Critique of Two View Points on Holocaust Oppression

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The following two articles provide a classic example of the tension that exists within current historiography of the Holocaust. Both seek to define the Holocaust upon different criteria, of which ultimately devalues different groups that experienced Nazi persecution. Sybil Milton’s, “Gypsies and the Holocaust” details the history of the Gypsies under the Nazi movement. Milton’s article is a convincing argument for the inclusion of the Gypsies and as a by-product, the handicapped, as victims of the Holocaust. Milton provides a detailed history of the Nazi treatment of the Gypsies, from their placement in Zigeunerlager (special internment camps for Gypsies) prior to 1939, to their biological registration, relocation, incarceration in concentration camps and eventual massacre. Milton’s article lists reasons for the concentration on Judeocide within the Holocaust literature, and reformulates the categorization of the ‘Holocaust’. For Milton, the prime consideration on the fate of the Jews in Nazi Germany in current historiography is related to a number of factors. Two of these are the larger number of primary government documents relating to Jewish treatment, and the greater production of Jewish memoir literature. Milton also considers the political motivation of the German people in concentrating solely on Judeocide: “if one considers the fate of the Gypsies and the handicapped, rather than just the Jews, one must begin to consider pre-1939 occurrences carried out by “ordinary” German bureaucrats, scientists and policemen.”[1] Milton challenges the dominant conception of the ‘Holocaust’ on the basis that it, “posits a qualitative difference between the murder of the Jews and that of the Gypsies and the handicapped without providing any convincing documentary evidence.”[2] For Milton, the Holocaust constitutes the mass murder of the Jews, the Gypsies and the handicapped in the process of the Nazi conquest to create a biologically homogenous race. Milton’s...
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