ABC-CLIO

Bystanders

Conscience and Complicity During the Holocaust

by Victoria J. Barnett

Print Flyer
Abortion in the United States

June 1999

Praeger

Pages 208
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Religion/General
Description

The Holocaust did not introduce the phenomenon of the bystander, but it did illustrate the terrible consequences of indifference and passivity towards the persecution of others. Although the term was initially applied only to the good Germans—the apathetic citizens who made genocide possible through unquestioning obedience to evil leaders—recent Holocaust scholarship has shown that it applies to most of the world, including parts of the population in Nazi-occupied countries, some sectors within the international Christian and Jewish communities, and the Allied governments themselves. This work analyzes why this happened, drawing on the insights of historians, Holocaust survivors, and Christian and Jewish ethicists. The author argues that bystander behavior cannot be attributed to a single cause, such as anti-Semitism, but can only be understood within a complex framework of factors that shape human behavior individually, socially, and politically.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Who Is a Bystander?
Individual Behavior
Collective Behavior
Interpreting the Holocaust
The Role of Totalitarianism
Attitudes Toward "The Other": Prejudice and Indifference
The Dynamics of Indifference
A Broken World: Religious Interpretations of the Holocaust
Acts of Disruptive Empathy: One Village
The Individual as Ethical Being
Bibliography
Index

Reviews/Endorsements

Endorsements

Without flinching, and with sharp distaste for any apologetics, Barnett scrutinizes the behavior of the bystanders, those who saw and did nothing and then claimed they bore no responsibility. This book is a great achievement and will disturb the complacency of all those who thought they already knew the history of the Holocaust.—Susannah Heschel^Lauthor of ^IAbraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus^R

The ethical questions [Barnett] raises are as relevant and searing for the bystanders of today as they are for those of the past. Extremely well written, interesting and clear, the book should appeal to students in college-level Holocaust studies courses as well as the general public. It provides a great deal of information about Holocaust history while simultaneously provoking the reader toward moral self-scrutiny.—Pearl Oliner^LProfessor of Education^LResearch Director^LAltruistic Personality and Prosocial Behavior Institute

Victoria Barnett's book charts new ground in considering the bystander phenomenon during the Holocaust. Drawing from a wide variety of sources Barnett examines the historical and ethical implications of bystander behavior on three levels: the individual, institutional and international. Scholars and educators will benefit from Barnett's innovative and provocative study.—Mary Johnson^LNational Senior Program Associate^LFacing History and Ourselves

Victoria Barnett's new book is a welcome and necessary addition to the scholarship on the holocaust, in particular on its implications for Christians and Christianity....Barnett's lucidly written, accessible book will find a receptive audience in undergraduate and graduate classes as well as among the broader interested public.—Doris L. Bergen^LProfessor^LUniversity of Notre Dame

Other Titles of Interest

Toward Reunion in Philosophy cover imagePilgrimage and the Jews cover imageAfrican Traditional Religion in South Africa cover image
Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Catholic American Writing cover imageThe Future of Religious Orders in the United States cover imageThere's an Easter Egg on Your Seder Plate cover image

Product Search

Product Search

Publication Year

Format










Imprint

Need Help? Try our Search Tips