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Old 07-18-2015, 02:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kell490 View Post
I think the Holocaust stands out because the people who were involved are related to many of us in America as we have a connection to Europe as most of our ancestors came from Europe. Also our country was attacked during WW2 and we directly fought Germany. All those things make the Holocaust an event that American's were directly connected to. While no one says other genocides were not as bad I think the Holocaust was one of greatest tragedy's as millions of highly educated people were exterminated. One wonders how much damage was done to the technological advances of the human race by that one event.
I'm trying to understand precisely what you mean. Is THE Holocaust more tragic because the victims were more educated and therefore more worthy of commemoration? I don't want to put words in your mouth, but that seems to be your implication.
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Old 07-18-2015, 02:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TheDusty View Post
You'd have to examine the word 'holocaust' quite thoroughly to get an answer.

I'll be brief.

The term 'holocaust' as it was first found in ~12th century Latin writings was referring to a sacrificial Jewish offering burned at an altar. The first 'holocaust' refers to religious sacrificial burning (I don't know what was burned, but I don't think it was people).

However, upon entering the English language, it had always referred to mass murder and slaughter.

The Germans called the Holocaust 'The Final Solution.' After the 'Final Solution' and WWII ended, the term 'holocaust was used to describe the events and was later popularized through various media outlets, thus leading to the genocide of the Jews as 'The Holocaust.'

Why do we put so much emphasis on 'The Holocaust?' It's not because it's the biggest genocide. It's likely not. In terms of overall effect, the destruction of Native American culture was substantially larger. Though two factors play in here to make the the Jewish Genocide more important. 1) History is written by the victors and 2) The efficiency of the Nazi's ethnic attack is to this day unparalleled.

Yeah, Stalin killed more people. But over a longer period of time and though "passive" (and I use that word lightly here) measures. Hitler, within a decade, was capable of rounding up 6 million Jews, putting them in camps, and executing them in mass numbers. It is beyond horrific. So horrific, that it does't even sound like it could actually happen, and it did. Thus, it's called 'The Holocaust' due to it's influence on world affairs, it's efficiency, it's reason, and it's size. It might not be the biggest genocide that's ever happened, but it certainly was the most efficient.
As I told the other poster, I fail to see how the efficiency of a holocaust has any bearing on whether it's worthy of remembrance. Are Stalin's victims less important? Do they not deserve a museum in D.C.?
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Old 07-18-2015, 02:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unsettomati View Post
The use of the article 'the' most certainly does not imply that there was but one genocide or holocaust. A reference to 'the car' ("So I was driving the car and suddenly this deer jumps out in front of me...") does not imply that the car is unique, that there were no other cars on the road, or even that I do not own any other cars. Or, "I'm going to the library.". What does that mean? Well, when I say it to my wife, it means that I'm going to the local public library. It doesn't mean that I'm going to the library in the elementary school where she teaches. And it doesn't mean that I'm going to one of the two local college libraries, where I in fact have library cards and which I occasionally frequent. Nor does it mean that I'm going to drive to the next town a dozen miles down the highway and go to their public library. No, it means that I'm going to the public library, and my wife understands this because it is where the vast majority of my library visits take place. So 'the' is used when the thing that follows it is understood and requires neither specificity nor ambiguity. Thus it is with 'the Holocaust' - the event's magnitude and cultural significance are why we use 'the' in front of it.

As for capitalization, the phrase Civil War, when used to refer to a a certain conflict in North America in the 1860s, does not imply that there were no other civil wars. The use of 'Great Depression' does not hold that there were no other depressions that were in fact great. Again, so it is with 'the Holocaust'. And again, this is rooted in the specific dominance of the event in our collective history.

We should only reject this for a good reason, and you have provided no such good reason.
As much as I appreciate your dissertation on the word "the", you seem ill-prepared to deliver one. THE Civil War and THE Great Depression are in fact referred to as such because they are unique. The US has had but one civil war(another misnomer, but that's a different thread), and one depression of that magnitude, hence the designation of THE.

Without context, what if I were to make reference to THE War? Surely you would ask, "which one"? Should it not be the same with THE Holocaust? It's one of many.
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Old 07-18-2015, 06:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mysterious Benefactor View Post
Why is it that so many refer to the Jewish holocaust of the mid-20th century as THE Holocaust, with a capital H? This implies, of course, that this particular holocaust was the only one, or that it's somehow more important/tragic than all of the other holocausts seen throughout history. Shouldn't we reject this?
No one really answered your question.
There have been many genocides in history of course. But the term "The Holocaust" has a certain religious and jewish significance. It can be traced to a Greek word, and then to a Hebrew word "olah" meaning "burnt offerings" and related to sacrifice to God. It's a bit complex. "Shoah" is actually the proper name for it, but "Holocaust" became popular in the 60's. With the miniseries that came out in the 70's, the term is here to stay. I think the English translation of the original Israeli constitution developed in the late 40's also refered to "The Holocaust". There is no reason to reject this term. Genocide is actually the proper descriptive term to use and indeed can also refer to Armenia killings, Stalin's purges, the killing fields of Cambodia, Japan's rape of Nanking, etc. But "The Holocaust" term will always be associated with the Germans in WW2.

Last edited by Ibginnie; 07-18-2015 at 08:19 PM.. Reason: off topic
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Old 07-18-2015, 08:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by elnina View Post
Reject The Holocaust?

Yes, it was the biggest, most important and tragic Holocaust ever.
Do you mean "ever" as in, since the dawn or beginning of civilization/time OR do you mean "ever" as in since modern times which was observed and recorded? There is a difference.

As no one is around from antiquity, or the dawn of time and there are no written records of ALL holocausts or atrocities since the dawn of time, how can one draw the conclusion that one particular Holocaust, in a particular era is/was the biggest or most important holocaust EVER?

Last edited by dorado0359; 07-18-2015 at 10:02 PM.. Reason: ...
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:21 PM
eok
 
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Two issues are conflated here. First, why the "Holocaust" is the name of a particular genocide, and not the names of others. Second, why the Holocaust has museums etc., more than other genocides do. Only by separating those two issues can they be explained and understood.

Who provided the money for the Holocaust museum, and why didn't the same benefactor provide money for other genocide museums?

There were various revolts in the USA which were mostly called such things as rebellions, riots, etc. Why were they not each called the "Revolutionary War" or the "Civil War"?

By considering those questions, the issues can be clarified enough to start to make sense.

One question about any particular genocide, that can help clarify the nature of that genocide, is "by what means or weapons did they kill the children?" Because, when killing adults, the issue is often confused by the fact that it's usually some kind of war. But when they kill everyone, with the intent of destroying a whole ethnic group, and leaving none alive at all, then it's more than a war. Asking how they killed the children clarifies what kind of genocide it was. Were the children incidental or were they directly killed with the intent of leaving no members of that ethnic group alive?

With the Nazis, it was very clear that they intended to completely destroy the entire Jewish ethnic group. Throwing children into fires, gassing them, etc., made that very clear. If they had only attacked adults, and the children had been incidental, there might be some question if that was their main intent. But deliberately killing children en masse clarifies the intent, making it clear the motive was to destroy the entire ethnic group, and not just as a war against them.

When Saddam gassed Kurds, did he intend to destroy all Kurds, the whole ethnic group? Or did he only intend to destroy their capability of fighting back, by killing as many of them as possible, as efficiently as possible?

The Germans who killed the Jews wanted all Jews gone forever. It was important to them that none survive, because they considered that their goal, which would not be accomplished by leaving some of them alive to start over.

As for Holocaust museums, are there really more of those than museums about what happened to native Americans? And in all the thousands of years of native Americans occupying America, how many genocides were there between different ethnic groups of them?

In Africa, and possibly since the beginning of the human race, genocides might have been considered common, and it might have never occurred to anyone to build museums about them. The Holocaust museum might be unique by being first. The first time it ever occurred to anyone to build a museum about a genocide.
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Old 07-19-2015, 05:40 AM
 
2,057 posts, read 4,269,773 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dorado0359 View Post
Do you mean "ever" as in, since the dawn or beginning of civilization/time OR do you mean "ever" as in since modern times which was observed and recorded? There is a difference.

As no one is around from antiquity, or the dawn of time and there are no written records of ALL holocausts or atrocities since the dawn of time, how can one draw the conclusion that one particular Holocaust, in a particular era is/was the biggest or most important holocaust EVER?
Crickets....
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Old 07-19-2015, 06:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by The Mysterious Benefactor View Post
Why is it that so many refer to the Jewish holocaust of the mid-20th century as THE Holocaust, with a capital H? This implies, of course, that this particular holocaust was the only one, or that it's somehow more important/tragic than all of the other holocausts seen throughout history. Shouldn't we reject this?
How about the same reason that World War I was called "The Great War" before there was a World War II, or the depression of the 1930's is known as "The Great Depression". For those living today, it is the largest most heinous genocide within personal knowledge.
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Old 07-19-2015, 09:23 AM
 
12,135 posts, read 12,828,231 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mysterious Benefactor View Post
I'm trying to understand precisely what you mean. Is THE Holocaust more tragic because the victims were more educated and therefore more worthy of commemoration? I don't want to put words in your mouth, but that seems to be your implication.
it is "the" Holocaust because so many of us lost families and loved ones in it, so the memories are fresh, personal, and real. It is "the" Holocaust because the unthinkable happened in a so-called highly civilized modern educated nation (Germany). It is "the" Holocaust because it happened in our time and we are still asking ourselves how did we ever let it get that far, how could so many people go along with it.
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Old 07-19-2015, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Austin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mysterious Benefactor View Post
You may have misunderstood my question, or perhaps you misunderstand the word holocaust itself. There have been many of them throughout history, the ultimate death toll being debatable with virtually all of them; some greater or fewer than the Jewish holocaust. That being the case(or largely irrelevant), how is it reasonable to designate this particular holocaust as "THE Holocaust"(capital H), when it stands as only one of many?

You mentioned efficiency, but I fail to see how the efficiency of one's death makes it any more/less tragic or more/less worthy of commemoration. Are the Asian/Armenian/African lives lost to holocaust any less tragic/worthy?
Jews do not need to compete in a morbid contest as to who has suffered the most in history. It is important, however, to understand why the Holocaust is a unique part of human history.

The "Final Solution" was designed to exterminate every single Jewish man, woman and child. The only Jews who would have conceivably survived had Hitler been victorious were those who somehow escaped discovery by the Nazis.

Jewish birth or mere evidence of "Jewish blood" was sufficient to warrant the punishment of death. With the possible exception of Gypsies, Jews were the only people killed for the "crime" of existing.

The extermination of the Jews had no political or economic justification. It was not a means to any end; it was an end in itself. The killing of Jews was not considered just a part of the war effort, but equal to it; thus, resources that could have been used in the war were diverted instead to the program of extermination.

The people who carried out the "Final Solution" were primarily average citizens.

Other examples of mass murder exist in human history, but none of those other catastrophes contain more than one of the characteristics described above.
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