Hitler is given responsibility for the persecution and the later Holocaust against the Jews of Europe. Historians have yet to find the “smoking gun”: a document ordering the destruction of the Jews signed by Hitler. The evidence that we have, however, is much more powerful than a typed and signed piece of paper. We have Hitler’s own words--his spoken and written words--that tell us exactly what his feelings and thoughts were about the Jews, as well as what he intended to do with them once he had the power to turn his words into actions.
To that end, this article contains only direct quotations from Hitler on the “Jewish Question” from a letter he wrote, a speech he gave in 1920, his book, Mein Kampf (1923), and speeches he gave before and during the Second World War. Words--especially the emphatically spoken words of the charismatic Hitler--have a power of their own that influenced millions. Reading those words will show how Hitler made it easier for Germans to consider a Germany without Jews--and paved the way for genocide.
|Hitler in 1919.|
From a letter to Adolf Gemlich, September 16, 1919“Anti-Semitism as a political movement should [be determined] only by the recognition of facts. These are the facts…Jewry is unqualifiedly a racial association and not a religious association…Its influence will bring about the racial tuberculosis of the people….Rational anti-Semitism…must lead to a systematic legal opposition and elimination of the special privileges which Jews hold…[and] the removal of the Jews altogether.”
Speech at NSDAP meeting August 13, 1920: “Why Are We Anti-Semites?”“…the deed remains irrevocably firm: removal of the Jews from our nation, not because we would begrudge them their existence…but because the existence of our own nation is a thousand times more important to us than that of an alien race.”
|Hitler's book Mein Kampf (1923).|
“Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” (1)
“…it is the inexorable Jew who struggles for his domination over the nations. No nation can remove this hand from its throat except by the sword….Such a process is and remains a bloody one.”
“In Russian Bolshevism we must see the attempt undertaken by the Jews in the twentieth century to achieve world domination.”
“If at the beginning of the War and during the War, twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under the poison gas, as happened to hundreds of thousands of our very best German workers in the field, the sacrifice of millions at the front would not have been in vain.”
Hitler threatens Jewry in Reichtag speech.
“During my struggle for power, the Jews primarily received with laughter my prophecies that I would someday assume the leadership of the state and thereby…achieve a solution of the Jewish problem. I suppose that meanwhile the then resounding laughter of Jewry in Germany is now choking in their throats.
“Today I will be a prophet again. If international finance Jewry…should succeed once more in plunging the peoples into a world war, then the consequences will not be the Bolshevization of the world and therewith a victory of Jewry, but, on the contrary, the destruction of the Jewish race in Europe.”
From Hitler’s speech, November 8, 1942“You will recall that meeting of the Reichtag in which I declared: If Jewry perchance imagines that it can bring about an international world war for the annihilation of the European races, then the consequence will not be the annihilation of the European races, but, on the contrary, it will be the annihilation of Jewry in Europe….Of those who laughed then, countless ones no longer laugh today, and those who still laugh now will perhaps in a while also no longer do so.”
1. Italics in passages are in the original German.
Dawidowicz, Lucy S. A Holocaust Reader. Behrman House, Inc. 1976.