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Modernity and the Holocaust


1. According to Bauman, why is it important not to relegate the analysis of the Holocaust to academic interest?

2. In this excerpt, Bauman says, “People refused to believe the facts they stared at.” Can you think of a situation where you realized – after the fact – that the facts had been there all along?

3. To what extent do you agree with Bauman’s assessment that Western Civilization facilitated the occurrence and widespread participation in the Holocaust?

4. Bauman is asking us to face the possibility of another Holocaust-like tragedy happening in contemporary Western Civilization. When you consider that possibility, what kinds of thoughts do you have? If you think it is unlikely, why? If you think it is likely, why?

5. Rather than see the Holocaust as an aberration, Bauman argues that the social norms and institutions of modernity helped facilitate the Holocaust. What does he mean by this?

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