalism to conservatism, communism to democracy, as well as abortion, sexual deviance, and “degenerate” art movements like Impressionism and Cubism.

“If we emphasize racial ideology, it explains too little,” says Prof. Confino.

Prof. Confino concedes that the goal of eradicating Jewish ideas and history does not fully account for the Holocaust; he also emphasizes the bloody racial history of European colonialism and its legacy of wiping out “inferior” peoples to pave the way for empire-building.

But the notion of eradicating not just Jewish people but Jewish ideas does account for why Jews were the only group Nazis hunted all over the continent, as a sort of a “spaceless and timeless enemy.”

Read more on the New Jersey Jewish News website >>