Laureen Lipsky
Taking Back The Narrative

It Was Not Only Germany…

When the Holocaust is brought up, typically only Germany is blamed. Germany ought to be solely blamed for starting WWII, but the Holocaust was the doing of nearly every European nation— later joined by many Arab ones, the US, and of course Britain, whose brutal antisemitic occupation of Israel made the enormity of the Shoah possible.

Thinking of my own family members that were murdered, not one was murdered by a German, but all by locals in their communities.

My late grandfather, my Mom’s father, was lucky enough to be spared. He was living near Lvov (then Poland, now Ukraine – same population, just different border), and was of draft age when the Russian Red Army occupied. When his unit reached the Ural mountains, they were dumped there by the Red Army, along with others from his area.

Everyone else in his family, except his eldest brother, who had joined Betar before the war and with their aid, ended up on the last ship out of Vienna (later held in the Atlit detention camp in Israel by the British), was murdered not by Germans, but by locals. His family never made it to the camps, but were mass shot in ravines. After the war, when information was coming out, my grandfather was shocked that many who gleefully aided the Nazis were neighbors who had done business with his family, had been friends with the family.

On my father’s side, many of his family who had not evacuated Belarus before the Nazis invaded, were murdered. One story though truly stands out. My father’s great uncle evacuated and very much wanted to take his elderly parents with him, but his parents were not wanting to go, and like many, had said the Germans left Jews alone in WWI, we’ll be fine.

My great great uncle spoke to his Belorussian neighbor, who was a local police officer, and asked him to take care of his parents, to make sure nothing happens to them. Years go by, and the end of the war finally comes. Upon his return to Belarus, my father’s great uncle finds out that his mother was murdered by that Belorussian neighbor. He then shot the neighbor. When the Russian officials found out that he, a Jew, had shot a Belarusian, his gun privileges in the Army, where he ended up working, were confiscated and he was relegated to work in a factory for decades.

My maternal late grandmother saved our entire family line. She was begging her father to evacuate 16 hours east to the Ural mountains before the Nazis would invade Belarus. Her father said it was nonsense and used the example of how the Germans didn’t bother Jews during WWI. Back then, the word of the father was the final word. Each day passed and reports on the radio of the Nazis approaching were getting stronger. Her father still was not wanting to evacuate. So my grandmother secretly arranged an entire escape route to the Ural mountains. Finally, weeks later, her father relented and the family escaped. Five days after they left, the Nazis invaded.

When they returned to Belarus after the war, they found out that many Belorussians gleefully aided the Nazis in murdering Jews, and that many were actually more ruthless.

After the war, Germans admitted that without the help of the Poles, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Lithuanians, etc, the enormity of the Holocaust would not have been possible.

When the 6,000,000 figure is cited, in actuality, reports have come out recently, it had to be more. While in Western Europe, records were meticulously kept, that was not the case in Eastern Europe – only when Jews from those areas were sent to concentration camps.

To this day, the names of my family that were murdered are not in Yad Vashem. They never made it to the camps, but were murdered by locals. There is a haunting exhibit in Yad Vashem about Lvov, and what happened there. But there were numerous Lvovs. To this day, ravines of murdered Jews are still being unearthed across parts of Eastern Europe.

The Shoah was not a stand alone atrocity that just happened to occur. It was a culmination of 2,000 years of Christian antisemitism, and later, joined in by Arab antisemitism. Yes, there were brave gentiles who rescued Jews, and they have been honored. But far too many non-Jews were complicit.

About the Author
Laureen Lipsky is the CEO & Founder of Taking Back the Narrative, a Zionist education initiative ( Her writing has been featured in The Federalist, American Thinker, Washington Examiner, Israel Hayom, and JNS. She has recently written an exclusive piece, "The semantics of anti-Semitism" for The Center for Security Policy.
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