You Cannot Adulate Hitler’s Forces and be Committed to Human Rights and Pluralism

December 13, 2012 4:28 pm 4 comments

Estonian Waffen SS. Photo: Petri Krohn.

The legacy of World War II has long inspired — and may it in perpetuity inspire — an uncomplicated core consensus between the mainstream parties in Western democracies. By way of unfathomable sacrifices and indomitable determination, the Allies together defeated the worst scourge the world ever knew, one that had enslaved most of Europe and murdered millions of European Jews, and so many others.

From Poland in the east to France in the west, Europe crumbled. Only Great Britain, later joined by the Americans and others — and after Hitler’s 1941 attack on the USSR, by the mammoth allied Soviet war effort — finally brought an end to Nazi Germany.

That is not to say that there is no room for debates and new research.

But alarm time is at hand when European Union partners make heroes out of the Nazis and their local collaborators, a particularly pernicious policy in the Baltics, where many of the actual Holocaust killers were local “nationalists” now adulated. The real heroes were the few who risked all to save a neighbor.

Nowadays, the racist, antisemitic and homophobic hate exhibited by neo-Nazis is inseparable from their adulation of Hitlerism and its trappings. Meantime, their suave up-market cronies play with a more sophisticated toy — rewriting history.

The new challenge has hurled sandbags of confusion, a veritable “postmodernist mental mush”, into the line of sight. It comes primarily from polished political leaders, compelling cultural attachés and silver-tongued academics from the new easterly EU and NATO democracies. Sure, when Western countries set out on freedom and prosperity after war’s end, these lands were trapped into Stalin’s misrule. They have every right to ask that the world memorialize the victims of communism.

Where it gets out of hand is the insistence that Nazi and Soviet crimes be made “equal” by diktat. What nonsense to claim that those who liberated Auschwitz are equal to its mass murderers. Just such drivel was in effect proclaimed by the Prague Declaration in 2008. Enormous credit is due to the UK’s MP John Mann. He was among the first to call it what it is: “a sinister document”.

Then came a series of missteps by UK Conservatives, who were misled by smooth operators out of the east. Like politicians of any stripe, they have a tough time uttering the word “mistake”. As ever, it’s easier to fool someone than convince them they’ve been fooled.

Back in 2009 David Cameron made his alliance-dalliance with the East European rightists in the European Parliament, abandoning the Tories’ natural centre-right partners of France and Germany. One embarrassment followed the next. There was Poland’s Michal Kaminsky, finally eased out of his party leadership in 2011. There is Latvia’s Roberts Zile and his support for the annual Waffen SS parades in his capital’s city center.

In Lithuania, where I have enjoyed living among the welcoming everyday people of the capital, Vilnius, for years, state agencies have been “investigating” Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance, while honoring the “Lithuanian Activist Front” butchers who unleashed the Holocaust in dozens of locations before the Germans even came. One such agency was recently welcomed by London’s Imperial War Museum. This year the Lithuanian government repatriated from Connecticut the remains of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister who signed the documents ordering the Jews of Kaunas (Kovno) into the ghetto. It is all whip-creamed over with an endless roll-out of jovial conferences on Jewish history and the Holocaust itself. Spineless Western academics and dignitaries line up to receive accolades, medals, trinkets and junkets.

In recent weeks, folly has risen anew, again and incredibly in the party of Churchill. He is unquestionably turning in his grave.

Martin Bright has boldly brought up in the Spectator and the JC the valiant one-woman campaign waged by Londoner Monica Lowenberg against Latvia’s honoring the Waffen SS. Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan (for South East England) has just replied at length, insisting that Latvian politicians who adore the Waffen SS are “absolutely committed to human rights and pluralism.”

No, sir. You cannot adulate Hitler’s forces and be committed to human rights and pluralism. Full stop. The new far right that poses as centre-right for the benefit of naive westerners grows craftier by the year. It is high time to oppose state glorification of Nazi collaborators. For the party in power in the UK, it will be a particularly easy thing to do. And the right thing.

Visit the author’s websites at DefendingHistory.com and DovidKatz.net.

4 Comments

  • this studies and researches about their history , this or that is getting bring, tiresome and indifferent. who wants pluralism? and why they want pluralism ? this business about measuring life’s values in accordance with their gravity of reference is indeed senseless and absurd. Latvians want to honor their heroes, well and good.

  • your relativism is wrong

  • Why does killing Jews make the Nazis “the worst scourge the world ever knew”? The Commies killed 10 times as many people as the Nazis killed so why aren’t they “the worst scourge the world ever knew” or at least on an equal level of scourge?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.