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July 29, 2016 / 23 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘nazi’

Nazi Policy and Black Victims—Before, During, and After the Holocaust—from Africa to Berlin to North Carolina

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

In recent years, too many in the African American community have expressed a disconnect to Holocaust topics, seeing the genocide of Jews as someone else’s nightmare. After all, African Americans are still struggling to achieve general recognition of the barbarity of the Middle Passage, the inhumanity of slavery, the oppression of Jim Crow, and the battle for modern civil rights. For many in that community, the murder of six million Jews and millions of other Europeans happened to other minorities in a faraway place where they had no involvement.

However, a deeper look shows that proto-Nazi ideology before the Third Reich, the wide net of Nazi-era policy, and Hitler’s post-war legacy deeply impacted Africans, Afro-Germans, and African Americans throughout the twentieth century. America’s Black community has a mighty stake in this topic. Understanding the German Reich and the Holocaust is important for Blacks just as it is for other communities, including Roma, eastern Europeans, people with disabilities, the gay community, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many other groups in addition to Jews. The dots are well known to many scholars—but rarely connected to form a distinct historical nexus for either the Holocaust or the African American communities. This is understandable. The saga behind these connections started decades before the Third Reich came into existence, in a savage episode on another continent that targeted a completely different racial and ethnic group for death and destruction.

But the horrors visited on another defenseless group endured and became a template for the Final Solution. Students of the Holocaust are accustomed to looking backward long before the Third Reich and long after the demise of the Nazi war machine. African Americans should do the same.

It all begins the oft-overlooked first genocide of the twentieth century, Germany’s deliberate extermination in 1904 of the Herrero and Nama tribespeople in colonial Southwest Africa, now known as Namibia. The atrocities included explicit extermination orders, mass shootings, bonfires immolating wounded or starving Africans, the wearing of identification numbers, and organized transport in cattle cars to concentration camps. One of these camps, Shark Island, was considered a “death by labor” camp. In its campaign against the Africans, the German authorities introduced several words and concepts: Konzentrationslager or concentration camp, untermenschen or subhumans, Mischlinge or mixed race and anti-race mixing laws.

Many of the veterans of Germany’s Southwest Africa extermination campaign went on to become key Nazi activists or otherwise inspired major figures in the Third Reich. For example, Hermann Goering idolized his father, Heinrich, for his role as governor of Southwest Africa. Goering’s 1939 official Nazi biography records reveal that the young Goering “was even more thrilled by his [father’s] accounts of his pioneer work as Reichskommissar for South-West Africa … and his fights with the Herero.” Years later, Goering swore under oath that of the leading “points which are significant with relation to my later development,” he counted among the top four as “the position of my father as first Governor of Southwest Africa.”

In the 1920’s, former colonial Trooper Franz Ritter von Epp went on to hire Adolf Hitler, fund the purchase of the Nazi newspaper Völkische Beobachter, and, with Ernst Röhm, helped found the Storm Troopers. The Storm Troopers even adopted the desert sand-colored brown shirt uniforms worn by the troops deployed in Africa.

After the Treaty of Versailles stripped Germany of its African colonies, German citizens were shocked to see African soldiers patrolling their streets. It is not widely known that when France occupied post-Great War Germany, it deployed 20,000 to 40,000 colonial African troops. The Germans reacted with a bitter national protest movement, imbued with sexual imagery, called “Black Shame on the Rhine.” When a generation of Afro-Germans arose, denigrated by Hitler and the Nazis as “Rhineland Bastards,” they were among the first to be forcibly sterilized.

When the Nazis came to power, like throngs of other loyal Germans, some Afro-Germans tried to join the Nazi Party. Hans Massaquoi, son of a Liberian diplomat and a German woman, was among those who wanted to sign up with his local branch of the Hitler Youth, just like the rest of his schoolmates. Young Hans was astonished to discover that the 1935 Nuremburg Laws, defining German blood and racial status, applied to him—denying him admittance. His teacher reluctantly told him that joining the Hitler Youth was now impossible. “But I am German,” implored Hans, “my Mother says I’m German just like anybody else.” Nearly hysterical, he pressured his incredulous mother to take him to the nearest Hitler Youth recruitment home, where he was roundly told to leave.

From that moment on, Massaquoi learned to live with the twin fears that the Gestapo would knock on his door or that Allied bombs would rain down on the roof. After the war, Massaquoi was able to emigrate to the United States, where he became a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. Later, Hans became a marcher alongside Martin Luther King in Chicago. In Chicago, he took a job with Jet Magazine and then Ebony, where he rose to become the managing editor.

Ironically, African Americans were impacted beneficially by Nazi policy again in the thirties when refugee Jewish professors, ousted from their posts in Germany, immigrated to the United States. Some 50 such refugees accepted teaching positions in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, helping to mentor the generation that fought the civil rights struggle. Among the students who credit the inspiration of German-Jewish professors is Joyce Ladner, who went on to organize civil rights protests with Medgar Evers and who would later rise to the leadership of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] and the Congress on Racial Equality [CORE]. Ladner’s mentor was Ernst Borinski, a Jewish sociologist who arrived from Germany in 1938 and eventually taught at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. Others include Dr. Joycelyn Elders, who went from being mentored by a German-Jewish professor to a distinguished career in medicine. In 1993, she became Surgeon General of the United States. “The German-Jewish professors had a tremendous impact on young blacks in the South,” summed up African-American attorney Jim McWilliams, who attended Talladega College.

In the forties, when African American soldiers were deployed to Europe, Nazi soldiers who encountered them treated them mercilessly, often committing massacres and war crimes against POWs.

After the fall of Berlin, returning African American soldiers discovered Nazi racial policy was in force in some 27 U.S. states that had adopted forced sterilization laws based on corrupt German eugenic pseudoscience. Ironically, this race science had been nurtured in America first and then transplanted to Germany. In American state after state, eugenic boards quoted Nazi race theory and statutes as justification to sterilize Blacks, and even confine them in camps as a social protective measure. In Connecticut, one state program even sought to implement Nazi-style race-based expulsions and organized euthanasia of those deemed unworthy of life.

We have only begun to chart the impact of German policy on those of African descent. More would be known, but such research remains almost completely unfunded and indeed unsupported. However, this much is certain: all misery bleeds the same color blood. Any man’s persecution should inspire everyman’s crusade.

Edwin Black

Why Some Jews Are Afraid of an ‘Inner-Nazi’

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

What is the fundamental lesson of the Holocaust for Israel and the Jewish people? There is a divergence of opinion:

Many Liberal Jews believe the main lesson of the Six Million is that we Jews should never do to others what was done to us.

We know first hand what the horrors of hatred look like, and therefore, we must distance ourselves in every possible way from behaviors which are like those of the Nazis.

This way of thinking posits that every mortal person has the potential to be a Nazi and when given power, every human and even every Jew can become abusive. But after the Holocaust, we Jews were tasked with being more ethical and virtuous than the barbarians. We took it upon ourselves to be the archetype of restraint, lest our very human Inner-Nazi be unleashed and we end up mirroring the tormentors we escaped.

I call the folks in this camp Fear-of-Inner-Nazi Jews.

The other perspective is very different.

It posits that the main lesson of the Holocaust is that Jews, having survived the hell of the Holocaust as a people, should Never Again allow anyone to do that to us again. The Zionist revolution effectuated a return to the land, to agriculture, a revival of Hebrew, and, so meaningfully, a resurrection of Jewish physical courage and military strength. Israel’s ability to put up a fight, and even to be a global leader in defense techniques and technology, is, for subscribers of this outlook, a source of pride.

This group I call the Never-Again Jews.

But not only are these outlooks divergent, they also clash.

For those in the Fear-of-Inner-Nazi faction, the Jewish State, when acting with force, can come dangerously close to being like the dreaded Nazis.

The latest trigger of this phobia took place when a soldier in Hebron shot a downed terrorist. The Inner-Nazi group immediately sensed danger: Israel was slipping morally, carrying out extrajudicial killings, vigilantism, field execution – the Inner Nazi was coming out!

For those of the Never-Again viewpoint, the Hebron terrorist came to kill Jews, like a classic Nazi, and ended up dead. Was it OK to shoot the terrorist when he was down? Maybe yes, maybe no – but that’s not the big issue. The Jewish people are at war with a global Jihad which seeks to destroy Israel and to kill Jews for being Jews. The bottom line is that Israel must, first and foremost, protect Jews, and be the Never Again country which prevents the Nazis of today from harming one hair on one Jewish head.

However, for Never-Againers it’s not only that Jews have the right to kill Nazis or Jihadists because all is fair in war.

For many of us, the very assertion that Jews have an Inner-Nazi and the given the ‘right circumstances’ we will herd people into gas chambers is preposterous! The father of Nazism, Adolf Hitler, hunted Jews precisely because we were the embodiment of morality, the “conscience of the world” which he wanted to wipe out. Anyone who really knows the Jewish and Israeli people knows that we have never been in danger of becoming Nazis. To the contrary (and contrary to global media), we are a source of light, liberty, and progress, regionally and globally.

Yet, the Fear-of-Inner-Nazi Jews are not the only ones who subscribe to the idea that Israel’s actions, unchecked, can easily approach Nazism.

Anti-Israel propaganda harps endlessly upon those Liberal Jewish fears by insinuating a nexus between Israel’s actions and Nazism.

Once the accusation has been lobbied, Fear-of-Inner Nazi Jews face a dilemma: If they believe the propaganda, they become anti-Israel. If they don’t, they bend over backwards to prove that Israel is not like that all, that we are a moral people with a moral army, and we have the Inner-Nazi in check. For Inner-Nazi Jews, the only solution is to throw the soldier who shot the downed terrorist in Hebron into the slammer and throw away the key after making a public example of him! Shackle the Inner-Nazi and hope the world sees the truth of our goodness!

In the meantime, the real Nazis of our time – the Hamas, ISIS, and Hezbollah – arm themselves and prepare for war.

We know they are digging tunnels and we know they are building up their supplies of rockets with the intent of wiping Israel out. But we don’t hit them hard and we don’t strike with fury – we are chained down, stymied by our fear of unleashing the Inner-Nazi or by the fear of being accused of having one. We can only strike when we are under full attack, and then retaliate with only a measured response. A roof-knocking rocket, a kinder-gentler moral army, which makes sure to never fully win, and certainly would never use the word “vanquish” at the end of the war. Don’t crush the enemy, be merciful to the weak, even though moments ago he tried to kill you – Remember the Holocaust!

Some people say that we Jews talk too much about the Holocaust. I don’t think so at all. I think we don’t talk about it enough.

We should take a minute every day to view photographs of dead-Jew-piles being tractored or burned. Then, after watching that, we should make a commitment each day to Never Again and act upon it by striking mercilessly at the Jihad and sending a clear signal – we have zero tolerance for Jewish injury, we have zero tolerance for Neo-Nazism. Now that we have the power to stop them, we should Never Again allow for the 6,000,001 victim. This should our fundamental take-home lesson from the Holocaust.

And let’s take it one step further: instead of fearing the Inner-Nazi who will never appear, imagine if we would embrace our inner Never Again Jewishness so that we would not only protect our own, rather, we would use our newly found strength in a new role. Liberator. Israel – post-Holocaust empowered Jews – would go out and fight today’s Nazism wherever it is, and help the world defeat the very same forces that murdered Six Million when we were weak.

Yishai Fleisher

Rivlin at Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony: We Will Continue to Survive and Battle Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – President Reuven Rivlin said that the Holocaust is central to Israel’s identity and vowed to combat the “chronic disease” of anti-Semitism on Wednesday night during the official ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.

“The Holocaust, whether we like it or not, has become a factor in shaping the standards of our understanding of ourselves, of understanding our relationship with other nations, and our role in the world,” Rivlin said. “The Holocaust places the Jewish people before basic principles, as a people and as a nation gazing inward at ourselves and outward toward all of humanity.”

Rivlin stressed, however, that the founding of the State of Israel was no redress for the Holocaust.

“The State of Israel is not, under any circumstances, compensation for the Holocaust,” he said. “However, the Holocaust put into perspective the necessity and crucial need of the Jewish people to return to its historical roots, as a nation that takes its fate in its hands.”

Rivlin emphasized that Israel not only allows the Jewish people to take control of its own destiny, but also allows it to defend itself as a collective against the continuing phenomenon of anti-Semitism.

“Anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jews are not a fad, or something that can be taken lightly,” Rivlin noted. “It is a difficult, chronic disease that penetrates deep into the heart and history of nations.”

“The State of Israel will deal with this anti-Semitism by ensuring, first and foremost, a national home and a Jewish army that protects the nation of survival,” added Rivlin. “We are a nation that has survived and will continue to survive thanks to our resilience and strong spirit.”

Rivlin also addressed the Holocaust survivors attending the ceremony, asking for their help in extracting the meaning of the tragedy and lessons to be learned.

“These are the years in which we should take the opportunity to try to clarify along with you how you want to shape the memory of the Holocaust and its lessons for future generations,” he said. “The number which was tattooed onto your flesh is etched into the hearts of this nation for generations and has become the living will of the Jewish people.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Spurning Ceremonies, Israelis Invite Holocaust Survivors to Their Living Rooms for Remembrance Day

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

As Israel marks its national Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday evening, thousands of Israelis eschewed the traditional commemoration ceremonies in favor of more personal and intimate encounters with Holocaust survivors and witnesses in their very own living rooms.

Zikaron ba-Salon (Remembrance in the Salon) is a social initiative started six years ago by a group of friends who felt they needed a more direct and unfiltered way of connecting with the memory of the Holocaust on the solemn day.

“The stately ceremonies felt very distant and impersonal to us. We were looking for a closer and personal connection to the memory of the greatest disaster in our history,” Racheli Hazon, the Jerusalem coordinator of the initiative told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

The group invited an elderly Holocaust survivor to one of their homes, hosted him and listened to his story, later conducting a deep discussion accompanied by musical performances.

What started as a private initiative among friends quickly spread among Israelis young and old, and is now an international phenomenon with similar meetings happening as far away as Seattle.

“The year after this initiative began, the idea was replicated by some of the guests in their own living rooms. It grew, and last year approximately 150,000 individuals participated as guests, hosts, or speakers in living rooms all over the country – and even abroad,” Hazon told TPS.

Now the the Zikaron ba-Salon is a well-coordinated and organized initiative with a website in which individuals can find an event to attend, to volunteer their own living room as hosts, or register as speakers.

One surprising volunteer this year was the President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, who opened the living room of his official Jerusalem residence to 40 guests who came to listen to a heart-wrenching witness account by Meir Ginosr, an 87-year-old survivor of the Auschwitz death camp.

“Zikaron ba-Salon in the president’s living room is a remembrance in the living room of every citizen of Israel, symbolically shared by the entire nation,” commented Rivlin on the initiative.

According to Racheli Hazon, aside from having such a distinguished volunteer join their ranks this year, the project also marks the largest event held so far.

“Usually these events can’t fit more than 30 or 40 people. This year, the owner of the Tahrir bar in Jerusalem’s shuk (market) has opened his venue to over 100 individuals,” Hazon explained to TPS.

Tahrir hosted 85-year-old Yigal Halamit, who spoke about his experience during the Holocaust in Tunisia and the oft-ignored story of the many North African Jews who perished in the Holocaust by the Nazis.

“It is personally important to me to be able to share my story with these people,” Halamit told TPS. “This is a wonderful forum and a great opportunity for me to tell the story of the forgotten North African victims of the Holocaust.”

“It didn’t happen only in Europe, it happened everywhere the Nazis went, ” he added.

“These are the last opportunities we have to have actual encounters with survivors and listen to them directly and hear their stories, “ Hazon lamented. “Already there are more participating living rooms than actual Holocaust survivors to speak in them.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Two Roman-Era ‘Mummy Paintings’ Stolen By Nazis Returned to Jewish Heirs

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Two Roman-era mummy paintings stolen by the Nazis from Felicia Lachmann-Mosse were returned to the family heirs last month. Lachmann-Mosse was the daughter of German-Jewish art collector Rudolf Mosse, a publisher and philanthropist who died in 1920.

The artifacts were confiscated with the rest of the Mosse art collection in 1933, and sold with more than 400 items at an auction in 1934. But Lachmann-Mosse had already fled Germany with her husband, reaching safety in 1933.

After the Third Reich placed the Rudolf Mosse Foundation (as the family’s Company was known once the Nazis (took control) into receivership, it “confiscated and disposed of the family’s artwork and artifacts at auction — published in auction house catalogs (Lepke and Union),” according to the website of the Mosse Art Restitution Project. “This documentation did not represent the entirety of the Mosse family art collection. Items were removed from the collection after the confiscation and prior to the auctions.”

The paintings described above are mummy portraits of a young man and a young woman, both deceased. When Egypt was part of the Roman empire, the traditional embalming and mummification included a painted portrait of the departed.

The two portraits owned by Mosse were eventually acquired by German writer Erich Maria Remarque, author of “All Quiet on the Western Front.” They were purchased from his widow for approximately $137,000 as part of a collection by the University of Zurich in 1979.

Mosse’s heirs gave a “financial contribution” to the university in exchange for the paintings, the school said, but it is not clear whether the “contribution” was voluntary or required.

Hana Levi Julian

‘Russia & Israel Partners Against Holocaust Denial’

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

by Jonathan Benedek

Russia and Israel are partners in the struggle against Holocaust denial, says Valentina Matviyenko, head of the Federation Council of Russia.

Matviyenko attended a memorial ceremony in Netanya on Wednesday together with a number of regional council members and members of Knesset at the National Monument Commemorating the Victory of the Red Army Over Nazi Germany.

“The Netanya monument is a symbol of a shared memory and symbolizes the brotherhood of nations,” Matviyenko said, referring to Russian-Israeli partnership and friendship.

She also mentioned the current challenge faced by both Israel and Russia in fighting against false narratives of World War II and the Holocaust.

“Russia and Israel are partners in the struggle against the falsification and revision of the history of World War II. Together, we are partners in the struggle against Holocaust denial because any attempt to deny the Holocaust is a crime.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also spoke at the ceremony and expressed his gratitude on behalf of Israel for the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany.

“This is an expression of our profound gratitude to the Red Army,” said Edelstein. “This impressive monument has also been central in allowing us to salute and remember the past. It has allowed us to build the present and the future here in Israel.”

Edelstein expressed his desire for the Russian-Israeli relationship to continue advancing and growing. “I hope that we succeed in tightening the cooperation between Israel and Russia, and the Chairman of the Federation’s visit expresses this important task,” added Edelstein.

The National Monument Commemorating the Victory of the Red Army Over Nazi Germany was inaugurated in June, 2012 at a ceremony attended by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Comprehensive Survey of Israelis in Germany Finds They Are Secular, Educated Leftists

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

(JNi.media) About 85% of Israeli Jews in Germany are secular—as opposed to 46% of Israeli Jews in Israel; 62% have a university degree—compared with 46% nation-wide in Israel; and at least 70% defined their world-view in the Israeli context as “left wing,” Israeli German Spitz Magazine reported in its December issue. Spitz is an independent magazine, whose founder and editor Tal Alon is a journalist who used to work as news desk chief for Yediot Aharonot and Maariv. She has been living in Berlin with her family since the summer of 2009.

The initial findings of the study, the result of a collaboration between Wuppertal University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, were presented last Friday by Prof. Uzi Rebhun and Prof. Danny Krenz at the Moses Mendelssohn Center in Potsdam. Some 600 Jewish Israelis (born in Israel and Hebrew speakers) were surveyed online, and a few Dozen Israelis living in Germany participated in in-depth Personal interviews conducted by Prof. Krenz and Cultural Anthropologist Katja Harbi.

Incidentally, after cross-checking data from different sources, the survey’s authors have concluded that the number of Israelis in Germany is a lot smaller than was believed, not more than 16,000, in contrast with various reports claiming higher numbers in Berlin alone.

One of the most interesting findings of the survey, according to Spitz, is the fact that about 69.1% of respondents define their sociopolitical outlook in the Israeli context as “left wing,” 22.4% as “center” and only 8.4% as “Right wing” — results which are dramatically different from the results of the most recent Israeli elections.

Another interesting statistic is the fact that in Germany 84.7% of Israelis are secular, 10.7% described themselves as “a little religious,” 3.9%” “moderately religious,” and only 0.7% as “very religious.” By comparison, according to a study by the Israel Democracy Institute in 2009, only 46% of Israeli Jews define themselves as secular while 32% are traditional, and 22% say they are religious or ultra-Orthodox. Similarly, while 68% of Israeli Jews say they always fast on Yom Kippur, 77.9% of Israelis in Germany said they do not ever fast on Yom Kippur.

Here is another fascinating finding: according to Spitz, 46.5% of Israelis with higher education have degrees in the arts and the humanities, compared with only 18.3% Israeli Jews in Israel with similar degrees.

58.5% of the respondents have immigrated to Germany at ages 25-34; economic reasons were cited by the vast majority; 26.1% have a German citizenship; 54% live with a spouse who is a German national; and 54.4% have parents or grandparents who are Holocaust survivors.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/comprehensive-survey-of-israelis-in-germany-finds-they-are-secular-educated-leftists/2015/12/06/

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