The Burden of Being Human: An Essay on Selected Scholarship of the Holocaust

  • Karen J. Greenberg
Part of the The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Series on Diplomatic and Economic History book series (WOOROO)


For nearly five decades now, historians of the Holocaust have confronted a formidable task. They have endeavored to explain the unexplainable. As Charles Maier has put it, it is an attempt to master the “unmasterable.” Beginning in 1961, with the first edition of Raul Hilberg’s monumental The Destruction of the European Jews1 and extending to Michael Berenbaum’s catalog for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, historians have wondered how the extermination of millions of Jews could have happened as the world looked on. In searching for answers, scholars have looked to find the villains, the perpetrators, the guilty. Despite the admitted futility of coming to terms with this particular piece of the past, they nevertheless persevere. What they have left us, amidst a medley of stories and probing analyses, is an ever-expanding network of complicitors. Accordingly, much of the impetus for arguments at the heart of Holocaust historiography lies in questions about who exactly is guilty, and, conversely, who escapes condemnation.


Final Solution Formidable Task Jewish Tradition European History Pantheon Book 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen J. Greenberg

There are no affiliations available

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