The Philosophical Warrant for Genocide

  • David Patterson


The first novel to emerge from the Auschwitz experience was Sunrise over Hell by Ka-tzetnik 135633. In this harrowing account, Harry Preleshnik, an inmate of Auschwitz modeled after the author, discovers the corpse of his friend Marcel Safran. “Prone before his eyes,” writes Ka-tzetnik, “he saw the value of all humanity’s teachings, ethics and beliefs, from the dawn of mankind to this day…. He bent, stretched out his hand and caressed the head of the Twentieth Century.”1 The value of humanity’s teachings and of the human image itself meet this fate at the hands not of ignorant brutes but of highly educated people who acted in a meticulous, calculated, and systematic manner. It is well known, for example, that three of the four commanders of the Einsatzgruppen killing units had doctoral degrees, as did eight of the thirteen men whom Reinhard Heydrich summoned to the Wannsee Conference on 20 January 1942. The purpose of this meeting of great German minds? To discuss the logistics of murdering the Jews of Europe.


Divine Commandment Nazi Party Human Autonomy Cartesian Cogito Slave Morality 
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© David Patterson 2005

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  • David Patterson

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