18 (pt. 2)
THE HOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDE
THE HOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDE
Few, if any, events in human history have attracted the amount of attention as the so-called Jewish "Holocaust," capital H as opposed to all other lower case genocides. "Scholarship on the Holocaust," wrote Theodore Ziolkowski, "whether accurate or not, is piling up at such a rate that some observers believe the end of the century will witness an accumulation of works exceeding the total number produced on any other subject in human history." [ZIOLKOWSKI, p. 593] Moral arguments, factual contentions, survivor's accounts, Nazi documents, Jewish polemics, and every other kind of angle about the Nazis' attempts to eliminate Jews have been the base of careers for a huge number of mostly Jewish scholars. There are over ten thousand existent publications just about the Auschwitz concentration camp alone. [MILLER, p. 35] In 1982 a conference in Israel about the Holocaust drew 650 scholars from around the world, many with presentations about the subject. [LIBOWITZ, p. 272] And what has been a common core to the Jewish discourse on the subject? Wounded pride, often expressed in torrents of irrationality and emotionalism. "The blow to the national and human pride of the Jewish nation inflicted by the extermination of one-third of its people," notes Israeli sociologist Chaim Schatzker, "hardened the remainder to any logical and rational argumentation on the subject of the Holocaust." [SCHATZKER, p. 95] Jewish author Philip Lopate notes that Jewish emotionalism on the subject "forces the mind to withdraw." And in the world of contesting ideas, "in its life as a rhetorical figure, the Holocaust is a bully." [ELLIS, M., 1990, p. 33]
(This communal conviction has evolved over time, politically and socially, as it suited Jewish needs. As Peter Novick notes about earlier years: "After the war began, and after the main outlines of the Holcoaust had become known, it was common for Jewish writers to interpret Nazi atrocities in a univeralist fashion -- stressing that Jews were far from the only victims.") [NOVICK, P., 1999, p. 38]
"In Jewish discourse on the Holocaust," says Peter Novick, in an unusual Jewish perspective, "we have not just a competition [among other alleged "victims"] for recognition but a competition for primacy. This takes many forms. Among the most widespread and pervasive is an angry insistence on the uniqueness of the Holocaust ... The assertion that the Holocaust is unique -- like the claim that it is singularly incomprehensible or unrepresentable -- is, in practice, deeply offensive. What else can all of this possibly mean except 'your catastrophe, unlike ours, is ordinary; unlike ours is comprehensible; unilike ours is representable." [NOVICK, P., 1999, p. 9]
-- rival religion --
Such Christian requests to Jews for "foregiveness" are the results of a long Jewish lobbying and pressure effort, heavily leaning on guilt-based non-Jewish associates who seek to bask in the Christian tenets of compassion and religious tolerance. In the late 1970s, for example, the largely Jewish "National Conference of Christians and Jews" (with branches in 77 major U. S. cities) published "A Holocaust Memorial Service for Christians." The volume appeals to a grandiose universalistic morality, and suggests that Christians incorporate, on a yearly basis, "a special day" (April 22) in their religious services to pay homage to the Holocaust, [NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS, p. 3] particularly underscoring that righteous Christians are morally bound to protect Jews from anti-Jewish hostility. [p.4] Likewise, "Christianity's role in the Holocaust must not remain hidden or unstated. It must be faced, no matter how painful an undertaking it may be." [p. 4] A section even tries to diffuse the obvious question, which is given a bold-type heading: "Are You Asking Us to Lay a 'Guilt Trip' on Our People?" [p. 5] For those who might wonder why the Holocaust is so suddenly relevant, "more than thirty years" after the fact, a small chapter explains that, through the prism of the Holocaust, we all "can better prepare ourselves to meet the chalenges of the day," [p. 6] (i.e., the consequences of Jewish particularism may be used to explore generalized principles of human universalism, even though the Holocaust must be held to be separate, distinct, from all other historic atrocities). In subsuming Christian identity beneath that of Jewish martyrs, "Many Christians have wished to have a Christian symbol attached to the yellow Star of David when they wear it ... If you choose to use the Yellow Star as a symbol, and wish to have some Christian identification on it, it is recommended that you use the Sign of the Fish, the oldest Christian symbol. This is preferable to using the Cross." [p. 11] (And why can't Christians wear the cross? Because Jews hate the cross, and from time immemorial have understood it
as a sign of evil. Spitting at the Christian symbol is an old Jewish tradition, long before the Holocaust). [See citations elsewhere] The National Conference of Christians and Jews have even provided a page-long prayer for Christian penance for the Holocaust, with the recurring refrain: "For the sin which we have committed before You" -- 14 times. [p. 15]
"The Jewish people," declares Will Herberg, citing fellow Jew Carl Mayer, "represent a sociologically unique phenomenon and defy all attempts at general definition." "The mystery of Israel," adds Herberg, "is one that defies all categories of nature and society." [HERBERG, W., 1970, FROM MARXISM ..., p. 110] J. L. Talmon even turns a common ploy, somehow reconciling polar opposites: Jewish "uniqueness" with Jewish universality, in an article entitled Uniqueness and Universality of Jewish History. [TALMON, J.L., 1970, p. 116] "We are not comparable. We are unique ..., " declared Abba Hillel Silver, "This fact is the one key to an understanding of Jewish experience. To attempt to fit us into the framework of the commonly-held conceptions of race and culture, to liken us to other nations, is to miss the very quintesence of Jewish culture, to overlook the essential text and thesis of our life." [GITTELSOHN, R., 1964, p. 25-26] (-- Which, of course, is a claim, merely due to Jewish "Chosen People" definition, to extraordinary specialness). "The Jewish people is a unique phenomenon," wrote Nahum Goldmann, "and therefore no formula acceptable to all can be found to cover all the aspects of this phenomenon and to define it in a way satisfactory to the different shades of opinion within Jewish life." [GITTLESOHN, R., 1964, p. 26]
Monford Harris entitled an article Israel: The Uniqueness of Jewish History. [HARRIS, M., 1965, p. 77]
Teachers, argues a textbook about the Holocaust, must "recognize and confront the unique and complex history of antisemitism." [STROM/PARSONS, 1982, p. 47]
"is how 'un-Jewish' -- how Christian -- it is. I am thinking of the ritual of reverently
following the structured pathways of the Holocaust in the major museums, which
resembles nothing so much as the Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa;
the fetishized objects on display like so many fragments of the True Cross or shin
bones of saints; the symbolic respresentations of the Holocaust -- notably in the
climax of Elie Wiesel's Night -- that employ crucifixion imagery. Perhaps most
significantly, there is the way that suffering is sacralized and portrayed as the
path to wisdom -- the cult of the [Holocaust] survivor as secular saint."
[NOVICK, P., 1999, p. 11]
The word 'holocaust' actually has sacrificial connotations; in Jewish religious tradition a holocaust is an offering to God, set afire. Sometimes animals were sacrificed. The Jews of Israel, however, seeking to distance themselves from the Nazis massacres of largely passive Jews, originally used the term "shoah," meaning "destruction, catastrophe, devastation, ruin, waste." [PETUCHOWSKI, p. 1-2] "Use of the word [Holocaust]," notes Richard L. Rubenstein, "to denote the destruction of Europe's Jews assimilates genocide to the world of religious faith and implies that the victims offered themselves up in the tradition of Israel's ancient martyrs al kiddush ha-shem (for the sanctification of the divine Name)." [RUBENSTEIN, R., p. 83]
As Peter Novick notes:
"Jewish spokesmen had more reason than most to claim that their people had
zealously resisted, since from the beginning there were many Jews who
had scorned those who went 'like sheep to the slaughter.' The cult of
Jewish resistance was particularly strong in Israel, where the full name of
Yad Vashem [the Holocaust museum] is 'Yad Vashem Martyrs and Heroes
Remembrance Authority"; the full name of Yom Hashoah is 'Day of
the Holocaust and Heroism.' But in the United States as well, the breadth
and depth of Jewish resistance was a major theme of what Holocaust
commemoration there was -- the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
being the principal occasion of memorialization. Thus the event most atypical
of the Holocaust was made emblematic of it -- suggestive evidence of
the (quite unjustified) shame that many Jews felt because of the absence
of substantial Jewish resistance. At the time of the [former Nazi Adolf]
Eichmann trial a top ADL [Anti-Defamation Lague] official wrote that
'perhaps a million ... Jews were killed resisting the Nazi conqueror,
fighting back against Hitler's juggernaut, dying not on their bedraggled knees
but on their blood-soaked feet." [NOVICK, P., 1999, p. 138-139]
(Note: the idea of Jews being upset about being killed "like sheep to slaugher" isn't new to the Holocaust. Here's what first Israeli president Chaim Weisman said about an anti-Jewish attack in Russia, decades earlier: "Perhaps the most tormenting feature of the Kishinev pogrom was the fact that the Jews had allowed themselves to be slaughtered like sheep, without offering general resistance.") [WEIZMAN, C., 1949, p. 106]
"There was [in Israel], repeatedly," notes Peter Novick,
"the theme of the 'survival of the worst.' The future Israeli general David
Sh'altiel, who accopanied a boatload of survivors to Palestine, reported
his belief that 'those who survived lived because they were egotistical
and looked out, first and foremost, for themselves."
[NOVICK, P., 1999, p. 69]
"Often," said a Jewish official of the era, "it was the 'ex-ghetto' elements rather than the upper class or white collar groups who survived ... the petty thief or leader of petty thieves who offered leadership to others, or developed techniques of survival." [NOVICK, P., 1999, p. 68-69] Among the European Holocaust survivors, noted Zionist Abraham Klausner (who worked with them), "The number of people involved in the black-market is estimated at a minimum of 30%. This excludes those who traffic in what may be termed the 'gray market' or the basic food market ... The demoralization of the people increases rapidly. There is hardly a moral standard to which the people adhere." [NOVICK, P., 1999, p. 79]
"The [Holocaust] memoirs," notes Stephen Whitfield, "histories, films, television programs, plays, poetry, and fiction that have been published ... defy tabulation." [WHITFIELD, American, p. 13] (In 1968 even the science fiction TV series Star Trek had an episode in which a peaceful people on another planet, the Zeons, sporting names like Abraham, Isaac, and David, were slated for extermination by the evil Ekosians.) [PEARL, p. 14]
"It would be helpful," argued Jewish author Lewis Fein in 2001, in the face of an avalanche of continued mass media Holocaust obsession, "-- in fact, it may already be necessary -- for Hollywood to impose a moratorium concerning the Holocaust. No more films, television dramas or Broadway tragedies about the Holocaust and its one-dimensional portrayal of Jews as sympathetic yet hapless victims, or the equally extreme depiction of all mid-century Germans as Nazi coconspirators." [FEIN, L., 5-23-01]
In Georgia, Jewish director Sylvia Wygoda heads the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust. "With a $70,000 annual salary and as much as $20.000 a year in benefits, Wygoda earns more than any other Holocaust commission director in the country ... The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust now boasts political clout, the biggest budget of any such commission in the country and a sweeping mandate to teach Georgia's public about the Holocaust and the dangerous legacy of intolerance." Wygoda has even "hired an exhibit company to build a full-size replica of [Ann Frank's] secret annex, two rooms complete with reproductions of Anne's bed and writing table. Wygoda said she wanted all Georgians to learn about Ann Frank." Wygoda has come under public fire for being "unable to produce substantial minutes and records of commission meetings where money was allocated and spent." [ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES, 6-18-99]
In 2001, following a string of Jewish lawsuits in recent years against American companies (having something to do with the Holocaust), German Jews Kurt Julius Goldstein and Peter Gingold even had the chutzpah to file a $40 billion suit against the U. S. government because it had not bombed the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. [FORWARD, 4-6-01; SCHOENFELD, G., 4-11-01]
By 2000, critic Norman Finkelstein complained that
"A salary of over $500,000 for Rabbi Hier, his wife and son, who run the Simon
Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles as a family business is outrageous. According
to their 1996 federal tax returns, they collectively took in over $500,000 that
year. Who knows? We can only speculate as to what was taken for expenses."
[TATUM, W., 9-27-01, p. 1]
"[In 1977] I shared a platform with others, among them Elie Wiesel, who survived
In homage to Rabi Hier, let's conclude this section with famous Jewish author Isaac Asimov's's sense of "tolerance," Holocaust guru Elie Wiesel, and Orthodox Judaism:
the Holocaust (the slaying of six million European Jews) and now will talk of
nothing else. Wiesel irritated me when he said that he did not trust scientists and
engineers because scientists and engineers had been involved in conducting the
Holocaust. What a generalization! It was precisely the sort of thing than an anti-Semite
says. 'I dont' trust Jews because once certain Jews crucified my Saviour."
I brooded about that on the platform and finally, unable to keep quiet, I said,
'Mr. Wiesel, it is a mistake to think that because a group has suffered extreme
persecution that it is a sign that they are virtuous and innocent. They might be,
of course, but the persecution process is no proof of that. The persecution
merely shows that the persecuted group is weak. Had they been strong, then,
for all we know, they might have been the persecutors.'
Whereupon Wisel, very excited, said, 'Give me one example of Jews ever persecuting
Of course, I was ready for him. I said, 'Under the Maccabean kingdom in the
second century B.C., John Hyrcanus of Judea conquered Edom and gave the
Edomites a choice -- conversion to Judaism or the sword. The Edomites, being
sensible, converted, but, thereafter, they were in any case treated as an inferior
group, for though they were Jews, they wre also Edomites.'
And Wiesel, even more excited, said, 'That was the only time.'
I said, 'That was the only time the Jews had the power. One out of one isn't bad.'
That ended the discussion, but I might add that the audience was heart and soul with
I might have gone further. I might have referred to the treatment of the Canaanites
by the Israelites under David and Solomon. And if I could have forseen the future,
I would have mentioned what is going on in Israel today. American Jews might
appreciate the situation more clearly if they imagined a reversal of roles, of
Palestinians ruling the land and of Jews despairingly throwing rocks.
I once had a similar argument with Avram Davidson, a brilliant science fiction
writer, who is (of course) Jewish and was, for a time, at least, ostensibly Orthodox.
I had written an essay on the Book of Ruth, treating it as a plea for tolerance as
against the cruelty of the scribe Ezra, who forced the Jews to 'put away' their
foreign wives. Ruth was a Moabite, a people hated by the Jews, yet she was
pictured as a model woman, and she was the ancestress of David.
Avram Davidson took umbrage at my implication that the Jews were intolerant
and he wrote me a letter in which he waxed sarcastic indeed. He took asked
when the Jews had ever persecuted anyone.
In my answer, I said, 'Avram, you and I are Jews who live in a country that
is ninety-five percent non-Jewish and we are doing very well. I wonder how
we would make out, Avram, if we were Gentiles and lived in a country that
was ninety-five percent Orthodox Jewish.'
He never answered." [ASIMOV, I. 1994, p. 21-22]
(Jews regularly demand that others to genuflect to their Holocaust campaign: In 1999, for example, "Jewish groups [were] denouncing plans to build houses at a site in Warsaw from which hundreds of thousands of Jews were deported to their deaths." [GRUBER, R., 3-30-99] In 1994 a California newspaper , the Pacific Sun, was forced to apologize "for publishing a political cartoon that compared the massacre of Palestinian worshippers [by a Jewish mass murderer in a mosque] in Hebron to the Holocaust." [KANTER, L., 3-11-94, p. 3] In 1996, " a water ballet that France's synchronized swimming team wasa to perform at the Olympics in Atlanta next month has been canceled after Jewish groups protested its theme -- the Holocaust.") [YANOWITCH, L., 6-6-96, p. 4]
Even taking this "life-saving" statement at face value, it is subject to interpretive manipulation. Some Jewish observers have noted that "this Talmudic saying, taken literally, is the ideological basis for an amoral survivalism," i.e., saving "a" life is merely self-survival. [CHEYETTE, p. 233]
Spielberg is also disingenuous with the Talmudic epigram that starts the movie, as its pan-human, universalist theme: "He who saves a life saves the world entire."
"The Talmudic epigraph of Stephen Spielberg's Schindler's List," adds Jewish scholar Peter Novick, "'Whoever saves one life saves the world entire,' surely reflected the universalist values of liberal Judaism as it had evolved in recent centuries. The observant knew that the traditional version, the one taught in all Orthodox yeshivot [religious schools], speaks of 'whoever saves the life of Israel.'" [NOVICK, P., 1999, p. 182-183]
had been instituted in Israel to punish Jewish collaborators. The Law for the Punishment of Nazis and Their Collaborators included Nazis as a matter of form, but there was no expectation that they would be bagged.
[Meanwhile, Israel treats Jews differently -- per the death penalty -- who collaborated with the Nazis. As Jewish scholar Peter Novick notes: "Many published diaries and memoirs were filled with denunciations of officials fo the Jewish Councils (Judenraten) and the ghetto police they employed as [Nazi] collaborators, traitors, and murderers ... Indeed, the very law under which [former Nazi official Adolph] Eichmann was tried [and executed in Israel]
Its real targets, everyone acknowledged, were collaborators among the [Jewish] survivors. Before Eichmann's capture, dozens of Jews in Israel had been prosecuted under the law. (Some had been sentenced to death, though the sentences were commuted)."] [NOVICK, P., 1999, p. 140]
In 2001, yet another alleged ex-Nazi Ukrainian was being hounded by Canada's (Jewish) Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan. A
reporter, Peter Worthington, wrote a scathing article about Caplan's efforts to deport Jacob Fast:
"[A] trial opens in Hamilton today to deport a 91-year-old deaf man with
Alzheimer's, who the government thinks lied to get into Canada 54 years
ago. Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan wants Jacob Fast deported
because he 'probably' didn't tell the truth about being coerced into auxiliary
police attached to a Nazi SS unit during the war. Fast was born in Soviet
Ukraine in 1910. When he was accused, a couple of years ago, of working
with the Nazis and mistreating prisoners, he denied it (don't they all?).
Ottawa has no records to show he lied when he and his family came to
Canada in 1947 -- a time when refugee screening was casual, and displaced
persons were being settled in the thousands. Fast now lives in an old-age home
in St. Catharines, cannot maintain a conversation because of Alzheimer's,
can't defend himself, and won't appear at his Hamilton trial today. This is a
civil case, not a criminal one, so Mr. Justice Denis Pelletier of the Federal
Court has ruled it's not necessary for the defendant to appear in person.
I have no knowledge of Mr. Fast (a retired auto worker), but the fact that
he's another Ukrainian targeted by immigration, smacks of prejudice,
vindictiveness, vendetta. Wasyl Odynsky, of Toronto, who at age 17 was
forced into auxiliary police in World War II as a perimeter guard at a
concentration camp, is another Ms Caplan is determined to deport. The
record shows that when young Odynsky refused to report to the auxiliary
police and ran away, he was caught and told if he ran away again, his
parents and family would pay the price. Another Ukrainian, Helmut Oberlander,
has already been ordered deported. He was a teenaged translator for the
Germans in World War II. As for Mr. Fast -- what does it matter today what
he did or didn't do in World War II? We know the Nazis viewed Ukrainians
as 'subhuman' and punished them rather as they punished Jews in Ukraine
-- Babi Yar in Kiev was a massacre of Ukrainians and Jews."
[WORTHINGTON, P. 11-28-2001]