The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is funding by US taxpayer dollars. For that reason, among many others, all American taxpayers have an interest, and a voice, in the museum. The USHMM webpage provides the following numbers:
"Base Operating Budget: $90.8 in FY 2015 ($52.4 million federal revised appropriation; $38.4 million unrestricted private donations and investment income)"
According to many, the USHMM disseminates Christophobic material. Indeed, Jewish leaders have protested this Christophobic material. See, for example, "Anti-Christian Film Draws Ire of Jewish Leaders" linked here.
A quote from this article
"Every 14 minutes, about 32 times a day, 363 days a year, in the shadow of the Washington monument, a woman slowly intones her version of history: 'Christianity emerged from Judaism. Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew,' she begins. 'The early Christian Church condemned Jews as agents of the devil, and blamed them for killing Jesus. This accusation was not renounced until the 1960s with the Second Vatican Council.'
She continues, 'Christian crusaders slaughtered tens of thousands of Jews…. The Protestant Reformation brought no end to the anti-Jewish tradition of Christianity.'
After quoting Martin Luther that Jewish homes should be burned, she gets to the present century: 'Enter Hitler, Austrian-born and baptized a Catholic.' Her voice goes deep as she imitates Hitler: 'In defending myself against the Jews I am acting for the Lord. The difference between the Church and me is that I am finishing the job.'
Finally, she warns, 'This is where prejudice can lead,' clearly meaning that Christian prejudice against Jews led to their murder under Nazism.
Every 14 minutes, a clutch of sober visitors listen to this explanation of the Holocaust, but this woman is not just another individual with a cause, wearing a hand-stenciled placard, a common sight on the Washington mall.
She is the voice-over for a film underwritten with federal money produced by the Holocaust Memorial Museum, which has been prominently featured in the museum's permanent exhibit for several years."
This US taxpayer funded Christophobia and distortion of Holocaust history is not happening in a vacuum. Christians are the people in the world today most likely to be persecuted for their faith. See here. Mongering hatred against Christians, demonizing Christians and Christianity, are not victimless crimes.
Further, citing Christianity as the Nazis' guiding philosophy is factually wrong. See here.
Nazis did not cite Christianity as their guiding philosophy.
Nazis did cite other philosophies as guiding their actions, including nationalism, scientism, atheism, Social Darwinism, and neo-Paganism.
Nazis targeted, persecuted, tortured and murdered Christians.
Nazis devised a plan to eliminate Christianity.
Filip Mazurczak is a correspondent for the National Catholic Register and the assistant editor of the journal The European Conservative. He has degrees in history and Hispanic studies from Creighton University, international relations from the George Washington University and public relations from the Jagiellonian University. He has lived and worked both in Poland and the United States.
Filip contributed his review, below, of his visit to the USHMM. I include Filip's comments in full, though I don't agree with everything he says, or the way he says it. I'm grateful that he brings the USHMM's Christophobic material to our attention.
I wrote to the USHMM and asked if they cared to respond. They did not respond to my message.
by Filip Mazurczak
For at least the next six months, I will be living in Washington, DC. I decided to pay a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and share my thoughts. Because the museum’s website boasts that 38 million people have visited it since its dedication in 1993, few institutions in the world shape how the world understands the destruction of European Jewry so much. People longing for an accurate presentation of Polish history will be happy to learn that the museum honors Żegota, details Nazi atrocities against non-Jewish Poles and sells books about Polish rescuers of Jews. Nonetheless, visitors are misled into incorrectly thinking that the Home Army was “nationalist” and “often anti-Semitic.” Most troubling is the museum’s anti-Christian tone, which inaccurately links medieval Christian anti-Judaism with the Final Solution.
The first thing we see upon entering the museum is the bookstore. In it, we can find many books on Polish Righteous Among the Nations (including a picture book on Irena Sendler, the classic memoir The Cracow Ghetto Pharmacy by Tadeusz Pankiewicz and a book by Krystyna Chiger, a Jewish child rescued by Polish sewer inspector Leopold Socha), books on Polish martyrdom (such as Allen Paul’s book on Katyn and Miron Białoszewski’s account of the Warsaw Uprising) and balanced books on Polish-Jewish affairs (including Władysław Szpilman’s The Pianist, the best book on World War II and one of the best books I have read). On the other hand, Jan T. Gross’s ugly polemic Golden Harvests (one of the most biased books I’ve ever read) was on sale, and the disgusting comic book Maus (which presents Poles as anthropomorphic swine and concentration camp guards at Auschwitz, which they were not) and the anti-Polish, historically inaccurate, poorly written novels Mila 18 and Exodus by Leon Uris were showcased.
I had read about the conflict related to the foundation of the Holocaust museum: should non-Jewish victims be included as well? Ultimately, the decision to honor the martyrdom of other groups was made. Thus I was pleased to see that the museum made it clear that Roma were also locked in ghettoes along with Jews by the Nazis, and that the Nazis also wanted their extermination. An exhibit detailing Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles is included. With regards to the September campaign, it is explicitly said that the Poles fought “bravely,” but received no military assistance from France and England, whose declaration of war against Nazi Germany was just a declaration.
It was refreshing to see the museum commemorate the suffering of non-Jews like ethnic Poles and acknowledge the West’s failings. These failings are also acknowledged when the display explains that the Roosevelt White House refused to increase immigration quotas to allow Jewish refugees to escape to the United States, and that the American Department of War failed to bomb the crematoria of Auschwitz. Although I knew about Roosevelt’s callous attitude towards the Holocaust, I didn’t think that the museum would acknowledge these inconvenient facts. I also was pleased that the museum mentioned other genocides (such as Darfur and the abuses of Pol Pot, although it didn’t have the courage to mention the Armenian Genocide). Some promote a ridiculous, chauvinistic doctrine that the Holocaust was “unique.” Genocide is a tragedy, regardless of what group it affects. I’m glad that the museum avoided this balderdash.
Another pleasant surprise was that in the section on rescue, in addition to much information about the bold Danes who endured a mild occupation and were allowed to maintain their parliament and king and at one point didn’t even incur punishments for aiding Jews, there was a display on Żegota. It features photos of Żegota’s founders, and next to it is a copy of the flyer distributed across Poland by the Nazis stating that Poles aiding Jews would be threatened with the death penalty. Thus visitors to the Holocaust Memorial Museum learn that despite such drastic punishments, there were Poles who aided Jews (however, the display says that Żegota helped secure false papers and hiding spots for 4,000 Jews; the actual number was ten times that – did someone forget a zero?).
Shortly after the tribute to Żegota, however, is the most anti-Polish part of the museum. It mentions that “[i]n Poland, the nationalist Home Army was often hostile to Jews.” Next to this display, there is information about Jews serving in the resistance in Yugoslavia, Slovakia and France. In reality, between several hundred and a couple thousand Jews fought in the Warsaw Uprising, and probably more Jews fought in the ranks of the Home Army than any other anti-Nazi resistance across Europe.
The Home Army wasn’t “nationalist”; it was anti-Nazi and anti-communist and loyal to Poland’s government-in-exile. Its members’ ideologies ranged on a wide scale, including both nationalists and socialists. Recently, Joshua Zimmerman of Yeshiva University published an excellent book disproving the stereotype that the Home Army was anti-Semitic. Zimmerman writes that the Polish underground’s attitude towards the Jews varied. While in northeast Poland it issued a pronouncement to fight “Jewish bandits,” in Hanaczów it saved the town’s entire Jewish population from Germans and Ukrainian nationalists. The Home Army had a department devoted to aiding Jews led by Henryk Woliński, and the Home Army’s new newspaper, the Information Bulletin, was edited by a Righteous Gentile, scoutmaster Aleksander Kamiński, and featured frequent condemnation of German atrocities, but also of Polish anti-Semites and blackmailers of Jews.
While I consider Timothy Snyder to be an overrated and unoriginal historian, he is correct when he writes in his Black Earth that the Home Army only occasionally killed Jews and that the far-right National Armed Forces did so much more frequently. Snyder writes that the accounts of anti-Semitic Home Army partisans in many Holocaust survivors’ accounts were often National Armed Forces partisans, and survivors confused the two. I would encourage individuals of good will to write a petition to the museum asking to change the historically incorrect statement insulting the Home Army.
What I found most troubling about the museum was its blatant anti-Christian tone. At the beginning of the exhibit, there is a fifteen-minute documentary film titled “Anti-Semitism” that is on loop. The film immediately starts with Christian anti-Judaism, despite the fact that Egyptian, Persian, Greek and Roman persecutions of Jews predated Christianity.
The film details Christian prejudices against Jews in the Middle Ages, mentioning that they were expelled from many European countries, accused of blood libel and segregated from Christians in ghettoes. Martin Luther’s anti-Jewish rhetoric is presented. Only later does the film discuss secular strands of modern anti-Semitism: the Dreyfus Affair, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Nazi anti-Semitism. However, this is implicitly linked to Christianity. After discussing the Nazi genocide of European Jewry, the film concludes with a statement that the Holocaust made Christian churches reexamine their teachings on Judaism. Thus the viewer can logically infer that the Final Solution was the product of Christianity.
Was there a strong Christian tradition of anti-Judaism? One would have to be intellectually dishonest to deny that. At the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 the Catholic Church decreed that Jews be separated from Christians and wear articles of clothing to distinguish them from Christians. However, the film does not present false information; it presents true information selectively.
For instance, there is no mention that in addition to a strong Christian tradition of anti-Judaism, there was also a Christian tradition of tolerance. It is true that medieval Christians accused Jews of kidnapping Christian children and using their blood to make matzos. What the documentary fails to mention, however, is that multiple medieval popes had issued bulls defending Jews against such charges. Pope St. Gregory the Great was one of the most philo-Semitic rulers of all time, and Renaissance popes employed Jewish court doctors. While Pope Alexander VI may have been corrupt and promiscuous, he invited Jews expelled by the Spanish Inquisition to settle in Rome.
And the documentary makes a big omission. It says that during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Jews were kicked out of England, Spain, Portugal and Germany, “most of whom migrated eastward.” It doesn’t explain where “eastward” was. It completely fails to mention the fact that at the time, Jewish civilization flourished in Polin. While Christian rulers like Isabella I and Edward I kicked Jews out of Spain and England, Christian rulers like Boleslaus the Pious and Casimir the Great made Poland Paradisus Judaeorum.
The film exclusively focuses on Christian anti-Semitism, making no mention of Islamic anti-Semitism. Christian anti-Semitism is a marginal phenomenon today, while anti-Semitism flourishes in the Muslim world. Hitler himself said: “It’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Islam would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?” Meanwhile, a dear friend of Hitler was then-mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini, who supported Hitler’s “solution” to the “Jewish question.”
The film’s implicit linking of Christian anti-Judaism to the Holocaust is incorrect. None other than Zygmunt Bauman – a secular, Marxist Polish-Jewish sociologist and philosopher – has argued that it was the Enlightenment and its obsession with rationalism that gave birth to eugenics and pseudo-scientific racism, culminating in the Holocaust. Hannah Arendt and Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger (the late archbishop of Paris and a Jewish convert) arrived at similar conclusions. The film makes no mention of the fact that Hitler hated Christianity, and that atheistic anti-Semitism existed in Stalin’s USSR.
In sum, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a mixed bag. It honors Żegota and presents the sufferings of non-Jewish Poles under Nazism, although it shows the Home Army’s record on the Jews in a tendentious way. The worst is the documentary on anti-Semitism. At the risk of sounding cynical, I must admit that I had to keep myself from snickering as I watched its lopsided account of history.
|Photo credit: Filip Mazurczak|
|Photo credit: Filip Mazurczak|
|Photo credit: Filip Mazurczak|
|Photo credit: Filip Mazurczak|