The crime of the century? The case for the Holocaust

Research paper by David O. Friedrichs

Indexed on: 01 Jul '00Published on: 01 Jul '00Published in: Crime, law, and social change


With the twentieth century now ended the Holocaust is surelya leading contender for the title of ``The Crime of the Century.''Although a massive literature exists on the Holocaust, very littleof this literature has been produced by criminologists. Somereasons for this relative neglect are identified and a case ismade for the claim that criminology can contribute to anunderstanding of the Holocaust and that the Holocaust cancontribute to the development of a more profound criminology. Thispaper draws upon an integrative criminological approach toconstruct a framework for understanding the Holocaust. This multi-disciplinary framework links philosophical, sociolegal,sociological, behavioral and criminological dimensions todiscriminate between unique and non-unique aspects of the Holocaustas a case of genocide and as crime. The paper closes with someobservations on the relevance of the Holocaust for challengesconfronting a twenty-first century criminology.