February 01, 2005

Speaking of marks of Cain

Mark Steyn (via Hatshepsut):

According to a poll by the University of Bielefeld, 62 per cent of Germans are "sick of all the harping on about German crimes against the Jews" - which is an unusually robust formulation for a multiple-choice questionnaire, but at least has the advantage of leaving us in no confusion as to how things stand in this week of pan European Holocaust "harping on". The old joke - that the Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz - gets truer every week.

I have some sympathy for that 62 per cent. Killing six million people is a moral stain on one's nation that surely ought to endure more than a couple of generations. But, on the other hand, almost everything else about the Germany of 60 years ago is gone - its great power status, its military machine, its aggressive nationalism, its need for lebens-raum. The past is another country, but rarely as foreign as the Third Reich. Why should Holocaust guilt be the only enforced link with an otherwise discarded heritage?

"Enforced" is the operative word. If most Germans don't feel guilty about the Holocaust, there's no point pretending they do. And that's the problem with all this week's Shoah business: it's largely a charade. The European establishment that has scheduled such lavish anniversary observances for this Thursday presides over a citizenry that, even if one discounts the synagogue-arsonists and cemetery-desecrators multiplying across the Continent, is either antipathetic to Jews, or "sick of all the harping on", or regards solemn Holocaust remembrance as a useful card to have in the hand of the slyer, suppler forms of anti-Semitism to which Europe is now prone.

From time to time, the late Diana Mosley used to tell me how "clever" she thought the Jews were. If you pressed her to expand on the remark, it usually meant how clever they were in always keeping "the thing" - the Holocaust, as she could never quite bring herself to say - in the public eye, unlike the millions killed in the name of Communism. This is a fair point, though not one most people are willing to entertain from a pal of Hitler. But "the thing" seems most useful these days to non-Jews as a means of demonstrating that the Israelis are new Nazis and the Palestinians their Jews. Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, has told the Home Secretary that his crowd will be boycotting Thursday's commemorations because it is racist and excludes any commemoration of the "holocaust" and "ongoing genocide" in Palestine.

Ah, well. He's just some canny Muslim opportunist, can't blame the chap for trying it on. But look at how my colleagues at The Spectator chose to mark the anniversary. They ran a reminiscence by Anthony Lipmann, the Anglican son of an Auschwitz survivor, which contained the following sentence: "When on 27 January I take my mother's arm - tattoo number A-25466 - I will think not just of the crematoria and the cattle trucks but of Darfur, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Jenin, Fallujah."

Jenin? Would that be the notorious 2002 "Jenin massacre"? There was no such thing, as I pointed out in this space at the time, when Robert Fisk and the rest of Fleet Street's gullible sob-sisters were going around weepin' an' a-wailin' about Palestinian mass graves and Israeli war crimes. Twenty-three Israelis were killed in fighting at the Jenin camp. Fifty-two Palestinians died, according to the Israelis. According to Arafat's official investigators, it was 56 Palestinians. Even if one accepts the higher figure, that means every single deceased Palestinian could have his own mass grave and there'd still be room to inter the collected works of Robert Fisk. Yet, despite the fact that the Jenin massacre is an obvious hallucination of Fleet Street's Palestine groupies, its rise to historical fact is unstoppable. To Lipmann, those 52-56 dead Palestinians weigh in the scales of history as heavy as six million Jews. And what's Fallujah doing bringing up the rear in his catalogue of horrors? In rounding up a few hundred head-hackers, the Yanks perpetrated another Auschwitz?

Posted by David Boxenhorn at February 1, 2005 11:21 PM
Comments & Trackbacks

I think it's fine for a young German, that is, somebody who didn't personally participate in WW2 not to feel personally responsible for the holocaust. But the fact that not only do the 62% (at least) not feel the obvious moral stain on the nation (in other words "don't care"), but show that their anti-semitic feelings still haven't left them (even after they practically erased the Jewish population), by expressing their extremely negative attitude towards the state of Israel. I may be sounding harsh and bitter here, but I don't think these people have changed all that much.

Posted by: Hatshepsut at February 2, 2005 01:29 PM Permalink

It is obvious to me that this sudden piousness about the Holocaust on its 60th anniversary (what did they do on the 50th?) comes about as an alternative to doing something substantial.

Posted by: David Boxenhorn at February 2, 2005 01:39 PM Permalink

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