The Holocaust was one of the great traumas associated with World War II. It forced the Western World to confront the fact that a highly advanced, "civilized" nation at the heart of Europe - Germany - had been responsible not just for a initiating a horrendously bloody war, but for carrying out the systematic murder of millions of completely innocent people. The conceit that "Western Civilization" was the most just and desirable matrix of law, politics, and culture was permanently undermined in the process. Since the ancient Greeks, the proud distinction between civilization and barbarism had been upheld in the minds of the social and political elites of the “West,” and yet it was some of those very elites who perpetrated the ultimate act of barbarism in the twentieth century.
Kristallnacht - German Federal Archives
Warsaw Ghetto - Public Domain
Einsatzgruppen - Public Domain
Buchenwald Survivors - Public Domain
Bodies at Gusen - Public Domain