Page d'accueil

The Holocaust is a Christian Issue

The Holocaust is a Christian Issue1

Richard A. Cohen
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
                "You shall not stand aside while your
                fellow's blood is shed." Leviticus 19:16

Christian Responsibility

I am not here to blame Christianity for the evil and horror of the Holocaust. I hope that we are all in agreement about two simple and basic truths in this regard. First, the Nazis and their allies perpetrated the evil and horror of the Holocaust. Second, in contrast to the Nazi ideology of " Aryan" hate and physical force, Christianity is a religion of universal love and humility. Like Judaism it teaches love of the neighbor, and like Judaism it is based in compassion.

Nonetheless, I believe that the Holocaust is a peculiarly Christian issue. One usually thinks of the Holocaust as a Jewish issue. And certainly Jews, and Emil Fackenheim first and foremost, more than anyone else in these post-Holocaust days, have perpetuated the memory of and have attempted to think through what occurred in those dark days. This is not surprising or aberrant since the Jews were the primary targets and victims of the Holocaust, and fully one third of the Jewish people was mercilessly murdered in the Holocaust. Jews must remember their martyred dead.

But the manner in which the Holocaust concerns Jewish thought, from historical, moral and theological points of view, is, it seems to me, universal. That is to say, the concern of the Jews for the Holocaust is the same as should be the concern of all religions and all persons of good will. The issue of the historical formation of the Nazi party and its reign of terror, the issue of God's absence or presence during the Holocaust, the problem of evil, and similar issues, are concerns for all organization and hence for all religions and for all individuals and hence for all religious individuals. The evil and horror of the Nazis are concerns for all humanity, for all humanity concerned to retain its humanity, since it shows all of us of just what extremities of evil we are capable. This is the Jewish concern too. Jews, after all, were the victims and not the perpetrators of the Holocaust.

But the case is different for Christianity. While Christians as Christians were not perpetrators of the Holocaust, the Holocaust occurred in the most Christian part of the world. It occurred in the very heart of Christendom. Furthermore, while the hundreds of thousands of Nazis and their collaborators carried out the Holocaust, every Nazi and every collaborator to a person (excepting only Muslim collaborators), had been baptized a Christian. Every Nazi had Christian parents, attended Christian Churches, heard Christian sermons, and went to Christian Sunday school. Nazis buried their relatives with Christian ceremonies. Furthermore, the Catholic Church never - to this very day - excommunicated a single Nazi. What this means, then, is that during the Nazi regime Christianity and Christians failed in their own deepest beliefs. Christians failed to love their neighbors. Christianity failed to help the weak, the lame, the halt, the blind, or the stranger in its midst. In a word, when tested, Christianity - which, with all too few exceptions, showed no love, no compassion, no forgiveness - failed.

What the Holocaust signifies, then, for Christianity, is that when put to the test, not in happy and pleasant times, but in the hard and dark times of the Nazi empire, Christians did not live up their beliefs. When tested, Christianity failed and it failed not in a small way, but fundamentally, all the way to the heart and soul of its most basic doctrines and teachings. It is in this sense, then, that the Holocaust is a Christian issue. Certainly, the Holocaust is also an issue for Western Civilization, but this is for the same or very similar reasons that it is an issue for Christianity. Christianity, however, in contrast to Western Civilization and its self-interpretations, has been explicit and unequivocal about the absolute value of love, compassion and forgiveness. So, while it is true that Western Civilization failed, it is even more profoundly true that Christianity - one of the primary moral forces of Western civilization in any event - failed. It is this failure, it seems to me, that makes the Holocaust, or that should make the Holocaust, the most important issue - and I mean nothing less than the most profound theological issue - for post-Holocaust Christianity.

But Christianity and Christians, with a few noble and notable exceptions, have shirked this issue, have not taken responsibility for their own failure, and have fundamentally - and to their own detriment, it seems to me - ignored the overwhelming implications of this Himalayan failure during the Holocaust. For this reason, and inspired by the intellectual-theological boldness of Emil Fackenheim, in his great work, To Mend the World , especially section thirteen of part four, entitled "Concerning Post-Holocaust Christianity," I will also boldly go where no Jews and few Christian theologians have gone before. I want to revisit Christology in the light of the Holocaust. I do this for my own sake only indirectly, because I am a Jew and not a Christian, and hence Christology is not my spiritual concern. Instead, I do this for the sake of Christianity, and thus my words may not be welcome or find a grateful let alone receptive audience. For this reason, also, I hope, and ask beforehand, that these efforts be taken and considered critically, in the best sense of "critical," i.e., with intellectual rigor. I realize that the topic is both dear, sensitive and not my own, so I ask in advance that those who should have stepped in will take over after me, with greater sensitivity, and continue, without me, on their own.

Christian Exclusivity

The Holocaust is a specifically Christian theological issue for at least two reasons. First, as I have indicated, those who perpetrated the Holocaust, both nazis and collaborators, were baptized Christians, none of whom were excommunicated.

Second, anti-Judaism has been an essential part of Christianity, one of its most deeply held beliefs, from its earliest formation as a Church onward. Edward H. Flannery, a Diocesian priest, expresses this perspective in an especially relevant way. He makes a distinction, which he admits is "difficult to draw," that, as I see it, is precisely part of the problem in Christian theology that I am attempting to address anew. He writes:

A distinction - difficult to draw - must be recognized, however, between the ambiguous phenomenon of "Christian anti-Semitism" and änti-Judaism," which legitimately and essentially constitutes a part of Christian teaching apologetics. This latter is purely theological; it rejects Judaism as a way of salvation but not the Jews as a people; it entails no hatred - the lifeblood of anti-Semitism.2

Beyond Father Flannery's personal delicacy in this regard, his is not ä distinction difficult to draw" but a distinction that in fact, and in principle, Christians have been unable to draw. If Judaism is not ä way of salvation," then Christians, out of love, are profoundly obligated to convert the Jews to a genuine way of salvation, i.e., to Christianity. Whether Christians love Jews or hate Jews, whether they use brute force or sweet example, is finally irrelevant regarding the end result. The end result is the end of Judaism, and hence the ends of Jews as Jews. Christianity thus harbors its own final solution for the Jews.

The missionary zeal of Christianity is, of course, based on Christian theological exclusivity. What Flannery considers "legitimate" and ëssential" Christian anti-Judaism is actually only a logical subset of the larger Christian theological claim to be the one and only path to salvation, whether through personal faith in Jesus or through membership in good standing in the Church. It is not simply that Judaism is not a true path to God, but that there are no true paths to God outside of Christianity. Christian exclusivity is compounded in the case of Judaism and Jews because Christianity also considers itself the successor to Israel, the New Israel. Even under the kinder, gentler rubric of a "dual covenant" theology, where Judaism, owing to its special covenant with God found in the Old Testament, is singled out as the one other legitimate path to God, this creates a problem for Judaism nonetheless. This is because Judaism, like Hinduism, is a religion of tolerance with regard to other organized religions, and thus believes in many true paths to God, so long as they are monotheistic and adhere to a minimal set of standards of righteousness. Judaism is therefore not an exception, but rather sees itself as one among many legitimate paths to God. Singled out as an exception by Christianity, even with the greatest good will, it would be placed in the unenviable and, by its own lights, illegitimate position of being the object of resentment - like Christianity itself - by all other non-Christian paths to God.

Because Christian anti-Semitism has always been intimately linked to the demonization of the Jews as "Christ killers,"3 let us ask what is the link joining Christian exclusivity and Christology. The death and resurrection of Jesus is certainly the most central narrative-doctrine of the Christian faith, the belief that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ- Messiah,4 and through him and him alone humankind can be saved.

Christians do not understand the death of Jesus as merely yet another unjustified death and martyrdom of one of God's beloved creatures. Infinitely more profound and unsettling, it represents the sacrifice of God's only son. Jesus is the son of God as no one else has been or ever will be the son of God. In a profound spiritual sense, expressed in the doctrine of the Trinity, he is at once God and man. Hence his death represents the unique self-sacrifice of God, the complete healing, as Christian exegesis sees it, of a spiritual sickness begun with the sin of Adam and Eve, and far from mended with Abraham's near sacrifice of Isaac.

The special character of Jesus, what quickly, in Christian theological history, became his divinity and assimilation with God, is the very reason, then, that the only way to salvation is through becoming a Christian. God does not commit the ultimate self-sacrifice lightly. It is an unsurpassable sacrifice. The spiritual yield of this unique sacrifice, however, is no less weighty: the one path to God. The greatest and unique sacrifice leads to the greatest and unique path of salvation, the exclusive path.

Judaism, unlike all the other religions of the world, not only rejects this path today, but also did so from the very start. The Jews were there when Jesus walked the earth, and they denied him. Even worse, they killed him. In the cosmic drama of good and evil, in the holy history of sin, salvation and damnation, because only the Devil can have sufficient power to oppose and delay the Kingdom of God heralded by Christ, the Jews must therefore be his agents, his minions, the very arm of the Devil himself.5 They are Christ-killers - than which no greater spiritual crime can be imagined.

A Responsible Christology: Who Killed Christ?

For these reasons, Christianity, and Christianity alone, singles out Judaism for special derision, indeed, for "contempt." Judaism is not only not a path to God, like all other non-Christian paths to God, but it represents the reverse of a path to God, a deliberate rejection of God. Acting on behalf of Satan, the Jewish denial of Christ is the cause, as early Christian theologians were quick to point out, for the delay of the divinely foretold coming of the Kingdom of God on Earth. Whatever the other reasons, this is the theological reason why the image of the Jew as Christ-killer has gained so much currency throughout the popular history of Christianity, and provided a fertile ground for the Nazi destruction of European Jewry.

What is the New Testament account of the death of Jesus? For the sake of those who are unfamiliar with this account, I state only the most salient features, leaving out details, nuances, and variations.6 According to the Synoptic Gospel account, the Romans arrested Jesus for sedition, passed judgement, mocked him, and crucified him. As for the Jews, their leading priests questioned Jesus, a crowd of Jews in Jerusalem called out for his execution, and Judas (who somehow unlike the rest of the disciples seems to retain his Jewish identity) betrays Jesus to the Roman authorities.

Based on this narrative, there are three possible theological-exegetical ways to lay blame for the death of Jesus. One could blame the people of Jesus, the Jews, in which case the Romans are only acting in their behalf. Or, one could blame the Romans, in which case Jesus (whether Judaized or not) and his people, the Jews, are all victims of their political oppression. Or, finally, one could blame both Jews and Romans, distributing the guilt in various proportions. Christian theology has overwhelmingly preferred the first option, blaming the Jews; from whence the Jews become "Christ-killers."

Today, after the Holocaust, however, certain Christian theologians have turned to the second option, blaming the Romans, and emphasizing a political rather than a theological interpretation of the death of Jesus, or in any event opposing any demonization of the Jews.7 Of course, because they are Christians and Christian theologians, Jesus does not by means of this reinterpretation simply become an historical figure, but remains the Christ Messiah, the savior of humanity. But these theologians, recognizing the horror of the Holocaust and its Christian theological background, reject the theology of the demonization of the Jews. From this perspective, the first option, that the Jews are guilty, is considered a reactionary, offensive, and highly ïnsensitive" theological outlook. Their own perspective, that the Romans are responsible, in contrast, is considered liberal, ßensitive," and politically correct.

While for a variety of reasons I personally prefer the second position, that of blaming the Romans, over the first, blaming the Jews, the critical or negative thesis of this paper is that the traditional theological position of blaming the Jews and the progressive political position of blaming the Romans, are both inadequate. They are both inadequate, too, for the same reason. The reason is that they both blame somebody else for the murder of Christ. They both lay the blame elsewhere. Neither, then, takes responsibility for the death of Christ.

But what other option is there? If neither the Jews nor the Romans killed Christ, then who did? Who else could be culpable and responsible for the murder of Christ? First of all, I want you to notice that I am making a distinction between the death of Jesus and the death of Christ. Of the former, there is no doubt that, according to the Gospel narratives, the Jews and the Romans together performed that murder. The Romans crucified Jesus, as they crucified thousands of other Jews, and the Jews, or at least one mob in Jerusalem at one moment in the presence of the Roman governor Pilate, called for the death of Jesus.

But the death of Christ is another issue altogether, or so it seems to me. Unlike Jesus, who is presumably an historical figure, a man who was born, lived and died, Christ is from the first a theological figure. Christ is, of course, the Messiah, the anointed one, the redeemer and savior. Christ is he who for Christians is the önly begotten son of God," he who in spirit is one with God, he whose teaching is love of the neighbor, turning the cheek, giving aid to the weak, the lame, the halt, the blind, he who brings peace and spiritual salvation. Christ is he who teaches and shows the way to an all- embracing universal love of humankind.

So, my positive thesis is that in contrast to the killers of Jesus, as depicted in the Gospel narratives, the true Christ-killers were and remains the Christians themselves. In fact, it was and remains impossible for the Jews or the Romans to kill Christ since neither believe in nor recognize Jesus as Christ. But Christians, those for whom Jesus is Christ, these are the ones who are in fact - and I underline ïn fact" - responsible for the death of Christ. It is the Christians who have never lived up to the teachings of Christ, and who have never had sufficient faith in his teachings, with the exception of a few outstanding figures, many of them martyrs. It seems to me that this is the deepest Christological truth about Jesus. It was never Judas the Jew who betrayed Jesus, it was Judas as a potential Christian, Peter as a potential Christian, like all of Jesus' disciples, who denied him as Christ, and hence, in this sense, killed him and continue to kill him. Like the brutal honesty of the Old Testament with regard to the chronic backsliding of the Jews in relation to the high teachings of their own Torah, one appreciates the honesty of the Gospels with regard to the earliest Christians' denial of Christ himself.

What I am suggesting, then, is that until Christian can say, sincerely, profoundly, faithfully, that Ï myself have killed Christ, and I myself must bring Christ to life," until then, Christians have no chance of becoming Christians genuinely.8

My paper, then, as any theological paper, must shift into the first person singular, but in this case I must put words into the mouths of Christians who have hitherto remained all too silent. How did Christians kill Christ and how do they continue to do so? How did we Christians kill our own Christ? How did I, as a Christian, kill Christ? Precisely by not accepting culpability and not taking responsibility for his death, precisely by blaming others, whether Jews or Romans, or Jews and Romans. When did we Christians kill Christ? From the very start, with Judas, with Peter, with the disciples, all of whom were not sufficiently Christian. That is, Christ is killed whenever and wherever blame for the death of innocents is considered someone else's responsibility and not my own. How can Christians resurrect Christ? By following in his footsteps by accepting culpability and taking responsibility.

And this, I submit, is the "commanding voice of Auschwitz," about which Emil Fackenheim speaks with so much intelligence, eloquence, and compassion. This, I submit, is the special lesson of the Holocaust, where Christians in fact denied love, denied mercy, denied compassion and denied justice, and consequently killed Christ six million times over. The lesson of the Holocaust is a lesson for Christianity, a part of its holy history. Emil Fackenheim's 614th Commandment - not to give Hitler a posthumous victory - has nothing new, really, to teach the Jews.9 But it has much to teach Christianity and Christians. Unavoidably and unmistakably, it teaches, it seems to me, the first and most important exegesis of the first commandment of Christianity, of Christ: to love your neighbor as oneself you must first take responsibility for the neighbor. Evil is not the affair of Jews or Romans, or of any others, but of we ourselves. The Devil is not a mythological Gnostic being who comes from elsewhere; he is rather our own complacency, our own indifference, and our own refusal to help the innocent, to rectify injustice, and to care for the suffering of other. Because we ourselves are guilty, we ourselves are responsible. To bring Christ back to life, to resurrect Christ, to be saved, is to love the neighbor as oneself by taking full responsibility upon oneself. Salvation, then, like revelation, is thus a process, the process of becoming Christ.

Excursus: Chagall

Let me say, in an autobiographical note, that my thesis was inspired by crucifixion and resurrection paintings of Marc Chagall, the most famous of which is probably the "White Crucifixion" of 1938. In these painting, made from 1938 to 1948, Chagall depicts the crucifixion. But the man crucified, clearly Jesus, wears a loincloth that is a Jewish prayer shawl, a tallit. Thus he is unmistakably a Jewish Jesus. And he is set among figures of contemporary oppression: Nazis, Stalinists, and angry mobs. Art historian Monica Bohm-Duchen, in her excellent 1998 book on Chagall, is no doubt right in seeing in these paintings, and the White Crucifixion, in particular, ä direct response to specific historical events: in the case of this work, the German Aktion of 15 June 1938 in which 1,500 Jews were dispatched to concentration camps; the destruction of the Munich and Nuremberg synagogues on 9 June and 10 August respectively; the deportation of Polish Jews at the end of October; and the outbreak of vicious pogroms, including the infamous Kristallnacht, known as the Night of Broken Glass, of 9 November 1938."[x] These paintings graphically depict the concrete anguish of the Jews by means of the central symbol of Christianity.

When I first saw Chagall's resurrection and crucifixion paintings I was repulsed and perplexed by them. I wondered why a Jew would work on such themes, when for Jews the cross and crucifixion have always been, in both their Roman and their Christian manifestations, dark symbols of murder, violence, and destruction, symbols of Jew hatred. But then I realized that Chagall did not paint these pictures for Jews. Rather, they are for Christians. Already, in 1938, and then throughout the Nazi mass murder of the Jews, Chagall was saying to the Christians of Europe: "Don't you see? Don't you understand? When the Nazis kill Jews they are killing Christ." Thus I came to see that these paintings were no less political, no less spiritual, and no less powerful than Picasso's "Guernica," which graphically depicts the horrors of modern aerial warfare in order to make a visceral and powerful statement against it. I wondered, then, what might have been if Chagall's paintings had been displayed - and understood - throughout Europe. It is the same hopeful wondering that I have had with regard to Charlie Chaplin's brilliant 1940 motion picture "The Great Dictator," which mocked Hitler, and made him a laughingstock. Had these paintings, or had that movie, been shown throughout Europe, and been understood, could the Holocaust have happened? Could Christians have allowed their own Christ to be crucified again, six million times again? Well, it is an experiment that cannot be undertaken; the paintings were not shown, and hence they were not understood, and more profoundly, history, alas, cannot be undone.


If the Jews killed Christ then they are forever like Cain, a marked people, a people of evil, deserving of contempt. If the Romans killed Christ, then one can still flee from their tyranny into a safe haven of sentimental spiritual salvation, as the Jews fled to the desert leaving Pharaoh's Egypt behind and intact. In both cases, someone else is responsible, not me but him, not us but them. They are damned but we are saved. But if, to the contrary, the Christians killed Christ - like the ancient Israelites who after receiving God's revelation at Mount Sinai nonetheless, in less than two months, erected and worshipped a Golden Calf, thereby committing, they themselves, their greatest sin, for which they themselves have forever thereafter taken responsibility - then Christians, too, can begin to accept culpability and take responsibility for their greatest sin. The true image of the Christian, then, is not the opposite of perfidious Jews or the cruel Romans, of Pilate the Roman or Judas the Jew. Rather, and precisely, like all the disciples of Jesus, it is the image of Judas the Christian.

Jews and Romans killed Jesus; such is the unalterable narrative of the Gospels. When did the Christians kill Christ? When do they kill Christ? When they are irresponsible, when they blame others for the sins of the world. First, when they demonized the Jews, which led to countless humiliations and slaughters, and finally to the Holocaust. Second, when, in response to Rome, they rendered unto Caesar what was his, which led to political apathy, abdication, escapism, and abandonment of the redemptive struggle for human liberation. Third, and finally, when they narrowed Christ's love into hatred - however sweet - of all other spiritual paths not Christian. Christian exclusivity, of which hatred of the Jews, however gentle, is but one subset, even if a very special subset, remains today as the great unresolved sin of Christianity against Christ.

This, it seems to me, is the burden and the task that Christian theology must take upon itself and comes to grips with in the new millennium. If Christ is to be the "Prince of Peace," as Christianity claims, then it must come to understand that true peace is found in the harmonization of differences, not in their elimination.


1This paper was first presented on June 20, 2001, in Jerusalem at an international conference, marking the 85th birthday of Professor Emil L. Fackenheim, entitled "The Philosopher as Witness: Jewish Philosophy After the Holocaust."

2Edward H. Flannery, S.J., The Anguish of the Jews (New York: MacMillan Company, 1965), p. 60.

3See, especially, Franklin H. Littell, The Crucifixion of the Jews (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1986; originally 1975); Joel Carmichael, The Satanizing of the Jews ( New York: Fromm International, 1992); Joshua Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews (New York: Harper & Row, 1966; originally 1943); James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue (New York: Atheneum, 1969); and Malcom Hay, Europe and the Jews (Boston: Beacon, 1961; original title, The Foot of Pride, 1950).

4I use this apparently redundant term "Christ-Messiah" to distinguish the Christian conception of the Messiah from the rather different Jewish conception of the Messiah. Elsewhere I will simply use the term "Christ."

5The locus classicus for this theological interpretation, and indeed its most vicious expression, is found in St. John Chrysostom (c. 344-407 CE), but it is also found in Augustine and many other authoritative and influential Christian theologians. It is almost amazing to find it in the writings of Jacques Maritain, whose wife was a converted Jew. From the safety of American, Maritain writes in 1937/1941: "The basic weakness in the mystical communion of Israel is its failure to understand the Cross, its refusal of the Cross, and therefore its refusal of the transfiguration." In 1937/1942, with a wife the nazi's would have murdered! Jacques Maritain, "The Mystery of Israel," in The Social and Political Philosophy of Jacques Maritain, ed. Joseph W. Evans and Leo R. Ward (New York: Doubleday, 1965; originally 1955), p. 202. More recently, in May of 2001, in Damascus, welcoming Pope John Paul on his first visit to Syria, Syrian President Bashar Assad, a Muslim, made the following statement as part of a welcoming speech given in the Pope's presence: "They [the Jews] tried to kill the principles of all relgions with the same mentality with which they betrayed Jesus Christ and the same way they tried to betray and kill the Prophet Mohammed." Dispicable as these remarks are, one does not know what to think about the Pope's silence, maintained to this day. See, The International Jerusalem Post, May 18, 2001, p. 28. See also, in this regard, Saul Friedlander, Pius XII and the Third Reich, trans. Charles Fullman (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966).

6For a detailed and nuanced account of each Gospel separately, see, Samuel Sandmel, Anti-Semitism in the New Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978).

7More and more Christian theologians are today sensitive to the history of anti-Semitism in the Church and throughout Christian history, and are making efforts to overcome it theologically. In addition to Frank Littell, mentioned above in endnote 2, let me add the names of A. Roy Eckardt, Charlotte Klein, Johann Baptist Metz, Franklin Sherman, and David Tracy. There are, of course, many others. One should also recognize, in this regard, the greatness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyred by the nazis. The list of Jewish thinkers (e.g., Emil Fackenheim, Saul Friedlander, Hyam Maccoby, Frank E. Manuel, Jacob Neusner, Samuel Sandmel, et al.) who have grappled with this issue - Christian theological anti-Semitism - is, unfortunately I think, perhaps as long.

8Another possible New Testament support for this perspective can be found in Hebrews 6:4-6: "For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame." Despite the word ïmpossible" here, interpreters have seen this to mean that revelation is an ongoing process.

9Fackenheim's 614th Commandment can be found in several of his writings, e.g., Emil Fackenheim, Quest for Past and Future (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968); Emil Fackenheim, God's Presence in History (New York: Harper and Row, 1970); and Emil Fackenheim, The Jewish Return Into History (New York: Schocken Books, 1978). Against Fackenheim's interpretation of the requirement "to not give Hitler a posthumous victory," one could argue that this commandment is already covered, by extension, in the three traditional commandments regarding the wickedness of Amalek: "Remember what Amalek did to you" (Deuteronomy 15:17); "You Shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek (Deuteronomy 25:19); and "You shall not forget" (Deuteronomy 25:19), which are accounted Commandments 603, 604, and 605, according to Sefer HaChinuch's compilation and numbering of the "taryag mitzvos," the 613 Commandments. Consistent with this view, one could also argue, as does Michael Wyschogrod, in "Faith and the Holocaust," (Judaism 20 (Summer 1971), pp. 286-294; reprinted in A Holocaust Reader, ed. Michael L. Morgan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 164-171), that Fackenheim's imperative is only a religious commandment for those Jews who are already believers. But unless one wishes to impose a belief in the privileged position of the Jews with regard to global holy history, one can only say that for the world at large the Holocaust is another instance - horrifying, terrible, unique - that should spur all humans of good will toward the larger imperative to combat injustice wherever and whenever it is found. Wyshogrod's argument supplements and is consistent with the thesis of the present paper. Nonetheless, for reasons I have given, I hold that the Holocaust has special significance for Christianity.

File translated from TEX by TTH, version 2.64.
On 7 May 1997, 17:14.