Friday, April 9, 2021

Why "Never Again" Must be a Rallying Cry, Not Just a Slogan

Holocaust denial often consists not only of denying that the Nazis murdered six million Jews, but also falsely accusing Israel of committing genocide. This breathtaking and perverse act of double historical revisionism during the living memory of the Holocaust is an outrage that defies description. The truth is that not only is the Holocaust the most well-documented genocide in history, but Adolf Hitler announced his murderous plans in advance, and the world was well aware of what the Nazis were doing; the information was available, but many media outlets downplayed what was known, and many governments--including the U.S. government--closed their borders to the few Jews who were fortunate enough to escape the Nazis; the sad saga of the S.S. St. Louis--a ship full of more than 900 Jewish refugees who were refused entry to the United States and sent back to Europe to meet their fate at the hands of the Nazis--is just one example of how the world turned its back on the Jewish people during the Holocaust.

Canadian journalist Mattie Rotenberg delivered a detalied report on May 12, 1943 describing not only the murder of two million Jews by the Nazis, but the likelihood that the death toll would reach six million if the Nazis were not stopped. Her broadcast is heartbreaking, but it is important to realize just how much was known about the Holocaust when there was still time to rescue millions of Jews. The tragic fate of the Jewish people in Europe was well known, and not lamented, even in the United States where many Jews proudly displayed pictures of President Roosevelt while Roosevelt's policies sealed the fate of Europe's Jews.

Rotenberg declared:

These entirely innocent men, women, and children are taken to places which the Nazis are not ashamed to call extermination camps, where they are ruthlessly and mercilessly murdered by machine gun, poison gas, and electrocution. It is a systematic, cold-blooded slaughter which has no military objective of any kind. Premier Sikorski of Poland has stated that the total number of Jews killed has reached two million--old and young, men, women, and infants--and the number is daily rising, their only crime that they were born into the Jewish people...The Nazis are not ashamed of these deeds. They boast of how they are cleaning up the country. German men and women go on sightseeing tours through the ghetto to look on the misery of the people whose food they eat, whose clothes they wear, whose houses they live in. Could you bear to go with them, to see an anguished mother taking her baby in her arms and jumping out a fourth story window when she hears the trampling feet on the stairs, to see a German drag a young girl away from her weeping parents, to see an old man standing naked at the door of the electrocution chamber? Yes, naked, because the Germans want his clothes for themselves. Can you look into the darkness of that cattle car and see a little girl choking with the fumes of the quicklime with corpses pressed around her because there is no room to fall? Two million is too much, but see each one of these and then multiply them by a thousand, by 10,000, by 100,000. Some people say that other people are being tortured and murdered in Europe, too, but no matter how the Nazis treat other conquered people they are not trying to wipe them from the face of the Earth. They want the Poles and the Czechs and the Belgians to live on to serve the Master Race.

Rotenberg described Hitler Youth members hunting Jewish children for sport, and she mentioned other atrocities before concluding with these chilling words:

Don't turn away and say you don't believe these things! I've told you nothing that has not been vouched for by the State Department in Washington, the Polish government in London, or the United Nations Information Service. I could go on reading from the documents I have before me until you'd stop your ears in horror. The plain truth is that in Europe today Jews are being slaughtered as we don't slaughter animals in this country. I don't know which is the greatest tragedy: the fate of the victims, the indifference of the rest of the world to their suffering, or the terrible fact that the human race contains beings who are completely inhuman...We must win the war of course, but no Jews in Europe will be alive to see the day of victory. At the rate of 10,000 deaths a day, it's simple arithmetic. Figure out for yourself how much time is left if any of them are to be saved. Some action must be taken at once. If it is not, within a few months six million people will have been murdered, and the nations of the world will not be able to escape the charge of being accomplices in the blackest crime in history.

Far too many people do not know even the basic facts about what Rotenberg correctly called "the blackest crime in history." The phrase "Never Again" must not just be a slogan. It must be a multi-pronged rallying cry ensuring that (1) the world never forgets the Holocaust, (2) the Jewish people never allow themselves to be without a country and without a strong military, and (3) vigilant steps are taken in academia and the media to counteract the propaganda that simultaneously denies the horrors of the real Holocaust while falsely accusing Israel of committing genocide. 

Thomas Friedman once shamelessly dismissed Israel as "Yad Vashem with an air force." In one vile sentence he missed the point of both Yad Vashem--The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, based in Israel's eternal capital Jerusalem--and of the Israeli Air Force, which has defended the Jewish State against its genocide-minded neighbors for over 70 years. Yes, it is Israel's neighbors who are the spiritual heirs to the Nazis, and large portions of the Arab/Muslim world have longed expressed open admiration for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

The world stood by and let Adolf Hitler's Nazis murder six million Jews, but as long as Israel exists that will never happen again; when the world did nothing after terrorists hijacked Air France Flight 139 and made a point of separating the Jews and the Israelis from the other passengers at Entebbe in 1976, the Israeli Air Force accomplished a daring rescue mission. What would have happened to those Jewish hostages had there not been a Jewish State with an air force? We already know the answer.

No person can answer the question of where was God during the Holocaust, but Nobel laureate/Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel declared "After the Holocaust I did not lose faith in God. I lost faith in mankind." Put another way, if it can be said that absolute power corrupts then it also must be said, in the words of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, that "powerlessness corrupts most of all."

Yad Vashem exists to remind the world what the Nazis did to the Jewish people during the Holocaust so that such an atrocity will never happen again, and the Israeli Air Force exists so that the Jewish people never again experience absolute powerlessness. Understood in those terms, it is not surprising that those who deny that the Holocaust happened also deny the Jewish State's right to exist: Iran seeks to both deny and repeat the Holocaust.

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