In this essay, we look at how the official history of the Holocaust has been used since 1945, and afterward we add a few relevant, important questions to the discussion. For readers in Canada, Germany, and in various other European countries where it is forbidden by law to cast doubt on the official history of the Holocaust, please note that we are not doing so in this essay. (We are not engaging in so-called “holocaust denial”.)
how the Holocaust has been used: the victorious Allies
The official Holocaust story (that we have all heard many times throughout our lives) has been used by the victorious Allies to provide cover for themselves by diverting attention away from their crimes and atrocities. Collective guilt for the war and for the Holocaust was post facto pressed upon all the Germans, civilian and military alike, to justify and rationalize the punitive and lethal actions taken against the defeated Germans after the end of the war in May, 1945. As well, there was a need on the part of the Western democracies (Britain and the US) to divert or distract attention (and scrutiny) from their war time alliance with the Soviet Union, a murderous regime whose objective was the destruction of western civilization and the spread of communism world wide. The Holocaust was also convenient to Stalin and his cohorts in the USSR for diverting attention away from their horrific crimes (including, but certainly not limited to, the Holodomor in the Ukraine in 1932-3, a forced starvation (man-made famine) of 5 to 7 millions of peasants who had resisted collectivization). The Soviets committed many heinous crimes and outrages before, during, and after the war.
Here is a little more on Allied war crimes (we have previously written on these crimes).
Allied war crimes – both during and after the war. The terror bombing campaign of German cities started and pursued relentlessly by the British led to the deaths of several hundred thousand (by conservative estimates) German civilians. The mass rapes (possibly more than 2 million German women and girls were victimized) and murders committed by the barbarous Red Army in late 1944 and in 1945 as eastern Germany was overrun and occupied. The Bolshevik commissars were exhorting the Red Army soldiers to commit these crimes. After the war, throughout the late 1940s, millions (12 to 14 million) of ethnic Germans were forcefully expelled from eastern territories (formerly German and now part of Poland) to journey on foot to the western zones of occupation. Millions perished during these expulsions. Also, there was a punitive, purposeful program of starvation in the western zones of occupation – particularly in the French zone and most viciously in the American zone of occupation – directed at both the disarmed German military and the civilian population. (We have cited documented references for this in earlier essays in February 2014. We are not making this up.) Let us not overlook that several nations conquered by the Germans, or allied with Germany, were captives of the Soviet Union and its communist system after the war and remained so until the break up of the Soviet Union decades later.
The Holocaust is what we read about in the history texts in our high schools and colleges. There have been many television documentaries over many years on the Holocaust. There have been Hollywood movies about it. There are hundreds of books that have been published about the Holocaust or episodes or incidents in it. We do not read of, or hear of, these heinous, horrific Allied war crimes against the German people. The Holocaust has been used to divert attention away from these Allied atrocities.
how the Holocaust has been used: Israel and reparations
It must be said that the Holocaust has been used to make the post war West German government (to 1989, then a united Germany) pay several tens of billions of dollars in reparations to the state of Israel, and to survivors over many years. Attempts were made in the mid to late 1990s to make Swiss banks pay compensation to Holocaust victims because the Nazis deposited seized Jewish money into such banks during the war. Opportunistic lawyers ended up taking much of these recovered monies. Thus, survivors and their heirs saw little of it.
The Holocaust has also been used to stifle or blunt any criticism of Israel. The Israelis pretty much maintain an apartheid system towards the Palestinians. This apartheid approach to dealing with the Palestinians has led to hopelessness and despair in many of these people, especially among the youth. (We condemn the attacks of Hamas on Israel, but we also condemn the harsh treatment of these people by Israel.) The specter of the Holocaust serves to blunt criticism of Israel as the victims (of the Holocaust) cannot themselves be villains or victimizers, or so the thinking goes.
Some may assert that the Holocaust has been used as a moral justification for the founding of the modern State of Israel after the war. This is somewhat misleading. Zionists were in Palestine in the 1920s, 1930s and the early 1940s agitating for a state of their own. The British authorities there at the time (under their post World War One mandate in this former Ottoman province) had clashes with these Zionists.
Why is there a Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C.?
The US Holocaust Museum – why here? We can all agree that the Holocaust of European Jewry did not happen in the US. (This museum had its annual operating budget subsidized with federal (i.e taxpayer) money in the 1990s. We do not know if this subsidy continues today.)
Why not a museum or a memorial of some kind to the victims of injustices that occurred here in the US?! One readily thinks of the victims of slavery. Also, the Native Americans (American Indians) suffered harsh treatment, forced expulsions from their lands, broken treaties, etc.
There were small protests and sidewalk pickets at the museum in the 1990s by local African-Americans. Their signs and placards read “move it to Israel”. Not everyone thought this museum appropriate on the mall in Washington. (Also, this museum is not in character with the architecture of the various memorials and monuments in Washington. It is a rather ugly edifice on the mall in Washington.)
This Holocaust Museum in Washington only deals with the Jewish “holocaust” of the 1940s in Europe. There is no mention of other mass killings elsewhere in the world.
Why is there no mention of other genocides in this museum? And, this directly leads us to our next question.
Why the exclusivity of Jewish suffering?
This fixation on the Holocaust, its singularity, prompts another question: Why the exclusivity of Jewish suffering?
Excluding the Holocaust of European Jewry in the 1940s, here is a listing of some of the major genocides and targeted mass killings of the 20th century in chronological order. Armenians during World War One (killed by the Ottoman Turks), the Holodomor of Ukrainians by the Soviets 1932-3, Stalin’s purges of 1937, German and Japanese civilians incinerated in their cities by the Allies, Germans who died in the expulsions after the war and by the Allied policy of starvation in post war Germany, the crimes of the Communist regime in China under Mao that killed millions of Chinese, the Chinese conquest (early 1950s) and brutal occupation of Tibet that killed many Tibetans, Cambodia (late 1970s) under Pol Pot, the ongoing (large scale) female infanticide in China that began with the one child policy (1979), and Rwanda in the mid 1990s.
Is the murder of an innocent Jewish person more heinous, more horrific than the murder of a baby Chinese girl, or of a Rwandan, or a peasant of the Ukraine, or a German housewife, etc.? Put differently, is the life of a Jew of intrinsically greater value than the lives of any of these others?
We must condemn all murders (and all forms of murder) or we have no authentic claim to being truly moral. (Similarly, we must condemn all war crimes – even those committed by the victors.)
That is how we see it. The charge of “anti-Semitism” is often thrown around to stifle debate about any aspect of the Holocaust. We reject this and believe in free and open inquiry.
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