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January 26, 2015 0

What We Learned From Auschwitz

By Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog

The 70th anniver­sary of the lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz, which will be marked Jan­u­ary 27 on Inter­na­tional Holo­caust Remem­brance Day, comes at a time when some are ask­ing: is it hap­pen­ing all over again in Europe?

We know the ratio­nal answer to that ques­tion. As bad as the resur­gence of anti-Semitism in Europe is, there is no com­par­i­son to Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.  Then, a party com­mit­ted to the destruc­tion of the Jew­ish peo­ple gained total power in Ger­many and even­tu­ally con­trolled most of Europe, enabling the sys­tem­atic mur­der of six mil­lion Jews and mil­lions of oth­ers in the Holocaust.

Today, gov­ern­ments in Europe are not espous­ing anti-Semitism; they are coun­ter­ing it, even if not strongly enough.

If it isn’t the Holo­caust – and, if it isn’t help­ful to under­stand today’s immense chal­lenges by com­par­ing it to the Holo­caust — does Auschwitz present any lessons at all for today?

I would say there are several.

First is the role of hate­ful ide­olo­gies in pro­duc­ing vio­lent, anti-Semitic behav­ior. While today’s anti-Semites in Europe do not con­trol gov­ern­ments, they are able to mobi­lize indi­vid­u­als com­mit­ted to vio­lence on the basis of fan­tas­ti­cal notions about the unique evil of Jews.

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s min­is­ter of pro­pa­ganda, con­vinced Ger­mans not merely to dis­like Jews but to believe that they had to pro­tect them­selves from the evil, all-powerful Jew who was poi­son­ing the Ger­man body politic. So too today, the Islamic extrem­ists, whether it’s Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, or Hezbol­lah, see the Jew as the source of evil in the world.

The Hamas char­ter not only repeat­edly calls for the destruc­tion of Israel. It claims that Jews are respon­si­ble for all the ills of the mod­ern world going back to the French Revolution.

When Al-Qaeda decided to attack the World Trade Cen­ter on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, it was only after they con­sid­ered hit­ting Jew­ish tar­gets in New York. Even the World Trade Cen­ter was seen as partly a “Jew­ish” tar­get since it was deemed that Jews con­trol world com­merce, per the “Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion.”

Once it is decided that Jews are the source of evil, then it is almost a respon­si­bil­ity to act against them. And so attacks on Jew­ish civil­ians, who rep­re­sent evil in ordi­nary form, become permissible.

We must fight this ide­ol­ogy of hatred. We must not equiv­o­cate in call­ing it what it is and in ral­ly­ing peo­ple of all faiths against it.

A sec­ond les­son is that shame about what anti-Semitism could lead to, which man­i­fested itself with the appear­ance of the first pic­tures of Auschwitz after the lib­er­a­tion, is an impor­tant inhibitor of anti-Semitism.

It does not cure the world of the dis­ease of anti-Semitism, which is so deeply embed­ded and serves so many pur­poses, but it does affect the level and inten­sity of anti-Semitic behavior.

For decades, anti-Semitism did not explode as a phe­nom­e­non, partly because of this shame. As time passes, and the imme­di­acy of the Holo­caust recedes, it makes more impor­tant than ever the need to develop new and cre­ative ways to reach younger peo­ple about its horrors.

I remem­ber hear­ing some years ago from Rita Suss­muth of the Ger­man Bun­destag, who talked of the need for new and emo­tional meth­ods in reach­ing each gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple who are fur­ther and fur­ther removed from the events in World War II. We must never give up the strug­gle to explain what anti-Semitism can lead to.

A third les­son for me is the inti­mate con­nec­tion between anti-Semitism and the health of a demo­c­ra­tic soci­ety. Whether it is the expres­sion that Jews are the canary in the coal mine or Pas­tor Mar­tin Niemoller’s famous lines about the con­se­quences of not stand­ing up in the face of evil, Auschwitz is not only about the evils of anti-Semitism, but also how its going unchecked invari­ably endan­gers all of society.

The fight against anti-Semitism should never be seen as sim­ply a moral strug­gle. It is a prac­ti­cal one, as spo­ken so elo­quently by Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls to the French par­lia­ment after the ter­ror­ist attacks on Char­lie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket.

How, he asked, could French soci­ety not speak up and be out­raged when Jews were insulted, when van­dals vio­lated Jew­ish insti­tu­tions, when pro­tes­tors sought to invade a syn­a­gogue?  His mes­sage was clear: All of France needs to stand up early and loud when Jews are under attack. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is vital for the well-being of French society.

The mur­der­ous attack on Char­lie Hebdo inevitably fol­lows the mur­der of three Jew­ish chil­dren in Toulouse. The tar­get­ing of Jews in Nazi Ger­many invari­ably led to the efforts by Hitler to dom­i­nate and enslave the world.

So as we observe the 70th year of the lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz and Inter­na­tional Holo­caust Remem­brance Day on Tues­day, the impor­tance of know­ing what hap­pened there and of trans­mit­ting it to the next gen­er­a­tion is more urgent than ever.
Threats to Jews today are greater than they have been since those darker days.  And those threats, as taught by the lessons of Auschwitz, threaten all of us.

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December 16, 2014 123

Eric Hunt Unveils New Film, Plans For Virtual Holocaust Denial Museum

eric-hunt-majdanek-gas-chamber-myth

Image pro­mot­ing the film

Eric Hunt, a Holo­caust denier known for attack­ing Nobel Peace Prize win­ner Elie Wiesel, released a new film on Decem­ber 6 titled The Maj­danek Gas Cham­ber Myth.

Hunt’s new film, avail­able on YouTube, uses clips of Holo­caust sur­vivors’ tes­ti­monies from the USC Shoah Foun­da­tion Insti­tute for Visual His­tory and Edu­ca­tion (estab­lished by Steven Spiel­berg in 1994) to claim that “all the gas cham­bers in the Maj­danek con­cen­tra­tion camp were designed and built exclu­sively for san­i­tary pur­poses as dis­in­fes­ta­tion facil­i­ties.” Hunt por­trays the Holo­caust as a whole as “a delib­er­ate psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare cam­paign to con the world.”

Hunt sim­i­larly used clips from sur­vivors in his pre­vi­ous films, includ­ing The Tre­blinka Archae­ol­ogy Hoax released in May and The Jew­ish Gas Cham­ber Hoax released in March, both of which cre­ated buzz within the Holo­caust denial movement.

eric-hunt-holocaust-hoax-virtual-museum-preview

Pre­view of Hunt’s “Holo­caust hoax” vir­tual museum

In addi­tion to cre­at­ing these films, Hunt also started a new web­site called the “Holo­caust Hoax Museum,” where he is work­ing to cre­ate a vir­tual museum. When the site is com­pleted, vis­i­tors will be able to tour the vir­tual space and “learn about how the geno­ci­dal ‘gas cham­bers dis­guised as show­ers’ myth pro­motes war.” Hunt is still solic­it­ing dona­tions to com­plete the project.

In The Maj­danek Gas Cham­ber Myth, Hunt claims that “the gas cham­ber hoax has become a self-serving Jew­ish suprema­cist reli­gious myth, which has no place in mod­ern soci­ety.” He con­tin­ues, “Holo­caust hoax­ers are hold­ing onto this libelous charge for dear life” because with­out Maj­danek, sup­pos­edly, “the Holo­caust house of cards collapses.”

The film paints the Holo­caust as part of a larger Jew­ish con­spir­acy to cre­ate infight­ing among Euro­peans, stat­ing, “The gas cham­ber myth pushes Euro­peans apart. Jewish-owned media con­glom­er­ates inun­date the gullible pub­lic with Holo­caust gas cham­bers dis­guised as shower rooms pro­pa­ganda, guilt­ing Euro­peans to hate their peo­ple based on bogus atroc­ity lies.”

The film also claims that Jews use this “hoax” to jus­tify Israeli mil­i­tary poli­cies. Hunt says, “Israeli mil­i­tary brought to tour the fraud­u­lent gas cham­bers at Maj­danek are cur­rently com­mit­ting a very real geno­cide against inno­cent peo­ple in Pales­tine. Per­haps these Jews believe mur­der­ing Pales­tin­ian babies is jus­ti­fied because they were taught about exter­mi­na­tion gas cham­bers dis­guised as shower rooms at Maj­danek, but there’s no March of the Liv­ing for these dead Palestinians.”

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July 29, 2014 5

Some Anti-Semitism In U.S. In Reaction To Israeli Operations In Gaza

As Israel’s response to the lat­est round of rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza con­tin­ues, some Jew­ish indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions in the U.S. have been tar­gets of anti-Semitism related to the cur­rent conflict.anti-semitic-graffiti-synagogue

In Florida this week, two sep­a­rate anti-Semitic hate crimes des­e­crated a syn­a­gogue and a Jew­ish family’s prop­erty. Con­gre­ga­tion Torah V’Emunah, an Ortho­dox syn­a­gogue within close prox­im­ity to other syn­a­gogues, was spray-painted with the word “Hamas” and swastikas on its front entrance. Addi­tion­ally a Jew­ish fam­ily dis­cov­ered that one of their cars was cov­ered from top to bot­tom with eggs while the other had the words “Jew” and “Hamas” smeared in cream cheese on the windows.

In Mal­ibu, Cal­i­for­nia over the week­end, phrases such as “Jews=Killers” and “Jews are Killing Inno­cent Chil­dren” were found near the entrance to a Jew­ish sum­mer camp.

Last week, anti-Semitic leaflets, which threat­ened vio­lence if Israel does not pull out of Gaza, were left on cars in Peter­son Park, a pre­dom­i­nantly Ortho­dox Jew­ish neigh­bor­hood of Chicago.

On July 17, about two dozen anti-Israel pro­test­ers tar­geted the Florida Holo­caust Museum with graphic images of dead Pales­tini­ans and slo­gans charg­ing Israel with genocide.

Ear­lier this month, the Chabad of South­ern Nevada in Las Vegas was spray-painted with graf­fiti that read “Fre Pales­tine” [sic] and “Free Gaza.”

Sim­i­larly, in Mass­a­chu­setts, the Mon­te­fiore Ortho­dox Syn­a­gogue in Low­ell was van­dal­ized with the words “Free Pales­tine” and “God Bless Gaza” spray painted in red on its white mar­ble walls.

Amer­i­can Jew­ish insti­tu­tions have also been tar­geted online. The Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail hacker group van­dal­ized the web­site of Con­gre­ga­tion Beth Am Israel in Penn Val­ley, Penn­syl­va­nia ear­lier this month with the phrase “end Israeli vio­lence in #Gaza” and an image of Moham­mad Abu Khdeir, a Pales­tin­ian who was killed in Jerusalem by what appears to be a group of Jew­ish extremists.

Addi­tion­ally, the pop­u­lar­ity of some dis­turb­ing Hitler-related hash­tags on Twit­ter has grown in reac­tion to Israel’s “Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge,” such as #Hitler­Was­Right and #HitlerDidNothingWrong.

Such anti-Semitism is also evi­dent at many of the anti-Israel demon­stra­tions held in cities through­out the U.S., as well as in Europe, where the State of Israel is often demo­nized with Holo­caust imagery or other anti-Semitic expressions.

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