The Aporias of Marxism / Archaism and Modernity

By Enzo Traverso

The Aporias of Marxism

In a letter to Walter Benjamin, dated 13 April 1933, Gershom Scholem described the rise of Nazi Germany as 'a catastrophe of world‑historical proportions' which permitted him for the first time 'to comprehend deeply' the expulsion of the Spanish Jews in 1492: 'The magnitude of the collapse of the communist and socialist movements,' he wrote 'is frightfully obvious, but the defeat of German Jewry certainly does not pale by comparison.' [56] These words, written in Palestine by a historian of the Cabbala who had left Germany almost ten years before, seem today a good deal more lucid than any of the Marxist analyses of the time.

In 1933, very few intellectuals were aware of the fact that Hitler's rise to power signified the end of Judaism in Germany. The Jews, as Scholem bitterly observed in this same letter, were powerless and continued desperately to cling to a national identity that had been obstinately constructed over a century of assimilation. The National Socialist laws were soon to abolish at one shot the gains made by emancipation. The great majority of the tens of thousands of Jews who left Germany were intellectuals and left-wing militants, Socialists or Communists, whose Judeity made their position even more hazardous and precarious. The official institutions of the Jewish community, notably the Zentraverein, tried to find a form of coexistence and accommodation with the new regime. [57]

The workers' movement was no more ready to deal with the catastrophe. From the end of the twenties, Trotsky had seen the danger of German fascism: his warnings went unheeded. The KPD and SPD were dismantled without offering any real resistance, after having shown themselves incapable [123/124] of obstructing the rise of National Socialism and of providing an alternative to the dissolution of the Weimar Republic. However, in 1933, nazism unleashed its attack on the workers' organizations, not on the Jews. Nazi anti‑Semitism developed gradually and inexorably, passing through several stages: first discrimination and the questioning of emancipation again (1933‑35); then economic depredations and the adoption of a policy of persecution (1938‑41); finally extermination (1941‑45). The destruction of the workers' movement was not a gradual process: it was, in fact, one of the conditions for the consolidation of the Nazi regime. Paradoxically, while the parties, the press, and the left‑wing militants were outlawed and persecuted, Hitler was establishing and encouraging the development of Jewish institutions. His object was to drive a wedge between the 'Aryans' and the Jews and to eradicate any sentiment of belonging to the German nation that the latter might still entertain. The result was that the anti-Semitism seemed superficial and transitory by comparison with the absolute opposition of National Socialism to the workers' movement. In other words, nazism was perceived as a regime that was far more antiworker than anti-Semitic.

Marxist literature of the interwar period tended to explain Nazi anti-Semitism as a 'tool' of the ruling classes, without seeing in it a new phenomenon. The Jews allowed Hitler to depict himself as an anticapitalist, even as he defended the power of the great economic monopolies. The policy of economic 'Aryanization' (which in effect benefited some of the principal German trusts) was an expression of the growing concentration of monopolistic capitalism as it clashed with Jewish commercial capitalism. This thesis, originally propounded by the Comintern press in a language often bordering on the anti‑Semitic, occupied a central position in the writings of Max Horkheimer from 1939‑42 (his point of view was to change in the Dialectic of Enlightenment). [58] The only noteworthy exception was that of Trotsky, who grasped the modern and qualitatively new character of Nazi anti‑Semitism and in 1938 raised an alarm that was truly prophetic about the danger of a policy of 'extermination' of the Jews in the event of another war. [59]

Their analysis of anti‑Semitism—or silence about it—constituted a major weakness in the works of Daniel Guérin, Arthur Rosenberg, Otto Bauer, and August Thalheimer on German fascism. [60] In 1942, the year in [124/125] which the death camps began to operate, Franz Neumann published Behemoth, where he categorically denied any possibility of a Jewish genocide. In view of its 'instrumental' character and political value, Nazi anti‑Semitism could not 'permit a total extermination of the Jews.' 'The internal political value of Anti‑Semitism,' wrote Neumann, 'will, therefore, never allow a complete extermination of the Jews.' The foe cannot and must not disappear; he must always be held in readiness as a scapegoat for all the evils originating in the socio‑political system.' [61] Behind these words, written by a sociologist who was both Marxist and Jewish, lay not only a false analysis of reality, but also a psychological attitude, a desire to banish the nightmare of the immense danger that loomed more and more clearly on the horizon. It is the combination of this false analysis and psychological attitude, shared at that time by the Left as a whole, that explains why the appeal made by Samuel Zygielbojm, leader of the Bund, who commited suicide in London in 1943 to 'protest the extermination of the Jewish people' and expose the passivity of international public opinion, went unheeded.

In the postwar period, Marxism seemed to have forgotten Auschwitz. Works devoted to the analysis of fascism did not discuss the Jewish genocide. On the other hand, a strictly economic notion of anti‑Semitism reemerged in the rare publications on the Jewish question by historians of the GDR. According to the arguments advanced by them, it was not the Nazi regime but the great monopolies that stood behind the genocide (still depicted as a marginal event as against the persecution of insurgent Communists): Eichmann was the representative of 'German monopolistic capitalism as a whole' and in particular of the chemical combine IG‑Farben. [62] Of course, 'analyses' such as these were no longer the result of a tragic failure to understand, but rather of a conscious mystification of reality.

Since the sixties, more responsible studies have begun to appear, some very well documented, but the basis for an understanding of the Jewish genocide is still the notion of Nazi anti‑Semitism as the 'economics' of German imperialism. In an article of 1987, Kurt Pätzold accepts the 'singularity' of the genocide [die Singularität des Judenmords], which he attributes to three factors: the 'barbarous role of the state,' the number of victims, and the modernity of the means of destruction, but concludes by reaffirming that the extermination was consistent with 'the interests of German imperialism, oriented toward a policy of world domination.' [63] [125/126]

Though the motivation is different, an altogether analogous attitude is now discernible among certain West German Marxist historians–Karl-Heinz Roth, Götz Aly, and Susanne Heim. They see a basic 'economic rationality' behind the Jewish genocide which is underwritten not by Nazi anti-Semitism but mainly by the plan to conquer Eastern Europe and create a new world order. They try to show that the Endlösung was planned by numerous Nazi technocrats (economists and especially demographers), exponents of a neo‑Malthusian concept that regarded a policy of extermination as necessary in order to restore the balance between productivity and population. According to this view, racism is simply an aspect of 'economic computation' and the two million Russian prisoners of war who died in the Nazi camps are not so much victims of the living conditions, or of excessively hard labor together with malnutrition, including a lack of basic medical care, as of a policy of extermination fully comparable with that carried out against the Jews. [64] Götz Aly and Susanne Heim resurrect once again a single‑cause, economics‑based interpretation of the Jewish genocide. As Christopher Browning has stressed in his criticism of their theses, they are unwilling to admit that 'racism was neither a diversionary manoeuvre, nor a myth behind which real economic interests hid,' but rather 'the fixed point of the system.' [65] The Nazi 'scientists' did not decide on extermination, but simply tried to 'rationalize' it by means of arguments which, in the whole historical context, could not disguise its fundamental irrationality.

To think in terms of 'final solution economics' also means to deprive the Shoah of its historical distinctiveness, by denying a qualitative difference between losses inflicted as a result of overexploitation of enslaved prisoners of war and the bureaucratic and mechanized racial extermination of the Jews. However, the struggle for Lebensraum in Eastern Europe presupposed the colonization, even reduction to slave status, of the Slav populations, though it in no way implied the wholesale liquidation of the Russians or Poles. According to Götz Aly and Susanne Heim, the Jewish genocide, far from appearing as a unique historical event, simply adds itself to the long list of violent and murderous crimes perpetrated by imperialism. [66] This thesis might be said to represent the culmination of a strong tendency among the new German Left of the sixties and seventies which, cut off from any memory of the Shoah, avoided dealing with the Jewish question. [67] It [126/127] often stressed the continuity between National Socialism and the Federal Republic of Germany, two states resting on the same capitalist foundations, and conceived of fascism in extremely abstract terms, reduced to a few basic traits that applied to any authoritarian regime. For Rudi Dutschke, a charismatic figure in the West German alternative movements, the basic character of fascism was preserved by the FGR in the form of anti-Communism. It is clear that this approach could only underestimate the significance of anti‑Semitism as a central element in the ideology and practice of the Nazi regime. This cultural legacy is no doubt present in the recent discussions of Götz Aly and Susanne Heim.

It should be remembered that since the sixties some Marxist historians had criticized the notion of an intrinsic economic rationale underlying the National Socialist system. For Tim Mason, the basic choices and overall operation of the Nazi system could be explained only in terms of the 'primacy of politics.' [68] However, if this interpretation of the general dynamic of National Socialism appears somewhat problematical, it also turns out to be more useful than 'materialist' explanations as a means of getting to the roots of the Shoah. Economic anti‑Semitism of the traditional kind, based on the myth of the Jew as banker, moneylender, and starver of the people (a type of anti‑Semitism that was exploited on a large scale in the past by various political regimes), might lead to the pogroms of the Czarist Empire but it was not about to be transformed into a mechanized massacre organized by a state. An element that strikes and disconcerts historians studying the Jewish genocide is its essentially antieconomic nature. Where was the economic rationality of a regime which, to kill six million men, women, old people, and children, created, in wartime conditions, an administrative system, transport network, and extermination camps, employing human and material resources which would certainly have been put to better use in industry and on the increasingly depleted war fronts? [69]

It should be emphasized that the notion of the Jewish genocide as a kind of 'economics' of German imperialism was developed only by Stalinist historiography. The analyses of fascism developed by Trotsky, Thalheimer, or Gramsci were infinitely more subtle and profound than the propagandistic formulae of the Third International of the thirties. Fascism for them was not the result of a big‑business initiative but sprang from a mass movement of [127/128] the petite bourgeoisie destabilized and radicalized by a global crisis in capitalist society. Hitler had not begun his political career in the pay of Krupp (even though it was not long before the latter was making financial contributions), but at the head of a movement of lumpen and déclassés. The Fascist regime was regarded by Trotsky and Thalheimer as a distinctive form of Bonapartism, while Gramsci, in his Prison Notebooks, adopted the definition caesarism. These analyses took into account the relative political autonomy of the Fascist system of power (and of its ideology) in relation to its economic bases. Centered around the figure of a charismatic leader, the Fascist regime had a tendency to elevate itself above the classes so as to 'embody the nation,' which could come together as a unified whole for the mortal struggle against the Jews, enemies of the 'Aryan race. ' [70] A nondogmatic, open, Marxist approach might have tried to find a place for Auschwitz among these theoretical categories without having recourse to the most grotesque forms of economic determinism.

Archaism and Modernity

How is the technologized barbarism of Auschwitz to be reconciled with the obscurantist cult of the Aryan Volk? Historians and sociologists have frequently avoided the problem by trying to explain Nazi anti‑Semitism in terms of a single conceptual category: modernity or the obscurantist rejection of it.

In 1955, Herbert Marcuse wrote: 'Concentration camps, mass exterminations, world wars, and atom bombs are no "relapse into barbarism" but the unrepressed implementation of the achievements of modern science, technology, and domination." [71] According to this, it might be appropriate to return to the sources of the emancipation process in order to discover the roots of the perception of the Jew as an outsider in modem society. Emancipation signaled the emergence of the Jews into 'a world that did not accept them,' where Jewish otherness survived in a new form. Parvenu or pariah, the Jew remained a foreigner, Other, and his difference always bore a negative stamp, the indelible traces of a despicable past and a despicable nature. The emancipated Jew was a fully fledged citizen, but could not aspire to becoming a member of the Volk. National Socialism pushed the logic of 'nonacceptance' to its outer limits: the suppression of otherness through the physical liquidation of the Jews. According to Detlev Claussen, one of the [128/129] last representatives of the Frankfurt school, 'extermination for extermination's sake did not derive from anti-Semitism, which needed the eternal Jew, but from the logic of nonacceptance, which cannot admit of any peaceful end, but only of destruction. . . . In the concentration camps, the logic of nonacceptance celebrated its triumph.' [72] The drastic nature of this formulation, which seems to regard Auschwitz as a direct outcome of the Aufklärung, raises some doubts. But Claussen's analysis has the virtue of stressing the aporias of emancipation, which helped to crystalize Jewish otherness and allowed anti-Semitism to make it the catalyst for society's destructive impulses. The intellectuals of the Frankfurt school were the first to discover a fundamental key to the understanding of Auschwitz: its modernity and instrumental rationality. But they were limited in that they grasped only one side of the question.

Next there is the view of nazism as an incomplete form of modernization—economic but not cultural—where anti‑Semitism would express the rejection of modernity and the survival of an archaic ideology. In that case, attention is drawn to the völkisch ideology, which was the source of Hitlerite nationalism and anti‑Semitism. [73] The myth of the German Volk (the origins of which go back to Herder) related not only to the 'people' in an ethnographic sense, but more generally to a system of typically German values. If for Herder, this romantic notion of a German soul had no anti-Jewish and racist connotations, contamination by social Darwinism, from the second half of the nineteenth century, transformed volkism into a kind of racist and anti‑Semitic nationalist philosophy. The dissemination of this ideological current can be explained in the context of Bismarck's Germany, where it took the form of an irrationalist reaction to the advent of modernity as a result of an extremely swift and harrowing process of industrialization and urbanization. Frustrated national aspirations—the absence of a colonial empire, the 'penalties' imposed at Versailles, and so on—as well as particular aspects of German history—the continuation of an absolutist authoritarian regime (the Prussian Obrigkeit) fundamentally opposed to liberal democracy—combined to lend this current of thought a nationalist and aggressive character.

Rejecting the values embodied by modern industrial, urbanized society, polarized between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the völkisch ideology took refuge in tradition, extolled the land, sun, and the spiritual values of [129/130] a people that had emerged from the 'Teutonic forests.' According to the clichés of nationalism, the Jew was the embodiment of modernity, city, and the cult of money; he was rootless and cosmopolitan, and as a result was the absolute antithesis of the German Volk. Heinrich von Treitschke spoke of an 'intrusion [Einbruch]' of Judaism into European civilization and called for the defence of the Christian character of the German nation. Julius Langbehn was horrified by commerce and the technology which threatened traditional German civilization; in his view, it was the Jews above all who embodied this mortal danger: 'The vulgar cult of money, the North American and at the same time Jewish character are increasingly in the ascendent in Berlin,' he wrote in 1890. [74] For Werner Sombart, it was the Jews, due to their 'calculating spirit,' rather than the Protestant ethic, as Max Weber thought, who were at the roots of capitalism. Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who liked to throw Kant and Gobineau, Wagner and Darwin into the same bag, saw the world as divided into hostile races and regarded it as his mission to defend the purity of German blood against the destructive influence of Catholicism and the Jews. If German perceptions with regard to the Jewish question are reduced to the elaborations of völkisch thought, everything becomes quite simple: deeply rooted in the landed aristocracy, the university world, youth, and literary circles, anti‑Semitism adjusted itself to the general pattern of the Romantic paradox, pitting community [Gemeinschaft] against society [Gesellschaft], values that were increasingly identified with two other categories, Germanity and Judeity. Having rid itself of all contradictions, nazism amounted simply to a 'wholesale rejection of the Enlightenment.' [75]

Thus, social Darwinism, social anthropology, biological racism become marginal elements in the formation of the Nazi Weltanschauung, which might pass as a conservative and antimodern ideology. This interpretation fails to grasp the ambiguity of a doctrine which, in spite of its incoherence and its irrational aspects, tried to integrate industrial modernity into a conservative vision of the world. Joseph Goebbels, a master of mass communication, described this century as a period of stahlernde Romantik [steel romanticism]. If Nazi anti‑Semitism was the expression of an ancestral hatred, Zyklon B [gas] was the product of German chemical industries.

The interpretation of nazism as a backward‑looking social, political, or ideological phenomenon in general is based on a concept of history and a [130/131] notion of progress that seems outdated, but it must be admitted that neither can nazism be understood exclusively in terms of modernity. Its ideology and practices derived from the overlapping and merging of contradictory elements: biological racism, industrial society, and 'instrumental rationality'; but also völkisch nationalism, Teutonic mythology, the cult of the ancestral Gemeinschaft, and rejection of urban life. On the one hand, Albert Speer's technocracy; on the other, Martin Heidegger's philosophy. In other words, Nazi ideology represented a mixture, sui generis, of modernity and the rejection of modernity, synthesized in a concept of reactionary modernism. [76] This latter notion was the product of an accommodation between a conservative line of thought and modern industry and technology. Anti-Semitism was the indispensable link between the two: technology and industry could be reconciled with the German soul only after they had been cleansed of the Jewish spirit; liberated from the corrupting influence of the Jews, capitalism could serve the German people; industry could become a positive element for the 'Aryan race,' if it was protected from the calculating, mercantile spirit of the Jewish bourgeoisie; capitalism could be national and creative, if it resisted parasitic, monopolistic Jewish capitalism. This idea, already present in the work of certain theorists of the 'conservative revolution,' was deeply imbedded in the ideology of National Socialist Germany. If the Jews were the embodiment of capitalism in an abstract sense (not of industry, but finance; not of production, but of currency speculation and economic parasitism), anti‑Semitism could be transformed into a sort of 'anticapitalist rebellion.' This rebellion linked the rejection of (Jewish) modernity and the acceptance of (Aryan) technology. The Jewish people was destroyed in the name of a Gemeinschaft founded on blood, land, and nature, by means of industrial technology and rationality. [77]

Nazism essentially amounted to a radicalization, from a biological and rational point of view, of völkisch nationalism. From cultural pessimism (Lagarde, Langbehn, Diederichs, etc.) it inherited its crusading spirit directed against the West ('Judaized' and denying traditional Germanic values); from the conservative revolution (Möller Van der Bruck, Spengler, Schmitt, Jünger, etc.) it had learned to reconcile industry and technology with the criticism of modernity and the urge to 'restore' an eternal order; finally, it borrowed from biologism its concept of the 'Jewish race,' which was at the very root of its Weltanschauung. All these currents of thought, [131/132] although in different degrees, rejected democracy, liberalism, and especially Marxism, and embraced pan-Germanism, nationalism, and anti‑Semitism. [78] In this sense, it can be said that nazism, due to the particular historical circumstances of Germany between the wars, summed up the entire history of the reaction in German culture.

Should nazism—in the light of the uniqueness of the Shoah—be seen as the end result of a particular German line of development, of a deutsche Sonderweg? It is enough to point out here that the Shoah was not the consequence of incomplete secularization, of the 'industrialization without political renewal' of German society. [79] National Socialism came to power in a highly advanced country, where the workers' movement—Social Democracy and the Communist party—possessed powerful and evidently unassailable organizations, and the bourgeoisie dominated not only the economic and social life, but also the political institutions (the constitution of the Weimar Republic, resulting from the 1918 revolution, was one of the most progressive in Europe). It was also a country whose culture had influenced the whole of Europe for over a century. Germany had not only produced the Krupp plants, the chemical installations of IG‑Farben, and Oswald Spengler's and Alfred Rosenberg's ideology; it had also given birth to Immanuel Kant and Friedrich G. Hegel, Karl Marx and Heinrich Heine, Thomas Mann and Bertolt Brecht, Max Weber and Walter Benjamin. In the Wilhelminian Empire and the Weimar Republic, racism and humanism, cosmopolitanism and pan‑Germanism, expressionist rebellion and conservative thought rubbed shoulders and coexisted. Furthermore, anti‑Semitism was certainly not exclusively a German phenomenon.

From 1946, Hannah Arendt was stating quite precisely that the 'scientificality' to which nazism appealed, 'coupled with efficient modem technique,' lay behind the creation of the 'death factories.' [80] The Shoah was the product of the encounter between modem anti‑Semitism (racist and biological, no longer aiming to expel and discriminate against Jews but to annihilate them) and a Fascist state, in a highly industrialized country with modern technology at its disposal. For this encounter to take place, the workers' movement had first to be crushed and the masses—the Volk—to be controlled by an authoritarian system. The two elements, anti‑Semitism and fascism, entered into a symbiosis in Germany but, taken separately, they were widespread in Europe between the wars. France possessed a tradition [132/133] of anti‑Semitism—from Eduoard Drumont to Vacher de Lapouge—just as significant as that of Germany and which manifested itself on at least two occasions: at the time of the Dreyfus Affair and in the statute on the Jews promulgated in October 1940 by the Vichy regime. [81] Need one recall that fascism came to power in Italy before Germany and that, for many years, Mussolini seemed to Hitler a model ruler? National Socialism was certainly the product of German history, with all its distinguishing marks, but it can be understood only in a larger context, that of Europe between the wars. Auschwitz is not only about Germany but about humanity as a whole: it is on that scale that it must be seen, as a unicum [unique event] of history.


56. Letter of 13 April 1933, from Scholem to Benjamin, in Benjamin and Scholem, Correspondence, p. 39.

57. See Bolkovsky, Distorted Image.

58. On the Frankfurt School analysis of anti-Semitism, see Jay’s study, ‘The Jews and the Frankfurt School: Critical Theory's Analysis of Anti‑Semitism,' Permanent Exiles, pp. 90‑100.

59. Trotsky, On the Jewish Question.

60. For a general synthesis, see the excellent collection assembled by Beetham, Marxism in Face of Fascism. On the Marxist analysis of anti‑Semitism up to World War 11, see Traverso, The Marxists and the Jewish Question, ch. 9.

61. Neumann, Behemoth, p. 125.

62. See especially Konrad Kwiet, 'Historians of the German Democratic Republic on Antisemitismus and Persecution,' Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 21, p. 185.

63. Kurt Pätzold, 'Wo der Weg nach Auschwitz begann. Der jüdische Antisemitismus und der Massenmord an den europäischen Juden,' in Kühnl, Streit ums Geschichtsbild, p. 194. See especially, Pätzold, Faschismus, Rassenwahn, Judenverfolgung, on the period 1933‑35. See also the study by Alain Brossat, Sonia Combe, and Jean‑Charles Szurek, 'Le génocide vu de l'Est (URSS, RDA, Pologne),' in Thanassekos and Wismann, Révision de l'histoire , pp. 223‑250.

64. See Aly and Heim, Vordenker der Vernichtung.

65. See Christopher R. Browning's critique of Aly and Heim, 'Vernichtung und Arbeit: Zur Fraktionierung der planenden deutschen Intelligenz im besetzen Polen,' in Schneider, Vernichtungspolitik, p. 49.

66. See Ulrich Herbert, 'Rassimus und rationales Kalkül: Zum Stellenwert utilitaristisch verbrämter Legitimationsstrategien in dernationalsozialistischen "Weltanschauung,"' Ibid., p. 35.

67. See Rabinbach, 'The Jewish Question,' New German Critique, no. 44, p. 175. See Claussen's interesting comments, 'Ein kategorischer Imperativ: Die politische Linke und ihr Verhältnis zum Staat Israel,' in Jüdisches Leben, pp. 230‑242.

68. See Tim Mason, 'The Primacy of Politics: Politics and Economics in National Socialist Germany,' in Woolf, Nature of Fascism, pp. 165‑195.

69. See Ulrich Herbert's study. Arbeit und Vemichtung. Ökonomisches Interesse und Primat der "Weltanschauung" im Nationalsozialismus,' in Diner, Ist der Nationalsozialismus Geschichte? pp. 198‑236, as well as some very pertinent observations in Friedländer, Reflets du nazisme, pp. 124‑127.

70. See Kershaw, 'The Nazi State: an Exceptional State?' New Left Review, no. 176, pp. 47‑67.

71. Marcuse, Introduction, Eros and Civilization, p. 4. Cf. Zvi Tauber. 'Herbert Marcuse: Auschwitz und My Lai?' in Diner, Zivilisationsbruch, pp. 88‑98.

72. Claussen, Jüdisches Leben, pp. 185‑186.

73. See Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology.

74. Quoted by Stern, Politics of Cultural Despair, p. 151.

75. This is the conclusion Mayer comes to. Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? p. 90.


76. Herf, Reactionary Modernism, and Louis Dupeux, '"Kulturpessimismus," "Révolution conservatrice" et modernité,' in Raulet, Weimar ou l'explosion de la modernité, pp. 31‑45.

77. Postone, 'Anti‑Semitism,' New German Critique, no. 19, pp. 97‑115.

78. Dupeux, '"Révolution conservatrice" et hitlérisme,' Revue d'Allemagne 16, no. 3, pp. 322‑336 (now in the collection edited by the same author, La 'Révolution conservatrice,' pp. 201‑214).

79. Kocka, 'German History before Hitler,' Journal of Contemporary History 23, pp. 3‑16.

80. See Arendt, 'The Image of Hell,' Essays in Understanding, p. 204.

81. On the anti‑Semitism of the Vichy regime, see the classic work by Paxton and Marrus, Vichy France and the Jews. In this connection, it should be added that even Italian fascism, in which anti‑Semitism was not an essential element, passed its own anti‑Semitic legislation in 1938 (the notorious Leggi sulla razza). If the alliance between Italy and Germany was the determining factor here, it is nevertheless clear that the initiative was taken quite independently by Mussolini's regime (see de Felice, Storia degli).

SOURCE: Traverso, Enzo. The Jews & Germany: From the "Judeo-German Symbiosis" to the Memory of Auschwitz, translated by Daniel Weissbort. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995. xxiv, 215 pp. (Texts and Contexts; v. 14) This extract consists of two sections from Part Two (From Extermination to Memory), chapter 5 (Auschwitz, History, and Historians), pp. 123-133, 179-181.

Some Bibliographical References

Arendt, Hannah. Essays in Understanding, 1930-1954; edited by Jerome Kohn. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1994.

Beetham, David, ed. Marxists in Face of Fascism: Writings by Marxists on Fascism from the Inter-war Period. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1983.

Benjamin, Walter; Scholem, Gershom. The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem, 1932-1940; edited by Gershom Scholem; translated from the German by Gary Smith and Andre Lefevere; with an introduction by Anson Rabinbach. New York : Schocken Books, 1989.

Bolkosky, Sidney M. The Distorted Image: German Jewish Perceptions of Germans and Germany, 1918-1935. New York: Elsevier, 1975.

Herf, Jeffrey. Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture, and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich. London: Cambridge University Press, 1986 [1984].

Jay, Martin. Permanent Exiles: Essays on the Intellectual Migration from Germany to America. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986.

Marcuse, Herbert. Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud, with a new preface by the author. Boston: Beacon Press, 1966.

Mayer, Arno J. Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?: The "Final Solution" in History. New York: Pantheon Books, 1988.

Mosse, George L. The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich. New York: H. Fertig, 1998.

Neumann, Franz Behemoth. The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, 1933-1944; with an introduction by Peter Hayes. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2009.

Stern, Fritz. The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961.

Trotsky, Leon. Leon Trotsky on the Jewish Question. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970.

Woolf, S. J., ed. The Nature of Fascism: Proceedings of a Conference Held by the Reading University Graduate School of Contemporary European Studies. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1968. (Reading University Studies on Contemporary Europe. Studies in Fascism; 2)

Anti‑Semitism and National Socialism” by Moishe Postone

Jeffrey Herf on Reactionary Modernism & Dialectic of Enlightenment

R. Dumain's Critique of Dialectic of Enlightenment

Reviews of Stephen Eric Bronner, A Rumor about the Jews: Antisemitism, Conspiracy, and the Protocols of Zion

Sander L. Gilman on Nazism, Paranoia, & Language
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Marxism & the Jewish Question: Selected Bibliography

L. L. Zamenhof & the Cultural, Religious, Professional & Political Context of 19th-20th Century Eastern European Jewish Intellectuals:
Selected Bibliography

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Positivism vs Life Philosophy (Lebensphilosophie) Study Guide

Theodor W. Adorno Study Guide

Marx and Marxism Web Guide


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