The Holocaust Shakedown
- A LOT OF GOOD INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE FAMOUS LEUCHTER REPORT.
Falsification of the holocaust
The Holocaust Shakedown
By Elizabeth Wright
[Reprinted from Issues & Views September 25, 2000]
Norman Finkelstein must be a man of iron to be able to withstand the
blows that have been coming his way ever since the publication of
his book, The Holocaust Industry, which could as easily be
entitled "The Holocaust Racket." He is among the best of the
chroniclers and critics of the shakedown concocted by leading Jewish
organizations in what has to be one of the most massive examples
of extortion ever perpetrated. Swiss banks, insurance companies,
entire industries and whole countries are targets in a scheme
supposedly devised to compensate Jewish victims and survivors of the
Nazis. As might be expected, the victims are turning out to be minor
beneficiaries of a game plan where billions of dollars raised in
their names are directed instead to leading Jewish organizations,
Holocaust "memorials," and immense institutions such as Yad
Vashem in Israel.
In addition to the funds already received from foreign governments
and companies, American Jewish organizations are also exploring the
possibility of extracting funds directly from the U.S. government.
In 1998, under Senate Bill S. 1900, the U.S. Holocaust Assets
Commission was formed, "with the costs split by the interested
agencies of the U.S. Government." This bill stipulates that an
authorized commission "shall develop a record of the collection and
disposition" of Jewish assets, "if such assets came into possession
or control of the Federal Government, including the Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System and any Federal Reserve
bank, at any time after January 30, 1933."
The boldness of this action has not only stirred resentment among
long-time advocates for black reparations, who demand financial
recompense for slavery from the federal government, but
reinvigorates their claim that blacks are the "rightful"
beneficiaries of any such compensation.
Along with Finkelstein, other critics of the Holocaust reparations
enterprise have emerged. Anyone who has taken a course in the
subject or is familiar with its literature knows that Professor Raul
Hilberg has written one of the major texts in the field and is
considered the dean of Holocaust studies. Earlier this year, Hilberg
was quoted by a Brazilian journalist as saying: "There is something
radically wrong in this exploitation because it is an issue that
should not be used to make money, and I must confess that I found
the whole affair with the Swiss banks disturbing. The Jewish-
American community is very prosperous and there is no reason for
them to ask the Swiss for money. That seems obscene to me."
Finkelstein (both of whose parents survived concentration camps)
approves of compensation only for and directly to the actual victims
and sufferers of the camps--not for their offspring or the progeny
of their offspring, and certainly not for giant bureaucratic self-
appointed organizations. When an interviewer suggested to
Finkelstein that he himself deserves compensation because he is
a "second generation survivor," Finkelstein responded, "I think such
a concept is repulsive. That's simply an effort to milk the
Holocaust for another generation. If I had ever said that to my
mother, she would have given me a good smack in the face. And
Although writer Andrew Ross, in Salon.com, complains about the tone
of Finkelstein's book, he concedes that, "On a broader level,
Finkelstein is justified in questioning the authenticity of the
emotional and other claims staked by Holocaust keepers of the flame.
The memory of this singular event has too often been soiled by
vulgarity, political calculation, hypocrisy and greed. Former
Israeli Foreign Secretary Abba Eban long ago observed: 'There's no
business like Shoah [Holocaust] business.'"
Derek Copold, writing for the Houston Review, describes how the
United States government is used as a weapon by the Holocaust
overlords to get their demands obeyed by other governments and mega-
corporations. He says, "The countries of Eastern Europe, all
recovering from fifty years of Communist oppression, are now slated
for the shakedown. The process will repeat itself. If these
countries fail to take suitable action--that is, give in--American
boycotts and sanctions are threatened. Nations, who once saw the
U.S. as a liberator, now see her as the tool of extortion."
A Wall Street Journal editorial questions the logic of extracting
money from companies that used unpaid labor during the war, since so
many of these firms have changed ownership several times over the
past 55 years. For example, in Germany, Salzgitter's ownership has
changed hands at least three times since the war. The Journal
editorial states, "It's an open question whether those coughing up
the money are really the ones who ought to be paying. Perhaps an
argument can be made that the democratic governments of Germany and
Austria bear some sort of obligation to atone for the evils carried
out by the Nazis in Germany's name. But the argument that companies
such as Siemens, Volkswagen and Krupps should be made to pay for
using slave labor during the war stands on a weaker foundation."
By making the claim that financial compensation belongs to "the
Jewish people," Jewish organizations justify their right to be the
administrators of all funds collected. On the website Virtual
Jerusalem, Michael J. Jordan writes about this contentious
debate: "Who are the rightful heirs to all that was lost in Europe,
and who has the right to decide how the money should be spent?
Holocaust survivors and their advocates say the stolen property and
assets lost did not in fact belong to 'the Jewish people as a
whole,' but to European Jewish communities and individuals.
Furthermore, they say, it is the survivors, and they alone, who are
entitled to decide the spending priorities, not the groups that
negotiated on their behalf."
George Brewer, a Holocaust researcher for the Committee for the Open
Discussion of the Holocaust (CODOH), makes the point: "There are two
ironies here. As Raul Hilberg and Norman Finkelstein have noted, the
Jewish people have been very successful in the postwar period,
certainly more successful than the peoples of Eastern Europe who
were hobbled for decades with communist governments. In this kind of
case, the demand for recompense violates not only a simple sense of
justice but seems vindictive as well. It conjures the image of a
rich man bullying a pauper for money, because the pauper's
grandfather stole from the rich man's ancestor."
Christopher Hitchens, in The Nation magazine, decries what he calls
the "silent treatment" given in this country, so far, to Norman
Finkelstein's book. "In England, in Germany and elsewhere,
Finkelstein's arguments and evidence have received serious attention
and been subjected to real and fierce debate. But in the United
States, where the press and the academy are wedded to a near-uniform
combination of Holocaust kitsch and Holocaust dogma, no real
argument has been permitted to arise."
Charles Glass, in the New York Press, echoes this claim about
American silence: "One surprising aspect of the debate is the
assertion in several British newspapers that The Holocaust Industry
has caused controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. Alas, not yet.
Other than New York Press, Finkelstein's publishers Verso tell me
that the rest of the American press has virtually ignored it. In
London, people may be kicking Norman Finkelstein, but they are also
kicking his ideas around. What's going on in New York?"
Following are excerpts from The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on
the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, by Norman Finkelstein:
I do not remember the Nazi Holocaust ever intruding on my childhood.
I do not recall a single friend (or parent of a friend) asking a
single question about what my mother and father endured. This was
not a respectful silence. It was indifference. In this light, one
cannot but be sceptical of the outpourings of anguish in later
decades, after the Holocaust industry was firmly established.
I sometimes think that American Jewry "discovering" the Nazi
Holocaust was worse than its having been forgotten. True, my parents
brooded in private; the suffering they endured was not publicly
validated. But wasn't that better than the current crass
exploitation of Jewish martyrdom? Before the Nazi Holocaust
became the Holocaust, only a few scholarly studies (by Raul Hilberg,
Viktor Frankl and Ella Lingens-Reiner) were published on the
subject. But this small collection of gems is better than the
shelves upon shelves of shlock that now line libraries and
As the rendering of the Holocaust assumed ever more absurd forms, my
mother liked to quote (with intentional irony) Henry Ford: "History
is bunk". The tales of "Holocaust survivors"--all concentration camp
inmates, all heroes of the resistance--were a special source of wry
amusement in my home. My parents often wondered why I would grow so
indignant at the falsification and exploitation of the Nazi
genocide. The most obvious answer is that it has been used to
justify criminal policies of the Israeli state and US support for
these policies. There is a personal motive as well. I do care about
the memory of my family's persecution. The current campaign of the
Holocaust industry to extort money from Europe in the name of "needy
Holocaust victims" has shrunk the moral stature of their martyrdom
to that of a Monte Carlo casino.
The term "Holocaust survivor" originally designated those who
suffered the unique trauma of the Jewish ghettos, concentration
camps and slave labour camps, often in sequence. The figure for
these Holocaust survivors at war's end is generally put at some
100,000. The number of living survivors cannot be more than a
quarter of this figure now. Because enduring the camps became a crown
of martyrdom, many Jews who spent the war elsewhere represented
themselves as camp survivors. Another strong motive behind this
misrepresentation, however, was material. The postwar German
government provided compensation to Jews who had been in ghettos or
camps. Many Jews fabricated their pasts to meet this eligibility
requirement. "If everyone who claims to be a survivor actually
is one," my mother used to exclaim, "who did Hitler kill?"
The Holocaust industry forced Switzerland into a settlement because
time was allegedly of the essence: "Needy Holocaust survivors are
dying every day." Once the Swiss signed away the money, however, the
urgency miraculously passed. More than a year after the settlement
was reached there was still no distribution plan. By the time the
money is finally divvied out, all the "needy Holocaust survivors"
will probably be dead. In fact, by last December, less than half
of the $200 million "Special Fund for Needy Victims of the
Holocaust," established in February 1997, had been distributed to
actual victims. After lawyers' fees have been paid, the Swiss monies
will then flow into the coffers of "worthy" Jewish organisations.
The Holocaust industry has always been bankrupt. What remains is to
openly declare it so. The time is long past to put it out of
business. The noblest gesture for those who perished is to preserve
their memory, learn from their suffering and let them, finally, rest
For more reviews and information on how to purchase The Holocaust
Industry, visit: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com
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