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The Holocaust: Obedience unto Death
The Wehrmacht Oath of Loyalty:
"I swear by God this sacred oath that to the Leader of the German empire and people, Adolf Hitler, supreme commander of the armed forces, I shall render unconditional obedience and that as a brave soldier I shall at all times be prepared to give my life for this oath."
The SS Oath of Loyalty:
“I vow to you, Adolf Hitler, as Führer and chancellor of the German Reich, loyalty and bravery. I vow to you and to the leaders that you set for me, absolute allegiance until death. So help me God.”
The SS-man vowed “absolute obedience unto death.” In repeating his “Oath of Loyalty,” the German solder said: “I shall render unconditional obedience…and shall at all times be prepared to give my life for this oath.”

The Holocaust victim too was forced to practice “obedience unto death.”

Hitler believed that Jews had shirked their duty to fight and die in the First World War. While millions of Germans had died, Hitler claimed that Jews had avoided military service.

In the Second World War, things would be different. Jews would not be exempt; would not get off scot-free. While German soldiers were dying in battle, Jews would be compelled to die at the same time.

The German soldier received “honor” and “glory” by virtue of his willingness to follow the commands of Adolf Hitler—to be obedient unto death. The death of a Jew at a killing center brings no honor or glory.

The Holocaust conveys suffering and death at the hands of a nation-state stripped of words like honor and glory. The Final solution portrays submission to the nation-state as abjection and degradation. The Holocaust enacts the horrific fate of a body that has been put at the disposal of a nation: given over to—taken over by—the state.