What are the 6 facts that make the Shoah, the Holocaust, an exceptional event? This is what Prof. Yosef Ben-Shlomo used to ask, and this is how he answered this question:

1. “Judenrein” – For the first time in the history of the nations, a government strived for a total annihilation of another nation, most of which did not even live in its territory. In the Nazi documents, even the 200 Jews of Albania were counted.

2. No objection – In the Wannsee Conference it was unanimously decided to implement the Final Solution, without even one comment of objection. A large, respectable and public forum made this decision, and no one rose against it.

3. The Germans worked against their own interest – Germany eventually started losing WWII but acted irrationally: Instead of investing in the fighting itself, the Germans kept “wasting” energy on the annihilation operation of the Jews.

4. They were not crazy – The murderers were family men, professionals, educated and sane. Millions of regular, ordinary people did not find a problem in their taking part in this huge extermination project.

5. The camps were not bombed – The killing institutions kept operating without anyone stopping them. The ammunition factories, in contrast, were bombed.

6. Lack of choice – contrary to other decrees and persecutions, here the Jews had no possibility of immigration, of cooperating with the enemy, of expulsion or conversion. Death was the only option they were faced with.

Ben-Shlomo’s student, Prof. Shalom Rosenberg, draws the following conclusion about the Holocaust and asks us to notice: The absolute evil of our time, Nazi Germany, marked for themselves Judaism and the Jews as their absolute enemy. We did not merit to see G-d coming down on Mt. Sinai and declaring: “You are My beloved”; instead, we merited to see the Devil declares upon us: “You are my enemies”. Therefore, every Jew has to constantly ask oneself: What makes me the evil’s enemy?

Originally posted on the facebook page of Sivan Rahav Meir.