Thursday, April 19, 2012

Yom Hashoah - Reflections On The Holocaust

Today is Yom HaShoah, the day Israel and the rest of the Jewish world officially mourn the dead of the Holocaust.

As the elderly witnesses gradually die off and it becomes less common to see people with numbers tattooed on their arms and a certain look in their eyes, remembrance is at a premium.

Holocaust denial is a major industry today, and much of it is enthusiastically received ( and bankrolled) from the Islamic world, not only in the Middle East but at hundreds of mosques and madrassahs in the West, to the point where in Britain and elsewhere, educators avoid teaching about it so as not to make any waves or contradict what many Muslim youngsters are being taught at home or as part of their religious studies.

In fact, the first official act of the Muslim Council of Britain after Tony Blair put it together as a voice for the UK's Muslims was to protest Holocaust Remembrance Day being observed.

This is no accident. There are a lot of people who want what happened to the Jews of Europe forgotten and buried.

In Crusade In Europe, his post-war memoir of WWII, Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower over seventy years ago foresaw a time when it would be convenient in certain circles to deny that the Holocaust happened, and he felt he had a moral responsibility to document it for all time:

"I have never felt able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and every shred of human decency.Up to that time I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources.I am certain, however that I never at any time experienced an equal sense of shock.

I visited every nook and cranny of that camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that 'the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda.' {...}

I not only did so, but as soon as I returned to Patton's headquarters that evening I sent communications to both Washington and London urging the two governments to send instantly to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative groups from the national legislatures. I felt that the evidence should be immediately placed before the American and British publics in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt."

General Eisenhower also saw to it that the camps were filmed and that a number of witnesses were given tours of the camps..and not only from overseas. Eisenhower and a number of his  commanders forced the local townspeople from the adjoining German towns to go through the camps  where the populace claimed ignorance. Footage still exists of American soldiers forcing Germans into the camps to look at what had been if  those Germans hadn't been living downwind from the smell of burning flesh for years. As if they hadn't heard the crying of children at the train stations in the dead of night, or seen their Jewish neighbors dragged away...

This photo was taken in the German camp of Wobbelin. It was one of those places the Americans insisted on taking the townspeople for a little tour after the Germans insisted they had no idea of what was going on.

After they were forced to take the tour, the Mayor of the town and his wife both committed suicide.

As monstrous and inhumane as the German war against the Jews was, to the German's credit (and perhaps because they had no choice) a significant majority of them at least acknowledged what happened, and do to this day.

Many of their willing helpers have avoided the question for years.

For instance, Norway is one of the most openly anti-Semitic nations in Europe and one that frequently poses as a moral arbiter of other countries, especially Israel. It was only this year that Norway finally admitted that yes, we did help the Nazis round up our Jews and deport them, and we were pretty enthusiastic about it too. Sorry about that!

It only took them until 1998, close to 60 years, to get around to finally compensating those survivors who were still alive for property that was seized from them by Norwegians way back in 1942.

Of course, today the main focus on Holocaust denial is in the Middle East.

The Arabs supported the Nazis during the war for the most part. In Iraq, a Nazi friendly Arab government took power and launched a pogrom on Jews in Baghdad that killed almost 200 people. The 'Palestinian' leader the British appointed, Haj Amin al-Husseini was the man who originally translated Hitler's 'Mein Kampf ' into Arabic, where it translates into 'My Jihad' and is still a bestseller in the Middle East today.

 Hitler's modern heirs in the Middle East hold exactly the same views on the Jewish people that he did...that they are unworthy of life by their very nature. After all, didn't Allah's messenger Mohammed say so?

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177:Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”

Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi has called repeatedly for genocide against Israel and a second Holocaust.In one of his sermons, he asked God "to kill the Jewish Zionists, every last one of them."

In another sermon on his popular radio show on al-Jazeera he said, "Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by [Adolf] Hitler. G-d willing, this time it will be the believers."

Yet President Obama's Deputy Secretary of State Nicholas Burns has had cordial meetings with Brotherhood leaders in Egypt to discuss relations with the US, and Qaradiwi himself is actually employed by our State Department as I write this as an intermediary with the Taliban. And  the EU nations are even less shy about meeting with Hamas and Brotherhood officials than our State Department.

Even the darlings of the EU and the international community, the 'Palestinian Authority',  figure into the desire to deny the last Holocaust in favor of promoting a new, Islamic one.

'Palestinian Authority' Leader Mahmoud Abbas received his doctorate from Moscow University with a dissertation denying the Holocaust occurred and later published most of it in a book, al-Wajh al-Akhar: al-'Alaqat as-Sirriya bayna an-Naziya wa's-Sihyuniya that is still a standard text in the 'Palestinian' school curriculum. This would be illegal in many EU countries, yet Abbas is persona grata not only in Europe but in the United States. And  the money keeps rolling in, not only to Fatah in the Arab occupied areas of Judea and Samaria but to the openly genocidal Hamas who rule Gaza.

And as I write this, the West is 'dialoging' with Iran, whose leaders have repeatedly pledged to destroy the Jews in Israel and are busily working towards acquiring nuclear weapons for their own version of the Final Solution, just as the West negotiated with Hitler while the Nazis built up their war machine.

Mounting a second Holocaust to make up for the one they claim never happened has been Iran's position since 1979. It was, after all, Iran's `moderate' ex-president Rafsanjani who said that the problem of Israel could be "solved by one nuclear bomb".

So it would seem that despite the best efforts of General Eisenhower and others, we really have forgotten the Holocaust as a society.

But there is this.

Out of the ashes of Auschwitz and Treblinka, something amazing has happened, a miracle in our own time.

Ezekiel's prophecy has come true, and just as the Lord showed him, the Valley of Bones has new flesh and sinew and now lives again in the Land of Israel.

This time, the Jews are no longer helpless and defenseless. They have a country and an army of their own, and the Jews of Israel realize that not only do they not have the luxury of disbelief but that they need not suffer for the folly of others who live in denial. They can control their own destiny.

That's the real meaning of Yom HaShoah....because this is a day of renewal as well as sadness, just as the nation of Israel has grown like a brilliant flame out of the ashes of a thousand Jewish communities of Europe liquidated in the Shoah.

That flame is it's own reflection, and illuminates the millions who died and had no voice as well as the living.

Am Yisroel Chai.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Rob.

Unknown said...

Gripping Rob! Never Forget, Never Again!

Dave Schuler said...

I knew one of the guys with the cameras. I knew one of the tank commanders who was among the first Americans to see one of the camps. Years later he still turned pale and tears came to his eyes when the subject of the war came up.

sykes.1 said...

I was living in Boston in the late 50s and early 60s, and one of my most vivid memories is that of old people with blue numbers tattooed on their arms. Especially the little old women in their summer dresses. My father fought in Europe, but never saw the camps.

My liberal wife is horrified when I tell her that we should deport all Muslims (including Nation of Islam). But I was horrified to hear a female colleague (PhD, full professor, liberal) tell me a while ago that Jews did not belong in Israel. I asked her where they should go, but she didn't answer. Conversation over.

Eisenhower's prophecy has come true.