Understanding the Nazi use of ‘race’


Hitler, unlike other Jew-haters throughout history, was unique in declaring Jews a race, not based on physical features as race is traditionally defined, but based on the ideas Jews collectively held. And the major idea that threatens all totalitarian regimes is that there is something above individuals, groups, and governments that judges behavior. Jews believe that this is God, and God’s primary expectation for humanity is that we treat one another decently, and that we are to judge good and evil and act against evil. Totalitarian governments cannot stand up to that scrutiny.

Despots see themselves as a law unto themselves, so no tyrant can allow such an idea to take hold. Hitler decided that the only way to destroy an idea was to destroy the people who held that idea. The Nazis believed that if you had even one grandparent who was a Jew, you were infected with that idea and that put you among those targeted for annihilation.

The Jews, from their very beginnings, insisted that God, not man, was the judge of right and wrong, and it wasn’t a coincidence that Big Brother, in George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” names “Goldstein” (a very Jewish name), as the quintessential arch enemy of the state.

It is also to be noted that there was a Nazi youth song where they sang, “We want to be pagans again.” To the Aryan mind, the Jews were blamed for spoiling the pagan’s fun by giving the world a moral God who judged and a moral Son of God who also judged. Jews have never been forgiven for that “gift,” and it may be one of the underlying reasons for Jew-hatred being the longest ongoing hatred in history. Of course, most people who hate Jews were taught to hate Jews and have no inkling of the psychological history behind their hatred.

Leonard H. Berman

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