Academic and Public Discourses on the Holocaust: The Goldhagen Debate in Germany

in German Politics and Society
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  • 1 Albert Ludwigs University
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Over two years after the appearance of Hitler’s Willing Executioners,

very little can be heard about the so-called Goldhagen Debate in

Germany: no more scholarly reviews, at most a few echoes here and

there. Over two hundred thousand copies of the book were sold,

and it was certainly read almost as many times. But it does not

appear in the syllabi of university courses on the Holocaust, except

perhaps in those that cover historiographical debates. In the German

edition of Saul Friedländer’s new book, Nazi Germany and the Jews,

Daniel Goldhagen does not rate a mention, except for a three line

footnote on page 420 in which his theory is described as “unconvincing

on the basis of the materials presented as part of the study.”2

Goldhagen’s book, one can confidently predict, will not play a role

in future Holocaust research.