Today in Tablet Magazine, books critic Adam Kirsch considers the especially challenging predicament set in front of Holocaust scholars: how to square the extraordinary deeds and the (mostly) ordinary people who carried them out. “Cambodians, Serbs, and Rwandans have all shown that people do not have to be Nazis, or anti-Semites, in order to slaughter their neighbors,” he notes. “Yet nobody looks into his heart and sees an Eichmann lurking there. And this inability to match up our self-knowledge with our historical knowledge is the most disconcerting thing of all.”

Ordinary People