15 August 2011

NINETY-SEVENTH

A historian once speculated on what would happen if a time-traveler from 1945 arrived back in Europe just before the First World War, and told an intelligent and well-informed contemporary that within thirty years a European nation would make a systematic attempt to kill all the Jews of Europe and exterminate nearly six million in the process.  If the time-traveler invited the contemporary to guess which nation it would be, the chances were that he would have pointed to France, where the Dreyfus affair had recently led to a massive outbreak of virulent antisemitism.  Or it might be Russia, where the Tsarist 'Black Hundreds' had been massacring large numbers of Jews in the wake of the failed revolution of 1905.  That Germany, with its highly acculturated Jewish community and its comparative lack of overt or violent political antisemitism, would be the nation to launch this exterminatory campaign would hardly have occurred to him.
— Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich, p.31