Date of Submission


Document Type





Lauren J. Kempton, Ed.D.


Dehumanization, Perpetrators, Genocide, Holistic Analysis, Interdisciplinary


Genocide, Interdisciplinary research, Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Psychological aspects


The body of literature surrounding the Holocaust and dehumanization is extensive. Multiple theories have been proffered to try and explain the Holocaust’s causation, each with varying degrees of acceptance from the Jewish and global communities. Meanwhile dehumanization has been studied however often through the lens of a singular field. Despite the abundance of research on the Holocaust, the subject of perpetrators has had limited exploration as of yet. The present analysis seeks to examine the mechanics of dehumanization and how these mechanics could explain the behaviors behind the perpetration of the Holocaust and by extension, other genocides. This analysis will pull from multiple fields of thought and inquiry in order to develop a holistic perspective on perpetrators. Two pivotal conclusions emerge from this analysis. First that dehumanization as a behavior is fluid in nature, therefore it is present in multiple contexts and cannot be limited. Supplementing this is that there is no definitive perpetrator archetype given the large range of potential motivating factors for perpetration.