The Ukrainian Holocaust and Jewish Pride
- The Ukrainian Holocaust and Jewish Pride
November 25, 2008
November 22, 2007 was the 75th anniversary of the mass murder of up
to 10 million Ukrainians by Stalin's political police, the dreaded
NKVD. This bureaucracy was the apogee of political correctness,
murdering tens of thousands of farmers and small-town people because
the region resisted collectivisation. The practice of mass political
murder was initiated by Lenin immediately after Trotsky brought him
to power. Stalin inherited and extended the practice and its
Until after the Second World War the senior ranks of the NKVD were
disproportionately Jewish. These were secular Jews who as good
communists rejected divisions of ethnicity and race as products of
bourgeois society. Nevertheless they retained their identity as Jews;
they knew who their ancestors were.
Jews do not feel remorse for the Ukraine famine. They do not
apologise for it. They do not point to it as a failing of the Jewish
character or culture. That is an enormous inconsistency. For one
thing Jews feel pride in the positive achievements of other Jews,
whether religious or secular. But how can pride be ethnic and
unconditional while shame is conditional and compartmentalised? Is it
not inconsistent for someone to feel pride in the achievements of his
ethnic group but to feel no shame for its failings?
Alexander Solzhenitsyn made a similar point in his last book, Two
Hundred Years Together. Group pride goes hand in hand with group
shame. He wrote: "[The] Jewish population should be as offended at
their own role in the purges as they are at the Soviet power that
also persecuted them." Regarding white shame, our own Michael J.
Polignano has argued cogently that those who condemn whites for the
behaviour of other whites are implicitly admitting the case for white
pride in the achievements of the West (Occidental Quarterly, Spring
2008, pp. 3-6).
I suppose inconsistency is one of the prerogatives of being human.
However, in this case the inconsistency is larger than a failing of
human nature because other ethnic groups and nations are not
permitted to forget their sins, at least when they sinned against
Jews. The Germans are taught by their media and schools to feel shame
for the actions of a pagan secret service that murdered millions of
Jews and Gypsies during the Second World War. Responsibility is
levelled at Germans in general, not only pagans or those who
supported Hitler's extermination policy. The shame is ethnic and
unconditional. Only German pride must be conditional and
The same sort of general ethnic shame is taught to whites of many
nations. It seems that we have all done something terrible at one
time or another, whether it is colonialism, exploitation,
discrimination, segregation, etc. And it is understood that "we"
means fellow ethnics. The crime varies but the shame remains the
There is a good deal of truth to many of these accusations. The
German state did commit the Holocaust. The British, Spanish,
Portuguese, Russian, Dutch and French states did displace native
peoples in the Americas, Africa and Australasia. Blacks were
discriminated against in the United States. Colonialism and ethnic
expansion have their dark sides.
There is also some moral truth to the accusations, even if they are
over generalised. But it is a conditional morality such that group
identity combined with even vestigial pride makes it hypocritical to
feel pride but not shame for group behaviour. A history of Germany
that did not mention World War Two or the Holocaust would be rightly
dismissed as propaganda. Can anyone imagine a history of the United
States that did not admit the evils of slavery or Jim Crow?
But we don't need to imagine a history of the Jews that fails to
mention the Jewish role in the Bolshevik Revolution or in communist
regimes throughout Eastern Europe in the post-WWII period or the
attempted Bolshevik revolutions in Germany after the First World War
or in Soviet espionage. Simply consult any of the seemingly endless
parade of tribal histories, many produced by departments of Jewish
studies at taxpayer-funded universities.
The inconsistency goes even further. Jewish organisations are as one
in condemning Western societies, Western traditions, and
Christianity, for past crimes against Jews. Yet they never talk about
It is difficult to say what the effect of this asymmetrical shame and
shaming has had on the West's ability to defend its interests in the
culture wars; except that the effect has surely been negative. A
level playing field will not be achieved until Jewish history texts,
Holocaust museums, and Jewish Studies departments make the same
effort at self-knowledge and self-shaming that Jews have urged on non-
Charles Dodgson is the pen name of a social analyst living in England.
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