By: Sam Vaknin
International Holocaust Day and 70 Years Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz
Q: Was the Holocaust a unique event in European, or even human history?
- The Holocaust was a genocide, one of a few that occurred in Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was the natural and inevitable culmination of trends in European history, thoughts and ideas. As scholars like Goldhagen and Nirenberg teach us, Hitler’s policies were not an aberration, but a natural extension of developments such as colonialism, imperialism, mercantilism, romanticism, and anti-Judaism. All the elements that comprised the Holocaust as an industrial process of annihilation (for example: concentration camps) were long in use by other polities, such as the British Empire and Soviet Russia. Hitler merely applied these policies in the European hinterland (rather than Africa, Asia, or the Americas) and against members of the White Race (rather than against blacks, reds, and “yellows”.)
- Was the Holocaust planned in advance? Was it always a policy of Hitler and, when he came to power, the Third Reich?
- Absolutely not. As scholars such as Bauer and Hilberg clearly documented, the phase of extermination was an improvised solution to the exigencies of war. The Germans, led by the Nazis, at first planned to evict the Jews from Europe (Judenrein) and resettle them elsewhere. Only when they have conquered territories which contained millions of Ostjuden (the poor, uneducated Jews of Eastern Europe) and only when the Allies blocked all Jewish immigration to their countries and territories did the Germans reach the decision to annihilate the Jewish population throughout the continent (at the Wannsee conference, in January 1942.)
- How did the Jews outside Europe react to the Holocaust?
- Even when the full scale of the Holocaust and the existence of death camps such as Auschwitz became known, the Jews in the USA and in Palestine had an ambivalent reaction to the unfolding horrors in Europe. The strategies they have chosen to cope with the unthinkable rendered it ineluctable.
American Jews preferred not to “rock the boat”: to acquiesce with the policies of the Roosevelt administration, which did not regard halting the Holocaust as a war priority. The Jews were afraid of an anti-Semitic response within the USA if they were to press their case. They believed that non-Jews that would rebel against turning the conduct of war in Europe into a “Jewish affair” intended to save the Jews there.
Similarly, the political leadership of the Jews in Palestine (headed by David Ben-Gurion) preferred to concentrate on the creation of a Jewish homeland where the remnants of the devastated Jewish communities in Europe could find refuge after the war. Their hands were full: both the British authorities and the indigenous Arab population were dead set against this vision of a Jewish state. Additionally, the Jewish community in Palestine (the “Yishuv”) was divided among violent extremists (“terrorists”) and moderates. One group (“The Stern Gang”) even supported the Nazis and offered them collaboration against the British!
- Was the State of Israel given to the Jews as compensation for the Holocaust?
- To some extent. People felt guilty about not lifting a finger to help the Jews as they were slaughtered by the millions, so they voted for a Jewish state in the United Nations in 1947. But, the British officially recommended establishing a Jewish state in 1937, years before the Holocaust. Jews and Arabs in Palestine were entangled in a bloodied conflict since 1882 and it seemed that there was no way out except two states for two nations. Ironically, this is now the position of the international community of the State of Israel, too!
Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain – How the West Lost the East, as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.
Visit Sam’s Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com
Filed under: World in Conflict and Transition | Tagged: anti-semitism, Auschwitz, concentration camps, Europe, genocide, Germany, Goebbels, Himmler, history, Hitler, holocaust, Israel, jews, Nazis, Nazism, racism, World War II, Zionism, Zionists |