The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
Dmetal
Con (against)
Winning
33 Points

The Jews of pre-WWII Germany were partly responsible for the Holocaust

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 10,697 times Debate No: 14418
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (15)
Votes (8)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

First and foremost, I would like to make it absolutely clear that I am not arguing that the genocide that took place in Nazi Germany was in the slightest bit justified: in my opinion, the Holocaust represents one of the most inhuman and evil crimes ever committed.

With that in mind, I would like to put my argument into a little bit of historical context:

In the inter-war years, Germany suffered from hyperinflation with prices rising so quickly that workers had to be paid three times daily. Although this economic chaos was very bad news for most Germans, hyperinflation provided an opportunity for callous businessmen to make big profits out of other people's misery by speculating on the foreign exchange markets, by converting money into goods and fixed plant and by borrowing money and using it to buy devalued stocks and shares. [1]

The massive profits being made in these ways attracted large numbers of Jews from neighbouring European countries to Germany and in the 1920's the Jewish population of the country swelled to over half a million. [2]

This wave of immigration caused a great deal of resentment within the indigenous German population, many of whom were suffering great economic hardship, and were bitter that Jews were becoming prosperous at their expense, at least as they perceived it.

To make matters worse, Jews had long been despised in Germany for their practice of usury (lending money at very high rates of interest). In former times, when strict religious observance was universal in Germany, usury was forbidden to Christians, as it was to Jews, but the Jews took advantage of a religious loophole in the Hebrew scriptures which they interpreted as giving them permission to ruthlessly exploit non-Jews for their own financial gain: the relevant passage in the Torah reading:

"Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother: interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of any thing that is lent upon interest. Unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest."
Deuteronomy 23:20-21

So, the hostility that had built up towards Jews in Germany as the result of their practice of usury and their (perceived) employment of other sharp financial practices was a gift to the Nazis who exploited it to the full in order to help them gain power.

Unusually for politicians, and very unfortunately for the Jews, the Nazis kept their promises and duly persecuted the Jews, exterminating 90% of them as part of the „Endl´┐Żsung der Judenfrage" (the "final solution to the Jewish problem").

Of course, the Jews living in Germany could scarcely have been able to predict the Holocaust, but it might have been reasonable to expect them to endeavour to improve their reputation within the society in which they lived.

They could have done this numerous ways:

a) By moderating their business practices so as not to cause any unnecessary hardship to their customers.

b) By integrating more with the indigenous German population through socialising, spending more money with non-Jewish businesses and allowing inter-faith marriages.

c) And perhaps most importantly, by giving to non-Jewish charities: Tzedakah (the giving of alms to the needy) is a religious obligation in Judaism but the recipients are prioritised as follows:

(1) Closeness to the giver (relatives ahead of non-relatives, etc.)
(2) Intensity and kind of need (priority to life-threatening needs, priority for those requiring food over those requiring clothing, etc.)
(3) Level of education (Torah scholars take precedence over non-scholars)
(4) Gender (women take precedence over men)
(5) Lineage (Cohen has precedence over Levy who has precedence over a Yisroel; an ordinary Jew takes precedence over a mamzer, etc.) [3]

So although giving to Gentiles is not forbidden in Judaism, we can see that any non-Jewish people in need are going to be a long way behind the Cohens, Levys and the Yisroels in the line to receive handouts from wealthy Jewish benefactors, which obviously had the potential to cause ill-feeling amongst the many needy Germans at that time.

Thus we can see that the failure of the Jewish population in Germany in the 1920's and 30's to ingratiate themselves with the general population helped the Nazis to gain control of the country and, ultimately, enable them to exterminate Jews in the hundreds of thousands.

Therefore, we must conclude that the Jews of pre-World War II Germany were partly responsible for the Holocaust.

Thank you.

[1] http://www.usagold.com...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.just-tzedakah.org...
Dmetal

Con

During desperate times, people can commit horrendous acts. The Holocaust illustrates this better than any event in history. My opponent's argument is essentially, one, the Jews exploited many native Germans during a time of economic collapse. Two, the Jews failed to integrate, or assimilate, into German society. Three, if the Jews would have altered their traditions, they could have eliminated unwarranted hatred. Finally, he concludes that because of these points, the Jews were partly responsible for the Holocaust. I have no quarrel with his premises; however, his conclusion does not follow. This is much like blaming the rape victim for dressing too scantily.

Although the Allies after WWI brought Germany to economic collapse, they would have never been able to predict the Holocaust. We should not think that they should have either. The Holocaust was a complete contingency. After WWI, the victors, particularly France, felt that Germany should be smashed, quelling any effort to spark another war. In the aftermath, Germany lost land, most its military, was forced to pay reparations, and had to admit full responsibility for the war (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk...). This, however, would not be enough to spark anything resembling the Holocaust. It took deliberate action by Hitler and the Nazis to instill hatred towards anyone who opposed the iconic German nationalist. These people included Jews, the disabled, homosexuals, communists, gypsies, and other groups surrounding Germany.

Hitler and the Nazis must be kept fully responsible for the Holocaust. By accepting my opponent's argument, we leave room for justifying inhumane acts of violence. We could build arguments similar to this that blame slavery on blacks, cultural genocide on Indians, and rape on women. This is a clear cut case. We must blame the Holocaust on Hitler and the Nazis. Please vote this racist argument down. Racism and oppression must be challenged in their entirety, meaning that we must not even consider their rationalizations.
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

I would like to thank Dmetal for accepting this challenge.

I have reviewed my opening argument and my opponent's rebuttal and I am compelled to agree with his statement: "Hitler and the Nazis must be kept fully responsible for the Holocaust."

Therefore, I feel I have no option but to concede this debate.

Thank you.
Dmetal

Con

Hmmm.... Okay :)
Debate Round No. 2
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Shtookah 6 years ago
Shtookah
Yikes.. dark topic..
Posted by Curious22 6 years ago
Curious22
Suppose some were nasty businesspeople and swindlers. That's no justification for genocide, or hatred after Germans got back on their feet economically.
Perhaps the German government could have penalized those people who took advantage of citizens during the economic crisis, and taken their fortunes, but an all out genocide against a whole race can't be faulted against the Jews,
Posted by SuperRobotWars 6 years ago
SuperRobotWars
@dinokiller
Just like Sieben ! ! !
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
brian_eggleston
Without wishing to engage in Semitic semantics, this is not a debate about race: Judaism is a religion and Hebrew Jews are Semites, as are Arabs.
Posted by dinokiller 6 years ago
dinokiller
Gawd, i tell you, are you trying to pin this whole thing on jews again, just like what Hitler did?
everyone, HES OUR RACIST! GET HIM!
Posted by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
So, what you all are saying is that this is a debate of semantics? That's unfortunate, because we are talking about millions of slaughtered human beings. I dare say, askbob and Brian, very cold and unrealistic.
Posted by AntiChrist666 6 years ago
AntiChrist666
So If I get punched in my face because I am not "cool" or accepted, this means I am partially at fault for not increasing my reputation? I hate to be the guy to say it, but are you really that blind? Well in my country anyways its against the law to attack, better yet kill anybody. Regardless of what the person did to piss you off, your violence compared to their words are in different realms. You cannot even begin to say somebody not doing something, makes them at fault for being attacked for not doing something that they have to obligation or need to do. The Nazi's are the only ones to be blamed for the killing of the Jewish people in Europe during WW2. Now maybe if we were talking about people not accepting the Jewish people in Germany, because of their ridiculous and ignorant faith, then yes the Jews would be responsible for the Christians not liking them, but even the Christians have ignorant faith. So really the only people who could complain would be the secular or atheist people.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
Ore_Ele
I still want a definition for "responsible" as opposed to "contributor" or "at fault".
Posted by askbob 6 years ago
askbob
It's not the same gavin.

A woman walks down a dark alley way in an area of town that has a high crime rate alone at night.

Partly responsible.

A man lived two blocks away and could have woken up in the middle of the night gone to the alley way and saved the woman.

However he was asleep.

Partly responsible.

A police car drove near the scene but had their windows up to protect themselves from the cold night air and did not hear the woman's screams.

Partly responsible.

it goes on and on.

You have to define what partly means and how much blame is placed.
Posted by vardas0antras 6 years ago
vardas0antras
"Partly is too open of a word."
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