The longer ago the mass murder of European Jews, the more adventurous claims can be made about it.

That doesn't mean his denial.

It's too absurd to be more than gross.

Rather, it is about treating the Holocaust as a “narrative”, the meaning of which is exaggerated.

It is provincial, it is currently said, to distinguish Auschwitz from all other genocides in recent world history.

The chances for such a classification of the Shoah in the general battle history of history are increasing for demographic reasons.

The last survivors of the extermination camps appear in German schools.

The oldest surviving liberator from Auschwitz has just died at the age of 98.

Biographical links are thinning and time is ruthless.

Jürgen Kaube


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    This is why parts of the public discussion about Auschwitz will soon become historical.

    The memory of the toil it took to discover truths about the murder of the Jews will fade.

    The so-called historians' dispute, which showed this in 1986, will soon be more than a generation ago.

    In addition, there is concern about the importance of the events from 1940 to 1945 for a society in which more and more citizens live whose parents and grandparents were born after this period or completely outside of the regions in which the mass murder took place.

    What should the Holocaust mean to an Afghan or Moroccan immigrant?

    The "Catechism of the Germans"

    The Australian historian Dirk Moses, who teaches in North Carolina, has just provided an example of the sense of this question. Moses researches genocide, colonial history and National Socialism. In an article for the online magazine Geschichte der Gegenwart, he now claims that there is a “catechism of the Germans” that practices a kind of guilt cult on five points. “Catechism” should mean: a series of unchecked beliefs that are believed to be true. The Holocaust is claimed firstly as singular, secondly as a breach of civilization that forms the moral foundation of the German nation. Thirdly, he argues that Germany has a special responsibility towards Jews and Israel for the people who recite this catechism, and fourthly it is asserted that anti-Semitism was a specifically German attitude,which cannot simply be classified as an example of racist attitudes. Fifth, all of this has an impact on anti-Zionism, which in this country is generally regarded as anti-Semitic.

    Moses rejects any entry in this catechism. He considers the opinion of the Holocaust as an event that can be distinguished from all other genocides to be the expression of a German civil religion. He considers specific characteristics of the Holocaust to be unquestionable across the board, but he does not discuss what they are; one can assume that these are the specific characteristics that every historical process possesses. The religious function of memory is more important to him. Germany seeks “redemption” from historical guilt through an erroneous view of history. Victims of genocide other than Jewish victims keep it away from historical comparisons so that its “sacred trauma” remains pure. The assertion that the Shoah is a singular event in world history primarily serves the needs of the nation-state.The Federal Republic legitimizes its existence through the monstrous events that preceded its foundation.