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Religion and the Uniqueness of the Holocaust

  • Richard L. Rubenstein
Chapter

Abstract

Few events of the 20th century have been the object of as much continuing popular interest as the Holocaust. When the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened its doors in April 1993, museum officials estimated that one million people would visit the museum during its first year. In reality, approximately two million people visited the museum during that period, two-thirds of whom were non-Jews. As of 1 June 2000, a total of 14.2 million people had visited the museum. It is difficult to account for this interest simply in terms of the number of Holocaust victims or the fact that the Shoah was perpetrated by the government of one of the best educated and technologically proficient nations in the world, although that fact cannot be discounted. There have been many other large-scale, demographic catastrophes perpetrated by human beings in the 20th century. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that a museum devoted to Stalin’s murders, the Armenian genocide of 1915 or the massacres in former Yugoslavia or Rwanda would consistently draw so large a number of visitors as Washington’s Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Keywords

Jewish History Jewish Question Popular Interest Jewish Refugee Armenian Genocide 
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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Notes

  1. 1.
    See Stephen R. Haynes, Jews and the Christian Imagination: Reluctant Witness (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1995), Introduction, pp.8ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 3.
    On the influence of Judas on Christian perceptions of Jews, see Richard L. Rubenstein, After Auschwitz: History, Theology and Contemporary Judaism, 2nd ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), pp.21–22, 45, 50–51.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    For an examination of Japanese attitudes towards Jews during World War II, see See David Kranzler, Japanese, Nazis and Jews: The Jewish Refugee Community of Shanghai, 1935–1945 (Hoboken: KTAV, 1988)Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Marvin Tokayer and Mary Swartz, The Fugu Plan: The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews During World War II (New York: Paddington Press, 1979), p.49.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    See See David G. Goodman, ‘Japanese Anti-Semitism’, The World and I, November 1987.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    On this point, see Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change950–1350 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    For a brief discussion of the Christian roots of secularization, see Peter Berger, The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (Garden City: Anchor Books, 1969) pp.105–26.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard L. Rubenstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Plenary AddressOxfordEngland

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