How modern is the holocaust?

Amos Goldberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In his Modernity and the Holocaust, the eminent sociologist Zygmunt Bauman argued that instead of signifying a retreat from modernity, the Holocaust was actually a distinct expression of it, emerging directly from modern worldviews and the structures of modern existence. Bauman returns to the bureaucrat as a characteristic figure of the modern era. The concept by which hatred of the Jews became “a gardener’s job” of weed and pest extermination, as part of the project of population engineering, was a clear modern scientific concept - racism. According to Bauman, the Holocaust is neither merely the specific story of the Jews in Europe nor an account of insane anti-Semitic hatred that released primeval instincts and ended in tragedy. Modern trends of ethnocentric nationalism that were not necessarily racial in the strict scientific sense of the word had a decisive influence on the fate of the Jews during the Holocaust.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Collective Violence
Subtitle of host publicationCurrent Developments and Understanding
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780429590894
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 selection and editorial matter, Carol A. Ireland, Michael Lewis, Anthony C. Lopez, Jane L. Ireland; individual chapters, the contributors.


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