During the 1890s, almost 200,000 Armenians were murdered on the orders of the sultan of Anatolia, in what is now Turkey. It was the first modern manifestation of a phenomenon that has become all too familiar.
The phrase “family values” became an early catchword in the culture wars. The way people define those values and implement them politically marks a bitter line of division between liberals and conservatives.
A decade ago humanitarian intervention, defined by Brian Lepard as “the use of military force to protect the victims of human rights violations,” seemed to be a policy whose time had come. Now it is hotly debated.
Two recent books reflect contrasting approaches to the study of the Holocaust. The Holocaust Encyclopedia is a good example of what could be called the "macro" approach, which includes generalized histories, lexicons and collections of archival and research findings.
Controversy about the role of the Vatican and Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust has raged ever since Rolf Hochhuth’s play The Deputy was first performed in 1965, but the debate has intensified in recent years. Since 1965 the Vatican has published 11 volumes of selected archival material from the Nazi era—but these volumes omitted some relevant documents.
One of the most unusual rescuers of European Jews during the Holocaust was Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz. Long ignored, his story is well told in this account by historian Theo Tschuy (with a preface by Simon Wiesenthal). As a free-spirited young man, Lutz emigrated to the United States and worked at a variety of jobs before deciding to study diplomacy at George Washington University.
In 1969, I dropped out of college, moved to Racine, Wisconsin, and worked for a community action program and then for a welfare rights organization. The focus of my work was tenants’ rights—helping tenants negotiate with landlords over things like rent and housing violations. Among my many indelible memories from that year was the situation of a family with six children.
Saying that it was time “for Jews to learn about the efforts of Christians to honor Judaism,” over 170 Jewish leaders from all branches of Judaism have signed a statement outlining eight points of common ground and shared purpose between Christians and Jews.
The 20th century has been scarred by the mass murder of ethnic groups in Armenia, Nazi-occupied Europe, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo. On a smaller scale, hate crimes against certain groups also erupt in this country. What factors converge to make such violence possible? Can anything be done to prevent it?