Must the next Shoah follow the Nazi model?

We tend to anticipate the future based on the present and past. And by that experience Jews will find the American “exception” as we perceive it now, and as we prefer to recall it during the years of the Holocaust. Since annihilative antisemitism seemingly was a response to the economic and social collapse in Germany following the First World War it seems reasonable to expect the next Final Solution to be preceded by similar conditions. And, as a child during and in the aftermath of Auschwitz I recall my father suggesting this scenario and, following Niebuhr that first they (America) would come for the negroes first so that this time we would be assured warning! As history suggests prejudice against American Blacks and prejudice against American Jews was little different in the interwar years. In fact, as polling describes there was little difference between levels and distribution of popular antisemitism in the United States and Germany following Hitler’s electoral victory in 1932.

US military failures in Iraq and Afghanistan are partly blamed on our military doctrine based on how the last war was fought, that present conditions were not factored in to strategy and training. The lesson in this might well apply also to the next effort at solving the West’s Jewish Problem: maybe the model calling for severe economic-social distress providing for a charismatic leader such as a “hitler” might not apply next such attempt.

Two responders to my present blog, Introduction: American “exceptionality” and the Jewish Problem, each addressing a different issue, throws light on just such an alternative possibility. “marjorie white” disagrees with my position that in the end legal “guarantees” are only operative so long as the “government” chooses to respect them. Hitler found little opposition to eliminating all constitutional when he did so, for instance. “john zimmerman” describes how his Mormon Church was itself a target for extermination perhaps a century earlier, and in that instance none of the assumed protections supposedly in place were applied or enforced.

John’s comment was in response to me, not to “marjorie.” But it might as well have been addressed to her.

marjorie white 2 days ago

Our constitution and bill of rights does make us exceptional and was written to control any mob since no vote could overturn it. To vote you had to be a citizen and to be a citizen you had to swear allegiance to it. It was written by people who had fled the Catholic and authoritarian rule that persecuted them and yet they were able to say this stops with us, People were afraid of Catholic immigrants at first because of their past history and Mormons because of their offense to biblical marriage, I still maintain with Mormon relatives that it is against human rights for our laws to force children to share their mothers with one common father. but we can not arrest people unless we give up our democracy for a theocracy.”

john zimmerman 7 hours ago

As I showed above, destruction of a people, legalization of an order legalizing mass genocide does not take an “extremist politician,” it just takes one (Governor Boggs) that does not agree with your religion & cares little for human life and a president that realizes the persecutors are in the majority & defying them would cost him or her votes (“Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you; if I take up for you I shall lose the vote of Missouri” Van Buren to Joseph Smith when the latter asked for aid from the Extermination Order). And no such leader was required to remove the Japanese Americans from their home and farms, steal the homes & farms, and imprisoning the Japanese. What if the government in its paranoia supposed the prisoners were aiding the Japanese from their prisons? What could have been the next step? And what if in the US mobs start persecuting Jews? As from the quote above there is nothing in the constitution explaining what happens next, nothing mandating the protection to be afforded the few. It is up to the local, state, and federal governments to step in. In this respect what advantage have Americans over those of other democracies? Take a look at France to see what could happen here.”

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.
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