Anti-Semitic views persist
Although his armies were defeated, his country conquered, and he committed suicide, Adolf Hitler won World War II because his ideas are generally accepted today. Three of his main ideas, as expressed in Mein Kampf, are that race, i.e., ancestry, is the most important factor in life, that culture is based on ancestry, and that Jews are the source of the world’s problems.
This attitude still persists in America. The census asks for racial self-reporting. Ethnicity is considered a sub-division of a genetic racial group such as “white.” National Geographic magazine recently, in the best tradition of 19th century racial literature, had a photographic display of many Americans listing them by combinations of racial backgrounds implying that it makes a difference.
American refer to our president as “our first Black president,” although his mother was white. Mulatto is an obsolete word, apparently. The census states that our largest minority is Hispanic as if Mexicans and Cubans are the same. However, if you were born in Spain, the census does not consider you Hispanic.
Newspaper articles write that minorities will outnumber the white majority in a few years as if it matters except in racist thinking. The absurdity of this is that it ignores intermarriage and that definitions of whiteness have changed. Irish Catholics, Italians, and Eastern European Jews were not considered as whites when they first came to America. Puerto Ricans in the 1920 census were listed as whites.
Hitler’s views of the Jews persists today. Secretary of State John “I am not stupid” Kerry has made the removal of Jews from parts of Jerusalem, the West Bank, i.e., Judea and Sameria, a central part of his work. Although Kerry is not a Nazi, he has accepted that the mere presence of Jews is a negative if they live where they are not wanted.
Haj el Husseni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, leader of the Palestinian Arabs, lived in Berlin during World War II. During that war he broadcast pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic propaganda to the Arab world. Our State Department recorded these broadcasts from Cairo. The historian Jeffrey Hart has shown that these Nazi ideas have been adopted by the current terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah. They are also used by the leadership of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood
There is a widespread movement within the European Union to delegitimize Israel and to do away with that nation. This is taking the form of attempts to boycott Israel economically and cease research programs with Jews. Although the EU is officially against anti-Semitism, the actions of several European nations in making Jewish religious practices illegal, e.g., kosher slaughtering of animals and circumcision, is anti-Semitic. This is happening in Poland and Germany and Scandinavian countries. Anti-Semitic political parties are growing in Europe and public opinion polls in the EU show that almost half of Europeans regard Israel as the most dangerous nation in the world.
Mark Wisan of Peterborough, in a recent letter to this newspaper, correctly pointed out that indifference to anti-Semitism contributed to the Holocaust. Mr. Wisan demonstrated his rare moral courage during the Vietnam War. I totally agree with the astute Tricia Saenger of Temple that there is a lack of moral responsibility in refusing to speak out against mass murder and ethnic cleansing. She is right and that is the point of this article. However , her list of examples should include the Jews of Iraq who numbered 150,000 after World War II and in 2008 only eight were left.
I do have problems with the commemoration of Kristallnacht that took place in Keene. The professors of the Cohen Center for the study of the Holocaust and Genocide study Nazi anti-Semitism. However, to my knowledge, they have never taken a stand against contemporary anti-Semitism anywhere in the Muslim world. Nor have they taken a stand against the expulsion of Christians from Iraq, Lebanon, PLO-controlled areas, and the attacks against Christians in Egypt. They have also been silent about the mass killings of Christians in Nigeria by Muslim terrorists.
If you study the Holocaust and remain silent about attacks on Jews today, and by extension bigotry directed against any group of people, then you have not learned the main lesson of the Holocaust. A macabe and ghoulish fascination with the Holocaust, as manifested by celebrating its victims in music, art, and dance, and even having a Holocaust Honor Society at Keene State, is sickening. Do criminal justice majors have an honor society for students of rape, mass murder, child molestation, and serial killing?
In terms of historical accuracy, there was a significant negative reaction amongst ordinary Germans to Kristallnacht to the extent that Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess ordered that there not be anymore pogroms. That night was not the first organized attack against Jews in Germany. A large one had taken place about 10 years before in Berlin. Nor was it the start of the Holocaust, which did not begin until the summer of 1941, when Goering, on Hitler’s orders, directed Heydrich to prepare the “Final Solution”
We must not forget either that more than 100,000 German political opponents of the Nazis were murdered. By November 1938 the Germans had been living under a dictatorship for almost five years. My compliments to James Moon of Jaffrey for his work in combating contemporary Monadnock Region anti-Semitism.
Rick Sirvint lives in Rindge.