Contemporary Knowledge of the Holocaust

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


What Nobody Knew

Dr. Stefan Fleischer, Professor of Literature at the University of Buffalo, has called my attention to an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary which is indeed revealing.

The dictionary defines the word HOLOCAUST in several ways. Each definition is accompanied by one or more examples of its use in past literature. One definition is “a sacrifice wholly consumed by fire”, another definition is “a complete sacrifice or offering”, a third definition is “complete sacrifice by fire” and finally “the HOLOCAUST” is defined as “the mass murder of the Jews by the Nazis in the war of 1939-1945.”

Now what is truly remarkable is the paragraph in the OED which follows. Here is one quotation from The News Chronicle of 1942: “Nothing else in Hitler’s record is comparable to his treatment of the Jews……. The word has gone forth that the Jewish peoples are to be exterminated… the conscience of humanity stands aghast.”

Note that the year just quoted is 1942. This was in the middle of the 2nd World War. This was at a time when all the borders between Germany and the rest of the world were reputedly closed.

Three years later, in 1945, the Germans and their European collaborators claimed that they knew nothing about the mass murders of the Jews until after the killing camps were opened by the allied armies. Likewise, American politicians claimed that they knew nothing about these murders. Even the American Jewish community sought refuge in pretended ignorance of these atrocities.

Yet, an English newspaper published the news of the extermination of the European Jews in December of 1942. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, another publication, Hansard Lords, published this on March 23, 1943: “The Nazis go on killing ..if this rule could be relaxed, some hundreds, and possibly a few thousands, might be enabled to escape from this holocaust.”

How many other publications knew this and wrote about it? To claim later that these killings were not known all over Europe and America is an excuse that cannot be given credence any more and the OED proves it.

This raises the question why so many claimed not to know what in fact they did know.

First we must understand that hatred of Jews was not then confined to Germany. There were Americans who followed Hitler in this country until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and we entered the war. Prior to that, anti-war demonstrators rallied in the streets and shouted the same slogans we hear them shout in the streets now. Just as Hitler had his friends here in the 1930’s, so Saddam Hussein has his friends supporting his barbarities here in 2003.

Second, it must be understood that the then President, Franklin Roosevelt, was an anti-Jewish bigot who was not willing to save so much as 900 Jews who were trapped on the German ship St. Louis when it sailed out of Cuba towards Miami, Florida in May of 1939.

The circumstances were these: On May 13, 1939, before the beginning of the second World War, the German ship St. Louis sailed from Hamburg for Havana with 937 passengers. Only a few were not Jewish. These Jewish refugees from the Nazi terror had obtained entry permits into Cuba by paying huge sums to the then Cuban dictator Federico Laredo Bru. That dictator and other politicians in Cuba had amassed millions by selling these entry permits to desperate Jews. However, when the St. Louis arrived in Havana on May 27, 1939, the Cubans revoked the landing certificates of the Jews and refused to let more than 28 disembark. The 28 were not Jewish.

Thereupon the St. Louis sailed towards Florida in the hope that the United States would accept the Jews. The voyage of the St. Louis had of course become a major news story and the whole world knew about this. In addition, the St. Louis cabled President Franklin D. Roosevelt for permission to land in Miami. Roosevelt never even answered the cable. Instead, the U.S. State Department, then and now anti-Jewish, demanded that the passengers wait their turn in Germany for immigration visas. This meant that the passengers were condemned to return to the Nazi terror. In fact, in 1939 only 27,370 American visas were made available to all German and Austrian Jews, a number so small as to be equal to a death sentence for the thousands who were waiting to get out of Europe. In the end, the St. Louis returned to Europe. Some of the Jews were admitted into England. The others were sent to France, Belgium and the Netherlands and were there caught by the invading German armies in 1940.

Why is it that to this day there are Jews who view Franklin Roosevelt and his party as friends of the Jewish people? Is there anybody who can answer that question?

Another reason so many politicians and others did not want to know about the mass murder of the European Jews was that they were profiting from the murders. It has now been revealed that many banks in America, Switzerland, England and other places stored “Nazi gold” which was in fact the property of the murdered Jews. Among those bankers who stored the gold originating with the gold tooth fillings of Jewish corpses, the gold rings taken from their dead hands, and the gold coins found in their clothing was the grandfather of the current president, the banker and later senator from Connecticut, Prescott Bush. The son of Prescott, George Bush, was our President from 1989 through 1992. No friend of Israel or anyone Jewish, he sought to prevent the survival of Israel and even incited anti-Jewish attitudes in this country. Yet, the sins of the father cannot be attributed to the son. The current George W. Bush is without doubt the best President we have yet seen. His support of Israel, and hence of the Jewish people here as well, is magnificent. He has not forgotten the lessons of World War II. He has not forgotten the manner in which the appeasers and friends of Germany were willing to let Hitler do his worst. He remembers as we remember the 6 million of our brethren, needlessly slaughtered by the silent and even loud complicity of those who scream “Peace” in the streets even as the tyrants make war against all around them, even their own people.

Therefore we, the American Jewish community, support George W. Bush so that America may survive, so that Israel may survive and so that we may survive, Bimhayro v’yomaynoo,

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Grandparents:  A New Look at the Supporting Generation (with Dr. Ursula A., Falk, 2002), & Man's Ascent to Reason (2003).

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