The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Hatred of the Jews, now called "anti-Semitism," was not
invented by Hitler. It had existed for many generations. Its
roots are in the disastrous dispersion of the Jews, in
ignorance and prejudice, superstition and envy. Stupid
people have always hated those who differ from them, those
who are exceptional. But the Nazis converted anti-Semitism
into a doctrine of hatred which started with hostility and
culminated in murder. It was a spontaneous and irresistible
development. He that gave free reign to hatred for the Jews
had taken the steep path that plunged down to the "Day of
Boycott" against the Jews on 1 April 1933; to the
"Kristallnacht" of 9-10 November 1938; to the "physical
extermination" decision of 31 July 1941. This was the logic
of events, each of which evolved from the one before, and
led inevitably to its successors. The way of anti-Semitism
led to Auschwitz.

Hitler knew that for the success of his lying doctrines he
would have to use the age-old weapon of hate. He needed to
place before the German people an object to which could be
attributed everything loathsome and contemptible, an object
worthy of abhorrence which would be the absolute antithesis
of the Aryan man, the Nazi, and whose existence and
activities could be presented as the cause of all the
failures and difficulties that Germany had encountered.

This object was the Jew. Hitler had other hates: the
Marxists and Communists were regular targets for his
virulent attacks. But there was this difference: the latter
could redeem themselves in his eyes by turning their backs
on their former faith and finding their way into the bosom
of National Socialism. The Jew, however, was the eternal
scape-goat. He had no way out; he was in no position to
escape the storm of hate.

Anyone who reads the speeches, writings and reported
conversations of Hitler is shocked at his ignorance, at his
ability to describe fantasies as if they really existed, and
above all at his power to persuade others of the truth of
the most enormous lies. Otto Strasser, one of his
supporters, who became an opponent, wrote of him:

     "I have been asked many times what is the secret of
     Hitler's extraordinary power as a speaker. I can only
     attribute it to his uncanny intuition, which infallibly
     diagnoses the ill from which his audience is suffering.
     If he tries to bolster up his argument with theories or
     quotations from books he has only imperfectly
     understood, he scarcely rises above a very poor
     mediocrity. But let him throw away his crutches and
     step out boldly, speaking as the spirit moves him, and
     he is promptly transformed into one of the greatest
     speakers of the century..."

"Adolf Hitler enters a hall. He sniffs the air. For a moment
he gropes, feels his way, senses the atmosphere. Suddenly he
bursts forth...

     "His words go like an arrow to their target, he touches
     each private wound on the raw, liberating the mass
     unconscious, expressing its innermost aspirations,
     telling it what it most wants to hear."{Hitler and I,
     pp. 74-7}

And Hitler did in fact liberate the hatred of the Jew which
was in the hearts of large sections of the German people,
intensify it and stimulate it into greater activity. The
germ of anti-Semitism was already there; he fed it with
appropriate conditions and transformed it into the source of
an epidemic. For the purposes of Nazi Germany's internal
policy the Jew was a convenient object of hatred; he was
weak and defenceless. The world outside remained silent when
he was persecuted, and contented itself with verbal
reactions that did little harm. The Jew was pilloried as a
supporter of Communism - and therefore an enemy of the
German people. In the same breath he was accused of being a
capitalist - and therefore an enemy of the workers. National-
Socialism had found an object of hostility appropriate to
both halves of its name, and it set him up as a target for
both national enemy and class hatred. The Jew was also a
ready target through which the attention of the public could
be diverted from other problems. This too was an age-old
weapon which had been used by many anti-Semites down the
ages. On this point we shall find the Accused saying:

     "The Jewish Question was a welcome tactic to divert
     attention from other reverses...Whenever any
     difficulties of another sort arose, they took flight,
     at least at this time, to the Jewish Question, and
     immediately the diversion was created. This was done
     not only by Hitler himself, not only by the Gauleiters;
     this was the practice of every one among the so-called
     high leadership."

A confused and blinded world was not alarmed by this
campaign of hatred and the denial of human rights. It did
not understand that the persecution of the Jews was only the
beginning of an onslaught on the entire world. The man whose
henchmen howled the infamous words, "When Jewish blood
spurts from the knife Then all goes doubly well!" (Wenn das
Judenblut vom Messer spritzt - Dann geht's nochmal so gut!).
The same man would soon, by a natural development and led by
the same master-feeling of hate, proclaim that all the
cities of England would be subjected to the same fate as
bombed Coventry.

In order to complete the picture, we should point out that
there were in Germany tens of thousands of scientists and
ecclesiastics, statesmen and authors and ordinary people,
who dared to help the Jews, to raise their heads in
opposition to the iniquitous regime, and even to rebel
against it, and among them were men whose names were famous
in German science and culture. Thousands of opponents of the
bloody regime were imprisoned and were later destined to
suffer greatly in concentration camps before the Nazi
monster was beheaded. Thousands of these died without seeing
the day of victory. Hundreds of ecclesiastics were arrested
and imprisoned. There were also examples of personal bravery
- like that of the priest who was sent by Eichmann to a
concentration camp for intervening openly on behalf of the
Jews. There were Germans who concealed Jews and shared their
rations with them and who at the risk of their lives helped
them to hide or obtain "Aryan" papers, and there were others
who maintained an anti_Hitler underground. During the War
there were Germans who protested to Hitler at the disgrace
the Gestapo was bringing on the German people by acting like
beasts of prey, as they described the extermination of the
Jews. There were also soldiers who tried to frustrate the
killings by direct intervention.

But after all is said and done, these were a small minority.
The decisive majority of the German people made peace with
the new regime and were phlegmatic witnesses of the most
terrible crime ever perpetrated in human history. And when
Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Minister, made a public
bonfire of the creations of men of the spirit, Jewish and
non-Jewish - the works of such men as Heinrich Heine, Thomas
Mann, Wassermann, Einstein, Freud, Upton Sinclair, H.G.
Wells, Zola, Havelock Ellis, and scores of others, because
they were "in opposition to the German spirit," he

     "Now the soul of the German people can again express
     itself. These flames not only illuminate the final end
     of an old era; they also light up the new."

The majority of German intellectuals were ready to warm
themselves at those bonfires, and to accept as their
spiritual guide the false glitter of these flames.

Nazi Germany became the scene of an anti-Jewish campaign
directed and spurred on by brutish passions of hate. The
slogan, "Germany awaken - Jewry die!" (Deutschland erwache -
- Juda verrecke!) appeared on the walls. The Jews were
accused of every fault and defect in existence. A poisonous
diet of bestial incitement was published weekly in Der
Stuermer, that odious newspaper edited by Julius Streicher,
who was eventually executed by sentence of the International
Military Tribunal.

In order to denigrate the Jew, all his works had to be
denounced. For this purpose, the Nazis defiled the greatest
Jewish creation of all the ages - the Bible. Alfred
Rosenberg, one of the "thinkers" of the Movement, demanded
that the Holy Scriptures be removed from any sphere where
they could be a spiritual influence or source of religious
faith. He considered it a prime defect of the Protestant
faith that it sanctifies the Old Testament. There was talk
of "the redemption of Jesus" from his connection with
Judaism, in order to make it possible to degrade the people
into which he was born.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion - that forgery which
describes the "Jewish conspiracy to rule the world," which
had long been exposed to be a base fabrication was revived
as a valuable means of propaganda, and was widely
distributed and taught.

Even the loathsome "blood libel," long banned by popes and
kings, was revived. It was later to appear in a new and
unprecedently cynical guise. On 19 May 1943, at the height
of the War, the Chief of the SS, Reichsfuerer Heinrich
Himmler, sent to Eichmann's superior officer, Kaltenbrunner,
Chief of Head Office for Reich Security
(Reichssicherheitshauptamt), hundreds of copies of the book,
Jewish Ritual Murder, and asked him to distribute it among
those dealing with Jewish affairs. He ordered that steps be
taken to spread the blood libel in Rumania, Hungary and
Bulgaria, in order to persuade their governments still
hesitating to stain their hands with murder, to deport the

Himmler proposed to Kaltenbrunner the setting up of a
special radio station for the spread of anti-Semitism,
beamed towards England and the United States, over which
material from the Stuermer would be broadcast.

     "In addition," he wrote, "personnel should immediately
     be allocated to follow up notices published by the
     police and courts in England so that we may be able
     through our transmitter to broadcast notices to the
     effect that, in such and such a place, a child is
     missing, who was murdered of course by the Jews, for
     ritual purposes." "In my opinion," he added, "we can,
     in general, make immeasurable progress in setting in
     motion powerful anti-Semitic propaganda in the English
     language, and perhaps also in Russian, by using the
     accusation of ritual murder."

But let us not anticipate events. On 30 January 1933,
Hindenburg gave the rule of Germany over into Hitler's
hands. Did the old man know what he was doing to his people
and the world? After swearing in the members of the new
government he said to them: "And now, gentlemen: Forward,
with the help of God!" Germany did indeed stride forward -
towards war, horror and shame.

Even before the power was firmly in their hands, the Nazis
initiated official measures of persecution against the Jews.
On 1 April 1933, only two months after the inception of
their rule, they organized the "Day of Boycott," to give
symbolic form to the goal of uprooting the Jews and driving
them out of the German Reich. Jews were beaten and
imprisoned in concentration camps; Aryan customers were
forbidden to enter Jewish places of business. It was then
that Robert Weltsch wrote his unforgettable article in the
Juedische Rundschau, the organ of German Zionism: "Wear it
with Pride the Yellow Badge!" But even Weltsch could not
foresee that the yellow badge would become the distinctive
sign which, a few years later, would be forced upon all the
Jews in countries ruled by the Nazis, so that they might be
more easily identified for the purpose of the blood-bath.

The economic boycott of the Jews was kept up until their
final extermination. At a later stage it was enforced by
means of legislation. Thus a series of laws excluded Jews
from a number of professions. Law, medicine and teaching
were closed to them. They were dismissed from the army. In
1935 the Nuremberg laws were enacted which forbade Jews to
intermarry with Gentiles and deprived them of German
citizenship. Later, they were driven out of industry and
expelled from the entire German economy.

After the Nazis had succeeded in using anti-Semitism as an
important instrument for securing their power in Germany
itself, they planned to use the same poison of hate to bind
together the enemies of the Jews throughout the world and to
undermine by this means the opposition to the hegemony of
Nazi Germany. And while German military might cast its
shadow of terror on peoples and lands, silencing the voice
of reason, anti-Semitism was exploited as a deliberate
expedient to undermine the conscience of the nations, to
excite the basest of passions, and to encourage Quisling and
other collaborators. The Jew was described in the official
publications of the Party and the German Reich as an enemy
of the peace of the world, and there was a proposal for an
alliance between the peoples against Judaism: "Ein
Voelkerbund gegen Juda."

Wherever the Nazi conqueror set foot, there awaited him a
prepared group of adventurers, traitors to their country,
underworld characters - sometimes plain assassins, who cast
lustful eyes on Jewish property and lent their unclean hands
to the destructive work. Wherever the German legions trod,
they introduced the suppression of human freedom and whipped
up Jew-hatred.

Anti-Semitism became an excellent article of "export," to be
sown everywhere and cultivated by German ambassadors and
representatives abroad. We shall see during this trial how
the Nazis used the deliberate fanning of anti-Jewish
hostility and agitation in order to form Fascist parties in
various countries, to facilitate their work of undermining
the independence of peoples and states, and to prepare the
Fifth Column which was at their disposal in all the
countries they conquered. This Fifth Column was always anti-
Semitic and it was organized and developed by exploiting
hatred of the Jew. Acceptance of Nazi doctrine and a
deliberate, carefully fostered anti-Semitism came to be one
and the same thing throughout the entire range of movements
developed by the Reich: the Nasjonal Samling, Quisling's
party in Norway; Mussert's NSB in Holland; the Croix de Feux
in France; the Degrelle movement in Belgium; Hlinka's party
in Slovakia; Pavelic's Ustas@62a in Croatia; the Iron Guard
in Rumania; Szalasi's Arrow-Cross in Hungary; the Ukrainska
Povstanskaja Armyia in the Ukraine; the Perkonkrust in
Latvia; theDNAS in Belorussia; and others. All were fascist,
all totalitarian, all anti-Semitic.

Ribbentrop, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, laboured to
set up an anti-Semitic International as a vanguard of
corruption among all the nations, to pave the way for the
armies of conquest. Anti-Semitism in the hands of the Nazis
was a weapon no less efficient and deadly than their cannon,
bombers, submarines and the rest of the death-dealing
weapons which they brought into operation against peoples
and lands.

In the end, the military pride of Germany was defeated, the
voice of the cannon silenced, the bombers shot down, and the
submarines sunk - but the poisonous seed of anti-Semitism
spread, still lives, and its sprouts continue to grow. At
times it even lifts again its monstrous head, when its
followers go out at night to scrawl their swastikas on the

Even on the verge of defeat in World War II, when the
balance of the scales was moving towards the side of the
Allies, when the Red Army had forced the retreat of the
Germans from most of the conquests in the East, when the
forces of the West had brought about the surrender of Italy,
when the greatest expeditionary force in history was
preparing in the British Isles for a mighty invasion in the
fateful summer of 1944, when the cities of Germany itself
had been in part reduced to ruins - in April of that same
year, the German Foreign Ministry convened a meeting of
diplomats in the European capitals for a consultation on
ways and means of strengthening Jew-hatred in the world. At
this meeting, Ambassador Schleier gave an account of the
progress of anti_Semitism in England and the United States;
suggested lines of action for the future; emphasized that
the spread of anti_Semitism was one of Nazi Germany's
military aims; and declared that the extermination of the
Jews in the East had already deprived Jewry of her
biological reserves - though Judaism still existed in the
Soviet Union, England and the United States. In his
conclusion he said:

     "Not only in Germany but also throughout the world, the
     problem of the Jews must find its solution."

The assembled diplomats then went on to a detailed
discussion of the next steps to be taken to disseminate Jew-
hatred, by means of literature, caricatures, films and the
Press. The activities for each country were planned in
accordance with its special circumstances. The Slovakians
must be told that the Jews were identical with Bolshevik
Russia, and they should be offered, in place of the
Pan_Slavic idea, the ideal of Pan-anti-Semitism. In Turkey,
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion  would be distributed.
As for England and the United States, the ether waves should
be flooded with improved radio propaganda. In France, the
activities of the Anti-Jewish Institute and the exhibitions
should be expanded. Propaganda pamphlets should be sent to
Switzerland; the Italians told that the Jews deal on the
black market, and the Swedes sent postcards with anti_Jewish
jokes. Thus the Nazis tried to accomplish through anti-
Semitism what they could not achieve by force of arms.

There is a Hebrew saying: "The wicked, even at the gate of
Hell, do not repent." In April, 1945, at the moment of his
death agonies, when the Soviet cannon were thundering in the
streets of Berlin, when Hitler sat imprisoned in the cellar
of the Reichskanzlei, his entire world in ruins and his
country stricken, over the corpses of six million Jews - at
that moment, the Fuerer wrote his political last will and
testament. He bequeathed to his people the injunction of
eternal hatred for the Jews, and he concluded:
"Above all, I enjoin the leaders of the government and the
people to uphold the racial laws to the limit and to resist
mercilessly the poisoner of all nations, international

Even from beyond the grave, Hitler was still trying to sow
the seeds of hatred and destruction for the Jewish people.

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