Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust

Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust: Language, Rhetoric and the Traditions of Hatred

by Beth A. Griech-Polelle

Beth A. Griech-Polelle is the Kurt Mayer Chair of Holocaust Studies and Associate Professor of History at Pacific Lutheran University, USA. She is the author of Bishop von Galen: German Catholicism and National Socialism (2002). She is also the editor of The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial and Its Policy Consequences (2009) and the co-editor, along with Christina Guenther, of Trajectories of Memory: Intergenerational Representations of the Holocaust in History and the Arts (2008). Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

Search for publications
Bloomsbury Academic, 2016
  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    978-1-4725-8692-6 (hardback)

    978-1-4725-8691-9 (paperback)

    978-1-4725-8693-3 (epdf)

    978-1-4725-8694-0 (epub)

    978-1-4742-0402-6 (online)
  • Edition:
  • Place of Publication:
  • Published Online:
Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust
Collapse All Sections

Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust surveys the history of the Holocaust whilst demonstrating the pivotal importance of the historical tradition of anti-Semitism and the power of discriminatory language in relation to the Nazi-led persecution of the Jews.

The book examines varieties of anti-Semitism that have existed throughout history, from religious anti-Semitism in the ancient Roman Empire to the racial anti-Semitism of political anti-Semites in Germany and Austria in the late 19th century. Beth A. Griech-Polelle analyzes the tropes, imagery, legends, myths and stereotypes about Jews that have surfaced at these various points in time. Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust considers how this language helped to engender an innate distrust, dislike and even hatred of the Jews in 20th-century Europe. She explores the shattering impact of the First World War and the rise of Weimar Germany, Hitler’s rhetoric and the first phase of Nazi anti-Semitism before illustrating how ghettos, SS Einsatzgruppen killing squads, death camps and death marches were used to drive this anti-Semitic feeling towards genocide.

With a wealth of primary source material, a thorough engagement with significant Holocaust scholarship and numerous illustrations, reading lists and a glossary to provide further support, this is a vital book for any student of the Holocaust keen to know more about the language of hate which fuelled it.