Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)



First Advisor

Dr. Richard Crane


Six million Jews dead. Not from a natural disaster. Not the result of fighting for their freedom. But because they existed, because they were someone to blame, because they were different, because they were “the other,” the impure, the less than human. Who is to blame? Hitler and the Nazis. But is that answer enough? As Daniel Goldhagen states, “It has been generally believed by scholars (at least until very recently and non-scholars alike that the perpetrators were primarily, overwhelmingly SS men, the most devoted and brutal Nazis.” These “most devoted and brutal Nazis” were only able to do what they did because of the advanced technology that enabled the creation of gas chambers, modern means of transportation, and efficient bureaucracies. The Nazis were brainwashed, were threatened with death themselves, were simply obeying authorities, were unaware that their individual actions were part of such a horrific event. Individual responsibility of each person who abused and murdered or stood by without taking any sort of action is pushed under the rug. We forget “and the Nazis” and don’t even consider the guilt of the bystanders who watched with silent passivity. And then we ask the Jews to forgive.