A world without Jews, Holocaust Dialogues 5

A continuing discussion on issues related to the past and future Holocaust with Philosopher.

I appreciate that you have personal reasons for your continuing defense of Poland. The “facts,” as I understand them, do not support your description, a view apparently of all others participating in this forum. I do not point to Polish responsibility for the Germans building Birkenau near the town of Oswiecim, thereby naming the death factory Auschwitz. And I am certain some Poles, as perhaps some Ukrainians, harbored Jews at great risk to themselves. Those “few” are memorialized at Yad v’Shem in Jerusalem. But when I view Poland cannot miss the fact that long before the 1939 invasion Poland had its own intention, similar to that of Hitler, for ridding the country of Jews. When I think of Poland Jedwabne appears as symbol, not Auschwitz. That even after the war Jews were massacred by ordinary Poles for returning “home” from Auschwitz.

That Glemp fought to preserve that offending convent and crucifix at a building that previously was used to store the canisters of Zyklon pellets used to gas the Jews. That antisemitism is again on the rise inPolandeven as there are virtually no Jews to inspire it. That, and at least for me, the most galling image is that annualCracowJewish festival commemoratingPoland’s dead Jews!

At both ends of the Holocaust Poland followed the Hitler script: eliminate the Jews, then “remember” them. Hitler, always the rationalist, aspired to build, once the Final Solution achieved its goal, “anthropological” museums with collections of Jewish memorabilia; Poland today hosting an annual Jewish “cultural” event.

I accept that you have personal reasons for defending Poland. But for most Jews Poland, after the Third Reich, is the symbol of the Holocaust. It only brings that symbol to the fore, to unleash the passions we all feel, and distracts from our purpose, the past and future Holocaust.

As regards other issue raised in your comment.

Philosopher: Putting areligious rationalists into the Christendom basket is, by euphemism, a bit silly, and alienates the only allies we may have in countering the new Holocaust.

DT: I do so because, 1. All. areligious rationalists and believing Christians, are products of the same basic cultural matrix, share the same historical inheritance. Just as some Poles, Hungarians, French and Germans chose to obey their humanitarian instincts over threats of punishment posed by their regimes so, I am certain, some of these were likely areligious rationalists also. But just as nearly all religion-based either were perpetrators, of were silent bystanders so, I suggest admittedly without statistics (do such exist?) that those described as areligious likely mirrored the religious in response.

But your suggestion that I am, “alienat[ing] the only allies we may have in countering the new Holocaust,” surprised me in that it completely misunderstands my motive in writing. When we next face the Holocaust we may or not be able to count on that tiny number of principled individuals to protect that tiny number of survivors as during the recent past Holocaust.

And while those few “protectors” will certainly be significant to the few Jews whose lives may be spared, it is, has always been my position that there is no way to significantly “counter the new Holocaust,” Philosopher, as there was none to counter the previous. The Holocaust is like a social tsunami: how stop the approaching wall of water?

If we were vulnerable in 1932 we are no less so in 2012. Except that what was unthinkable in 1932 is now recorded history; and still we continue to deny our future! Yes today we have the state inspired by Pinsker and Herzl to provide protection and refuge. But if the locus of the next Holocaust is not a country the United States is at war with, if the locus is not across the ocean but a remote area of the United States?

The point, Philosopher, my point, is that I choose my words carefully when I refer to the “next and final Final Solution to the West’s Jewish Problem.” The double “finals” are not a typo. Unless we Jews force ourselves awake from the mind-numbing wish that the threat is “over there,” that our chosen homeland is (please, let this be so, this time, please) “exceptional;” that unless we appreciate the message of history we, the Jewish People, will not need local “allies” to combat antisemitism.

The conclusion towards which I write has been gnawing at me for many decades. It inspires my writing. If I still do not yet have the answer it is because of the enormity of the problem, the cost to failing to provide one. It is my hope the discussions participants to this blog and I engage in over the course assist us in arriving at a Jewish Solution to our Problem. But the first priority is to break through our walls of Denial. Because failing that we (or our children) are self-condemned its future, as its past, victims.

About the Author
David made aliya in 1960 and has been active in Jewish issues since. He was a regional director for JNF in New York, created JUDAC, Jews United to Defend the Auschwitz Cemetery during that controversy; at the request of Jonathan Pollard created and led Justice for the Pollards in 1989.