The Wickipeejuh : Hitler's Willing Executioners
Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust is a 1996 book by American writer Daniel Goldhagen, in which he argues that the vast majority of ordinary Germans were "willing executioners" in the Holocaust because of a unique and virulent "eliminationist antisemitism" in the German political culture, which had developed in the preceding centuries. Goldhagen argues that this "eliminationist antisemitism" was the cornerstone of German national identity, and that this type of antisemitism was unique to Germany and because of it, ordinary German conscripts killed Jews willingly. Goldhagen asserts that this special mentality grew out of medieval attitudes from a religious basis, but was eventually secularized.
Extreme ultra-short review : BS.
A somewhat more detailed review: if Germans were eliminationist as antisemites, at that particular point of German history, it is because South German dislike of Jews and identification of Jews as a social problem had just very recently met a North German eliminationism about social problems (examplified in Rosa Luxemburg being, apart from Jewish, also North German and her solution to the Bourgeois society being a clearly eliminationist one).
There had also, in fact, been a Medieval eliminationist dislike of Jews. There was on one occasion a pogrom (not the only one, but the one I studied somewhat). There was also a repression of that pogrom. And there was a clergyman saying "regrettably we don't have any right to pogroms, Bible and Catholic Church don't allow that."
Well, if one could argue in any way, shape or form that the possible eliminationist antisemitism of Germans had any kind of roots in that Medieval eliminationist gut reaction (I think it involved disgust at a collective suicide or sth), it was somewhat suicidal of Jews to prone for centuries the elimination of whatever held that dislike of Jews back from being effectively eliminationist. Namely Catholicism.
Obviously, they had been more successful in the North. Where Catholic priests had been at times perceived as a social problem and where Reformation had become eliminationist about them. Where Analphabetism was more perceived as a social problem and where first compulsory school laws had become eliminationist about them.
And a few other social problems about which the North had been somewhat eliminationist, up to 1916 often with Jewish support.
Of course, the Jews were, while more or less helping to implant this eliminationism, also trying to eliminate the perception of Jews as being a social problem.
Otherwise, even they might have seen it was a somewhat suicidal thing to do.
However, they were less successful in the South. But, the South, including Austria, was also a place where Catholicism was strong and where Catholicism held back any and all social discontents from becoming eliminationist.
Now, the problem in this affair is, at a certain point, the South was humiliated by the North. Königgrätz ...? Reunification without Austria after Franco-Prussian War? Hitler had a history teacher who loved the Hohenzollerns. He loved efficiency.
And Jews had perhaps from time to time helped the North to be more prosperous than the South?
But, if we shall return a bit more to real history, how about facing the fact that for centuries, there was very little eliminationist antisemitism. Unless banning Jews from one city, then another, then a third was to be considered eliminationist. If in 1391 - 1401 they were banned from Palatinate, perhaps they had been readmitted there before in 1519 they were banned from Regensburg? Not very efficient eliminationism, if you ask me.
OK, there was a very bloody issue in Vienna in 1420 to 1421. There was perhaps a desecration behind it. But the point is, the Pope intervened. Pope Martin V was not happy with it.
Even that time in 1420, Jewish children below 15 were not eliminated from life, but only from the community - by enforced baptism. However, the Pope said, if you baptise a Jewish child under 12 without consent of his or her parents, you are excommunicated. So, no, I don't think the Wiener Gesera is a very early example of what Daniel Goldhagen considers the roots of a later secularised "eliminationist antisemitism". Back before secularisation, Church enforced eliminationism not becoming too traditional.
However, back to that clergyman after the pogrom. He prayed that in the end of days, Jews would have a country across the sea, far from Christians. It seems from how Daniel Goldhagen was greeted by his countrymen, that in a sense Jews got that. It's another question if US Jews are very far away from Christian peoples.
By the way, Daniel Goldhagen might be annoyed for my making a critique of his book without bothering to read it first. He's welcome to contact me with arguments against my position, from the book or new ones from his pocket.
I have a track record of answering arguments, of leaving as few arguments as possible unanswered.
See these two blogs:
Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere
Correspondence of Hans Georg Lundahl
The short of it : being a survivor of what is described as a holocaust or as a genocide, rightly or wrongly, as is the case with Goldhagen's father, does not automatically make you an expert on what the motives of the perpetrators were.*
By the way, as I just read a survivor story by Maurice Cling, does Erich Goldhagen* recall seeing any mass killing by gas chamber or not? Maurice Cling did not.
Hans Georg Lundahl
Torcy, Médiathèque Ségrais
Pope St Pius X
* Daniel's father Erich is a survivor of some camp, wickipeejan article on English did not say which one.