Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Uniqueness of Nazi Antisemitism

What are the unique roots of Nazi antisemitism? Professor Yehuda Bauer, Director of the International Center for Holocaust Studies of Yad Vashem, made some generalizations about the uniqueness of Nazi antisemitism over a dozen years ago in Jerusalem.

  1. The Holocaust is a genocide of special and unprecedented type. The word genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a refugee Polish-U.S. Jewish lawyer in 1942. While genocides are planned attempts to destroy ethnic or racial groups, the Holocaust was a radical attempt to annihilate every single member of the Jewish race.

  2. The Holocaust was purely ideological. The Nazis imagined an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world (think "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion").  More on the fictitious Protocols another time. Other genocides have had practical motivations.

  3. The Holocaust was not geographically limited. Since the Nazis fully intended to rule the world, directly or through allies, Jews around the world were to be hunted down and exterminated.

  4. The Nazis were looking for all Jews. Persons with three or four Jewish grandparents were sentenced to death for the crime of having been born. 

  5. The Holocaust dehumanized the perpetrators and humiliated the victims.

  6. In Nazi thinking all humanity was to be reorganized. The so-called Aryan race, they believed, was destined to dominate the world. All other races or social groups were to be either abolished or subordinated.

  7. Finally, to accomplish this Nazis combined the ideology with modern technology and record keeping. Ultimately, this combination made it possible to exterminate 2/3 of European Jewry in less than a decade, together with millions of Slavic and other peoples.
The roots of Nazi antisemitic ideology are to be found, no doubt, in the rebirth of Nordic paganism, or the Nordic Religion. In this view the Aryan race has always been the master race. It is the will of the gods.

Connected to this, in his 2006 argument Pope Benedict claimed that the "ultimate Nazi target" was the Christian church. If the tap root of the Christian faith, i.e. Judaism, could be torn up, the church might also be destroyed, he said.

This statement seems to ignore the nearly two millenia-long antisemitic hatred sponsored by many within the Christian Church who maintained that the Jews were responsible for rejecting and murdering their long-awaited Messiah. Since the Jews asked that Jesus blood be upon them and their children (Matt.27:24-25), let it be so. Their old covenant has been superseded by the New Covenant in Christ.

Related to this issue is the Roman Catholic Church's more recent affirmation of the permanent integrity of God's ancient covenant with the Jewish people.  Many scholars, including some Lutheran, have insisted that this is so and are calling for Christians to reevaluate their relationship to the Jewish people.

These issues must be explored in greater detail another time.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

As Long As There Are Jews There Will Always Be Nazis

"Solange es Juden gibt, wird es immer Nazis geben" 
(As long as there are Jews there will always be Nazis)
"A Jew is a citizen of no country except Israel" 
"Waarom leef ik" (Why am I alive?)
—comments written in the Anne Frank museum guestbook, Amsterdam and quoted by Mark Kurlansky in A Chosen Few: The Resurrection of European Jewry.
Anne Frank
My one and only visit to the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam took place back in 1971. My wife, children and I were touring the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy in a rented VW bus. To stand in that place where this little Jewish family hid from the Nazis filled me with deep sorrow and anguish. It put flesh and blood to the story of Nazi fanatical hatred. It was such a troubling experience for me that I had to cut the visit short. Tears choked my throat and eyes as we walked down the stairs and back to the street.

To this day, now nearly forty years later, I cannot put my mind around how any group of people, any nation, any government could harbor such hatred and fear. It does not make rational sense, but then why should it? The only explanation I can find for the Nazi decade, the years during which I was born and began to grow toward manhood, is to accept the fact of evil, evil so deep as to go far beyond comprehension. The more I study—and write—about that era, the more I am convicted by the insights of Jesus and his apostles. Listen to them:
"...our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12).
"When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness" ( Jesus when captured in the Garden - Luke 22:53).
"He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son" (Colossians 1:13).
Jesus and his apostles teach us that everything about darkness and this dark world is opposed to light. They also teach that this is power, not power in the sense of electricity or steam or hydrogen, etc., but power that reaches into the human psyche to fill it with darkness. We view the power of that darkness in the rise and destruction of Nazism. No war in all human history destroyed so many human lives, both civilian and military. Estimates run to as high as 60 million, an astounding and unbelievable number.

But why? I will not attempt to probe the depths of that question, but instead, in  the days ahead, will focus on antisemitism and share some of what my research suggests about why the Nazis hated Jews so deeply and attempted to exterminate them all from the face of the earth.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Nazi Links to Antisemitism's Long History

In  my novel, Freya's Child, Hulda Schwarz, the devoted Nazi priestess of the Nordic goddess Freya, makes it very clear that she believes the religion of the Jews—and the Christians—must be replaced with the religion of the northern gods. In that she reflects the well-known antisemitism of the Nazi regime and the resulting annihilation of millions in Nazi death camps. As indicated in my previous Blog, what is not known so well is the strong connection between the Nazis and many adherents of the Muslim faith, both in the middle-east and elsewhere.

Anyone interested in a deeper understanding of that connection would do well to read the book I cited, Icon of Evil, as well as some others, for instance
The books themselves are of varied quality and value. However, what they all make clear is that el Husseini is the 20th century grandfather and progenitor of an ongoing antisemitism among Arab extremists to the present. In that hatred these Muslims and the Nazis found common ground. For further background consult
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has its own take on the history of antisemitism during the decade of the 1930s. It also has valuable links outlining the 2,000 year-long history of antisemitism from the beginning of the Christian era to the present. This site suggests that Christian leaders taught that all Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Christ, the destruction of  the Temple by the Romans and their own scattering. This hatred was fostered and continued most especially in Christian Europe up to the Nazi era. Simple To Remember has a time-line of widespread Jewish persecution across the two millennia, especially in Europe.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nazis and Al Qaeda

 Fascinating read. I did not realize the close link between this radical Muslim leader and Adolf Hitler. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, was a radical anti-semitist and strongly supported Hitler's programs. Tens of thousands of Soviet Muslims joined SS legions and al-Husayni encouraged them.

Also check out this War Crimes Investigator who Says Al Qaeda was spawned from the Nazi Third Reich: “Al Qaeda is the direct lineal descendant of the Arab Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood"

Here's another quote from that website:
  • “Saudi Wahhabism is to Islam as the KKK is to Christianity,” Loftus said. “It’s an extreme and perverted form of religion that was condemned as a heresy by Islam more than 60 times before the 1900s.”

    “Here is this corrupt cult and all of a sudden the school teachers are Nazis. Here a fusion is born between the two. Schools of hatred were built all over Saudi Arabia,” Loftus said.

  • A well known pupil of these schools is Osama bin Laden, Loftus said. Bin Laden and other graduates of the schools were inducted into an underground neo-Nazi Wahhabi army for Saudi Arabia." 
There is lots more information on the web about Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem 1921-1948.