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Interview with Yehuda Bauer

Picture of Yehuda Bauer

Interview with Professor Yehuda Bauer

This interview is where the Cybrary started, on June 2, 1993 at Hebrew University in Israel. I went in with my video camera and interviewed Professor Bauer. Because of difficulties making audio play on all computers, the quality may not be the greatest, but the message is. And that's what's important. Teachers and students interested in getting a better audio copy of the file or finding out more are welcome to email [email protected] This audio is Copyright 1993 The Write Thing, all rights reserved. No use is allowed without our permission. Thanks and thanks for Professor Bauer's gracious permission to allow us to share this interview.

You can find the complete transcript of Professor Bauer's interview in the home page of the Cybrary, under Historical Perspectives: Historians: Yehuda Bauer

Warning: a 50K file takes about 30 seconds to download on a 14.4 modem.

Relevance of the Holocaust to Current Events (63K file, 1 minute duration)

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"There is no relevance to current events. There is no relevance. The relevance is to itself. Because in each historical event that you take, you don't actually use what actually happened, you use it in order to show something that is happening now. So there is no relevance and there is every relevance. You mentioned Bosnia, the differences between the Holocaust and the Bosnian situation are too obvious to dwell upon--they are huge. But of course you can use the Holocaust example if you want to, to show how the Bosnian situation could develop -- could develop it won't -- it could develop into something like the Holocaust and then draw your conclusions that human nature is shown to be capable of horrible things in both the Holocaust and Bosnia, if you arrive at that conclusion you arrive at no conclusion at all, just purely rubbish. Because it's too obvious."

The Denial of the Holocaust (50K file, 45 seconds duration)

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"Well that is a fairly obvious reaction; the denial of the Holocaust stems from the incapability of a society to accept what it did. In a broader sense, not in an American sense, also all these professors who stand up and say what you said they say, are really aiming at American democracy, let's become Hitlerites you know, turn America into a well ordered, law and order society and for that we don't need the Jews. And how wonderful the Nazi society was, they never did anything to the Jews. So the aim is not the Jews actually, the aim is American society."

"Holocaust" has become a Code Concept for Human Behavior (60K file, 1 minute duration)

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"And when, 1900 years after the coming of the Messiah, his people are murdered by baptized Gentiles that's a problem for Christianity. Just think of it, Jesus came to save the world, he was a Jew and 1900 years later people who were raised in his religion, or what people interpret his religion to be, baptized Gentiles murder his people. So there is a tremendous credibility crisis for Christianity, there is another credibility crisis for Judaism too, because where was God at Auschwitz? The usual question, but for both these monotheistic religions there are tremendous crises, out of this event, so the importance of the Jew in Western civilization is another reason why this has become a code, a code concept."

"The Jew" as a Target (60k file, 1 minute duration)

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"The Holocaust was perpetrated by the Nazis for very specific reasons. They saw in the Jews the ultimate enemy, who was behind all the other enemies they had. And the Jews were in their eyes Satan; coming from a Christian background, although anti-Christian, if somebody was Satan you knew what to do with him. Murder him. Kill him. Annihilate him. Ultimately. Perhaps drive him out first. And then finally when this didn't work kill him. And it wasn't really directed against the Jews of country X but against the concept of the Jew. The Jew. Anywhere. Everywhere. At all times. Forever. And that is unique. That has never happened before but it can happen again."

Explaining the Behavior of People During the Holocaust (100K file, 1 minute 40 seconds duration)

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"The behavior was by no means uniform, on the contrary, it is very different. Two thirds of the Jews of France survived, so obviously it had something to do with the attitudes of a large number of French people. Sixty percent of the Jews of Belgium survived, eighty percent of the Jews of Italy survived. In the inner region of Bulgaria, not the areas that were conquered by the Bulgarian army outside of Bulgaria, but within Bulgaria, all the Jews survived. Why? Why did it not happen elsewhere? Now that is not very difficult to explain. And it is very important if you are looking for the human element, then how do you explain that people behaved differently in the Ukraine from Poland, (I mean) from France? And how high do you value those few who did help in the Ukraine versus a general mood in France that made it much much easier for the ordinary Frenchman to say well my neighbor is doing this so that's okay, I'll do it too. So it's not very difficult to point it out, it's much more difficult to explain on the level of the individual the behavior because you have either from all ranks of life and from all kinds of different backgrounds who helped, and you have people from the same background who didn't."

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