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  1. "Minutes of Discussion" of the January 20, 1942 Wansee conference, International Military Tribunal, "Nuremburg Trials," Nuremburg document No. NG 2586.
  2. Delivered in Posen on 4 October 1943, in Kalman Sultanik, "The Liberation of Auschwitz: Fifty Years After," Midstream (February/March 1995), p. 2.
  3. Adolf Hitler, speech given on 30 January, 1939: Max Domarus, ed., Hitler: Reden und Proklamationen 1932-1945 (Neustadt: Aishch, 1962-63) i., p. 354; Joseph Goebbels, The Goebbels Diaries 1942-1943, edited and translated by Louis P. Lochner (Garden City: Doubleday, 1948), pp. 147-148.
  4. I have no doubt that some people were so evil as to be beyond any guilt or sense of wrongdoing. Most who participated, however, seem to have acted out of less than certain hatred. See Yehuda Bauer, "Reflections Concerning Holocaust History," Fackenheim: German Philosophy and Jewish Thought, ed. Louis Greenspan and Graeme Nicholson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992), pp. 164-169.
  5. Babylonian Talmud Nedarim 32b and Berakhot 61a. See also Genesis Rabbah 14:4. Kohelet Rabbah 4:9 says that we are born with the yetzer ra, while the yetzer tov manifests itself only at the age of 13 (traditionally considered the age of moral understanding and responsibility in Jewish law).
  6. Genesis Rabbah 9:7
  7. On the banality of evil see Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (New York: Penguin Books, 1964).
  8. Among those who see the Holocaust as a unique event, changing the relationship with God, see Richard L. Rubinstein, After Auschwitz: Radical Theology and Contemporary Judaism (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1966); Emil Fackenheim, ibid.; Edward Feld, The Spirit of Renewal: Crisis and Response in Jewish Life (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 1991), p. 126; Michael L. Morgan "Jewish Ethics after the Holocaust," Contemporary Jewish Ethics and Morality: A Reader, ed. Elliot Dorff and Louis E. Newman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 194 - 211. Perspectives more in line with traditional Jewish perspectives are given by Eliezer Berkovits, Faith after the Holocaust (New York: Ktav, 1973) and Jonathan Sacks, Arguments for the Sake of Heaven: Emerging Trends in Traditional Judaism (Northvale, NJ: Jacob Aronson, 1991) pp. 99ff.; all of whom are Orthodox Jewish thinkers. Steven T. Katz, The Holocaust in Historical Context, Vo1. 1 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994) argues that the Holocaust was unique (indeed the only true case of genocide in history), but does not derive theological implications from his work. A powerful critique of his study is made by David Biale, "The Perils of Uniqueness," Tikkun (January/February 1995), pp. 79-80, 88. Bauer also claims the Shoah was unique; cf. Michael R. Marrus, The Holocaust in History (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1987), pp. 18-24.
  9. Rabbi Issachar S. Teichtel, for example, wrote in 1943 that the Shoah was a punishment for the Jewish people's rejection of Zionism; see Shalom Rosenberg, Good and Evil in Jewish Thought, tr. John Glucker (Tel Aviv: MOD Books, 1989), pp. 101-102.
  10. Elie Wiesel, Legends of Our Time (New York: Avon, 1970), p. 162.
  11. Rubinstein, After Auschwitz, pp. 87, 151-4.
  12. Jacob Glatstein, Poems, tr. Etta Blum (New York: Peretz Publishing, 1970), p. 43. For sources on Israel standing together at Sinai see Deuteronomy 29:13-14 and Exodus Rabbah 28:6.
  13. What, then, is Absolute? As I indicate, God may be (although we can never know this). I view the covenant between Israel and God, though changing, as a constant (i.e. not in how it is understood, but in its existence). For a fuller discussion on whether one can establish a firm moral foundation based on such historical relativism see Morgan "Jewish Ethics after the Holocaust," pp. 206 ff.
  14. Psalms 10:1.
  15. Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim, Vol. 2: The Later Masters (New York: Schocken Books, 1948), p. 280.
  16. Leviticus 22:32.
  17. Malbim (Rabbi Meir Yehuda Leibush ben Yehiel Michal) on Exodus 25:8.
  18. Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 5a-b.
  19. Emil Fackenheim's thought is expressed in a number of works, the most recent being The Jewish Return into History: Reflections in the Age of Auschwitz and a New Jerusalem (New York: Schocken Books, 1978) and To Mend the World: Foundations of Future Jewish Thought (New York: Schocken Books, 1982).
  20. Pirkei Avot (Chapters of the Fathers) 2.6.
  21. Feld, The Spirit of Renewal, pp. 143-44.
  22. For a detailed analysis of the meaning of these acts of survival see Feld, ibid., pp. 107-115; Morgan "Jewish Ethics after the Holocaust," p. 201; and Bauer, "Reflections Concerning Holocaust History," pp. 170 ff.
  23. Berkovits, Faith After the Holocaust p. 84.
  24. From the High Holy Day Prayer Book used in the West London Synagogue of British Jews.
  25. Exodus 23:9; cf. Exodus 22:20.


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