A long-time reader of my blog, Antisemitism and Jewish Denial, Elizabeth lives in Germany. She recently visited the Venice ghetto and was deeply moved by the experience. Her comment drew the following response; her question provides this post’s title.
David, I visited the ghetto in Venice and let the atmosphere work on me. The high buildings with only one well in the courtyard, the narrow passages, thick walls and being locked up not only at night but at any time. Every day life must have been extremely hard. I also saw the Holocaust memorial sculpture in a corner of the ghetto, one of the most expressive and moving sculptures I have ever seen. On the other hand the brutal murder of the Fogel family is imprinted on my brain forever, one reason for this is the picture of the blond little girl in JPost. This little girl looked exactly like the small girl in my family who is now a grown up woman in her early 40,s. Where does the answer lie David?”
Your question has haunted me from the day my first daughter was born, Elizabeth. It drives this blog, my writings. That little girl that haunts you was my mother’s little boy, arms raised in that Warsaw Ghetto photograph: that was me in my mother’s imagination. It is the Jewish People in my imagination. All around us the danger, openly displayed. The answer? As that girl represents the same danger that Warsaw boy held for my mother, the danger is clear. And the answer clearly means removing ourselves from the danger. For reasons described in my writings the Holocaust demonstrated refuge non-existent in Christendom. Israel? Of course. And I believe that Israel, already home to half of the 13 million surviving Jews would be able to absorb the remainder. With far less absorptive ability in both economy and infrastructure Israel absorbed the equivalent from the Arab world at an early moment in her history. But there are also other possible states of refuge having provided refuge from Auschwitz. China, for example. But the real problem is not Israel or China, etc, but whether the Jewish People is today more willing than was German Jewry in the 1930’s to decide in time that the danger is real and significant. A JPost blogs editor, perhaps five years ago, asked if I could provide a timeline for the next Holocaust. Of course not. It is one thing to draw conclusions from history since it is already past, succinctly summarized. But to make life-altering decisions based on the minutiae of everyday experience? Can the smoker/drinker detect bodily damage from one day to the next? And this is the heart of the danger, Elizabeth, the perpetual self-victimhood of Jews in Christian society. One day everything appears, is normal, calm: exactly like yesterday. I believe I have made an honest effort over the years to describe the danger from scripture to Shoah and the inherent risk we face today. I warn of the next and final Final Solution as our obvious future. “Where does the answer lie David?” It lies, Elizabeth, within us each. It is for each to achieve, alone.