chapter
Introduction
Pages 6

As rs WELL-KNOWN, the Allies' defeat of the Third Reich in 1945 brought an end not only to World War II, but also to what we now know as the Holocaust: the unprecedented, systematic attempt to achieve "racial purity" through the extermination of millions of innocent people. Under the Third Reich descent alone would condemn a person to certain death. Reduced, in the eyes of their persecutors, to the lowest form of life, entire peoples-as well as homosexuals and those with physical and mental anomalies-were thought of as a threat to the "Aryan race"; as invaders of the "Aryan body," they were to be totally and completely annihilated in order to purge the German genetic pool of their supposed taint. Thus the Nazis' so-called Final Solution represented an utter and total debasement and dehumanization of certain groups of people by another group: a cataclysmic event that has changed the shape of human history forever (Moses, 1993).