Goldhagen himself mentions that a large proportion of the Jewish upper classes in Germany converted to Christianity in the nineteenth century. Since its publication, Hitler’s Willing Executioners has generated much controversy in both academic and mainstream thought on the Holocaust. Continuum International Publishing Group. Some historians have characterized its reception as an extension of the Historikerstreit , the German historiographical debate of the s that sought to explain Nazi history. A Critique of Hitler’s Willing Executioners”.

The Catholic Church maintained its own “silent anti-Judaism” which “immuniz[ed] the Catholic population against the escalating persecution” and kept the Church from protesting against persecution of the Jews, even while it did protest against the euthanasia program. The Israeli historian Omer Bartov wrote that to accept Goldhagen’s thesis would also have to mean accepting that the entire German Jewish community was “downright stupid” from the midth century onwards because it is otherwise impossible to explain why they chose to remain in Germany, if the people were so murderously hostile or why so many German Jews wanted to assimilate into an “eliminationist anti-Semitic” culture. In one instance, the commander of the unit gave his men the choice of opting out of this duty if they found it too unpleasant; the majority chose not to exercise that option, resulting in fewer than 15 men out of a battalion of opting out. Almond Award for the best dissertation in the field of comparative politics. Their task was complicated by the way that “Goldhagen’s book [had] neither a bibliography nor a listing of archival sources”.

This is the problem.

The Past Distorted”, in: Cornell University Press, p. But Hitler’s exemplified and brought to an apotheosis the particular form of eliminationist anti-Semitism that came to the fore in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Multiculturalism and the politics of guilt.

daniel goldhagens thesis

Rosenbaum inquired about Goldhagen’s “pregnant with murder” metaphor, which suggested that the Shoah was something inevitable that would have happened without Hitler and Milton Himmelfarb ‘s famous formulation “No Hitler, no Holocaust”. Retrieved January 4, In other, more chilling cases, they were ordered simply to kill a specified number of Jews in a given town or area.


Second, very few of them took this option. Rieff writes that Goldhagen’s website states that the author “speaks nationally Princeton University Press,pp. Inthe American historian Christopher Browning published a book titled Ordinary Men about the Reserve Police Battalionwhich had been used in to massacre and round up Jews for deportation to the Nazi death camps in German-occupied Poland.

But anti-Semitism came in different forms, and Goldhagen puts all anti-Semitism in the same basket, including the liberal type that wanted to see the Jews disappear by assimilation and conversion Some of his critics have agreed with him that his thesis is “not intrinsically racist or otherwise illegitimate”, including Ruth Bettina Birn and Norman Finkelstein A Nation on Trial. A Reply to My Critics”. David Dalin and Joseph Bottum of The Weekly Standard criticized the book, calling it a “misuse of the Holocaust to advance [an] anti-Catholic agenda”, and poor scholarship.

While Browning believes that their were many causes for the action of perpetrators such as peer pressure, government sanction, and careerism. In the course of the murderous Operation Reinhardthese men were ordered to round up Jews, and if there was not enough room for them on the trains, to shoot them.

Hitler’s Willing Executioners – Wikipedia

Goldhagen states that his aim is to help “craft institutions and politics that will save countless lives and also lift the lethal threat under which so many people live”. Inthe American columnist Jonah Goldberg argued that “Goldhagen’s thesis was overstated but fundamentally accurate.

German Protestants Remember the Holocaust. The Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer wrote that Goldhagen’s thesis about a thssis antisemitic culture applied better to Romania than to Germany and murderous anti-Semitism was adniel confined to Germany as Goldhagen had claimed. Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanityabout the global nature of genocideand averting goldhagenns crimes against humanity.


Hitler’s Willing Executioners posits that the vast majority of ordinary Germans were “willing executioners” in the Holocaust because of a unique and virulent ” eliminationist anti-Semitism ” in German identity which developed in the preceding centuries.

daniel goldhagens thesis

Indeed, fascist Spain was a haven for Jews during the Holocaust” he said. Word came, moreover, that the ambushed German policeman had been only wounded, not killed. He further defines his understanding of German culture and the inherent anti-Semitism which this maintained at the time of the Holocaust and for the centuries prior. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The conclusion of the book, which was much influenced by the Milgram experiment on obedience, was that the men of Unit were not demons or Nazi fanatics but ordinary middle-aged men of working-class background from Hamburgwho had been drafted but found unfit for military duty.

Alfred Knopf, pp.

Daniel Goldhagen

Goldhagen’s book was meant to be an anthropological ” thick description ” in the manner of Clifford Geertz. In Worse than War: Christopher Browning wrote in response to Goldhagen’s criticism of him in the “Afterword” to Ordinary Men published by HarperCollins:.

German national identity after the Holocaust. InGoldhagen resigned from Dxniel to focus on writing. Bauer also argued that these linguistic limitations substantially impaired Goldhagen from undertaking broader comparative research into European antisemitism, which would have demanded further refinements to his analysis.