For centuries Jews were perfect victims who harmed nobody – perfectly moral, but utterly powerless, moving from country to country as strangers in foreign lands, subjected to discrimination ranging from expulsions, pogroms, quotas in schools, clubs, the workplace and some. It may surprise many that up until the 1970’s such quotas existed in the UK and America. Eternal scapegoats for failing leaders, Jews are accused for being too rich, too poor, too foreign, too swarthy, too white.
The Holocaust is not just one of the world’s incessant wars, not just another injustice amongst many. It is the ultimate crime specifically aimed at Jews that sets it apart, not beginning in 1939, but an historic trail of Jewish persecution over two thousand years. A persecution that involved the unimaginable savagery executed by cultured criminals, humiliating and dehumanising Jews – savagery – cutting off noses and breasts, gang rape even after death – much more too vile to contemplate.
In his poem ‘In The City of Slaughter’ Bialik wrote how Jewish women were systematically defiled, assaulted, raped, mutilated, left to bleed to death in filthy cowsheds. Often their husbands were forced after such gang rape, to have public sex with their dying wives. This happened not in third world savage jungles, but in cultured Europe – Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Estonia, Ukraine – and ultimately en route to the death camps of Europe as Germany set forth to create its perfect Aryan race, not thousands of years ago, but in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, within living memory of our grandparents and parents.
That’s the fate of the silent victim, prey to the want of tyrants and savages, with a leadership that sees the solution in acquiescence. It’s the state of education about the Holocaust – teaching children about the Kindertransport only as a virtue saving children, but failing to educate why even young babies were sent by their parents into an unknown world with strangers, to be raised by foreigners speaking a different tongue, often with a different religion, never to see their parents again, parents killed, not by accident, but wilfully tortured and exterminated by the cultured savages of Europe – murderers, listening to Wagner in the comfort of their warm homes after a day’s killing, homes furnished with looted belongings of their Jewish victims, their wives adorned with Jewish jewels and furs, stuffing down sumptuous dinners as Jews slept 12 to a bunk with hardly a gangrened crust in their bellies, freezing in the midwinter snow, dying from dysentery and fear induced dementia
All war is vile, as is all discrimination, but, to conflate The Holocaust with wars and prejudices that have raged across the world forever is a crime that attempts to appease the perpetrators’ millennial guilt. Failing to teach students the why of the Kindertransport, instead focussing on a novel, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, as source material, creates an illusion of The Holocaust as just another Famous Five adventure.
When a hoard of anti Jewish racists brazenly rides through North London, in the summer of 2021, threatening to murder Jewish mothers and rape their daughters, the culprits let off without even a cursory rebuke, remember what Bialik wrote, being witness to the Kishinev Pogrom in 1903,
Descend then, to the cellars of the town,
There where the virginal daughters of thy folk were fouled,
Where seven heathen flung a woman down,
The daughter in the presence of her mother,
The mother in the presence of her daughter,
Before slaughter, during slaughter, and after slaughter!
when one third of the Jewish population of 50,000 was eliminated in the most violent attacks – a baby had his tongue cut out whilst he was alive; Meyer Weissman blinded in one eye since birth, had his second eye gauged out and was told “never again will you look upon a Christian child”; “nails were driven through heads, bodies hacked in half, bellies, split open and filled with feathers, women and girls were raped, and some had their breasts cut off.”
Ask yourself why Jews are afraid as police release the culprits in North London without charge; a Jewish grandmother is beaten up in the streets of London, left unconscious in the gutter, no arrest, no conviction, yet when a well known radio personality or journalist is beaten up there is swift action with arrests and convictions. Yet again the good people of the West are failing to react as they have failed over centuries.
Many Jews grew up with their European relatives drifting around, shuffling their feet, hanging their heads in total depression even though these were the lucky ones to escape the inevitable death delivered by the Europeans they’d lived amongst for centuries. Many had tattoos indelibly stamped on their forearms, denoting the number that had replaced their names, dehumanised completely. The Holocaust is not a topic in ancient history delivered in history classes by bored teachers to disinterested students who have no handle on the reality of the times. It’s a time and space in history that is known to many who don’t need to reach out too far to make contact with a victim or a perpetrator – both alive on a corner near you.
If you don’t see it and react, then what are you?