Sanitizing mass murder: a historical novelette

“Tzedek, Tzedek, Tirdofe”—“Righteousness Shall Be Your Mission” -Deuteronomy 16:20  


PREFACE: This is a “must-tell” story. It has, for too long, been deliberately kept away from you, the public. It is a fictionalized account of actual events. This tale has all the components of modern day noire: a lone hero, a jaded country, not admitting to its murderous genocidal past, and a once revered institution, experiencing a moral dilemma that could affect her very existence. 

This is the story of Dr. Raphael L. Hatulay and what he has witnessed over the years between the goings on with what we shall call, ASHKI and the Republic of Fenwick. During this process Professor Hatulay has lost almost everything he worked for in life, but he is still fighting for what is right and just. This story deserves to be told.  You deserve to hear it.                       .

“What is the stated mission of a non-profit institution?”  the Public Health professor asked his students nearly five decades ago.

Depending on the agency, the answers provided from the students differed about the stated mission: from feeding the hungry to educating the masses to caring for the elderly.

“Wrong. Wrong, Wrong! Lies, lies, lies!” retorted the professor, who was also the director of a major governmental agency. “The main purpose of charitable organizations and nonprofits is one thing, and one thing only, continuity and survival, no matter what and no matter who gets in the way. Nothing else matters!”

Survival, no matter what, is inherent in all organizations and nations. The classic example is the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes, founded by FDR in 1938, was fighting for a cure for Polio. She should have closed her doors after that goal was achieved when Dr. Jonas Salk invented the Polio vaccine in 1953. Instead the organization repurposed itself and is still around today.

Our story is not about the March of Dimes. It is about a prestigious institution that had its beginnings in Central and Eastern Europe during the first half of the century and transplanted itself in America after the War. Today, that very institution recently agreed to a questionable partnership with an Eastern European nation, The Republic of Fenwick, in order to ensure her survival.

This story is mostly about a lone solitary international scholar, Dr. Raphael L. Hatulay. That Professor Hatulay, the author of groundbreaking books that changed the academic world’s view on the origins of Yiddish’s. That Professor Hatulay, who wrote exquisite books about the rich 1000-year old Jewish life in Fenwick. Professor Hatulay sacrificed everything to expose this outrage that is about to be described.

Today’s Eastern Europeans are going through a transition and rewriting Holocaust history to accommodate their own national interests.  Many of them are glorifying the wartime nationalists whom they now call national heroes.  Streets are named after these figures; statues are erected in their honor and schools are teaching students about them as though they are the new “Honest Abes” of their country.  In truth, these figures not only fully collaborated with the Nazis, but took the lead in both organizing and committing atrocities against the Jews, murdering thousands upon thousands at one time.  They committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and left hundreds of towns bereft of even one Jew, Judenrein.

As a result, the Republic of Fenwick became a kind of redeemer, saving a once-revered Jewish institution, ASHKI, resulting in that institution abandoning its abject sense of mission. This development resulted in increased summer scholarly tours of this Eastern European Country, plus sponsoring year-round lectures and conferences at ASHKI’s American headquarters with quasi-scholars who support the loathsome policies of the sponsoring country.  Most importantly, this institution got away with it and refused to divulge to its membership the actual going on behind the scenes.

Professor Hatulay started writing scathing articles and posting blogs about Fenwick offering an unsavory deal to a prestigious Jewish institution, ASHKI, that ASHKI could have and should have refused.  Since the downfall of the USSR, Fenwick offered ASHKI unlimited access to scholarly Jewish archives that were thought to be destroyed during the War, plus “financial incentives,” and established an international branch in their country.  Fenwick flew the notables of this institution to its capital, Elteshtet, frequently wine and dined them, bestowed on them that country’s “coveted” Iron Cross, and further enticed them with VIP service in order to achieve their ends.  After all, imagine the great publicity this country can show the world that they are now Jew-friendly after centuries of murderous antisemitism.

There was, however, one caveat. ASHKI was not to criticize the governmental ultra-nationalistic policies about their Holocaust revisionism and veneration of its mass murderers and genocidal proponents such as Jingoste Bantida and Suastike Žudikas.  That would be considered going against their national interest and interfering in their domestic policy.  After all, would it not look terrible if Jews interfere in a domestic policy of a foreign government?  ASHKI took the offer “lock stock and barrel.”

However, the plans did not go so smoothly.  In comes Professor Raphael L. Hatulay, the founder Yiddish Studies at an eminent international university, having taught there for eighteen-years, who became the colloquial thorn in the lion’s paw to ASHKI and the government of  Fenwick.  Raphael L. Hatulay, born in Boro Park, arrived to  Fenwick over twenty years ago to assume the first post-Holocaust professorship of Yiddish studies in this Eastern European country at Elteshtet University. He forfeited a 10-year prestigious deal with his current university to pursue this position, at one-tenth the salary!

For 10 years, Professor Hatulay was considered the government’s “Poster Boy” for Jews and scholars visiting Fenwick.  When groups inquired about contemporary Jewish life in Elteshtet, the tour guides made sure to mention, with pride, about Professor Hatulay and how he returned to the Fatherland from America, established the Elteshtet Jidišh Academy, and made Yiddish language and culture accessible to both Jew and Non-Jew alike.

What the Fenwickians did not expect was Professor Hatulay’s outspokenness which began in 2008. That year, state prosecutors arrested and started proceedings against two prominent and esteemed elderly members of the Jewish community, who were also survivors and partisans during the war and accused them of war crimes and for speaking out against the governments nauseating “Double-Holocaust Theory.”[1]

Professor Hatulay, along with noted Holocaust scholar and Nazi hunter, Dr. Zeev Herschber wrote about this outrage which then created an international storm.  They became a two-man demonstration, showing up in front of the courthouses during the trial and remained steadfast in their convictions.

This marked the beginning of the end regarding Professor Hatulay’s career and livelihood.  It was not until later that everything came to a screeching halt when Professor Hatulay exposed the “Non-Aggression Pact” between Fenwick’s government and ASHKI.

Professor Hatulay was stripped of his post at Elteshtet University shortly after this expose.  He became a persona non grata, a non-person.  He was not allowed to attend or address any conference in the city that focused on his specialty or participate in the suddenly newly governmental financed “Yiddish” programs. Participants who attended any ASHKI conference in  Fenwick had to sneak out at night, under the cover of darkness, to visit Professor Hatulay because they were instructed (warned) by both the organizers and their American counterpart not to have any contact with him.

In essence, this action is reminiscent of the way the Soviets used to treat the Refuseniks during the 1960s and the 1970s.  The Refuseniks were stripped of their livelihood and career.  This should come as no surprise considering that Fenwick became a part of the USSR since 1939 (and again in 1944) and was adept at adopting the former “Motherland’s” publicly torturous ways of punishing her citizenry.

In the meantime, during these past few years, Professor Hatulay has been living in near poverty and still resides in Elteshtet.  He ekes out a meager living by conducting private tours, teaching Yiddish on the internet with small groups, and by necessity, takes on an array of odd jobs unrelated to his life’s work.

Yet, under intolerable stress, he is still managing to somehow focus on his calling in many ways. For example, his latest work and his first new book of original Yiddish fiction, has been published by that large conglomerate, Leyvik House in Tel Aviv, Israel.    Professor Hatulay continues to devote time to his decades passion, the free online English-Yiddish Cultural Dictionary which now consists of 350,000 entries!.

The  Fenwickian government is still revising their history by mythologizing their mass murderers.  They, too, are continuing to promote their vile “Double Holocaust” theory by saying that they, as well as the Jews, suffered just as much, not only during the war, but during Soviet times.

ASHKI has reinvented itself.  This past January, it laid off all her research staff.  It is the researcher, since ASHKI’s beginnings, that represented the integral part of their “mission statement.”  Firing researchers is akin to school districts laying off all their teachers.  It does not make sense unless one realizes that ASHKI’s mission and purpose had radically changed over the past few years.

As for Professor Hatulay, he remains steadfast and entrenched in Elteshtet.  He is not only a highly principled man, which is not entirely true for most of humanity, but he is insuring that the memory of the 155,000 Jews who were mass murdered did not die with the lies being disseminated by both Fenwick and ASHKI.

[1] This is considered the modern form of Holocaust denial.  “You suffered, I suffered, so let’s call it even.” For more about Eastern European governments pushing the Double Holocaust Theory, link on: https://www.ushmm.org/antisemitism/holocaust-denial-and-distortion and 

About the Author
For nearly thirty years, Saul passionately devoted and immersed himself studying Jewish life in interwar Europe. Overnight, not only did this 1000-year-old community vanish, but so did its complex communal infrastructure. What piqued Saul Chapnick’s interest and curiosity was finding out exactly what it was that disappeared. In talking to politicians, survivors, scholars, Jewish communal leaders from Eastern Europe, and making trips there, Saul Chapnick was able to uncover the richness and the tragedy of interwar Jewish life in Europe. At the same time, Mr. Chapnick has discovered a limited reawakening of Jewish life in his parents’ and ancestors’ native land, Poland. Saul Chapnick has talked in various venues whether Yiddish and Yiddish Culture still has relevance today. He has also spoke about the importance this 19th and 20th world has to contemporary life today as well as to post-Holocaust Jewish identity. He also prepares the adult participants of The March for the Living about modern day Jewish Poland
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