The following excerpt is from
Reminiscent of the most recent BBC complaint, the writer lumps "Poland" in with others gratuitously and never backs up the assertion. He briefly refers to crimes in and by other nations, but blames Poles and Poland only by geographical
Directly connected to our own quest for better understanding of our community's experience under the Soviets in eastern Poland, the writer seems to be saying that we are wrong to speak of oppression of other people in the same breath as oppression of the Jews. It appears that in his eyes, our inclusiveness is anti-Semitic.
An argument I find particularly of concern is about efforts to "classify Communist crimes as genocide, which would help weaken Jewish accusations regarding Holocaust crimes in these countries, since that would mean that Jews too had committed genocide (in the service of the Communists)". Does this
mean that denouncing the Katyn murders by the NKVD as genocide is seen as an attempt to distort and reduce the horror of the Holocaust of Jews? Is it OK to talk about members of other communities committing atrocities (as he does), but necessary to remain silent if the perpetrator happened to be Jewish?
I post this only FYI and as a warning about how our well-meaning inquiries and sharing of experiences might be viewed by some. It is not my purpose to begin a debate here. As far as I am concerned, the inclusiveness of the KS goals is commendable and a model for others.
Sault Ste Marie, Canada
... efforts of various Eastern European countries to rewrite the history of the Shoah with two ulterior motives. The first is to minimize, or even hide, the role played by their nationals in Holocaust crimes. The second is to convince the world that the crimes of Communism are at least equivalent, if not worse, than those of the
In order to fully understand the importance of this issue and the insidious anti-Semitic nature of this campaign, the uniquely lethal nature of the collaboration with the Nazis in Eastern Europe must be explained.
Unlike the situation elsewhere, where local Nazi collaborators helped implement the initial stages of the Final Solution – definition, Aryanization, concentration and deportation of the Jews – but did not carry out their mass murder themselves, the Nazis integrated the local collaborators in Eastern Europe in the killing operations and these forces played a highly significant role in the annihilation of the Jews in the Baltics,
Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and Croatia.
After World War II, all of these countries were either part of the Soviet Union or ruled by Communist parties and it was only slightly more than two decades ago that they made the transition to democracy and were able for the first time to deal with their Holocaust history openly and honestly. The results to date have, to put it mildly, been terrible.
Instead of telling the truth about local active participation in the murders and trying to make amends by prosecuting unpunished Nazi collaborators, the blame for the annihilation of the Jewish communities was attributed exclusively to the German and Austrian
Nazis. The Nazis undoubtedly bear major responsibility, but could never have succeeded to the extent that they did in these countries without the massive assistance of their local helpers, and almost no local killers were ever successfully brought to justice. Even worse, some of the most notorious criminals are being glorified for their patriotism and resistance to Communism, ignoring their role in Holocaust crimes.
In 2008, this campaign was accelerated by the publication of the Prague Declaration, which besides promoting the canard of historical equivalency between Communism and Nazism, called for practical measures which if implemented would undermine the current status of the Shoah as a unique case of genocide. Among its demands were the creation of a joint memorial day for all the victims of
totalitarian regimes (which would ultimately replace Holocaust Memorial Day), and the rewriting of all textbooks to reflect the supposed equality of the Nazi and Communist regimes, which would negatively revolutionize the teaching of European history.
Behind these steps was the desire to be able to classify Communist crimes as genocide, which would help weaken Jewish accusations regarding Holocaust crimes in these countries, since that would mean that Jews too had committed genocide (in the service of the Communists). If everyone is guilty, then of course no one is.
... During the
past year, for example, Israel remained silent as Lithuania reburied with full honors the leader of the provisional Lithuanian government established after the Nazi invasion of June 1941, which fully supported the Third Reich and who signed orders facilitating the persecution and murder of Lithuania’s Jewish citizens. It preferred not to protest neo-Nazi marches on Lithuanian independence day down the main avenues of Vilnius (Vilna) and Kaunas (Kovno), or parades in the center of Riga honoring the Latvian Waffen- SS units which fought for a victory of the Third Reich. Even worse, official Israeli institutions maintain a level of cooperation with the group in Lithuania which actively promotes the Prague Declaration, since it is they who control Holocaust education and commemoration in that country.
... With countries like Lithuania and Latvia, who are among the main culprits in this regard, poised to take over the presidency of the European Union in the coming year, it is high time that Israel minimize the gap between Holocaust rhetoric and practical action on Shoah-related issues, and begin to take the threat of Holocaust distortion seriously.