Zionist Historiography & the Distortion of the Lessons of the Holocaust
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Many people have asked me why did I write Zionism During the Holocaust? My answer is simple – Because the history of the Nazi holocaust and its place in history needs rescuing from Zionist falsifications, myths and distortions.
I am not of course disputing the fact that millions of Jews were exterminated by the Nazis, including half in gas chambers. That is for the political equivalent of flat earthers. What I am referring to is the role of the Jewish Resistance, their defence of the Judenrate (Jewish Councils which collaborated with the Nazis), the erasure of anti-Zionist Jews in the Resistance, the rewriting of the memoirs of even the Zionist fighters in the ghettos and the absence of any mention of Zionist collaboration and their obstruction of rescue attempts.
All this has been achieved by the Zionist holocaust historians based in Yad Vashem, led by Yehuda Bauer and Dina Porat, in order that the holocaust can accord with a Zionist national narrative.
The Zionist holocaust narrative has drawn a straight line between the fight against the Nazis and Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. In his address to the 2015 World Zionist Congress, Netanyahu attempted to transfer the blame for the holocaust from Hitler to the Palestinian Grand Mufti, Haj al Amin Husseini.
Nothing better illustrates this than the annual visit of thousands of Israeli school children to Auschwitz. Instead of being a profound educational event, that teaches the dangers of a resurgence of racism and fascism, it has become an orgy of Israeli national chauvinism.
It is no wonder that Israeli teenagers are even more racist than their elders. Or Kashti in Ha’aretz Israeli Teenagers: Racist and Proud of It quoted a 10th grade high school girl as declaring:
“For me, personally, Arabs are something I can’t look at and can’t stand. I am tremendously racist. I come from a racist home. If I get the chance in the army to shoot one of them, I won’t think twice. I’m ready to kill someone with my hands, and it’s an Arab. In my education I learned that … their education is to be terrorists, and there is no belief in them…. every day I see these Ishmaelites, who pass by and whistle. I wish them death.”
Israeli teenagers annually walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau covered in Israeli flags, the message being one of Jewish militarism. Their visit to Auschwitz actually reinforces their racism. As Gideon Levy observed
I have yet to hear a single teenager come back from Auschwitz and say that we mustn’t abuse others the way we were abused. There has yet to be a school whose pupils came back from Birkenau straight to the Gaza border, saw the barbed-wire fence and said, Never again. The message is always the opposite. Gaza is permitted because of Auschwitz.
Anti-fascists in the 70s campaigned around the slogan ‘Never Again’ meaning that never again must any people experience genocide. Yet to the Zionists Never Again meant it must not happen to Jews again. To Zionism the lesson of the Holocaust entitles Jews to be genociders.
Zionist Historiography and Yad Vashem
Zionism has constructed a Holocaust historiography which is based on a rejection of any universal lessons from the holocaust. At the forefront of this hegemonic narrative stands Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Propaganda Museum in Jerusalem.
When a guide, Itamar Shapira, referred to the proximity of Deir Yassin in a talk to visitors to YV, where in April 1948 Zionist militias slaughtered over 100 Palestinian villagers, he was sacked.
When Netanyahu attempted to deport up to 60,000 African refugees for the ‘crime’ of not being Jewish. Ha’aretz journalist Nir Gontarz described his reception when he rang YV and asked them to publicly condemn Netanyahu’s attempt to deport the refugees:
One after the other of the senior staff there, including Mr. Avner Shalev [the director], slammed the phone down on me when I asked to speak to them.
Yad Vashem has played host to a variety of neo-Nazis and anti-Semite such as Viktor Orban, John Vorster, Premier of South Africa and the Hitler loving Presidents Bolsonaro and Duterte of Brazil and the Philippines respectively. Daniel Blatman, a Holocaust historian at the Hebrew University described YV as a
‘hard-working laundromat, striving to bleach out the sins of every anti-Semitic, fascist, racist or simply murderously thuggish leader or politician.’
The Holocaust Educational Trust took a full part in the fake ‘antisemitism’ attack on Corbyn
Fundamental to the Zionist narrative is that the Nazi Holocaust was unique and that only the Jews experienced a holocaust. All other victims experienced genocide not holocaust. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust describes the holocaust as an ‘attempt by the Nazis and their collaborators to murder all the Jews in Europe.’ There is no mention of Gypsies or the Disabled. They are genocides.
Yehuda Bauer, the most prominent Zionist holocaust historian, argued that holocaust only applied to Jews. Why? Because the “Roma were not Jews, therefore there was no need to murder all of them,” [Sybil Milton, The Context of the Holocaust, p.270] Bauer’s assumption was that the Nazis’ sole concern was annihilating the Jews.
The Holocaust Educational Trust and its CEO Karen Pollock attacked Corbyn for chairing a meeting addressed by anti-Zionist Auschwitz survivor, Hajo Meyer
Bauer didn’t see the extermination of the Jews as part of a wider eugenic policy to ‘purify’ the Aryan race, rassenchande (racial defilement) or rassenhygiene (racial hygiene). Bauer completely ignored the evidence that the Nazis criminalised sexual relations between all non-Aryans and Aryans, e.g. Gypsies and slave labourers. He also ignored the fact that before 1941 Nazi policy was expulsion of the Jews not extermination. Sybil Milton, senior resident historian at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) observed:
The emphasis on antisemitism and the exclusivity of the Jewish fate has, for obvious political reasons, also been the official Israeli interpretation and as such has profoundly influenced the historiography of the Holocaust. [Milton, Gypsies and the Holocaust, p. 377]
Bauer argued that the Nazi extermination of the Gypsies was a product of their anti-social and criminal behaviour rather than their ‘race’. Milton witheringly observed:
Defining an entire ethnic group as anti-social and criminal is a classic example of racism. I do not know why Mr. Bauer does not understand this. Milton, Bauer Correspondence, Gypsies and the Holocaust, p. 517.
Milton noted that:
the current preoccupation with antisemitism and the “uniqueness” of the Jewish Holocaust in historical literature has limited our ability to recognize the connections between Nazi ideology, German social policy, and Genocide. [Gypsies and the Holocaust, p. 382, 1991]
Drawing Universal Lessons from the Holocaust
For Zionism the Holocaust was the sole possession of the Jews. Drawing universal lessons from the Holocaust meant the ‘plunder of [Jewish] moral capital’’. [Peter Novick, the Holocaust in American Life, p.156] According to Gerhard Riegner, the representative of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva during the war, ‘Auschwitz was not only a national memory belonging to the Jewish people… it was also an important political asset.’ [Tom Segev, The Seven Million, p.474]
In March 1988 Yehuda Elkana, a child survivor of Auschwitz and Rector of the Central European University in Budapest, before being evicted by Netanyahu’s friend Viktor Orban, wrote an article for Ha’aretz, The Need To Forget citing Thomas Jefferson’s maxim that democracy and worship of the past are incompatible:
The very existence of democracy is endangered when the memory of the dead participates actively in the democratic process.
Elkana warned against the misuse of the lessons of the Holocaust:
a profound existential “Angst” fed by a particular interpretation of the lessons of the holocaust … that we are the eternal victim. In this ancient belief… I see the tragic and paradoxical victory of Hitler. Two nations, metaphorically speaking, emerged from the ashes of Auschwitz: a minority who assert, “this must never happen again,” and a frightened and haunted majority who assert, “this must never happen to us again.”
The Holocaust is inexplicable
Zionism holds that anti-Semitism has nothing to do with class relations or the socio-economic nature of society. It exists because the Jews exist, the product of the Jews presence as strangers in other people’s countries. For the Zionists the Holocaust was inexplicable, an irrational and demonic phenomenon.
For Elie Wiesel, a survivor of Auschwitz and an ardent Zionist, the Holocaust was beyond history. It was a ‘sacred and essentially incomprehensible event.’
The Holocaust and the Arabs
Idith Zertal, Professor of History at the Hebrew University described in Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood, how:
‘The transference of the holocaust situation on to the Middle East reality… not only created a false sense of the imminent danger of mass destruction. It also immensely distorted the image of the holocaust, dwarfed the magnitude of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, trivializing the unique agony of the victims and the survivors, and utterly demonizing the Arabs and their leaders.
Zertal wrote how there hasn’t been a war involving Israel ‘that has not been perceived, defined, and conceptualized in terms of the Holocaust.’ Israel has mobilised the Holocaust ‘in the service of Israeli politics.’
Why the Contemporary Concern with the Holocaust?
Holocaust Memorial Day was only established in 2001, more than half a century after the liberation of Auschwitz. The USHMM was first opened in April 1993. Why the delay?
As John Cummings noted
The U.S. has 35,000 museums. Why is only one about slavery? And that one was opened in December 2014.
Why is the Nazi holocaust considered more important, with a budget for the USHMM of over $100m, than slavery in which the United States was so heavily implicated that it fought a civil war over it?
The answer in a nutshell, is imperialism and in particular US imperialism. Adopting the holocaust narrative is part of the United States attempt to incorporate a sanitised version of its war against the Nazis into its imperialist narrative.
As Yitzhak Laor explained the current preoccupation with the holocaust is about
‘consolidating a new ideology of exclusion. Now it is the Jews who are the insiders… the genocide and the Jews served in the construction of a European identity
The version of history presented in the USHMM is a rewriting of American culpability. No mention is made of the role of the United States in turning away Jewish refugees from the Nazis, the most famous example being the St. Louis, a boat carrying Jewish refugees from Germany which was turned away from first Cuba and then the United States.
In the late 40s and 50s the Holocaust was barely mentioned in Israel. In a 220 page Israeli history textbook published in 1948, just one page was devoted to the holocaust compared to 10 pages on the Napoleonic wars. The first time the holocaust became part of the syllabus, in 1953, just two hours were devoted to it. The same was true in the US where mention of the holocaust indicated communist sympathies.
Erasing the Heroes of the Anti-Zionist Resistance
On April 10 1944 Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler escaped from Auschwitz and reached Slovakia on April 24. There they wrote the first first hand accounts of Auschwitz, the Auschwitz Protocols. Until then Auschwitz was believed to be a labour not an extermination camp. Yet when the Protocols were given to the leader of Hungarian Zionism, Rudolf Kasztner, he promptly suppressed them. Vrba wrote:
I am a Jew. In spite of that – indeed because of that I accuse certain Jewish leaders of one of the most ghastly deeds of the war. This small group of quislings knew what was happening to their brethren in Hitler’s gas chambers and bought their own lives with the price of silence. Among them was Dr Kasztner. … I was able to give Hungarian Zionist leaders three weeks’ notice that Eichmann planned to send a million of their Jews to his gas chambers… Kasztner went to Eichmann and told him, ‘I know of your plans; spare some Jews of my choice and I shall keep quiet.’
When Professor Jacob Talmon criticised Hannah Arendt for referring to the Kasztner Affair, Vrba asked:
Did the Judenrat (or the Judenverrat) in Hungary tell their Jews what was awaiting them? No, they remained silent and for this silence some of their leaders – for example Dr R Kasztner – bartered their own lives and the lives of 1684 other ‘prominent’ Jews directly from Eichmann.
These letters are not to be found in Hebrew history text books. The Protocols were erased from Zionism’s holocaust historiography because they did not accord with its narrative.
Vrba and Wetzler were rendered anonymous. Oskar Neumann, head of the Slovakian Judenrat referred to ‘two young Jewish chaps…’ in his 1956 memoirs. Oskar Krasniansky, his deputy referred to ‘two young people’ and Livia Rothkirchen, a Zionist holocaust historian, to ‘two young men’. In Bauer’s The Holocaust – Some Historical Aspects they are referred to as ‘two Slovak Jews’ Dina Porat wrote about ‘two young Slovak Jews…’ Porat cited Martin Gilbert’s Auschwitz and the Allies as her source, yet Gilbert named both.
In the 1990 edition of the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Wetzler and Vrba are mentioned by name but in the 2001 edition they are referred to as ‘two Jewish prisoners.’ The USHMM and the inscription of the Auschwitz escape in YV refers to ‘two young Slovak Jews.’
The silencing of Vrba and Wetzler was exploited by holocaust deniers such as Arthur Butz. Butz argued that if the content of the Protocols were true, Israeli historians would certainly know their names and publicise their report.’ Butz alleged that the Protocols were invented by the War Refugee Board. Another holocaust denier who adopted this line of argument was Robert Faurisson.
In 1994, at a conference at the USHMM, Vrba asked who was the better historian? Those who had direct experience of the Nazis or those who wrote about them? Vrba’s crime was that he was neither a Zionist nor a historian.
Jewish child in terror of Nazi soldiers, Palestinian child in terror of Israeli soldiers
The same was true of the last Commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance, Marek Edelman.
Like Vrba, Edelman never ‘ascended’ to Israel, refusing to become the ‘dead and obedient hero who could be moulded along with the political order of that time…. extremely inconvenient for the creation of a heroic Zionist condensing and compensating myth… Israel was not their home.’
Paul Foot wrote about how:
Mr Edelman … wrote in a spirit of solidarity from a fellow resistance fighter, as a former leader of a Jewish uprising …He addressed his letter to ‘commanders of the Palestinian military, paramilitary and partisan operations – to all the soldiers of the Palestinian fighting organisations.’ This set up a howl of rage in the Zionist press, who reminded their readers that Mr Edelman, despite his heroism in the 1940s, is a former supporter of the anti-Zionist socialist Bund and can therefore not be trusted.
When Edelman died on 9 October 2009 he was honoured with a Polish state funeral and a fifteen-gun salute. Not even the lowliest clerk at the Israeli Embassy attended. Edelman received Poland’s highest honour and the French Legion of Honour but he died unrecognised and forgotten in the ‘Jewish’ State of Israel.
The President of Poland spoke at his funeral… held in the old Jewish cemetery of Warsaw. Two thousand people attended the grave-side ceremony. But no one from the Israeli government attended… No official representative of any international Jewish organisation attended either: not even from the holocaust memorialisation organisations.
Israel even falsified the record of the Zionist fighters
Hayka Klinger, who fought in the Warsaw Ghetto, told the Histadrut Executive in March 1944 that ‘we received an order not to organize any more defence.’ [Porat, p.242] To the Zionist leadership the ghetto fighters were more valuable in Palestine. Klinger observed that
‘Without a people, a people’s avant-garde is of no value. If rescue it is, then the entire people must be rescued. If it is to be annihilation, then the avante-garde too shall be annihilated.’
Ronen, her second son, described how Klinger ‘was apparently not satisfied with the way they [her Diaries] were edited, shortened, and censored.’ In 1958, Hayke took her own life on the 15th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Klinger couldn’t find anywhere in Israel to publishher experiences. When she diedher Ghetto Diary was published. However it had so many changes and erasures that researchers were recommended to consult the originals which have now been published.
The Zionists ‘amended’ the writings of their own dead comrades. Tuvia (Tova) Altman, a leader of the Hashomer Hatzair underground in Poland, wrote in December 1942 that ‘Israel is dying before my eyes and I wring my hands and cannot help.’ What they didn’t publish was the following:
After all, you have erased me from your memory and what are we…. It takes all the restraint I can muster not to vent the bitterness that has accumulated for you and your friends for forgetting me so completely… Only the realization and the certainty that we will never again meet led me to write…. Do not give regards to anyone. I don’t want to know about them.
The Zionist Rehabilitation of the Judenrat
Hannah Arendt wrote in Eichmann in Jerusalem [p.125] that
Wherever Jews lived, there were recognized Jewish leaders, and this leadership, almost without exception, cooperated in one way or another, for one reason or another, with the Nazis… The whole truth was that if the Jewish people had really been unorganized and leaderless, there would have been chaos and plenty of misery but the total number of victims would hardly have been between four and a half and six million people.
This caused a storm of protest by the Zionists. Gideon Hausner, the Prosecutor in the Eichmann Trial, described Arendt’s ‘vicious and compassionless attitude to the Judenrat’. But the Zionist fighters had a different story:
Zivia Lubetkin, a resistance fighter from Warsaw, told how:
The Germans issued decrees and their despised work was carried out by Jews from the Jewish Council… And in this way, each Jewish Council, without exception, in each and every town, played a treacherous part.’
A straight line was drawn between the Warsaw Ghetto & Palestine
Shneur Zalman Rubashov, at a Histadrut Executive Committee meeting, imagined that in the streets of the Warsaw Ghetto ‘the banner of Tel Hai was being raised.’ Moshe Dayan, Israel’s Chief of Staff, in his eulogy to Roi Rotberg, a settler who was killed by Fedayeen spoke of the
Millions of Jews, who were exterminated because they had no country, are watching us from the ashes of Israeli history and exhorting us to settle and to build up a land for our people.
According to Yitzhak Tabenkin,
‘The pre-5 June borders have brought down shoah on our heads, and this shoah is graver than the Nazi Holocaust…
When the holocaust survivors had first arrived in Israel they were treated with contempt and called ‘sapon’ (soap) after the myth that the bodies of murdered Jews were turned into soap.
But beginning with the Eichmann trial Zionist contempt for the Holocaust survivors was played down as the Holocaust became a foundational Zionist myth. Yitzhak Gruenbaum felt shame because ‘the Jews went to the slaughter without any zeal arising in any of them to defend himself.’ The emphasis in the trial was on Jewish resistance, the Warsaw Ghetto in particular. The message conveyed was that Israel’s war against the Palestinians was a continuation of this resistance. According to Israeli President, Yitzhak ben Zvi, ‘What a difference between those who died in combat and those killed in the Nazi ditches!’ According to Yitzhak Tabenkin, ‘The pre-5 June borders have brought down shoah on our heads, and this shoah is graver than the Nazi Holocaust…’ Zertal, p. 189.
But in reality the Zionist attitude to the holocaust survivors has not changed. Despite Israel spending the second highest amount on ‘defence’ Israel keeps the survivors in poverty and penury. See ‘Israel Is Waiting for Its Holocaust Survivors to Die,’