Beyond the accumulation of knowledge, can we really learn from the past? Can we make an intellectually serious case for seeking, obtaining, and teaching “the lessons of history”? Is it legitimate to ask why the Holocaust happened? Answering in the affirmative, the present article will indicate why these questions remain pertinent for the twenty-first century and how several recent books by some of the most prominent historians of World War II and the Holocaust prompt us to engage anew in the interrogation of the past for the enlightenment of our present. Ethics prove to be inescapable and desirable.

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