When we consider the question of the causation of the Holocaust, we are bewildered by the multitude of overlapping causes, and find it hard to arrange them in order of importance. No single cause can be isolated as the cause of the Holocaust. Many different causes have been recognized, belonging to different areas of discourse, historical, economic, ideological and religious. If it is important to assign these causes to different levels of importance, that is, to construct a hierarchy of causes, what criteria of importance should be employed? A list of causes of the Holocaust may be constructed as follows:

1 The existence of the Jews as a distinct and unassimilable group in Western society, the perpetual ‘other’.