Monday, June 15, 2015

Ausrottung Revisited

With apologies to Jansson, I am traveling for the next few weeks so cannot guarantee that I can reply speedily to everything he posts. For now I will defer to Longerich who says that 
6.2 Used with respect to a people, the term ausrotten does not necessarily have to mean that all members of this people are killed. The term could also be understood in the sense that the foundations for the existence of the people are destroyed, so that the nation ceases to exist as a nation. However, the term can also be understood as meaning that all members of a nation or the great majority of a nation are killed. The term is used in this second sense by Hitler and leading National Socialists during the Second World War and also in the years preceding the war. I have not yet found a single example of Hitler or Himmler using the term "ausrotten" during the Second World War with respect to human beings or a group of human beings other than in the sense of "to kill in large numbers or to kill all as far as possible".

With regard to ausmerzung, Rosenberg's use seems most likely to be indebted to its application in eugenics, to mean the biological elimination of the unfit, as in this title. We also have Staeglich's confirmation, as I showed in my last posting. Jansson and others would have to show that the overall pattern of usage by the Nazis of ausrottung and ausmerzung was compatible with a policy of keeping the Jews alive rather than imposing conditions that would eradicate them physically from the earth.

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