Nazi Antisemitism in Comparative Perspective before and during the Holocaust

Saturday, January 6, 2018: 3:30 PM
Washington Room 2 (Marriott Wardman Park)
Jeffrey C. Herf, University of Maryland, College Park
My presentation focuses on similarities and differences between American racism toward African-Americans and Nazi anti-Semitism. " Nazi antisemitism was a form of racism, that is, it made claims about the pejorative qualities of Jews considered as a biological "race" that were threatening, dangerous, immoral or inferior in various ways to another alleged "Aryan" race. Though it did not refer to color, it did bear comparison to forms of racism current in American mistreatment of African-Americans and in European attitudes to colored members of colonies. They too rested on presumed differences in character said to be linked to biology. Yet as both the public statements and confidential memos of the Nazi regime demonstrated, Nazi antisemitism became genocidal primarily due to a paranoid conspiracy theory that present a mythic subject called “international” or “world Jewry” as an actual political actor waging war against Nazi Germany and the German people. It draws on my previous research on these issues, especially in my study The Jewish Enemy as well as on subsequent commentary.
Previous Presentation | Next Presentation >>