Tätervolk

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Concept.png Perpetrator PeopleRdf-icon.png
TypeEpithet
German word meaning 'Perpetrator people' and applied by Orthodox Judaism to the alledged collective guilt of Germans as a race of people for the events of World War II - with particular emphasis on The Holocaust.

Tätervolk is a German word literally meaning "Perpetrator people". It encalsulates the thesis of collective guilt, which postulates that a people/race is morally responsible for criminal acts of it leaders. It refers to a nation as a whole as culprit for immoral and inhuman acts. In spite of having a theoretically universal applicability, its usage originated - and is largely confined to - alleged German guilt for the events of both World War I and World War II, in particular "The Holocaust". This usage was given additional currency following the publication of Daniel Goldgagen's 1996 book Hitler's Willing Executioners [1]. The racist nastiness of the concept is perhaps best illustrated by Elie Wiesel's infamous injunction:

Every Jew, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate — healthy virile hate — for what the German personifies and for what persists in the German. [2]

Readers are invited to juxtapose the positions of the Words German and Jew in that piece of vitriol and consider what would happen to the person promulgating it - especially if he/she was a German.

Repudiated by the Nuremberg Trials

German collective guilt was specifically repudiated by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal.


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