Charles Patterson
Born (1935-08-07) August 7, 1935 (age 88)
New Britain, Connecticut, U.S.
EducationKent School
Alma materAmherst College
Notable worksEternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust
Notable awardsCarter G. Woodson Book Award

Charles W. Patterson (born August 7, 1935) is an American author, historian, and animal rights advocate, best known for his books, Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust, Anti-Semitism: The Road to the Holocaust and Beyond, Animal Rights, The Civil Rights Movement, and Marian Anderson.

He is an active member of the Authors Guild, PEN, and The National Writers Union.[1] He follows a vegetarian lifestyle, and believes that vegetarianism can reduce violence in humans. In a protest against Columbia University's animal cruelty, Patterson returned his doctorate to the president of the university. He believed that innocent lives had greater importance than a piece of paper.[2] Patterson is active in the Vegetarian Community, and was a guest speaker at the 2015 Veggie Pride Parade in New York City.[3] His greatest fantasy is for all slaughterhouses to end their killing.[4] He currently lives in the Upper West side of New York, New York.[5]

Early life and career

Charles Patterson grew up in New Britain, Connecticut.[1] He was born in New Britain General hospital. Patterson did not know his father due to his early passing in war. His father fought against the Nazis in Europe, which led Patterson to his interest in the topics of World War 2 and The Holocaust.[4] He has been a teacher at colleges, elementary schools, and for adult education classes. Patterson is proficient in teaching various subject such as English, social studies, and history.[6] He was a professor at Adelphi University, New School University, Hunter College, and the Metropolitan College.[1] He was a reviewer for The International Society of Yad Vashem's Publication Martyrdom and Resistance.[7] He worked for the publication for 17 years to help preserve the stories of Holocaust Survivors and their families.[4] He was featured in the book Who Stole My Religion? By Richard Schwartz. The story correlated nature with Judaism faith.[8] He was invited to write The Oxford 50th Anniversary Book of The United Nations.[9] Patterson's most recent book is In Dante's Footsteps: My Journey to Hell (a modern update of Dante's Inferno).


He studied at the Kent School, Kent, Connecticut in the class of 1954.[1] Patterson was educated at Amherst College from where he graduated in 1958,[10] and Columbia University, from where he received an MA in English Literature and a PhD in Religion. He later studied at the Yad Vashem Institute for Holocaust Education in Jerusalem.[1][11]


The National Council for the Social Studies awarded him the Carter G. Woodson Book Award in 1989. He received the secondary level award for his children's story, Marian Anderson.[12] Patterson's Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust was featured in the publication The Animal's Agenda in 2002. The article was the cover story of the March/April issue and was titled The Holocaust and Animal Exploitation.[13] He was honored with an Animal Rights Writing award in 1995 for his story Animal Rights. The award was presented to him by the International Society for Animal Rights. '[14] Patterson's Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust is featured at the United States Holocaust memorial museum.[15] He was featured in People for The Ethical Treatment of Animal's campaign titled Holocaust on Your Plate. PETA quoted Patterson's comparison of animal slaughterhouses to gas chambers of the Holocaust.[16]

Eternal Treblinka

Main article: Eternal Treblinka

Political Affairs called Eternal Treblinka, "a wonderful book about terrible subjects".[17] JVNA called it "very well researched ... written with great sensitivity and compassion".[18]


Patterson's positions have been criticized by groups, namely Jewish anti-defamation and Holocaust memorial organizations. Some claim that Patterson's comparisons between slaughterhouses and the Holocaust trivialize the experience of Holocaust victims and survivors. Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld writes on Holocaust comparisons such as Patterson's that, "In essence, the animal rights supporters who trivialize the Holocaust humanize animals to develop their flawed and perverse discourse."[19]

Other opposition to Patterson's claims argue that the Holocaust and factory-farming are predicated upon different historical and sociological frameworks. Jewish animal rights activist Roberta Kalechofsky writes that although there are aesthetic similarities between the treatment of factory-farmed animals and Jews in the Holocaust, "The agony of animals arises from different causes from those of the Holocaust. Human beings do not hate animals. They do not eat them because they hate them… Human beings have no ideological or theological conflict with animals."[20] The Anti-Defamation League contests the validity of some of Patterson's historical claims, writing that, "his treatment of some of [Eternal Treblinka]'s themes moves from the offensive and ridiculous to the absurd. Apparently compelled to demonstrate that Hitler could not have been a vegetarian (nor have liked them), Patterson writes: "Hitler discovered that when he reduced his meat intake, he did not sweat as much, and there were fewer stains in his underwear. He also became convinced that eating vegetables improved the odors of his flatulence, a condition that distressed him terribly and caused him much embarrassment….Nonetheless, Hitler never gave up his favorite meat dishes, especially Bavarian sausages, liver dumplings, and stuffed and roasted game…." "Whatever his dietary preferences, Hitler showed little sympathy for the vegetarian cause in Germany. When he came to power in 1933, he banned all the vegetarian societies in Germany….Nazi persecution forced German vegetarians, a tiny minority in a nation of carnivores, either to flee the country or go underground."[21]

Other criticisms arise from Patterson's interpretation of Abrahamic tradition as catalyzing animal abuses. Jewish Animal Rights author Richard H. Schwartz writes, "Patterson states that some historians and environmentalists blame the Genesis verse, in which God grants people dominion over the earth, for western civilization's destruction and despoliation of the environment. By failing to mention traditional Jewish interpretations of this verse that define dominion as responsible stewardship rather than as domination, he may leave the mistaken impression that the exploitation of animals and the environment is religiously sanctioned."[22]

Related readings

Charles Patterson's "Eternal Treblinka" discusses the similarities between society's treatment of animals and the Holocaust. Here are some other readings that do the same.


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Charles Patterson". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Columbia Grad Returns His Ph.D. to Protest Animal Cruelty". PRweb. May 2005. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Speakers, Entertainers". Veggie Pride Parade. Archived from the original on 3 October 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Basu, Biman. "Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust by Charles Patterson". Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Book Reviews. Vol. 2, no. 1. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Charles Patterson's Biography". Scholastic Teachers. Scholastic Inc. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  6. ^ Patterson, Charles (1995). The Oxford 50th Anniversary Book of the United Nations. Oxford University Press. pp. Back Cover. ISBN 978-0-19-508280-7.
  7. ^ Patterson, Charles (January 2002). "Henry Ford and His Stance on The Holocaust". Martyrdom & Resistance. International Society For Yad Vashem inc.
  8. ^ Levine, Susan. "Richard Schwartz Interviewed by Charles Patterson about his book, "Who Stole My Religion?"". Jewcology. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  9. ^ Patterson, Charles (1995). The Oxford 50th Anniversary Book of the United Nations. Oxford University Press. ISBN 019508280X.
  10. ^ "Alumni". Amherst. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  11. ^ "Charles Patterson". Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Carter G. Woodson Book Award and Honor Winners". NCSS. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Holocaust Imagery and Animal Rights". Anti Defamation League. Archived from the original on 15 December 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Books". Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Eternal Treblinka: Our treatment of animals and the Holocaust / Charles Patterson. - Collections Search - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  16. ^ Smith, Wesley (10 March 2003). "The Most Tasteless Pr Campaign Ever". Weekly Standard. The Weekly Standard LLC. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  17. ^ Markowitz, Norman. "Book Review – Eternal Treblinka, Charles Patterson". Political Affairs. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  18. ^ Schwartz, Richard H. "Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust". JVNA. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  19. ^ Gerstenfeld, Manfred. The Abuse of Holocaust Memory: Distortions and Responses. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Institute for Global Jewish Affairs, 2009; p. 121. [1]
  20. ^ Kalechofsky, Roberta. Animal Suffering and the Holocaust: The Problem with Comparisons, Micah Publications, 2003
  21. ^ "Holocaust Imagery and Animal Rights." Holocaust Imagery and Animal Rights. Anti-Defamation League, 2 Aug. 2005. < Archived 2016-12-15 at the Wayback Machine>.
  22. ^ Schwartz, Richard. "Judaism and Vegetarianism: Book Review, "Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust"" Judaism and Vegetarianism: Book Review, "Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust" Jewish Vegetarians of North America,<>.
  23. ^ Y. Michael Barilan. (2004). Speciesism as a Precondition to Justice. Politics and the Life Sciences, 23(1), 22-33. Retrieved from
  24. ^ Sztybel, D. (2006). Can the Treatment of Animals Be Compared to the Holocaust? Ethics and the Environment, 11(1), 97-132. Retrieved from
  25. ^ Stein, T. (2015). Human Rights and Animal Rights: Differences Matter. Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung, 40(4 (154)), 55-62. Retrieved from
  26. ^ Sax, B. (2000). Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, scapegoats, and the Holocaust. A&C Black.