Forget-You-NotForget-You-NotHolocaust Survivors and Remembrance Project
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A Critical Assessment
On the Current Mainstream Definitions of the Holocaust

by
K. K. Brattman
Managing Editor
February 3, 2006

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0. Opening Statement

Any subject of learning begins with good definitions of its concepts involved. Without such clear and coherent definitions, the whole contemplated study of the respective subject is doomed right from the start. And the study of the Holocaust is no exception in this regard.

Mainstream reputable dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster, Webster Dictionary, or the American Heritage Dictionary define the Holocaust as "the mass slaughter of European civilians and especially Jews by the Nazis during World War II," OR as "the mass killing of millions of Jews by the Nazis during the period from 1933 to 1945 in Germany and German-occupied lands" OR as "the genocide of European Jews and others by the Nazis during World War II," respectively.

Clearly, these definitions of the Holocaust and the likes are highly inadequate as they are extremely vague. They fail miserably in touching upon the essence of the Holocaust as a Nazi killing machinery targeting all the perceived undesirables for the purpose of creating a new "pure" so-called Arian superior race.

Those dictionary definitions and the likes fail completely in identifying the Holocaust's clear denominator (i.e., the criteria for the killings that were based on who you are as oppose to what you did or believed in), its clear demarcated boundaries (that need to be separated from the other atrocities of the war), and its clear and rather distinct components (as noted in our posted definition of the Holocaust placed in here). If a meaningful definition of the Holocaust is to be given, then the reference to the "other" Holocaust victims (aside from Jews) targeted by the Nazis for total eradication need also to be specified as guessing need not be part of any meaningful definition.

It is the purpose of this critical assessment to explore further how far this inadequacy in defining the Holocaust has gone into the mainstream channels of communication --the subject of our next section.


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