What are some potential causes of antisemitism during the period in which the book Night is set?

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shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Elie Wiesel doesn’t deal with the causes of anti-semitism in the book Night, but it’s obvious that there is a great deal of it in the events behind the story.

People often ask why the Nazis had such hatred for the Jews, and there have been a number of answers offered, none of which really seem to explain what happened in the Holocaust. Some Germans, at the end of World War I, blamed the loss of the war on non-German groups, such as Jews, believing that they had found a way insure Germany’s loss while gaining political power for themselves. Hitler’s ascension to power was a partly a result of his ability to appeal to this belief.

Of course, Jews have been persecuted for millennia, at least partly because some people characterized them as the killers of Jesus Christ. However, this persecution actually began before the birth of Jesus, so it cannot be entirely attributed to that. The fact that the Jewish people have a very distinctive culture makes it easy to point to them as something different. From there, it doesn’t take much persuading to make some believe that the “something different” is “something bad.”


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