Yehuda Bauer | Holocaust History Interview

Interview with Yehuda Bauer

Picture of Yehuda Bauer

This interview is where the Cybrary started, on June 2, 1993 at Hebrew University in Israel. I went in with my video camera and interviewed Professor Bauer. Because of difficulties making audio play on all computers, the quality may not be the greatest, but the message is. And that’s what’s important. Teachers and students interested in getting a better audio copy of the file or finding out more are welcome to Contact Us.

You have permission from this site to use these audios for educational purposes. Thanks and thanks for Professor Bauer’s gracious permission to allow us to share this interview.

You can find the complete transcript of Professor Bauer’s interview in the home page of the Cybrary, under Historical Perspectives: Historians: Yehuda Bauer

Relevance of the Holocaust to Current Events (63K file, 1 minute duration)

Listen to the audio

“There is no relevance to current events. There is no relevance.
The relevance is to itself. Because in each historical event that
you take, you don’t actually use what actually happened, you use
it in order to show something that is happening now. So there is
no relevance and there is every relevance. You mentioned Bosnia,
the differences between the Holocaust and the Bosnian situation
are too obvious to dwell upon–they are huge. But of course you
can use the Holocaust example if you want to, to show how the Bosnian
situation could develop — could develop it won’t — it could develop into
something like the Holocaust and then draw your conclusions that
human nature is shown to be capable of horrible things in both the
Holocaust and Bosnia, if you arrive at that conclusion you arrive at no
conclusion at all, just purely rubbish. Because it’s too obvious.”

The Denial of the Holocaust

“Well that is a fairly obvious reaction; the denial of the
Holocaust stems from the incapability of a society to accept what
it did. In a broader sense, not in an American sense, also all
these professors who stand up and say what you said they say, are
really aiming at American democracy, let’s become Hitlerites you
know, turn America into a well ordered, law and order society and
for that we don’t need the Jews. And how wonderful the Nazi
society was, they never did anything to the Jews. So the aim is
not the Jews actually, the aim is American society.”

“Holocaust” has become a Code Concept for Human Behavior (60K file, 1 minute duration)

Listen to the audio

“And when, 1900 years after the coming of the Messiah, his people
are murdered by baptized Gentiles that’s a problem for
Christianity. Just think of it, Jesus came to save the world, he
was a Jew and 1900 years later people who were raised in his
religion, or what people interpret his religion to be, baptized
Gentiles murder his people. So there is a tremendous credibility
crisis for Christianity, there is another credibility crisis for
Judaism too, because where was God at Auschwitz? The usual
question, but for both these monotheistic religions there are
tremendous crises, out of this event, so the importance of the Jew
in Western civilization is another reason why this has become a
code, a code concept.”

“The Jew” as a Target (60k file, 1 minute duration)

Listen to the audio

“The Holocaust was perpetrated by the Nazis for very specific reasons. They saw in
the Jews the ultimate enemy, who was behind all the other enemies
they had. And the Jews were in their eyes Satan; coming from a
Christian background, although anti-Christian, if somebody was
Satan you knew what to do with him. Murder him. Kill him.
Annihilate him. Ultimately. Perhaps drive him out first. And then
finally when this didn’t work kill him. And it wasn’t really
directed against the Jews of country X but against the concept of
the Jew. The Jew. Anywhere. Everywhere. At all times. Forever. And
that is unique. That has never happened before but it can happen

Explaining the Behavior of People During the Holocaust (100K file, 1 minute 40 seconds duration)

Listen to the audio

“The behavior was by no means uniform, on the contrary, it is very
different. Two thirds of the Jews of France survived, so obviously
it had something to do with the attitudes of a large number of
French people. Sixty percent of the Jews of Belgium survived,
eighty percent of the Jews of Italy survived. In the inner region of Bulgaria, not the areas that were conquered by the Bulgarian army outside of Bulgaria, but within Bulgaria, all the
Jews survived. Why? Why did it not happen elsewhere? Now that is
not very difficult to explain. And it is very important if you are
looking for the human element, then how do you explain that people
behaved differently in the Ukraine from Poland, (I mean) from France?
And how high do you value those few who did help in the Ukraine
versus a general mood in France that made it much much easier for
the ordinary Frenchman to say well my neighbor is doing this so
that’s okay, I’ll do it too. So it’s not very difficult to point it out, it’s
much more difficult to explain on the level of the individual the
behavior because you have either from all ranks of life and from
all kinds of different backgrounds who helped, and you have people
from the same background who didn’t.”

Go to the Top of the Page