FACES AND PLACES

by Myron B. Kuropas


Holocaust exploitation

Some weeks ago I reviewed "The Holocaust in American Life," a scholarly study by a University of Chicago professor, Peter Novick. Among other things, Prof. Novick declared how Jewish spokespersons have consistently manipulated and exploited Holocaust perception to suit the Jewish agenda of the moment. During World War II the Jewish leadership was anxious to convince Americans that Hitler wasn't just persecuting Jews. Christians also were vulnerable, especially Polish Catholics. At the end of the war Jewish leaders thanked Pope Pius XII for his efforts to rescue Jews.

Today the political winds blow in a different direction. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has all but said that the Holocaust was Catholic-inspired. Pope Pius XII ("Hitler's Pope") is condemned for his "silence" during the war. Apologies to the Jews by the Pope John Paul II are not enough because, in the words of World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Edgar Bronfman, the pope failed to apologize for all of Catholicism's sins against the Jews, "especially the Holocaust."

The Holocaust was all but ignored by Jews (some were even ashamed to discuss it) until the 1967 Six-Day War in Israel. Today the Holocaust is the shield that deflects criticism of Israeli policy; even to question Israel's behavior is to risk being branded an "anti-Semite."

Now comes a book titled "The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering" by Norman G. Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors, which picks up where Dr. Novick left off. A professor at Hunter College in New York, Dr. Finkelstein believes the Jewish elite is exploiting the Holocaust for personal, political and economic reasons which have little to do with their professed goal of enhancing "Holocaust awareness." Respected Israeli writer Boas Evron describes "Holocaust awareness" as "an official, propagandistic indoctrination, a churning of slogans and a false view of the world, the real aim of which is not an understanding of the past, but a manipulation of the present."

According to Dr. Finkelstein, Holocaust revisionism has made it possible for "one of the world's most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record," to "cast itself as a 'victim state,' and the most successful ethnic group in the United States has likewise acquired victim status. Considerable dividends accrue from this specious victimhood - in particular, immunity to criticism, however justified."

Today, Prof. Finkelstein argues, more Americans know about the Holocaust than about Pearl Harbor. "All 50 states sponsor commemorations, often in state legislatures. The Association of Holocaust Organizations lists over 100 Holocaust institutions in the United States. Seven major Holocaust museums dot the American landscape." The Holocaust has become such a unique event that to compare it to genocides against other groups is viewed by the Holocaust industry as a form of Holocaust denial.

Prof. Finkelstein exposes those Jewish leaders who use the Holocaust to blackmail American politicians into unconditional support for Israel. Lawmakers who have adopted a balanced approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict can suddenly find their careers destroyed. Jews in Illinois have been especially effective in this regard, helping to defeat Rep. Paul Finley and Sen. Charles Percy, two Republicans who mistakenly counseled a more even-handed U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East.

"Two central dogmas underpin the Holocaust framework," writes Prof. Finkelstein: "1) The Holocaust marks a categorically unique historical event; 2) The Holocaust marks the climax of an irrational, eternal Gentile hatred of Jews." The "most practiced purveyor" of the uniqueness of the Holocaust, according to Prof. Finkelstein, is Elie Weisel (who once said "all of Ukraine is Babi [Babyn] Yar"), who has declared on various occasions that the Holocaust is "never to be comprehend or transmitted" because it "lies outside, if not beyond, all history." The unique evil of the Holocaust, according to Jacob Neusner, not only sets Jews apart from others, but also gives Jew a "claim upon those other."

Much of the literature on Hitler's Final Solution "is worthless as scholarship," writes Dr. Finkelstein. "Indeed, the fold of Holocaust studies is replete with nonsense, if not sheer fraud."

The first major Holocaust hoax was "The Painted Bird," purported to be an autobiographical account by Polish émigré Jerzy Kosinski who "recalled" the sadistic torture of Jews by Polish peasants. Almost all of it was a lie. In reality, Polish peasants harbored Mr. Kosinski and his family from the Nazis at great risk to their own safety.

Another hoax was Binjamin Wilkomirski's book "Fragments," which the author represented as "recovered memory" of the sadism of German guards. Hailed as a classic of Holocaust literature, it was exposed by the renowned Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg. "Half-fruitcake, half-mountebank," writes Dr. Finkelstein, "Wilkomirski, it turns out, spent the entire war in Switzerland. He is not even Jewish." Following current academic trends, Yad Vashem Director Israel Gutman, a former inmate of Auschwitz, argued that "it is not important if 'Fragments' is a fraud. Wilkomirski has written a story which he has experienced deeply ... his pain is authentic." A similar "authenticity" argument was made for Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu, when it was discovered that her heart-wrenching autobiography of racist oppression in Guatemala was pure fabrication.

Dr. Finkelstein reserves his most explosive rhetoric for the "outright extortion racket" that demands billions of compensatory dollars from Germany and Swiss banks because little of the money goes to actual Holocaust survivors. The cash left after the lawyers take their share is earmarked for various pet projects of Jewish leaders, such as Holocaust museums, Holocaust publications and university chairs of Holocaust studies.

Big money drives the Holocaust industry. Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger earns $300,000 per year as chairman of a Holocaust claims organization. Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Weisenthal Center, has his wife and son on the center payroll; their combined family income five years ago was $520,000. Simon Wiesenthal himself commands $25,000 per appearance plus expenses. WJC President Bronfman claims that his organization has amassed "roughly $7 billion" in compensation monies.

To survive, the Holocaust industry is always searching for its next mark. Ukraine's turn is just around the corner.


Myron Kuropas' e-mail address is: mbkuropas@compuserve.com