Thursday, May 29, 2014

MSNBC Talking Head Toure Tweet: Holocaust Survivors Benefit from White Privilege. Viktor Frankl.

Victor Frankl
Holocaust survivor
Author of "Man's Search for Meaning"
The previous post addressed the intellectual and ethical roots of and justifications for Nazism. That blog post received much pushback. No, a minority of readers insisted. Catholicism is Nazism, or, maybe, all Christianity is Nazism. Such 1984-style Big Lies are all too prominent.

MSNBC gives us this Big Lie: Holocaust survivors who managed to create a life for themselves after World War Two did so because they benefited from white privilege.

Those Holocaust survivors who managed to make a life for themselves did so because of several factors. Those factors include the admirable unity, generosity and support of their fellow Jews and many Christians living in the US.

They were able to do so because they exhibited the gumption necessary to start from scratch after losing everything. Hard work. Self-sacrifice. Humility. Faith and hope. Getting up and going on in spite of nightmares and memories of all that was lost. It takes an awesome amount of soul and guts to do that, and they did it. These survivors exhibited quiet heroism and anyone who can't see that is lost.

Above is a photo of Viktor Frankl, author of "Man's Search for Meaning," one of the most profound books ever written. Frankl was a Holocaust survivor. He is also a great and international hero. Toure could learn from Frankl. 

White privilege had nothing to do with Holocaust survivors' ability to make a life for themselves. A deeply admirable humanity had everything to do with it. Lies like Toure's blind those who believe them. They lose the great gift these survivors offer -- their example of how to go on when all is lost. 

Talk of white privilege when it comes to Holocaust survivors is obscene.

Some of the very same Politically Correct voices who rush to rewrite history to mesh with their false ideology and equate Nazism with Christianity also commit another obscenity. They insist that all whites are privileged, including Holocaust survivors.

Further, this same Political Correctness that falsely equates Christianity with Nazism also equates Zionism with Nazism. When it comes to WW II, hate Christians. When it comes to the survival of Israel, hate Jews. Always hate somebody, and always rewrite history to meet ideological ends. Truth is that which serves the Party.

The Big Lie never dies. Decent people must resist it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nazism's Inspirations and Foundations: Atheism, Scientism, Darwinism, Nationalism, and Neo-Paganism.

Einsatzgruppen killing Jews near Ivanogorod, Ukraine.
Photo intercepted by Polish Underground and used as documentation of war crimes. 
How could Nazis have, in a cold and calculating manner, mass murdered millions of people?

They could do so because doing so was in accord with what they had been trained to think.

Nazism had firm ethical, intellectual, and philosophical foundations.

Those firm ethical, intellectual, and philosophical foundations and inspirations included atheism, neo-Paganism, Romantic Nationalism, scientism, and Darwinism.

Yes, Nazis were human beings just like you and me. Yes, Nazis often felt uncomfortable, hesitant, and guilty before, during and after killings. High profile, very powerful Nazis like SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler and SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolph Eichmann publicly complained about how difficult and troubling it was to mass murder people.

On September 7, 1940, in a speech to the officers of the SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler at Metz, Himmler said,

"In Poland in weather forty degrees below zero, where we had to haul away thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, where we had to have the toughness – you should hear this but also forget it again immediately – to shoot thousands of leading Poles … The proud soldier says, 'My God, why do I have to do that, this ridiculous job here!' – It is much easier to go into combat with a company than to suppress an obstructive population of low cultural level, or to carry out executions, or to haul away people, or to evict crying and hysterical women, or to return our German racial brethren across the border from Russia and to take care of them…

You have to consider the work of the S. D. man or of the man of the Security Police as a vital part of our whole work just like the fact that you can carry arms. You are the men to be envied because … if a unit achieves fame …it can be decorated. It's much more difficult in other positions… in this silent, compulsion work, this silent activity."

Adolf Eichmann also complained about how unpleasant it was to mass murder people.

"But I also remember today driving through Lemberg, on the outskirts, and seeing for the first time something I had never seen before, namely a fountain of blood. I passed a site where Jews had been shot some time before and where - apparently as a result of the pressure of the gasses - the blood was shooting out of the earth like a fountain…These are the four official journeys I was instructed to make, and during which I came into direct contact with the extermination of the Jews. I came into contact against my will - I had to obey, I had to do it. I cannot state anything further on this matter."

Not just famous Nazis complained. Ordinary, average Nazis complained about how onerous it was to mass murder people. At first, Nazis killed their victims by shooting them. The Einsatzgruppen did this work. They complained about it. A more impersonal method had to be found, and it was. Gassing was the new, impersonal method of mass murder. Gassing was invented to spare Germans the psychological roadblocks to mass murder.

When Nazis felt uncomfortable, hesitant, or guilty, they used their Nazi ethics to buck themselves up.

This is all a matter of public record. Nazi ethics are visible in propaganda films like "Olympia," "Triumph of the Will," "Jud Suss," and "The Eternal Jew," in thousands of propaganda posters, in Nazi diaries and speech transcripts.

One foundation of Nazism was romantic nationalism and neo-Paganism. Johann Gottfried von Herder, a philosopher who lived in the eighteenth century, is credited with sparking nationalism in Germany.

Here is an excerpt from Herder:

"The savage who loves himself, his wife, and his child with quiet joy and glows with limited activity for his tribe as for his own life is, it seems to me, a more genuine being than that cultured shade who is enchanted by the shadow of his whole species."

Herder is saying it's better to be a "savage" who loves his own tribe than it is to be an educated person who loves all humanity. It's pretty clear that this statement is a rejection of the Good Samaritan parable.

"In his poor hut, [the savage] finds room for every stranger, receives him as a brother with impartial good humor and never asks whence he came. The inundated heart of the idle cosmopolitan is a home for no one....

No greater injury can be inflicted on a nation than to be robbed of her national character, the peculiarity of her spirit and her language. Reflect on this and you will perceive our irreparable loss. Look about you in Germany for the character of the nation, for their own particular cast of thought, for their own peculiar vein of speech; where are they?

Read Tacitus; there you will find their character: 'The tribes of Germany, who never degrade themselves by mingling with others, form a peculiar, unadulterated, original nation, which is its own archetype. Even their physical development is universally uniform, despite the large numbers of the people,' and so forth.

Now look about you and say: 'The tribes of Germany have been degraded by mingling with others; they have sacrificed their natural disposition in protracted intellectual servitude; and, since they have, in contrast to others, imitated a tyrannical prototype for a long time, they are, among all the nations of Europe, the least true to themselves.'

If Germany were only guided by the forces of the age, by the leading strings of her own culture, our intellectual disposition would doubtless be poor and restricted; but it would be true to our own soil, fashioned upon its own model, and not so misshapen and cast down."

The Brothers Grimm took up Herder's call and published wildly successful books on folklore, claiming that their folklore was a key to the German nation, soil, and soul. The Grimms interwove neo-Paganism and nature worship with their German nationalism. Jacob Grimm wrote that myth "is properest to that nation with whose gods it closely coalesces." Get in touch with Germany's folklore; get in touch with German nature and earth, and get in touch with old, Germanic Gods.

The Grimms insisted that their folklore had no foreign impurities. Although "combinations" caused by "peaceful intercourse or war" might produce "gain," "language" did best when pure of foreign interference. The Grimms wanted to be able to present "purely German fare"; "nothing is as edifying or as likely to bring more joy than the products of the Fatherland". "Long lines of Teutonic peoples" were required for the production of the best "poesie"; "blendings with foreign peoples" "disintegrated" poesie and drove it to "extinction".

"Nations hold fast by prescription: we shall never understand their tradition, their superstition, unless we spread under it a bed on still heathen soil". The German characteristic of "thoughtful earnestness," for example, helped the German language shed the undesirable traits which came from Slavs, whose mythology was "several degrees wilder and grosser than German".

The Grimms insisted that their folklore was an unimpeachable product of nature, German nature, and thus beyond criticism, and close to sacred.

"Nature itself is our best witness, for she has let these flowers and leaves grow in these colors and shapes; whoever fails to find them right for certain needs, unknown to nature, can pass right by them, but ought not to demand that they therefore be colored and cut in a different fashion....Everything that is natural can also be healthy...".

...we do not intend to praise these tales or even to defend them against opposing views: their very existence suffices to protect them. Whatever has succeeded in bringing so much pleasure so often, and has at the same time moved and instructed, has its own inner justification and must have flowed from the eternal wellspring that bedews all life."

Because they were natural and German, the Grimms' folklore was a proper guide to behavior: "we wanted...that the book serve as a manual of manners".

The occupying Allied forces in Germany after World War II confiscated the Grimms' books as part of de-Nazification.

Another proponent of nationalism in Germany was Richard Wagner, the great musician. Wagner was an anti-Semite. But Jews were not the only hated other for nationalistic Germans in the nineteenth century. Kulturkampf and Hakata, also known as the German Eastern Marches Society, targeted Poles.

The massive, c. 1880-1924 immigration of Eastern and Southern and East Asian peasants to the US had an impact on the development of Nazism. Source 
Trends in the United States would also come to provide ethical and intellectual foundations for Nazism.

Between, roughly, 1880 and 1929, a massive influx of peasant immigrants overwhelmed American consciousness. Note the word "consciousness" – I'm not talking about what happened in the streets or in the mines or in the tenements – I'm talking about what happened in human minds.

Americans had electricity, indoor plumbing, democracy, literacy. These new peasant immigrants from East Asia and Eastern and Southern Europe included recent serfs who had little to no experience of money, writing, shoes, self-government, or bathing.

The numbers were overwhelming. Here's a vivid description from H. G. Wells. A visitor to Ellis Island

"is taken through vast barracks littered with people of every European race, every type of low-class European costume, and every degree of dirtiness, to a central hall in which the gist of the examining goes on …

day after day, incessantly, the immigrants go, wild-eyed Gipsies, Armenians, Greeks, Italians, Ruthenians, Cossacks, German peasants, Scandinavians, a few Irish still, impoverished English, occasional Dutch; they halt for a moment at little desks to exhibit papers, at other little desks to show their money and prove they are not paupers, to have their eyes scanned by this doctor and their general bearing by that. Their thumb-marks are taken, their names and heights and weights and so forth are recorded for the card index; and so, slowly, they pass along towards America, and at last reach a little wicket, the gate of the New World.

Through this metal wicket drips the immigration stream – all day long, every two or three seconds, an immigrant with a valise or a bundle, passes the little desk and goes on past the well-managed money-changing place, past the carefully organised separating ways that go to this railway or that, past the guiding, protecting officials – into a new world.

They stand in a long string, waiting to go through that wicket, with bundles, with little tin boxes, with cheap portmanteaus with odd packages, in pairs, in families, alone, women with children, men with strings of dependents, young couples. All day that string of human beads waits there, jerks forward, waits again; all day and every day, constantly replenished, constantly dropping the end beads through the wicket, till the units mount to hundreds and the hundreds to thousands."

The differences between peasant immigrants and Americans were overwhelming. Here, from a House Executive Document, is a horrified description of Slovak peasants

"Their homes are often nothing but scanty huts, of one room, wherein the whole family lives and sleeps promiscuously. The furniture and outfit is very primitive, mostly homemade, and has to last for generations ...

The body clothes of the men are made of coarse linen, their summer clothing of the same material, only coarser, and in winter their clothing consists of suits made from a coarse and thick woolen felting, in the natural color of the wool; an everlasting cap of the sheepskin and a pair of sandals about complete an outfit which has been in vogue with them for generations and which may be an heirloom, since the style hardly ever changes. An important part of their outfit is the roomy and long mantle without sleeves, made up from half a dozen sheepskins which are tanned, the wool being left on ... when the men are away from home these mantles form their complete bed. What these patriarchal cloaks may lack in style is generally made up for by some gaudy embroidery or even painting on the leather side of it…In all, it will be seen that the tastes of these people are anything but refined, are low, in fact."

Americans didn't know how to understand these peasants who were invading their "new and clean country," as Labor Secretary James J Davis, in an anti-immigrant article, put it.

Science stepped in. Science would explain the peasant immigrants to America. In an address before the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Albert Edward Jenks announced, "The greatest problem before America today is the immigration problem ... This great problem is at base anthropological ... as out of these different physical characteristics of the different breeds of people come the psychic characteristics of the different breeds of people"

Science, at that time, was informed by Darwin, who had published "Origin of Species" in 1859.

Myth is the foundational narrative of a culture. The great folklore scholar Bronislaw Malinowski described myth as a people's charter for belief. A people's myth can be compared to the US Constitution. It prescribes what people can do and can't do, what they should and should not do.

Before Darwin, the dominant myth in the West was the Judeo-Christian myth. In this myth, one omnipotent, unique, creator God, in an act of love, created the universe, one time.

I tell my students over and over, "A fish doesn't know it is in water." A Westerner who has never lived under any other myths probably doesn't realize the uniqueness of the Judeo-Christian myth. Many of my students just assume that every religion is about a unique, omnipotent God who creates one universe one time in an act of love, and that everybody believes that "all men are created equal."

That's just not so, of course. Just one example, of many possible examples: Hinduism's Rig Veda describes the creation of the world as the sacrifice of the primal man, Parusha. Parusha's mouth becomes the Brahmans, high caste people. His arms become the princes, or kshatriya, those ranked second in caste hierarchy. The rest of Parusha's body is similarly allotted to various castes. This myth justifies the caste system. In Hindu myth, people are very much NOT created equal. This myth is thousands of years old. With it as justification, as charter, low caste and untouchable Hindus are condemned to hellish lives. They are not equal. They are inferior. Their inferiority is sealed by myth.

Compare this Vedic myth to Talmudic commentary on Genesis, as retold by Nathan Ausubel:

"Why did God create only one Adam and not many at a time? He did this to demonstrate that one man in himself is an entire universe. Also He wished to teach mankind that he who kills one human being is as guilty as if he had destroyed the entire world. Similarly, he who saves the life of one single human being is as worthy as if he had saved all of humanity.

God created only one man so that people should not try to feel superior to one another and boast of their lineage in this wise: 'I am descended from a more distinguished Adam than you.'

He also did this so that the heathen should not be able to say that since many men had been created at the same time, it was conclusive proof that there was more than one God. Lastly, He did this in order to establish His own power and glory. When a maker of coins does his work he uses only one mould and all the coins emerge alike. But the Kings of Kings, blessed be His name, has created all mankind in the mould of Adam, and even so no man is identical to another. For this reason each person must respect himself and say with dignity, 'God created the world on my account. Therefore let me not lose eternal life because of some vain passion!'"

This myth encountered challenges, for example after Columbus discovered America. Were the Indians human? Yes, insisted heroes like Father Bartolome de las Casas. De las Casas said that in the Indians persecuted by conquistadors he saw "Jesus Christ, our God, scourged and afflicted and beaten and crucified, not once, but thousands of times." That is a remarkable statement. No Greek follower of Zeus saw Zeus in the barbarians or helots he conquered. It would be anathema for a Muslim to see Allah in an infidel he decapitated. This myth is, simply, different from other myths. With Sublimus Dei, the Vatican agreed: Indians are human beings. Just like us.

Nazism was a challenge. Catholicism insistently, stubbornly, stuck to the idea that we are all equal children of God, as in this 1943 quote from Vatican Radio: "Every man bears the stamp of God." Some Catholics did buy into Scientific Racism. But, compared to other institutions, the Catholic Church was more significant as a resistor of Scientific Racism than as an adopter. As one SS critic put it, "The Pope has repudiated the National Socialist New European Order. His speech is one long attack on everything we stand for. God, he says, regards all peoples and races as worthy of the same consideration. Here he is clearly speaking in behalf of the Jews and makes himself the mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals." Similar statements can be found here.  

No one argues that all Jews and Christians, all the time, have perfectly adhered to the implications of this myth. Atrocity happens: slavery, conquest, war. The point is, rather, that this was the guiding myth, the narrative that a culture's heroes, famous and obscure, strove to live their lives by, the North Star they struggled to follow, the ideal they hoped to live up to, the still small voice that kept them awake at night, the legacy they worked to pass on.

As Richard Dawkins put it, "Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist"

Jettisoning the Judeo-Christian myth, and putting Darwinism in its place, was followed by self-identified Darwinists who deduced that, since there is no loving, creator God who made people of other races your brother, since there was no eternal consequence for harming another, since there was no real equality, well, you could put human beings in zoos and put human beings in ovens. And so you did. And you very much did cite your understanding of Darwinism as your guiding myth. And you very much did cite the Judeo-Christian myth as an outdated superstition, that weakened you and that you needed to erase ASAP.

The Judeo-Christian myth of human equality relied on faith. It relied on believing what you could plainly see was not true. People aren't equal. Some are better looking. Some are smarter. Some are healthier. Some are more useful. Science relies on evidence, not faith. Evidence. The evidence is right there in front of your eyes. And so Karl Pearson, who gave us statistics, and Carl Brigham, who gave us the SAT, and Margaret Sanger, who gave us Planned Parenthood, all went to work on proving that peasant immigrants were as inferior as they seemed, and worthy of restriction, or outright elimination.

Everyone was on board. All American presidents during this era. The Ivy League schools. Right wingers. Left wingers. (Pearson changed his name from Carl to Karl to honor Marx.) The mainstream press, the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, the Museum of Natural History. The Bronx Zoo. Everyone could plainly see that these peasant immigrants were specimens of an inferior race.

Lothrop Stoddard, Harvard PhD, a terrifically influential scientific racist, wrote "The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under Man." Stoddard cited Darwin as the "epoch maker" who inspired scientific racism.

"Let us now consider the rise of the new biology, which has already exerted so powerful an influence upon our philosophy of life and which promises to affect profoundly the destinies of mankind. Modern biology can be said to date from the publication of Darwin's work on The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in the year 1859. This epoch-making book … marked nothing short of a revolution in the realm of ideas…"

Madison Grant was a great American. Good friend of Teddy Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover. Concerned scientist. Contributed to preservation of the redwood and the bison. Cofounded the Bronx Zoo. His "Passing of the Great Race" contains echoes of Darwin, and foreshadows Hitler, who would write to Grant to tell him that "Passing" was his "bible." Grant specifically identified Christianity, and its idea of the worth of each, individual human life, as the enemy of the scientific racist, an enemy whom scientific racism would need to, and would, defeat in the battleground of ideas.

"The laws of nature require the obliteration of the unfit, and human life is valuable only when it is of use to the community or race. It is highly unjust that a minute minority should be called upon to supply brains for the unthinking mass.

The church assumes a serious responsibility toward the future of the race whenever it steps in and preserves a defective strain ... A great injury is done to the community by the perpetuation of worthless types. These strains are apt to be meek and lowly, and as such make a strong appeal to the sympathies of the successful. Before eugenics were understood much could be said from a Christian … view-point in favor of indiscriminate charity … [now we know charity does] more injury to the race than black death or smallpox.

A rigid system of selection through the elimination of those who are weak or unfit – in other words, social failures – would solve the whole question in one hundred years, as well as enable us to get rid of the undesirables who crowd our jails, hospitals, and insane asylums."

Scientific racist Madison Grant's comparison of Christianity to smallpox would be echoed later by twenty-first century scientific atheist Richard Dawkins, who would compare religion to smallpox.

And there you have it. Christianity is the enemy because Christianity insists on seeing a worthy humanity where there is no scientific evidence of any worthy humanity. It insists on faith, on seeing what is unseen, on seeing invisible value in apparently worthless human specimens.

Grant did put a human being in the Bronx Zoo: Ota Benga.

Christians vociferously protested the placing of a human being in the Bronx Zoo.

"The Rev. James H. Gordon, superintendent of the Howard Colored Orphan Asylum in Brooklyn…said. 'We think we are worthy of being considered human beings, with souls.'" Source: NYT

Learned scientists laughed at their silly Christian ideas of humans and souls. "Mayor George McClellan, for example, refused to meet with the clergymen or to support their cause. For this he was congratulated by the zoo’s director, William Temple Hornaday, a major figure not only in the zoo’s history but also in the history of American conservation, who wrote to him, 'When the history of the Zoological Park is written, this incident will form its most amusing passage.'" Source: NYT

The New York Times approved. Ota Benga "belongs to a race that 'scientists do not rate high in the human scale…The idea that men are all much alike … is now far out of date.'"

Lidice massacre, occupied Czechoslovakia. Source: Wikipedia 
Let's jump, without any attempt at a segue, without any attempt at creating comfortable distance, from immigrant-overrun, scientific America to the funeral of Reinhard Heydrich, Nazi "protector" – that really was what the Nazis called him – of what is now the Czech Republic. Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcik, a Czech and a Slovak, assassinated Heydrich; the Nazis, in retaliation, wiped out the village of Lidice.
SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, coordinator of the Holocaust, eulogized Heydrich:

"We will have to deal with Christianity in a tougher way than hitherto. We must settle accounts with this Christianity, this greatest of plagues that could have happened to us in our history, which has weakened us in every conflict. If our generation does not do it then it would I think drag on for a long time. We must overcome it within ourselves … We shall once again have to find a new scale of values for our people: the scale of the macrocosm and the microcosm, the starry sky above us and the world in us, the world that we see in the microscope.

Man is nothing special at all…He has no idea how a fly is constructed—however unpleasant, it is a miracle—or how a blossom is constructed. He must once again look with deep reverence into this world. Then he will acquire the right sense of proportion about what is above us, about how we are woven into this cycle.

Then, on a different plane, something else must happen: we must once again be rooted in our ancestors and grandchildren, in this eternal chain and eternal sequence … By rooting our people in a deep ideological awareness of ancestors and grandchildren we must once more persuade them that they must have sons … everything that we do must be justifiable vis-à-vis the clan, our ancestors. If we do not secure this moral foundation which is the deepest and best because the most natural, we will not be able to overcome Christianity on this plane and create the Germanic Reich which will be a blessing for the earth. That is our mission as a nation on this earth. For thousands of years it has been the mission of this blond race to rule the earth and again and again to bring it happiness and culture."

In another speech, delivered a year later, Himmler spoke to his fellow SS officers.

"One basic principle must be the absolute rule for the S.S. men. We must be honest, decent, loyal, and comradely to members of our own blood and nobody else. What happens to a Russian and a Czech does not interest me in the least. What the nations can offer in the way of good blood of our type we will take, if necessary by kidnapping their children and raising them here with us.

Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our culture: otherwise it is of no interest to me. Whether ten thousand Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an anti-tank ditch interests me only in so far as the anti-tank ditch for Germany is finished. We shall never be tough and heartless where it is not necessary, that is clear.

We, Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude towards animals, will also assume a decent attitude towards these human animals. But it is a crime against our blood to worry about them and give them ideals, thus causing our sons and grandsons to have a more difficult time with them. When somebody comes up to me and says: 'I cannot dig the anti-tank ditch with women and children, it is inhuman, for it would kill them,' then I have to say: 'You are the murderer of your own blood, because if the anti-tank ditch is not dug German soldiers will die, and they are the sons of German mothers. They are our own blood....' Our concern, our duty, is our people and our blood. We can be indifferent to everything else. I wish the S.S. to adopt this attitude towards the problem of all foreign, non-Germanic peoples, especially Russians....

Most of you will know what it means when 100 bodies lie together, when there are 500, or when there are 1000. And to have seen this through, and to have remained decent, has made us hard and is a page of glory.

We have the moral right, we had the duty to our people to do it, to kill … we exterminated the bacillus, we don't want to become sick and die from the same bacillus.

I will never see it happen, that even one bit of putrefaction comes in contact with us, or takes root in us. On the contrary, where it might try to take root, we will burn it out together. But altogether we can say: We have carried out this most difficult task for the love of our people. And we have taken on no defect within us, in our soul, or in our character."

It frightens and saddens me that something as big and as utterly public as Nazism could be the object of so much politically-motivated obfuscation. No, Nazism was not an expression of Christianity.

Nazism's roots could not be more obvious. Nazis themselves announced publicly and often their thought processes.

The Big Lie never dies. Good people must always resist it. And we must invite our friends to learn the truth. 

Pawel Kuczynski

See more of Pawel Kuczynski's work here

Sunday, May 25, 2014

"Forget Us Not" Documentary by Heather E. Connell. Review.

"Forget Us Not" is an award-winning, seventy-minute documentary presenting the experiences of what are referred to as Nazism's "other victims." History's focus is on the six million Jews the Nazis murdered because Nazism's focus was on Jews.

But it is a tragedy, and a great lie, that too many people have no idea that Nazism also targeted non-Jews. When I speak about the Holocaust, I ask audiences, "What group did the Nazis mass murder first and last, even after they surrendered to the Allies?"

No one has yet been able to answer that question. The answer is handicapped Germans. If you are surprised, you don't understand Nazism. A good first step would be viewing "Forget Us Not."

Ron Perlman provides sonorous narration. Archival black and white film clips are interspersed throughout, including one brief, insufferable shot of Nazis laughing. Lieutenant Commander Jack H. Taylor, "the first Navy Seal," testifies to the horrors of Mauthausen. What music there is is excellent.

Most of "Forget Us Not" consists of four living survivors telling their own stories. Wilhelm Heckman's story is told via voiceover narration and photographs. Heckman was a musician and alleged to be a homosexual; he was interned in Mauthausen.

Robert Wagemann is the most articulate interviewee. Before his birth, his mother was imprisoned for distributing Jehovah's Witness pamphlets. His mother's obstetrician was Jewish, and thanks to Nazi policies, he disappeared. Wagemann was a breach birth, and his mother had only a midwife for help. Wagemann's hip was injured.

When Wagemann was five years old, he was ordered to report for a physical. His mother overheard a doctor saying that he'd break for lunch, come back, and murder Wagemann. Nazi Aktion T4 was designed to eliminate defective people. Wagemann's mother grabbed her son and rushed to the exit. A nun blocked their escape; Wagemann's mother was insistent. She took her naked son to a riverbank and dressed him in the privacy of the reeds.

Wagemann said his goal was to communicate to young people living in the West how fortunate they are, and what kind of freedom they have. "Tolerance and conscience is the most important thing," he says. "To fight racism and hate you have to have tolerance. You have to look upon the next person as your human brother and human sister. You have to help him when he is in need...if you cut yourself what comes out is red. If he cuts himself, it's the same color."

Ceija Stojka was an Austrian-Romani survivor of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. Her family was Catholic. Her interview offers the most graphic details of horror. She describes the death of her little brother Ossi from typhus, dead bodies of babies rolling out of trains when the doors were opened, and her attempt to match decapitated heads to appropriate bodies when she came upon an "insanely large" pile of corpses.

Natalia Orloff-Klauer was Ukrainian. Her parents were rounded up and used by the Nazis as slave laborers. Her experience was one of slow starvation and hideous conditions. Her mother became ill, never recovered, and died shortly after the war. Later, Orloff-Klauer survived the firebombing of Dresden. Even rescue presented nightmares; survivors had to be stripped naked, shaved, deloused, and paraded for inspection. After the war she lived in a damaged railway car. The Grace Presbyterian Church of Wichita, Kansas sponsored the surviving members of her family and made it possible for her to come to the US.

Veronika Young was a Polish slave laborer. Her interview was the least satisfying. Young repeatedly stated that she did not remember key details, including the name of the town she was born in. She said things like "It was horrible." I wish the filmmaker had found a more articulate and authoritative Polish survivor. There are certainly all too many Polish survivors of Nazi atrocities. After Jews and Gypsies/Rom, Poles were the most persecuted national group under the Nazis. The Poles' role in WW II was key, and better understanding of what the Nazis did to Poles would help the viewer.

Filmmaker Heather E. Connell's previous work addressed orphans in Cambodia. Her humanitarian approach is clear. Connell devotes the final twenty minutes of the film to the founding of the United Nations, to mention of other genocides, and to each survivor's exhortations to the audience. Realize how lucky you are, survivors insist to young viewers. Be tolerant. Take care of each other. Never again.

The "other victims" are often ignored for ideological reasons. I know students who have been lead to believe by Christophobic scholars and media that Nazism was a Christian phenomenon; in fact, Nazism vowed to destroy Christianity and Dachau was known as Germany's largest monastery, because of all the clergy interned there.  

Nazism was inspired by atheism, scientism, Darwinism, and neo-Paganism. Attention to Nazism's "other victims" can clarify ideological propaganda.

"Forget Us Not" doesn't provide enough information to the viewer to understand how each group of victims differed. Yes, Nazis killed Ukrainians, but it's important to remember that Ukrainians, at first, were significant in their level of collaboration and genocidal killings of Poles. Jehovah's Witnesses were concentration camp inmates, but they were accorded relatively preferential treatment.

"Three million Polish citizens marked with the letter P met their deaths in the camps," the film states. Three million Polish non-Jews did not die in concentration camps. Young says she was in Saarbrucken concentration camp and Orloff-Klauer says she was in Bibigan concentration camp; I cannot find either in lists of the camps. Otherwise, though, for its intimate portraits of "other victims," this film is recommended. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Major New ADL Study on Anti-Semitism; How Do Rates in Poland Compare to Other Countries?

Please note that this chart is from a previous study
The Anti-Defamation League recently released results of a massive survey. The sad news is that anti-Semitism is widespread. Neil J. Kressel, whose book "Sons of Pigs and Apes" I recently reviewed on this blog (here) wrote in the New York Post that much more attention should be paid to the ADL study than is currently being paid. "No Ignoring a Billion Anti-Semites" appeared in the New York Post on May 15, 2014.

Here is an excerpt from Dr. Kressel's New York Post article:


There are 1.09 billion anti-Semites in the world today. That’s right: more than a billion — about 135 for every Jew.

These are bigots who believe Jews are greedy, unethical manipulators who control the world and cause everything bad: 9/11. Financial crises. Communism. Dyspepsia. Name it.

It’s a stunning, hard-to-believe figure. But it comes from one of the most credible, comprehensive studies on the subject ever. And in an honest, sane, fair world, it would be a clarion call for immediate, steadfast action.

The study, released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League, included 53,100 respondents. Interviews were conducted in 96 languages in more than 100 countries. How did the researchers decide who is an anti-Semite?...

Americans (along with Australians, British and a few others) typically score among the most tolerant in the world. Indeed, many Americans have very positive attitudes toward Jews…

Disproportionately, anti-Semites hail from (no surprise) the Middle East and North Africa, where nearly three out of four endorse a whole slew of anti-Jewish beliefs. Some 92 percent of Iraqis, for example, qualified as anti-Semites, as did 69 percent of Turks.

Still, 880 million anti-Semites do not live in the Middle East or North Africa. The disease is global: Among Poles: at least 45 percent qualify as anti-Semites. Greeks: 69 percent. Malaysians: 61 percent. Russians: 30 percent. Spaniards: 29 percent. Germans: 27 percent. (They say the Germans will never forgive the Jews for the Holocaust.)… Among those worldwide who have heard of the Holocaust, (54 percent), about one in three believes it is either a myth or has been greatly exaggerated.

In the Middle East and North Africa, that figure is nearly two in three. And the problem is getting worse. Young people are less likely to know about the Holocaust and less likely to accept what historians say about it.


New York Magazine published an article, "The ADL's Flawed Anti-Semitism Survey," that is critical of the study. You can read that here.

You can read Dr. Kressel's full article here.

You can access the ADL study here.

Friday, May 16, 2014

"Do Not Let Us Build A Monument To The Righteous Next To The Museum Of The History Of Polish Jews"

Blog reader Felek alerted me to this controversy.

Some want to build a monument to rescuers of Polish Jews near the Museum of Polish Jews.

Others oppose the monument being located near the museum, because they see the monument as doing three bad things:

1.) Stealing the spotlight from Polish Jews

2.) Erasing the bad things Polish anti-Semites did to Jews

3.) Placing the focus on Polish heroism.

One can read about the controversy here, at Dziennik Opinii.

Thanks again to Felek. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bieganski for a New Generation; Bieganski and "Generation War"

I am saddened when I encounter those voices in Polonia who insist that Bieganski, the Brute Polak stereotype will "die out" as "Poles become better educated and stop being peasants."

I am also saddened when I encounter Polonians who say, "Please read Tim Snyder's 'Bloodlands.' Once you realize how much we suffered at the hands of Hitler and Stalin, you won't stereotype us anymore."

Stereotypes don't work that way. There is no evidence in the ample scholarship on stereotyping to support either of the above conclusions.

Bieganski, the Brute Polak stereotype, as described in the book "Bieganski," is very much alive and well, and will continue to flourish in newspapers, school curricula, church sermons, and other cultural products for as long as Polonia chooses to refuse to address him in a strategic manner.

Dumb Polak jokes come and go, novels like "Sophie's Choice" rise and fall, media panics like that surrounding the publication of Jan Tomasz Gross' "Neighbors" flare up and die down, but Bieganski is the background source, and the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype is alive and well, and will continue to inspire new products.

One such new product is "Generation War," which was shown first on German television and now on the BBC.

In the Guardian newspaper discussion page devoted to this miniseries, one viewer wrote to protest,

"the demonisation of the Polish [Armia Krajowa or Home Army] partisans as anti-semites prepared to kill Jews, in contrast with the sympathetic portrayal of the [German, Nazi] central characters, none of whom express anti-semitic sentiments.

I understand that contemporary Germans might find it hard to accept that their own parents and grandparents committed mind-boggling war crimes, and would like a more sympathetic portrayal of innocent young people caught up in something they did not understand, and later could not get out of. However, this programme goes too far in distorting the truth. I am not Jewish or Polish, but feel insulted on their behalf."

Other viewers, though, insisted that Poland was an anti-Semitic country, and that anyone who complained about the depiction of Polish war heroes as rabid anti-Semites was just a "cry baby."

You can read more such comments here.


A Polish Home Army veteran is suing over "Generation War." Sadly, he and most of Poland is unaware of "Bieganski"; there is no Polish-language version of the book. It is being held up by a lack of funds for translation.

"Bieganski" is needed in Poland. It is needed in curricula in America. One poster, named "Deborah," who appears to be American, wrote in response to the furor over "Generation War,"

"Are you aware of the Warsaw ghetto uprising that occurred a year before the Warsaw uprising during which the aka refused to get involved or even supply any aid? Nobody disputes that the Holocaust was instituted by the Germans but there was a reason most of it took place in Poland – anti-semitism was so inbred that it was a fertile ground.

I am extremely grateful to those 6,000 + heroes who risked their lives but if I recall correctly the Polish population was about 60 million at the time and while I certainly understand why someone would not want to risk his life or the lives of his family, I can’t understand why someone would voluntarily turn in a jewish neighbor for a keg of beer."

Deborah's comment is full of historical errors. Her new name for the Armia Krajowa, or Home Army, as the "aka" will cause some to laugh. But her deployment of the Bieganski stereotype is condoned in American classrooms, media, and political decisions. Polonia, wake up. Educate people like Deborah.

Here is a snip from a Krakow Post article about the lawsuit:

A veteran of the Armia Krajowa (Polish Home Army) has filed a civil case in the Krakow District Court against controversial German TV drama, Our Mothers, Our Fathers, which is set during World War II.

The former soldier, whose name has not been made public, joined forces with the World Association of Home Army Soldiers (Światowy Związek Żołnierzy Armii Krajowej) to file a case against the series’ producer, Nico Hofmann, on the grounds that it tarnishes the reputations of Poles who fought against Nazi occupation. Attorney Monika Brzozowska, with PDB, the law firm representing the complainants, confirmed the court’s civil department had received the summons.

The drama has caused considerable offence among many Poles for its depiction of Polish Home Army soldiers displaying anti-Semitic sentiments. It has also been accused of implicating Poles in the atrocities of the Holocaust and playing down German responsibility. In one scene, a Home Army soldier boasts: “We drown Jews like rats,” while his compatriots are shown refusing to help Jews bound for Auschwitz.

The series was commissioned by German public broadcaster, ZDF, and broadcast in German and Austria (as Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter) in March, 2013, finding a large audience and critical acclaim. The three, 90-minute episodes were shown by Polish broadcaster TVP in June (as Nasze matki, nasi ojcowie). It achieved record ratings, but also provoked anger among Poles who regarded its depiction of Home Army combatants as grossly unfair.

You can read the entire article and the 89 comments that follow here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Sophie's Choice" by William Styron. Review by Michal Karski. "Poles invented Anti-Semitism"

Thoughts on Sophie's Choice

By Michal Karski

In a blog which takes its title from a character in a book, I thought I might go back to the original who appears in the 1979 novel by William Styron and see him in the context of the story as a whole. Here, the character of Bieganski is a brute only in the sense that he is repellent, but he is hardly a simpleton. He is a right-wing professor and Nazi sympathiser and the father of Sophie of the book's title. Indeed, Sophie's Cracovian family are altogether unaccountably sympathetic to all things German. Bieganski may be a peripheral character in a way, and yet his malign influence on his daughter persists. I won't give away what happens to him; suffice it to say it is not what he expects.

Although the novel is largely well-written, this is a difficult book to like or even just to admire. Had it not been for its (indirect) association with this blog, I probably would not have persevered. At its best it is a harrowing evocation of the horror of Nazi atrocities and also a depiction of seriously damaged people. At its worst it degenerates into sweeping generalizations and there are even graphic and sexually explicit passages which some readers might consider objectionable and certainly seem totally incongruous, given the overall theme of the book. Although the main character is portrayed on the whole with some compassion, the fact that some of the most overtly anti-Semitic pronouncements are attributed to this same person, (see her drunken rant in Chapter 12), the overall tone is frequently negative about Poland and the Poles, even though, in fairness, Styron gives credit to the Polish Resistance for their efforts on behalf of Jews – (see also Chapter 12).

Whether readers think that, despite the depressing theme, the writing is stylistically impressive in parts, with many American literary allusions, or whether they are put off by the many gratuitously explicit passages, not to mention the offensive use of the word 'Polack', the novel does show the results of a certain degree of research into the subject of the Holocaust. However, it does raise the odd question: for instance, what is the basis of Styron's claim, towards the end of Chapter 9, that Hitler's friend, Governor General Hans Frank, was, in Styron's words "a Jew, mirabile dictu"?

"Nor was Professor Biegański a true quisling, a collaborator in the now accepted sense of the word, since when the country was invaded that September and Cracow, virtually unharmed, became the seat of government for all Poland, it was not with the intent to betray his fatherland that he sought to offer his services to the Governor General, Hitler's friend Hans Frank ( a Jew, mirabile dictu – though few at the time knew it, including the Professor – and a distinguished lawyer like himself), but only as an advisor and expert in a field where Poles and Germans had a mutual adversary and a profound common interest – die Judenfrage. There was doubtless even a certain idealism in his effort."

And during an intensely anti-Polish tirade in Chapter 15, which is delivered, ironically enough, by a character who is described as a patriotic Polish resistance fighter, there is a reference to atrocities committed by both right-wing (mistakenly called ONR, which had ceased to exist at this point) and left-wing extremists, but the character also claims that Poles "practically invented anti-Semitism" – there is no mention of persecution of Jews by any other European country in the Middle Ages – and that "we Poles originated" the concept of the ghetto – again no mention of the Venetian or other European Ghettos.

Final verdict: tragic, challenging, depressing, shocking and horrifying in places, but ultimately bleak and unedifying. I would not recommend it to anyone hoping to get a true picture of conditions in Poland during the war. The film version is in many ways sanitized but perhaps more powerful than the book because of the sharper focus and because of the nature of the medium itself.

- Michal Karski


Anyone interested in William Styron's Sophie's Choice and its distorted depiction of World War II in Poland and Polish history should read the Spring, 1983 issue of Polish American Studies devoted to Sophie's Choice.

It would be a service to Polonia and to combatting the Bieganski stereotype if the articles in that volume were placed in an easily accessible format on the web.

Friday, May 9, 2014

"The Sons of Pigs and Apes" Neil J. Kressel Book Review

Harvard-trained social psychologist Neil J. Kressel's 2012 book, "The Sons of Pigs and Apes: Muslim Antisemitism and the Conspiracy of Silence," takes on taboo topics.

Kressel argues that antisemitism is popularly supported, openly expressed, and highly influential among Muslims throughout the world, including Muslims living in England and South Asia, not just the Middle East. He cites news accounts, research organizations, opinion polls, television, memoirs and discussion boards. "The word 'Jew' is a slur in the entire Muslim world" (93). Jews are depicted as categorically different. Jews cause wars, torture, cannibalize, and plot world domination. Newspapers, television, school curricula and leaders' public statements exploit the most extreme motifs from the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and "Mein Kampf." Muslim liberals like Irshad Manji and Tarek Fatah have negligible followings and are condemned by other Muslims (196).

Muslim antisemitism is twinned with hostility to the West. Historian Robert Wistrich wrote that Muslim antisemitism "is the Trojan Horse designed to undermine the West's beliefs in its own values" (13).

Kressel explores potential roots for Muslim antisemitism. In the Koran, Allah turns Jews into pigs and apes. Mohammed made war on Jews (32). Muslim antisemitism might be projective inversion – Muslims might be attributing to Jews the hostility that they themselves feel (155). Kressel explores other potential sources for Muslim antisemitism, including Israel, colonialism, Christian missionaries, and Nazism.

There are political uses: antisemitism fulfills the need for a scapegoat. Jews serve as a target for displaced aggression citizenry cannot express against their non-democratic leaders (121, 167). Jews might also be convenient scapegoats for leftist agitprop (149). Muslims may be enraged because in the past Jews were subservient "dhimmis." When Jews defeated Muslims in the Six Day War, that changed. "There is no prominent model in Muslim history for treating Jews as equals" (127, 168-9).

Many Western leftists are either silent about or supportive of antisemitism in the Muslim world. Irish poet Tom Paulin, who taught at Oxford and Columbia and lectured at Harvard, said, "I understand how suicide bombers feel." Paulin described Israelis as "racists" and "Nazis" who "should be shot dead" (74). The scholar John L. Esposito, who is lavishly funded by a Saudi prince, massages statistics to erase "700 million" Muslims who acknowledged to polltakers that they found the 9-11 attacks justifiable (89). While leftists are eager to condemn antisemitism in Catholic Poland, if they mention Muslim antisemitism they are "delegitimized" (15). They are accused of "Jewish paranoia" (114). They are themselves condemned as racists and Islamophobes and leftists reject their friendship (56).

Prof. Pieter Van Der Horst was encouraged to condemn Christian antisemitism; he was forbidden from mentioning Muslim antisemitism. His university cited fear of violence from Muslims as one reason for the censorship (58). Overt Muslim antisemites are championed as role models (eg 40). Leftists advise coexistence, "even with groups not prepared to coexist" and pursue "'a Munich-style quest for peace at any price'" (146-7).

Kressel describes rhetorical strategies exercised by leftwing Western supporters of Muslim antisemitism. They say things like "Arabs can't be antisemites because Arabs are Semites." Kressel points out that the word "antisemite" was coined by racist Jew haters and it has no meaning as a word describing Arabs. Leftist antisemites argue that Muslim antisemitism is merely a criticism of Israel. Arab Radio and Television's 2002 miniseries "Horseman without a Horse," that dramatized the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" does not constitute legitimate criticism of Israel. Too, as Kressel shows, leftist criticisms of Israel dwarf leftist protests of nefarious human rights abusers like Burma and Sudan.

Israel is not, contrary to leftist accusations, an "apartheid" state; most Israeli Arabs express a wish to live in Israel, rather than in any Muslim Arab majority nation (118). The question is, would any leftist, Muslim, or antisemite respond positively to Kressel's book? Probably not. There is, alas, a sense of "preaching to the choir" about it.

Kressel is shocked, shocked, that the "anti-racist community" has not rejected Muslim antisemitism. Kressel never seems to reach the abundantly obvious conclusion: the "anti-racist community" he imagines is not at all anti-racist. Rather, the left has a history of temporarily exploiting the cause it thinks will bring it closer to its goal of remaking or simply destroying Western Civilization, with its detested Judeo-Christian roots, and bringing on the utopian worker's paradise.

If a particular group's grudges can serve as lever, and its hatreds can serve as kindling, yes, the left will make temporary common cause with that group. For a while the left was supportive of Jews because Jews were deemed "revolutionary." Not that long ago, the Soviet bloc voted for the creation of the state of Israel. Leftists currently assess Muslims as useful for revolutionary purposes, and leftists now align themselves with Muslims. Leftists' calculations have little to do with sincere opposition to racism or sexism. Ask Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Condoleezza Rice, two black women blacklisted by leftists at Brandeis and Rutgers respectively in spring of 2014.

In one passage, Kressel criticizes the cultural relativism approach taken by many leftists. After all, Esposito insists, Muslims and Christians are not that different; both cherish "family values." Kressel says that Esposito never asks if "family values" means the same thing "across cultural and national borders" (90).

But Kressel himself takes a cultural relativism approach. Kressel repeatedly compares Islam to Christianity. He says that all religions can be interpreted to inspire good or bad behavior. Things were bad in the past but things got better; Islam can also improve with time (eg 19, 61). Christianity has a "much stronger" "religious foundation for Jew-hatred" than Islam (33). Christians are "deeper enemies of Jews"; "pernicious anti-Jewish imagery" is "central" to Christianity (127). Kressel accuses "Christian missionaries" of disseminating blood libel to Muslims, but he offers no support for this charge (162).

Kressel's relativism obscures rather than clarifies. There is no command in Christianity not to take non-Christians as friends, or to kill, convert, dominate, humiliate, or tax them. There are such commands in Islam. Rather, Christians are commanded to love even strangers, as in the Good Samaritan parable. There is no comparable parable in the Koran. Christians have certainly mistreated Jews, but the middleman minority status of Jews was the most frequent spark, not theology.

Contrary to Kressel's statement that popes and priests were all "bigots" (139), the Vatican repeatedly condemned antisemitism and violence against Jews. Finally, Kressel conflates Nazis and Christians (eg 162), saying for example that "Christian churches" feel "'lingering guilt about the Holocaust'" and that Christianity took a "genocidal" approach to Jews (124, 151). Nazism was a neo-Pagan movement inspired by atheist ideas. Nazis cited Darwinian evolution as ethical support.

On the page after accusing all Christians throughout time of being bigots, Kressel adduces data that exculpates Jews and atheists of bigotry (140).

Nazis didn't massacre only Jews; they also massacred Catholic Poles, Orthodox Russians, and handicapped Germans. These other victims inform us about the nature of Nazism. Muslim haters don't just target Jews. They also target Christians, Bahais, Hindus, and Buddhists. Kressel mentions that many Muslims blame Jews for the 9-11 attacks. But Muslims don't just refuse to take responsibility for 9-11; they also refuse to take responsibility for other atrocities, like the Armenian genocide. Had Kressel widened his focus to non-Jewish victims, even if only for a few brief paragraphs, he would have revealed much more about the nature of Islam.

Finally, Kessler does not cite Alvin H. Rosenfeld's 2006 essay "Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism." He should have at least mentioned it. Some of the leftist antisemites Kessler quotes, including Richard Falk, Eli Valley, Zack Furness and Judith Butler, were born Jewish.

In this review I am not referring to all Muslims, and neither is Neil J. Kressel. It goes without saying that most Muslims are peace-loving people who do not act out irrational prejudices. Rather, this review and Kressel's book are about significant trends.