Is the Holocaust Unique?

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Is the Holocaust Unique?: Perspectives on Comparative Genocide
Is the Holocaust Unique (book).jpg
Author Alan S. Rosenbaum
Publisher Westview Press
Publication date
1995, 2000 (reprinted)
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 288
ISBN 0-8133-3686-4
OCLC 45024496
940.53/18/072 21
LC Class D804.348 .I8 2001

Is the Holocaust Unique?: Perspectives on Comparative Genocide is a 1995 book edited by Alan S Rosenbaum. In the book, scholars compare the Holocaust to other well-known instances of genocide and mass death. The book asks, are there any historical parallels to the Jewish Holocaust? Have Armenians, Gypsies, American Indians, or others undergone a comparable genocide?

As Alan Rosenbaum stated in regards to the book, "Any attempt by any group to keep a monopoly on language is doomed to failure...Because anybody can use any language they want. And the term Holocaust has such power -- as the paradigm case of genocide -- that any group wanting to make a superlative case for its own experience would naturally want to borrow it."[1]

A second edition was printed in 2000 and a third edition was released in 2009.[2]

Politics of Editing the Book[edit]

Ward Churchill writes:[3]

An excellent topical example of what is at issue is described in a recent article by Christopher Shea in the Chronicle of Higher Education[4] concerning the controversy attending preparation of a Westview Press collection, Is the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives in Comparative Genocide, a book which was supposed to be a free and open exchange between those holding to exclusivist principles and scholars expressing comparativist views. As Shea observes, the problem devolves upon the fact that volume editor Alan S. Rosenbaum provided advance copies of all submissions to one contributor -- and only one -- Cornell University professor Steven T. Katz, author of the massive three-volume Holocaust in Historical Context and a leading advocate of exclusivism in its pure form.
Upon reviewing what some comparativists had to say with respect to his work, Katz whipped off a laundry list of changes and deletions he wanted to see made to their critiques. Rosenbaum in turn fronted these "suggestions" as if they were his own. Only when the editor accidentally faxed a memo intended for Katz to one of the more trenchant critics, historian David Stannard, was the subterfuge revealed (the missive outlined various contributors' compliance with Katz's secret manipulations). After a series of meetings with the publisher and its lawyers, most of the essays were returned to their original form -- a matter Katz, apparently waxing indignant at having been caught calls "a disgraceful business" -- and the book was sent to the press.


Jewish Book World called the book "a thought-provoking inquiry into the Holocaust."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Freedman, Samuel G. (December 13, 2008). "Laying Claim to Sorrow Beyond Words". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Is the Holocaust Unique?: Perspectives on Comparative Genocide". Retrieved 2008-05-05.  Official sponsor of Westview Press book sales.
  3. ^ Ward Churchill, 'A Little Matter of Genocide', CityLights Books, 1997, p. 65.
  4. ^ Christopher Shea, "The Debate Over the Uniqueness of the Holocaust," Chronicle of Higher Education, 13 September 1996.

External links[edit]