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Causes of the Holocaust 

What were the causes of the Holocaust? This is a complex question in the history of the Holocaust, but not an intractable one. It turns out there are several reasons why the German people and their helpers during World War II rose to round up and murder six million of their Jewish neighbors. But in essence, the causes for the Holocaust all revolve around antisemitism, the ancient hatred of Jews and Judaism spread by Christianity during almost two millennia.

Gabriel Wilensky

Understanding the Holocaust

The history of the Holocaust really begins almost 2,000 years ago, shortly after the death of Jesus Christ. At that time, the early Christian sect began distancing themselves from mainstream Jews and Judaism. Over time, this animosity grew into hatred, and the new replacement theology in which Jews and Judaism had lost their place in the world and ceased to be God’s chosen people became prevalent in Christianity.

“Ultimately, all these accusations were variations and derivations of the original accusation against Jews, namely, that their alleged perfidy, blindness and obstinacy prevented them to see the truth and accept Jesus as the messiah and the son of God.”

After the Enlightenment the original theological antisemitism transformed itself into a secular form, which later became pseudo-scientific and was understood in racial terms. This is the form the Nazis and their contemporaries based their hatred of Jews on.

Often people try to explain the Holocaust by looking for causes in the immediate historical context: the rise of Jews in European society, the loss of WWI, the Versailles Treaty, the collapse of the German economy, the prevalence of Jews in professional jobs, etc. In reality, attempting to find the causes for the Holocaust in these things is a misguided effort, because it fails to understand that blaming Jews for those things was no different from blaming Jews for the death of Jesus, for desecrating the host, for murdering Christian boys to extract their blood to make Passover bread, for being minions of the Devil, and a any number of other things all the common litany of accusations against Jews prevalent in Christian Europe before the Enlightenment. Ultimately, all these accusations were variations and derivations of the original accusation against Jews, namely, that their alleged perfidy, blindness and obstinacy prevented them to see the truth and accept Jesus as the messiah and the son of God.

During the Nazi period the perpetrators were not driven by theological hatred of Jews, but it was the long-standing contempt and hatred of Jews that made them susceptible and receptive to the genocidal message of the Nazis. Thus, the main cause for the Holocaust is antisemitism, a phenomenon that was common to all the perpetrators of the Holocaust, regardless of whether they had been subjected to Nazi racial propaganda or to anti-Jewish sentiments in the New Testament or Sunday sermons.

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