Friday, August 21, 2009

Viva Las Vegas, Viva "the Holocaust"

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In 1959, I was 11 years old, living frugally with my parents, both of whom were, as they say, gainfully employed.

My father ran a small supermarket, while my mother managed her rooming house for transients up on the 2nd floor. They were very careful about quickly paying off their debts and putting away their savings for a rainy day.

For example, if I asked for a quarter to go to the movies with my school mates on a Saturday afternoon, my parents, as often as not, would deny my request; sometimes, with a tedious lecture on my need to learn to exercise thrift.

One day, one of my mother’s transient lodgers moved out leaving behind a deck of cards. The man had used them to play solitaire, and had taught me how.

I was in the middle of a game of solitaire when my father came upstairs for supper and noticed me off in a corner, playing. He came over and brusquely interrupted me.

Gathering up the cards, he explained that playing solitaire was an unseemly actvity -- one that was worthy only of shiftless gypsies -- and relieved me of the deck.

Several years later, the Main Street property my parents owned quadrupled in value during a period of economic boom. They sold it, and went into semi-retirement. They travelled abroad. Travels that even included Las Vegas, where they spent a week gambling and going to shows.

It was in August in 1974 -- during the week President Nixon had resigned his office -- that my parents spent a week in Las Vegas. Since we had little in common, my father and I typically bridged the divide that separated us by discussing current events. I asked him how the Americans he met in Vegas reacted to Nixon resigning his office. He shrugged, so I asked instead about how he had enjoyed Sin City.

It was obvious the man was proud of the fact that he was able to afford to vacation there, for in his circle of friends it meant he had “arrived.” I have no interest in gambling or Las Vegas, least of all in gambling in Las Vegas, but I thought it polite to at least pretend to share his enthusiasm.

“What kind of gambling do you do?” I asked.

“I just pump a roll of quarters into a slot machine -- and hope to get lucky.”

“Any luck?”

“Naw . . .”

Naturally, I remembered the times I had to beg him for two-bits to go see a Western during a matinee at the movie-theatre down the street, and of the time he seized my deck of playing cards.

It is through this Las Vegas that-was-then, this-is-now peephole that I consider all of the hoopla that attends the release of Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, a Judeo-centric World War Two satirical sendup entitled Inglourious Basterds.

Against a backdrop of sober Holocaust pieties, Tarantino and his stars Brad Pitt et al. are perfectly free to blithely screw over the received version of the Holocaust narrative. Even as in Australia and Austria -- and, of course, in the German Fatherland -- daring revisionists languish in prison, punished for having demonstrated their temerity by challening the typical Hollywood-inspired version of the traditional Holocaust story.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Exceptions to the Holocaust rule

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The late Michael Elkins was for many years the BBC correspondent in Jerusalem, reporting on such major Israeli events like the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann and the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six Day War.

In 1971 Michael Elkins published Forged in Fury, a book about the men and women of DIN, a group of Jewish avengers bent on tracking and killing alleged Nazi war criminals.  

In 1996, the book was reprinted to mark the 25th anniversary of its publication, almost unchanged, except for a new Foreword in which Elkins disputed the traditional six million (Holocaust) figure.

More a wobbler than a blatant "Holocaust denier," Elkins owed to having no set opinion as to even the approximate number of Jews killed in World War Two; all he knew was that it was not the six million figure he had alleged in the first edition of Forged in Fury.  

Elkins: "The dimensions of the Holocaust are terribly important, but whether it was five million dead or four million or three, the enormity of the crime and the weight of the tragedy maintains." [1]

Otherwise, Michael Elkins' Forged in Fury remained the very same self-righteous schizoid denunciation-celebration of violence that it was in 1971. Elkins, who registers a seismic frisson, just about, each time he describes another Nazi getting wacked, would have, I dare say, enjoyed watching Quentin Tarantino’s over-the-top revenge-fantasy Inglourious Basterds.

But what about those for whom the Six Million figure is inviolable?

For example, longtime senior counsel for B'nai Brith Canada, David Matas has -- as have many, many others in a similiar position -- said the "Holocaust was the murder of six million Jews" and that what is called "Holocaust denial is [tantamount to] a second murder of those same six million.” [2]

Shouldn’t the Guardians of the Holocaust Flame have denounced Elikins as a Holocaust denier and then dragged the poor sod and his reputation from pillar post? Suffice is to say, they didn’t; they gave him a free pass. It happens in special cases. Elkins was one of those; Dr Joachim Prinz was another.

Dr Prinz, a German rabbi with Zionist leanings, is profiled in the sizzling little volume, Jewish History, Jewish Region, by the late Israel Shahak, a Buchenwald survivor and an Israeli human rights advocate. [3]

In 1934, Dr. Prinz published a polemical work entiled Wir Juden (We, Jews) wherein he hailed Hitler's rise to power. Seems he viewed this as a defeat for liberalism and, hence, a very good outcome for Jews.

"[T]he fortunes of liberalism are lost," he wrote gleefully. "The only form of political life which has helped Jewish assimilation is sunk."

See: The victory of Nazism ruled out assimilation and the bane of mixed marriages between Jews and gentiles. Said Prinz: "We are not unhappy about this." His book [said Shahak] contained a lot of unblushing praise for Nazi ideology.

Later on, Dr. Prinz emigrated to the United States, where he then eventually became a vice-chairman of the World Jewish Congress and a leading figure in the World Zionist Organization. Despite his words of praise for Hitler and the Nazis, he was also on friendly terms with the onetime Israeli prime minister, Golda Meir.

1. Michael Elkins, Forged in Fury,  London: Judy Piatkus (Publishers), 1996, p. xiii

2. Letters to the Editor, Toronto Globe and Mail, January 22, 1992.

3. Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion, Pluto Press: London, 1994, p, 71-72.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fredrick Toben Jailed in Australia

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Revisionist and free speech activist Dr. Fredrick Töben has been taken into custody to serve a three-month jail term for violating Australia’s anti-free speech laws.

Australian Federal Police took Töben, the author of Where Truth is no Defence, I want to break free, from the Federal Court in Adelaide after losing his appeal against his conviction for contempt of court. Töben refused to be silenced in his struggle to correct the historical record of the Holocaust on the Adelaide Institute website.

The judges said Töben also had a disregard for the orders of the court and had acted to undermine the authority of the court.

The Full Court of the Federal Court also ruled that his jail term, for what amounts to thoughtcrimes, was in no way excessive.

Earlier this year, Töben was found guilty on 24 counts of contempt for ignoring court orders preventing him from publishing Holocaust revisionist material. When he later imposed a three-month sentence, Justice Bruce Lander said Töben had continued to breach those 2002 orders, which prevented him from publishing material which was deemed anti-Semitic.

The 2002 orders stemmed from a racial discrimination case brought against him by Jeremy Jones, former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

Töben’s counsel David Perkins suggested that the revisionist material published on the Adelaide Institute website, was just a "drop in the bucket" compared to the amount of material questioning the orthodox Holocaust story available on the internet.

The judges said in their verdict that the case before them was not about the Holocaust, gas chambers or the execution of Jews during World War II. They said it was about whether or not Töben had complied with orders of the court. Those court orders however were intended to silence Töben on these very issues.

"Obedience to the court is not optional," they said.

In a final example of the limits on free speech in Australia today Töben asked if he could say something to the judges as the court rose, only to be cut off by Justice Jeffrey Spender who simply said, "No".

There are no guarantees of freedom of speech in Australia.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Giving the Holocaust a competitive edge

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In 1992, New Star Books of Vancouver published Chronicles of Dissent, David Barsamian's collection of interviews with Noam Chomsky.

Chapter 13, titled "World Orders: Old and New", contains the following exchange between Barsamian and Chomsky, which, according to the chronology, occurred on November 18, 1990 [p. 217]:

BARSAMIAN: In a conversation I had with you a couple of years ago at UCLA you said something that I've always wanted to ask you about. We were talking about the Armenian genocide and you made the observation that Israel 'didn't want anyone elbowing in on the Holocaust business.’

CHOMSKY: Israel has been very strongly opposed to efforts to bring the Armenian genocide into consideration. The extent of this is really astonishing. I keep learning new things about it all the time. For example, in 1982 there was a  conference on genocide in Israel... The conference was dealing with all kinds of genocide. The Israeli government put pressure upon it to drop the Armenian genocide. They allowed the others, but not the Armenian one. The honorary chairman was to have been Elie Wiesel, and he was pressured by the government to withdraw, and being a loyal commissar as he is, he withdrew from the conference because the Israeli government had said they didn't want Armenian genocide brought up.

Just recently, a well-known Holocaust historian in Israel, Yehuda Bauer, told the Israeli press that Wiesel had called him from New York at that time pleading with him to drop out of the conference because the Israeli government didn't want it because it was dealing with the Armenians, and he agreed to that and felt very bad about it in retrospect. That gives an indication of the extent to which people like Elie Wiesel were carrying out their usual function of serving Israeli state interests, even to the extent of denying a holocaust [sic], which he does regularly.

Why are they [the Israelis] so fixated on denying the Armenian holocaust? That's very simple. Part of it is that they want to monopolize the image for their own purposes, but the other part of it is that this is the Armenians. They were massacred by the Turks. The Turks are allies, and you don't want to alienate allies, because that's much too important. So if they happened to carry out a genocide, that's not our business. They're our allies. Therefore you don't talk about the Armenian holocaust.

What Noam Chomsky was saying is, many exclusionary Holocaust promoters, including Elie Wiesel, can be charged with unconscionably adopting a stance which they themselves routinely and vociferously denounce: Namely, that of indulging in a variant of "holocaust denial". In a way, ironically enough, becoming holocaust deniers at war with alleged holocaust deniers of another stripe; of being Holocaust monopolists, if you will, anxious that their "competitors" should not get to share too much of the historical limelight with them.

In short [says Chomsky], the Jewish promoters and merchandisers of their own World War II tragedy, which they guard and defend with all the zeal of profiteering corporate suits, don't take kindly to any upstart competition.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It ain't necessarily so . . .

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A convergence of evidence is the same as a consilience of inductions -- where two or more separate and distinct sets of facts mutually reinforce each other. Such convergence allows the student of history to more confidently defend a particular version of an historical event as likelier to have occurred this way rather than that; its absence means having to fall back to some extent on speculative reasoning, on conjecture, to decide what might have happened -- and why. It's a sound, but hardly failproof, method of getting near the real version of events. For example:

As "proof" of the homicidal gassings said to have occurred at Dachau, in the trials of accused Nazi war criminals Nuremberg prosecutors were able to point to the "gas chamber" itself, refer to an official American congressional report of an on-site investigation, and to cite the "eyewitness" testimony of the onetime camp doctor, Franz Blaha. Yet, claims of death by gassings at Dachau are now largely dismissed as false, and so reams of what was once touted as damning evidence have become worthless. Many such Holocaust extermination claims, once widely accepted, have likewise been quietly discarded. 

Take the stories of the Treblinka "steam chambers," a set of bizarre allegations now part of the Nuremberg record. At Nuremberg, American prosecutors submitted a report (exhibit USA-293) charging that Jews had been killed in Treblinka "by suffocating them in steam-filled chambers." [1]

One of the American prosecutors referred to it in an address to the Nuremberg court on December 14, 1945. The report, later added to the official Nuremberg trial record as document PS-3311, bolstered a November 1942 "eyewitness" account sent to London via the Warsaw ghetto underground organization that described masses of Jews being exterminated by the "steam pouring out of ... pipes." [2]

Today, despite this so-called convergence of evidence, no reputable historian still claims the stories of death-by-steaming
at Treblinka are factually true.

Although, the allegations were revived in 1979 and 1985 by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith and included in a publication entitled The Record: The Holocaust in History. Among the several documents the ADL reproduced was an August 8, 1943 article from the New York Times claiming the Germans had murdered two million Jews in Treblinka by steaming them to death. This despite the fact no one at Nuremberg was ever convicted of the killing of masses of Jews by employing the grisly steaming method.

What could have motivated the ADL to revive this false, rather lurid old tale, I wonder? Was it simply “too good" to abandon? 

1. IMT, Trial of the Major War Criminals ("blue series"), vol 3, p. 567-568.

2. "Likwidacja zydowskiej Warszawy, Treblinka," Biuletyn Zydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego (Warsaw), January-June 1951, pp. 93 -100.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Holocaust fabulists offer a new frisson

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With Holocaust literature, as opposed to forthright historiography, we enter into a virtual realm where truth and falsehood are apt to very quickly and easily trade places. Auschwitz survivor and Nobel laureate, Elie Wiesel, once explained how he, too, was not above conjuring the what-might-have-been Holocaust mirage. He said as much with reference to his own writings:

“Things are not that simple, Rebbe. Some events do take place but are not true; others are, although they never occurred.” [1] 

Enter Binjamin Wilkomirski, the Great Pretender, who was able to outWiesel even Elie Wiesel. Hardly any sober students of the Holocaust nowadays believe the Wilkomirski tale; unlike in 1995, when his alleged Holocaust memoir, Fragments, was first published and assumed to be genuine, however improbable its tale of recovered memories of an indescribably painful childhood lived out in Nazi concentration camps. [2]
There's this hilarious scene in the futuristic Woody Allen comedy Sleeper where WA impersonates a robot tasked with having to whip up a chocolate pudding for his mistress. Things get out of hand in the kitchen when the batter he employs quickly bubbles up into the size of a baby beluga. As it wobbles across the kitchen floor toward him, WA’s robotic character is suddenly compelled to brutally clobber it into submission with a broom. An apt metaphor for honest scholars and scholarship desperately fending off sticky-gooey encroachments by Holocaust fabulists like Wilkomirski and Wiesel.

A letter Canadian writer Ann Charney addressed to New Yorker magazine graphically describes some of her frustration with “the Holocaust industry” and its fabulists. Charney:

“Philip Gourevitch's article on Binjamin Wilkomirski and his memoir ‘Fragments’ ("The Memory Thief," June 14th) reveals much about the Holocaust industry.  In 1996, Suhrkamp, also Wilkomirski's publisher, published a German translation of my account of a wartime childhood in Poland. It is entitled ‘Dobryd’ -- an anagram of the name of the real town where the action takes place.  I chose to write it as fiction, because, like Aharon Appelfeld, I did not trust the factual accuracy of my recollections. At the time of publication, it was suggested to me that the book would sell much better if it was reclassified as nonfiction, but I did not accept the suggestion. Though the book has received excellent critical notices, it has never enjoyed the attention given to ‘Fragments.’’’ 

Here the implication is clear: With an eye for the bottomline, Ann Charney’s novel would have rung up more sales, her publisher felt, had it been touted as a memoir; any factual inaccuracy it may have contained being a somewhat lesser consideration. She continues:

“Wilkomirski's success in impersonating a Holocaust survivor confirms my suspicions about the increasingly rapacious nature of the Holocaust industry -- a highly profitable enterprise, be it in tourism or in any of the arts. The steadily expanding business of merchandising dead Jews requires a constant flow of new ideas, new imagery -- hence the frisson of appreciation for the bloody rat emerging from the dead woman's womb. Wilkomirski may have created a new genre, which could attract other practitioners: impersonators more real than the real thing, who thrive as devoted fetishists of suffering.” [3]

Ah! Our suffocating, Byronic need for a new frisson. I am reminded of the aftermath of an accident I witnessed 40 years ago. I was a student travelling north into a blizzard by greyhound coach.

We progressed very slowly. I had been sitting on my ass for ten hours when the bus came to a complete stop. The driver got off and when he returned minutes later asked if there was a priest on board. There was; he sat across the aisle from me. And, when he stood up, I followed him out to the accident site.

Apparently, a school bus had slid into the ditch just alongside the highway and a tow truck had been summoned to drag it out. The steel cable the tow truck attached to it was stretched across the highway when a car, with two men on board, came barrelling along through the opaque veil of drifting snow -- with near zero visibility -- in what proved to be a fatal game of chicken. Later on I learned both men had been drunk.

There were a couple of teenagers brandishing flashlights already at the scene as the priest administered the last rites. I lingered a moment after he returned to the bus to take in the enormity of the destruction. The steel cable had torn away the roof from the oncoming vehicle; the faces of both the driver and his passenger were pulped.

One of the teenagers shone his flashlight on what seemed like a wee white billiard ball amid shattered glass on the seat of car. It was an eyeball. “Hey! Look at that!” he exclaimed in his backwater French, excited by the discovery of this macabre detail.

The calibre of excitement the teenagers experienced on finding the detached eyeball on the car seat is the same, according to researcher Michael Hoffman, as “the reason why the ‘Holocaust’ museum in Washington D.C. is breaking attendance records.”

Not, says Hoffman, “because people want to learn a moral lesson or improve or save anything. They’re going there in the hopes they’ll see a working gas chamber or the whip that ‘Ilsa of the SS’ used, or the boots they claim Himmler made out of the skin of Jewish babies.” [4]

In other words, fueled by morbid fascination, they’re after a new frisson dredged up by a fresh encounter with a grotesque specacle akin to that displayed at the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum; the kind that moves us to slow down and drink in the details of a roadside car crash.

1. Elie Wiesel, Legends of Our Time, New York: Holt, Rinehart, and
Winston: 1968, p. viii. 

2. Martin Daly, “An impossible but true story of the Holocaust,” The Sunday Age , November 8, 1998. 

3. Ann Charney, “The Holocaust's Legacies,” Letters, The New Yorker, July 19, 1999. 

4. Michael A. Hoffman II, Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare, Independent History and Research: Coeur d'Alene, 2001, p. 136.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Props as shorthand for radical evil

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A page-long obituary in Maclean’s magazine informs readers that the late Walter Paul Sieber, better known to professional wrestling fans as “Waldo von Erich,” owed his fame as the prototypical villain to a decision in the 1960s to adopt a German Nazi persona. 

“[I]t was his German Nazi persona that propelled Waldo von Erich into superstardom. With his monocle, helmet, armband and whip, Waldo incited rage among fans still reeling from the Second World War.” [1]

Pro wrestling back then offered fans a version of the black-and-white morality plays of the Middle Ages, where characters personifying good and evil clash head on. Waldo’s use of such standard “Nazi” props as the monocle and the swastika armband, the Wehrmacht soldier’s helmet and a whip -- like Ilse, She-Wolf of the SS -- was par for the course in terms of the often garish, mass-appeal morality play so inherent in pro wrestling. 

As it happens, the Holocaust “memoir” sometimes fills up the same niche, falls into an identical slot. Consider this rather glammed-up, thumbnail sketch of the SS general, Odilo Globocnik, as he appears -- with all the Satanic majesty of a wrestling villain -- at the gates to the Majdandek concentration camp in the 1980 “memoir” The Survivor by Jack Eisner:

“... I watched the [“beautiful white horse and rider”] gallop closer and closer. In the saddle was a majestic, monocled figure in an SS general's uniform decorated with red velvet lapels, topped by a striped SS cap. A long white cape lined with red satin floated behind him. Several SS officers, using their whips and guns, cleared a path for the ‘emperor.’" [2]

Note the reference to the monocle. Mind you, Globocnik, the SS general, never wore one, but no matter. The radical evil that Nazi villainy embodies is flagged by a number of signifiers, which Waldo duly incorporated in his Nazi persona, among them a monocle. 

The monocle also makes a cameo appearance in Elie Wiesel’s “memoir” Night. Notice I have hedged the term memoir between quotation marks to underscore its uncertain status as such.  

You see: Oprah was still reeling from the realization that she had promoted James Frey’s fraudulent memoir A Million Little Pieces as the real thing, when she fell back on Wiesel’s Night and promoted it, amazingly enough, as the genuine article, as a counter-measure, notwithstanding the fact the cover on thousands of copies of the book had for many years included the words A Novel to denote its fictional status. [3]

Here the monocled Nazi arch-villain is the notorious Auschwitz physician, Dr. Josef Mengele. Wiesel:

“In the middle [of the square] stood the notorious Dr. Mengele (a typical SS officer: a cruel face, but not devoid of intelligence, and wearing a monocle.); a conductor's baton in one hand, he was standing among the other officers. The baton moved unremittingly, sometimes right, sometimes left.” [4]

Ah, yes. The conductor’s baton. Forgot about that! Another in the list of hoary Hollywood props that are shorthand for radical evil. 

One final note about Waldo. His signature move was to knee-drop onto his opponent from off of the top rope and so deliver a crushing, often final, blow. The name he gave this ploy: The Blitzkrieg.

1. Cathy Gulli, Maclean’s magazine, August 06, 2009.

2. Jack Eisener, The Survivor, New York: Wm. Morrow, 1980.

3. Hillel Italie (AP), “Amazon recategorizes Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’ as a ‘memoir’,” Seattle PI Books, January 18, 2006.

4. Elie Wiesel, Night, Bantam paperback edition.

No ambiguity -- just like an old western

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Part of the myth that the Holocaust true-believers buy into is the myth of the Second World War as the “Good War.” Americans love the Second World War because there is no ambiguity --it is about good and evil – that’s it. Vietnam wasn’t like that. Neither was Iraq.

We love World War Two in movies and TV for the same reason – it’s good guys versus bad guys. Simple. Fun. Entertainment. Like an old western.

When the true-believers first discover Holocaust revisionism, or those who spout the heresy that all is not as it seems, they are aghast. After all, this is the clearest example of good and evil in a conflict that was about good and evil. This one is black and white. No shades of grey.

The Holocaust is proven fact. The bad guys (the Nazis) did it. Not only did they do it, but they admitted that they did it. We held trials, they admitted it, and they were hanged for their crimes. End of story. It’s all up to Hollywood now.

When the revisionists say all is not as it seems. When we ask for forensic information, when we ask for documents, when we ask for proof, the true-believers get angry – very angry. Such questions are not just about a historical event, they take on an entire world view—a world view about good and evil – about morality.

The Nazis admitted it! You can hear them shout. They are torn between considering revisionists idiots or evil creatures attempting to resurrect a long dead Reich.

Many of those true-believers don’t like the war on terror. They don’t like the American treatment of Muslims accused of terror. They don’t like the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. They particularly disliked Bush, because among other things he sanctioned torture. Torture is not only un-American, it is pointless. With torture so-called Muslim terrorists may admit to all sorts of crimes – but the confession is worthless. Who might not tell their accusers what they wanted to hear to stop the pain of torture?

Torture however did not begin with the war on terror. In fact, torture was used to get many of those admissions from the Nazis that we cling to as proof of the most horrific crimes of the Second World War.

According to historian Montgomery Belgion:

“Soon interrogations [of SS members] began. They were of three kinds. The first kind was a straightforward matter of question and answer. If, however, the result of an interrogation of this kind was not what the investigator was bent on obtaining, one of the second kind followed, it might be forthwith. A suspect was made to remove his coat and shirt, and to pass his hands inside his belt or inside the top of his trousers. His arms were then strapped to his body. He was told to stand to attention in the middle of the floor space. An American soldier was stationed on either side of him, and a third faced his back. The investigator sat at a table and ordered him to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Each time he failed to reply, or replied the opposite of what was expected of him, the American soldier on one side of him would strike him in the bare stomach with the edge of his hand while the solder on the other side kicked him. He was thereby thrown off his balance, and as he swayed backwards the solder behind fetched him a crack on the back of the head. The effect of this was to push him towards the upright again, and as this happened he was struck in the face. In this style questioning went on for, perhaps, two hours at a stretch.

A suspect was then conducted back to his bare cell, his face bloody, his eyes blackened and half-closed, his mouth so tumefied that he could hardly open it to drink, his bruised lower jaw making him incapable of biting his small lump of bread, his body red and blue. So long as no ‘confession’ was forthcoming, suspects were kept on bread and water. They were allowed to wash only every other day, and they were not allowed to shave.

The third kind of interrogation commonly took place in an underground cell. Several such interrogations might go on at the same time, and a German policeman wearing a white armband was stationed on the stairs in order to prevent anybody from coming down and hearing in the passage the cries and moans audible from behind several of a row of closed doors. This third kind of interrogation usually went on till a suspect had become unconscious.

Once a suspect had ‘confessed’, he was promised hot food and a blanket. In fact, he might not be given a blanket; he might be left to discover his own next time he went to the washroom where it had been place; his own-that is to say, the blanket that had been taken from him on arrival. As for the hot food, that might be forgotten too.

It was useless for a suspect to later on to withdraw his ‘confession’ and to say that it had been obtained from him under duress. The ‘confession’ figured as the principal evidence at his trial, and the sentence was pronounced on the strength of it.”

Torture also involved the psychological torture of claims to have imprisoned one’s spouse or children and that they would be executed if a confession was not forthcoming.

On April 26, 1946 Julius Streicher stated in the evidence of the Nuremberg trials that he was kept for four days in a cell without clothes. He went on, “I was made to kiss negroes’ feet. I was whipped. I had to drink saliva. My mouth was forced open with a piece of wood, and then I was spat on. When I asked for a drink of water, I was taken to a latrine and told ‘Drink.’

Many of the accused Nazis were detained in camps with the official names “Ashcan” and “Dustbin.”

Abu Ghraib was not new. We did nothing worse at Abu Ghraib than we did at Ashcan and Dustbin. But Iraq was not the “good war.” There is room for grey on that one. We have trouble accepting that the good and evil caricatures of the “Good War” might not be reflective of the truth.

We hate ambiguity in our image of the Second World War. We hate the ramifications of the torture that resulted in the ‘confessions’ that prove the outrageous crimes that we now call “Holocaust.” We hate letting that grey slip into the one thing we are so certain of. It sort of ruins everything. It’s like the day I learned of the massacre at Wounded Knee. The old westerns were never the same.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Holocaust denial and 9-11 denial

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I was struck by a comment by a Holocaust true-believer today -- one of those who buy the entire story -- lock, stock and barrel. He made the comment that to deny the Holocaust happened is like denying that 9-11 happened.

On the surface, to those who haven't thought much about these matters, such an argument -- such a sound byte -- sounds convincing. Sure, we can make him define his terms. That's the normal starting place. What do you mean when you write "Holocaust?" What do you mean by "deny the Holocaust?" What do you mean by "9-11?" And so on.

But we have an idea of what this guy meant. We don't really have to get all the definitions out there. Heck, this is an age where all great ideas will be limited to 140 characters -- there's no time for clarity (what would Kant or Schopenhauer have done with Twitter?)

The fact is however that this guy has his thoughts twisted -- in fact they are 180 degrees from the correct direction.

It would be far more accurate to say "to believe the Holocaust story is like believing the US government was behind a grand conspiracy on 9-11."

What do I mean?

There are those who "deny" the official story of 9-11. They claim that rather than an Al-Qadea terrorist attack on the World Trade Center that the US government in fact orchestrated the entire thing. Bush knew about it -- or even ordered it. And of course there was a grand conspiracy to cover the whole thing up.

The Holocaust story -- that is, the official Holocaust story is also a grand conspiracy tale. Those who buy it say the Nazi government orchestrated a plan to exterminate the entire Jewish people. Hitler knew about -- and even ordered it. There was a grand conspiracy to cover the whole thing up. In fact, one SS officer was even given the horrific job in the final months of the Third Reich to march a small band all around Europe and cover up the Nazi crimes by exhuming all the victims and destroying the evidence on makeshift pyres, with explosive devices, and even through the use of "bone-crushing machines."

I'm not much for conspiracy tales. I don't think Bush had any idea what was coming on 9-11. I think Bin Laden and his gang orchestrated the entire thing. I haven't seen any evidence to make me believe that Bush ordered such a horrific event. Neither is it reasonable to think that such a cover-up would be possible, what with the partisan in-fighting of Washington DC. It is unthinkable.

The official Holocaust story is an even bigger conspiracy tale. It didn't last for a morning but rather for years. It is a story without evidence of the murder weapon -- without forensic evidence -- and without the documentary evidence.

I don't buy the 9-11 conspiracy story and neither do I buy the Holocaust conspiracy story. Like I said, I'm not much for conspiracy tales.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The perils of tolerance

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A dozen years ago, the Toronto Globe and Mail published a book review by Queen’s University historian Gerald Tulchinsky entitled "Is Jewish History Ending?" in which he flagged the dangers posed by the growing gentile tolerance toward Jews: 

"What 20 centuries of persecution culiminating in the Holocaust could not do -- the obliteration of the Jewish people -- U.S. toleration ... will soon accomplish." 1

The biggest threat to world Jewry, according to Tulchinsky, back then, was the growing rate of intermarriage between Jews and gentiles. A decade later, similar concern about the rate of Jew-gentile intermarriage was again expressed:

"The rate of intermarriage is rising sharply given that nearly seven out of 10 Jews under the age of 30 marry outside of their faith."

The source for this statistic was an article headlined “Jews face 'holocaust' by interfaith marriages” that served as an introduction to an upcoming lecture by Esther Jungreis on “The Holocaust and the Final Solution to Intermarriage” to be delivered on the campus of Ottawa’s Carleton University.

Esther Jungreis is an international lecturer, called “the Jewish Billy Graham,” who compares -- so the article claims -- “intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews with self-imposed annihilation on the scale of the Nazi extermination campaign.” She is also described as a “Holocaust survivor ... [who] argues [that] there is a moral imperative for Jews to marry within the faith” and who sees in the tendency of Jews to intermarry with non-Jews a veritable "spiritual holocaust" that threatens the survival of Judaism. 2

Not surprisingly, Mrs Jungreis is controversial among some of her co-religionists, given that she has proved unwilling to concede even the validity of gentile conversion to Judaism:

“Conversions are usually a sham, you know, in name only. It's easy come, easy go, and there's no commitment behind it. It doesn't mean anything.”

Hardcore? Oh my word, Yes!

I wonder if Deborah Lipstadt is as hardcore as this? Jewish author Ellen Jaffe McClain in her book, Embracing the Stranger [p. 18], has included a reference to Lipstadt's exclusionary Jewish chauvinism that leads me to suspect she may well be.

McClain writes: "Although people like Deborah Lipstadt, the Emory University professor who has written and lectured widely on Holocaust denial, have exhorted Jewish parents to just say no to intermarriage [with gentiles], much the same way they expect their children not to take drugs, a large majority of [Jewish] parents and (more than a few rabbis) are unable to lay down opposition to intermarriage as a strict operating principle."

Typical of the double standard of many of the captains in the Holocaust industry, it is other people's exclusionary chauvinism Professor Lipstadt is apt to disapprove of, which she may damn as "racism" and so on, even as she flogs a marry-your-own-kind approach to life for Jewish singles.

1. Source: The Globe and Mail’s July 12, 1997, issue.

2. “Jews face 'holocaust' by interfaith marriages, Unions pose threat to Judaism: expert talking at Carleton,” Pauline Tam, The Ottawa Citizen, March 07, 2007

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jerry Springer's reflections on the Holocaust

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In his latest book, Empire of Illusion, the Pulitzer prize-winning war correspondent, Chris Hedges, takes a hard look at America’s cuture wars as portrayed by the medium of reality television.

In one stomach-turning passage, he describes an episode of the Jerry Springer Show that Hedges sees as emblematic of the sadism and masochism, the slime and trash, that now typically inform America’s social ethos.

Springer has invited a grossly obese couple to be show-cased in an installment of his program dealing with secret sexual fantasies. The fat man tells his host and, by extension, the studio and television audience, that his long-held secret sexual fanatasy -- one that he wishes his fat wife would fulfil -- would be to get it on with a girly cheerleader.

Soon after, a girly cheerleader emerges from the wings and to the beat of raunchy music gets it on with the fantasist, performing the equivalent of a lap dance for his benefit. His wife who, it seems, is upset by this turn of events, suddenly leaves the stage.

However, in the next segment of the show it is the fat wife who makes her grand entrance attired in a cheerleader’s costume and to the beat of raunchy music performs a groteseque parody of the bump-and-grind of the let-it-all-hang-out “cheerleader” who got it on with her husband minutes before. It is exercise in self-abasement, self-degradation, on a Linda Lovelace scale.

Naturally, all of this unfolds to the raucous jeers and catcalls and hoots and whoops from the low-brow peanut gallery that are the hallmark, the identifying signature, of the Jerry Springer Show.

A decade ago Jerry Springer published his autobiograpical book, Ringmaster! The publisher was a reputable one: St. Martin's Press in New York; the same publisher that cravenly backed away from a contractual obligation to publish David Irving's Goebbels biography, after organized Jewry had applied its habitual thumbscrews.

The final excerpt in the last section of the book, entitled "Favorite Final Thoughts" -- just after "I Cut Off My Manhood!" and "I Married a Horse!" -- is reserved for Springer’s reflections on the Holocaust [“Final Thought: The Holocaust Show, pp. 247-248].

Here ol’ Mr S movingly shares with readers a slice of his family life. He tells of visiting his elderly father at his NYC apartment and of learning how the old man kept a car all primed in the basement parking garage, just in case he needed to make a fast getaway -- to evade capture by the Nazis. Springer picks up the story . . .

“Understand, he was a bright man. He'd been living here in America for almost forty years. Nazi Germany and storm troopers and the concentration camps and the loss of our family, it was almost a lifetime ago -- or so I thought. And how wrong I was. It suddenly hit me: the scars of a Holocaust are forever. Apparently, Dad never had a night where he didn't think it could all come back; he knew how fragile the character of civilization was. 

“But here's the good news. The same species that gave us the slime of a Hitler and his Nazi cohorts also can give us the bravest and most decent humans who graced our show today. I hope our kids were watching. I want them to know that there is good in this world, that there are heroes and not all of them hit home runs -- some just open up their basements.” 

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The "banality of evil," anyone?

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A few years ago, veteran Canadian journalist Peter Worthington observed that "Stalin -- next to Mao Zedong [was] the cruellest and most ruthless tyrant of the 20th century." 1 Mao was far and away, certainly, the greatest mass murderer of the 20th Century. Or, was that Stalin?

Hitler? A distant third.

China’s supreme leader between 1949 and 1976, Chairman Mao was, say the husband and wife team of historians, Jon Halliday and Jung Chang, responsible for the death of 37,670,000 people. 2

After Mao’s death was announced, in a scene as banal as it was surreal, Canada’s prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, stood up in the House of Commons and paid homage to the late dictator, saying that he had been “good for his people.”

In 1990 -- stilll with the banality of evil -- in tandem with China, the arm of the government-run postal service, Canada Post, issued a commemorative stamp celebrating the life and work of Dr Norman Bethune, a socialist hero in the pantheon of Maoist Newspeak. It was but a year following the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, ordered by China's Maoist heirs.

The casualties in Tiananmen Square, you may recall, reached into the thousands -- in the main, Beijing university students, all peacefully staging a collective hunger strike to protest a lack of democracy in China.

Dr Bethune had died in China in 1939, after a year and a half as a medical officer, serving with Chairman Mao’s communist army. That there were Canadian missionary doctors, who had spent decades working as physicians in China, has not received even a fraction of the publicity that attaches itself to Dr Bethune’s experience. The banality of goodness?

Throughout the 1930s, before his departure for China, Dr Bethune crisscrossed the country and delivered stirring speeches at a number of rallies, where the good doctor extolled Joe Stalin’s murderous, totalitarian regime for its democratic leanings.

Most recently, Canada’s former governor-general, Madame Adrienne Clarkson, has brought out a new bio in the Extraordinary Canadians series that has further burnished Norman Bethune’s image as the Horst Wessel of China's Maoist movement.

Afterthought: A combined total of Stalin’s and Mao’s victims would exceed twice Canada's present population of 34 million. It
in no way inhibits some elite opinion here from extolling Dr Bethune's heroic stature, notwithstanding his Stalinist and Maoist

1. Peter Worthington, "Time has blunted spy's vile betrayal," The Calgary Sun, 16 October 2005.

2. Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story, Random House, 2005.