This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Holocaust and Modern Memory

Now this is a post that is – unless I’m much mistaken - going to get a lot of people hot under the collar.
Image: a grim, grassless square, surrounded by brick buildings and high fences surmounted by concertina wire. At several points in the fences stand high watchtowers, topped by platforms with mounted machine guns behind which stand men in black uniforms and squared off helmets. Somewhere in the background, smoke emerges from tall chimneys and drifts across the square. One knows, somehow, what that smoke is. One has read enough to know what it will smell like. One knows that somewhere there will be a gate with a legend : Arbeit Macht Frei, “Work will make you free”.
In the square stand thousands of emaciated men in striped uniforms, in rank upon terrified rank, while more of the black uniformed men stroll around selecting and beating them to pulp, apparently at random; while some striped uniformed figures twitch at the ends of ropes slung from makeshift gallows.
Familiar image, isn’t it? The concentration camps, with thousands of terrified Jewish captives at the mercy of brutal Nazi guards, beaten and hanged to death on a daily basis, liquidated by gassing if they were not fit to work, fed just enough to keep them from falling dead on the job. Isn’t it the image drilled into us by movies like Schindler’s List, novels-turned-TV series like Holocaust, and ceaseless repetition in the media? Isn’t it something deemed so self-evident, like the law of gravity, that to deny it happened is ipso facto perverse?
Well, time we took a look at the reality, folks.
Oh, don’t get me wrong; I am not denying it happened. In fact, it most certainly happened, and on a scale that is probably underestimated if anything. In fact, the underestimation is crucial and significant to what I’m saying.
When we read of the inmates of the concentration camps, we hear just one word: Jews. Most people think the only purpose of the concentration camps was the destruction of Jews. We keep hearing the figures; six million Jews perished in the concentration camps; the Holocaust, therefore, killed six million – and all of them Jews.
It just was not so.
Certainly Jews formed a very large and significant section of concentration camp inmates; but far from the only ones. Concentration camps took in everybody: common criminals, trade unionists, homosexuals, socialists, Communists, uncooperative journalists, social democrats – all of whom could be Jews as well, naturally – and others, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, Russian prisoners (of whom at least three million stayed back, dead, vide William Shirer’s The Rise And Fall of the Third Reich), and towards the end, opponents of the Hitler regime that included ex-officials like General Franz Halder (ex-chief of General Staff), Admiral Wilhelm Canaris (former head of military intelligence, Abwehr), and Dr Hjalmar Schacht (onetime Nazi Finance minister). They were also used to get rid of Nazis who knew too much, like the infamous medical experimenter Dr Sigmund Rascher, who ended in the same Dachau concentration camp where he had carried out his experiments (in another blog post I’m planning I’ll talk about the concentration camps themselves).
Now let’s make something absolutely clear: the concentration camps, and their cousins, the extermination camps, were not the only method used by the Nazis to finish off their prisoners, and between them were responsible for only a part of the total numbers exterminated by the Nazis. What that total number is will remain unknown, but according to one source (Eugen Kogon, The Theory and Practice of Hell), 7,125,000 out of 7,820,000 camp inmates were killed. Shirer calls this an exaggeration and it would undoubtedly seem to be so because it would leave rather few survivors to tell the tale. Despite the focus on the camps, a large proportion of the victims of the Holocaust died by other means.
The Nazis began by “euthanising” the “inferior” – the handicapped or mentally retarded, usually by injections – and then, in Eastern Europe, presided over mass exterminations of Jews and Communists, carried out by firing squads of Einsatzgruppen death squads. There were four Einsatzgruppen, A, B, C, and D, given charge of specific sectors to be “cleansed” of Jews and Communists. SS Gruppenfuehrer Otto Ohlendorf, commandant in 1942 of Einsatzgruppe D, admitted in Nuremberg that his group had shot around ninety thousand Jews and Communists, including women and children…and there were three other Einsatzgruppen.
Besides this was the behaviour of the conquering Nazis towards Soviet prisoners, who were routinely murdered by being starved to death, denied shelter, shot on the march, and made to stay out – without warm clothes or food – in midwinter snows, something which brought a protest even from Nazi minister Alfred Rosenberg. As I said, the death toll from the ranks of Soviet prisoners, alone, was three million.
And I’m not even mentioning the murder of Western Allied prisoners as in Malmedy or the destruction of entire villages as in Lidice, Czechoslovakia, or the murder of Italian troops captured by the Nazis after Italy’s surrender, as on the island of Cefalonia, Greece, or French civilians murdered as reprisals for Resistance raids, or the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto. Those incidents each killed paltry hundreds, at the most a few thousands, after all.
How many Jews did the Holocaust actually kill? The figure bandied about is six million, so much so that it has been virtually put beyond discussion (of which more anon). But, since I am not trying to be politically correct here, let’s take a look anyway. Adolf Eichmann, chief of the Jewish Office of the Gestapo, who actually organised the Endloesung, the “Final Solution”, put the figure between “five and six million” – rather imprecise, a million human beings counts for something. According to the World Jewish Congress (hardly a disinterested party) the figure was 5,700,000, and this is also the figure given in the Nuremberg indictment. That again is three hundred thousand short of the “six million” figure; and if one thinks it makes little difference, imagine what would happen if one killed three hundred thousand citizens of any nation today. Unless one was Bush and the victims were Muslim Arabs, it would certainly raise an outcry. But we don’t even have to depend on that number. Gerald Reitlinger, in The Final Solution – The Attempt to Exterminate the Jews of Europe, 1939-1945, puts the figure at between 4,194,200 and 4,581,200; which is over a million and a half less than the officially repeated figure. Of course it does not mean that a monstrous crime was not committed; it, however, means that there are differences between the accepted figures and what really happened.
Let me make clear that in all this I’m talking about the numbers of people murdered knowingly and directly by the Nazis – we’re not talking of the people killed in fighting or in bombardments or by the indirect effects of Nazi inflicted conflict, for example due to starvation.
Therefore, suddenly, the “exclusively Jewish” Holocaust becomes, not diluted, oh no, those Jews certainly suffered and died, but somewhat – shared – and the total death toll considerably exceeds the purported six million Jews killed in the Nazi Endloesung (“Final Solution”) of the “Jewish Question”.
What do we have, therefore? Unless one holds to the not uncommon theory that only Jewish deaths count, the Holocaust suddenly becomes a general human tragedy, not something monopolised by the Jews; also, the quantum of Jewish suffering, while extreme, is not as great as commonly perceived. However, every age has its shibboleths that may not be challenged. In the Middle Ages it was the theory that the earth lay at the centre of the universe; during the Victorian era it was the idea that the white race was born to rule darker skinned peoples everywhere; today, it is the idea that Jews have a monopoly on suffering and that this cannot be challenged or even seriously studied.
This is, though, a most inconvenient fact these days, and most certainly not to be bandied about. The reason is simple and instructive in how the world works: the Holocaust, now an exclusively Jewish property in public imagination, is the sole excuse and raison d’etre for the final establishment (Balfour Declaration or not, it wouldn’t have happened otherwise) and continued existence of the racist, apartheidist, imperialistic, murderous, pseudo-state of “Israel”. That “Israel” that apparently learned so much from the Nazis that it’s what can only be called Nazism reborn.
Israel”, after all, was created in a campaign of ethnic cleansing of the native Arab population in Nazi Einsatzgruppen-style massacres like Deir Yassin; it, like the Nazis, has repeatedly invaded neighbouring countries on the excuse of “self-defence”; it has, like the Nazis, created a totally militarised society. Like the Nazis, it refuses to state and define its final borders and seeks “Greater Israel”. Like the Nazis, it encloses people whose territory it occupies in walled off ghettoes, imprisons them without trial, and conducts murderous “punitive raids” against them. Like the Nazis and their “Aryan race”, it says it is acting in defence of the Semitic race; and just as Nazi “Aryanism” was ridiculous and fictional, its idea of the Semitic race is fictional. Let me repeat what I have said before: Semitic races are both Jewish and Arab</a>, in fact, the latter would be a good deal more Semitic than the former, since they have stayed more or less in place in West Asia with a minimum of intermarriage with other races, unlike the Jews. (Dare I point out that when the Catholic regime in Spain expelled the Jews, it was the Ottoman Turks, Muslims, who had welcomed them to West Asia and helped them resettle there?) Also, Jews, both individually and as organisations, are very far from all supporters of “Israel,” as I have pointed out here.
Yet propaganda has been deliberately and repeatedly used to portray anti-“Israeli” actions, whether military or even plain verbal, as “anti-Jew”, the equivalent of hate crimes like fire bombing synagogues or desecrating Jewish cemeteries. Any and all opponents of the criminal and genocidal invasion of Lebanon last summer by “Israel,” for example, were labelled, indiscriminately, “anti-Semitic”. I wonder how many backers of “Israel” even know that Arabs are Semitic and that they – as recently as sixty years ago – inhabited the land on which “Israel” stands today?
And the excuse for “Israel’s” crimes? What is the shield it hides behind? You got it. The Holocaust, which was an exclusively Jewish tragedy and which “must never happen again”, even at the cost of becoming the same sort of oppressors who created the original Holocaust.
Last year, in the wake of the “cartoons controversy”, I had confronted pro-Danish flagwaggers with a simple question: why, if they were so strongly in favour of freedom of speech, were they, and their governments, also against any attempt to discuss the Holocaust in any way that differed from the “official” accounts? If the Danes could get away with portraying the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb as a turban, surely Iran could equally hold a conference on the Holocaust where Jewish rabbis could speak on the same platform as scholars? Why would President Ahmadinejad of Iran be labelled a “Holocaust Denier”? What is a “Holocaust Denier” anyway? The material I’ve written so far in this blog is quite enough to get me labelled a “Holocaust Denier” and “anti-Semite”…even though I do not deny the Holocaust happened and nor do I have anything at all against Arabs or non-“Israeli” Jews.
Then, of course, is the interesting fact that in many European countries one can not legally question the Holocaust; in those lands of “free speech”, where one can publish hate cartoons, one can’t say the Holocaust did not happen. Since saying the Holocaust did not happen is the equivalent of saying the world is flat, I wonder if those countries also have laws against propounding a flat earth hypothesis. Somehow, I doubt it, very, very much.
An even weirder aspect of this is the fact that these laws seem to be applicable retrospectively, as David Irving discovered. This man, a British right wing “scholar” and long term Nazi apologist, had made a speech in the eighties questioning the existence of the Holocaust. Although by the early nineties he had come round to the view that the Holocaust, as he admitted publicly, had happened, he was still locked up last summer for that sixteen year old speech.
(Let me make clear that Irving is no candidate for my sympathy. Apart from an ex-Holocaust denier/flat earther, he is a flaming racist who said once that he objected to black or Asian newsreaders on television because “it’s my news and they are reading it to me”. No one called him on the racism, though.)
The German SS Brigadefuehrer Walther Schellenberg, speaking about the “Final Solution”, had said “If we could have exterminated all of them (that is, Jews), it would have been unexceptional; but since we had not more than a third of them in our custody, it was worse than a folly; it was a stupidity (“es war eine Dummheit gewesen”).” In fact, in the context of today’s politics, the Holocaust (which as Schellenberg said never actually threatened the existence of Jews worldwide) was probably the single best thing that could possibly have happened to the Zionist cause. Zionism, the movement to set up a Jewish state in West Asia, did not come into existence because of the Holocaust; it began in the late nineteenth century with Theodor Herzl, and most likely would have died down but for the Holocaust and the use Zionists made of it. It enabled them to gain the legitimacy that allowed them to run a genocidal terrorist campaign that ended in the creation and maintenance of a state that’s Nazi in all but name (in fact I, and many others like me, prefer to call Zionists “Zionazis”).
Israel” should really put up a statue in gratitude to Hitler. 

(April 2007)

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