Provoked by Heribert Adam's “Anti-Semitism and Anti-Black Racism: Nazi
Germany and Apartheid South Africa,” (Telos 108, Summer
1996), Murray submitted an earlier version of this essay to that radical
journal's editor, the late Paul Piccone. Murray had published in
Telos three times before, so the latest submission was given careful
consideration—and ultimately rejection in the form of a 53-page critique
by almost every member of the editorial board! More than one other
journal followed suit. I am proud to have rendered all those
editorial verdicts null and void since the launching of this site in 2004
by posting a version of this paper that dates from about 2000.
(This note added February 20, 2007)
“. . . the victims may be different, the perpetrators may be different,
but the spirit that energized Nazi race laws is clearly evident in today’s
Affirmative Action and the Nazis:
Why Liberals Cannot Understand a Holocaust
What caused the
Holocaust? To liberals, the cause is clear: irrational race prejudice was
unleashed by chaotic conditions in Germany following WWI. Defeat,
inflation, and later depression, mixed with the unhealthy German
obsequiousness before authorities from father, to teacher, to civil
servant, to the military, blended economic and psychological elements to
produce a national psychosis. The ailing electorate then voted for an
expressionist- actor, orator, prompting his rise from failure to Fuehrer.
Germans first voted for the fanatic, then followed him into war, and
finally committed crimes against humanity unequaled in history. Thus, the
Holocaust was the result of Hitler’s, and the Germans’, irrational,
psychotic, hatred of Jews. There was something sinister about the Germans
that turned them into Hitler’s willing executioners.
Some trace this
German anti-Semitism back to Luther and beyond. But others note that
venomous anti-Semitism was not exclusively a German trait. It could be
found in equal or lesser degrees among the Poles, other Eastern Europeans,
Western Europeans, among all Christians, indeed all gentiles. Moreover,
some interpretations of the Holocaust maintain that it cannot be fully
analyzed or described—it is an event in history but beyond history; it is
an occurrence at the center of their religion. The Holocaust is the
example of a supernatural evil in history that directs one to the
supernatural good outside of history. This is a more religious view of
By contrast, the
orthodox Left saw the mass murders by German fascists as the consequence
of capitalist exploitation. If the final stage of capitalism was
imperialism, the the final stage of imperialism was Hitlerian barbarism
with its “final solutions.” However, the defeat of the Nazis did not
destroy the danger because capitalism still thrives. As Brecht quipped,
the womb that gave birth to Hitler is still fertile. And because new
Hitlers might be funded by capitalism, the Left demands preventive
If free speech and
the libertarian culture of Weimar Germany prepared the path for Hitler,
then there must be restrictions to prevent the same exploitative class
from using the bourgeois democratic process to create new fascist
dictators. To foil future fascisms, “hate speech” codes must replace free
speech, for free speech resounds down the slippery slope to Auschwitz. In
recent decades, the Left has often replaced the demon of the capitalist
exploiter with that of the white male oppressor, and both are dangerous
(if not synonymous), both must be harnessed. Hate speech laws provide one
method of doing so. To forestall a future Holocaust, launched by white
male oppressors, the Left demands restrictions on free speech, freedom of
the press, freedom to assemble, the right to bear arms. To prevent future
extermination camps, the Bill of Rights and the American Constitution must
be tossed into history’s dustbin—or
“reinterpreted” by Leftist judges until those traditional rights wither
I contend that most
of the assumptions behind the liberal, religious, and Leftist
interpretations of the Holocaust are false. Though there are differences
between and among these outlooks, there is also overlap, and these views
overwhelmingly dominate both the academic world and the arena of popular
culture’s film and television.
I challenge these
assumptions. It is our duty to seek to comprehend human history. There
is no history “beyond” history to be treated as sacred knowledge; there is
no history that cannot be questioned, even if some deem such questioning
to be “insensitive.” Furthermore, like Thrasymachus in Plato’s
Republic, I contend that much of the discussion on the Holocaust that
preceded is evasive and deceptive. The issue is not as complex as
scholars imply. The spirit that propelled many Germans, first to
anti-Semitism, then to legalized restrictions against the Jews, and
finally to exterminating Jews is the same spirit found in America’s
courts, Congress, and among Presidents, and most especially in university
departments of Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Hispanic Studies, etc.
That spirit presupposes the view that justice requires wealth and power be
distributed proportionally by groups. Ideas have consequences. When
Germans accepted that view of justice, a logic unfolded in reality that in
time elicited surprising and gruesome results.
First, review the
history of the era from another perspective. Were Germans being
“irrational” when they finally voted for the Nazis? Was it “irrational”
for many Germans to conclude that Jews, a tiny percentage of their
population, were a threat and oppressors? During WWI many Jews fought for
the Vaterland and its Central Power allies. However, during the
war, another alliance was forged between Britain and Zionists that
culminated in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 with its promise of a
homeland for Jews in the Middle East. To some Germans, international
Jewry had joined the war against Germany. Omer Bartov notes the
importance of Germany’s “notorious ‘Jew count’ . . . of 1916, an official
inquiry aimed at gauging under representation of Jews in the army” in
WWI. Many Germans suspected that Jews were using their influence to
avoid dangerous duty in the trenches. The survey revealed that Jews were
actually slightly over-represented at the front, and because of that, it
was not released.
it was obvious that Jews were far more over represented in leading radical
revolutions in Germany and elsewhere. While many Jews in Poland,
Byelorussia, Ukraine, etc., welcomed German occupation troops above those
of the Czar, things were in flux. In early 1917 the Czar was overthrown
and a democratic, pro-Western, pro-war regime installed. The Kaiser’s
forces then aided Lenin who was trapped in neutral Switzerland, surrounded
by belligerent nations. The Germans permitted Lenin to travel through
Germany in a sealed train so that he could return to Russia in 1917.
Within the year, Lenin and his Bolsheviki proceeded to overturn the
pro-war regime of Kerenski. Many of the Bolshevik leaders were not
typically Russian; a high percentage were Jews like Trotsky; a few came
from the provinces, like the Georgian, Stalin. Even Lenin was part
Jewish. Eventually the Bolsheviki had to sign a peace treaty with the
Kaiser’s representatives, ceding vast territories to become “independent”
and/or German satellite states carved from the old Russian Empire. By the
spring of 1918, the war on the East Front was over; Germany had won! The
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk expanded the Kaiser’s influence deep into the
former Czarist realm.
With victory in the
East accomplished, Germany had only to smash the West. But, before it
could do so, there was rebellion at home. German soviets in the navy and
in factories demanded peace and the overthrow of the Kaiser! Suddenly,
after all the sacrifice to win the war, after victory in the East, and
with German troops still in Belgium, France, Kiev and the Baltic states,
treason on the home front by social democrats, soviets, and others crushed
Germany’s hopes. In the fall of 1918 Germany sued for peace based upon
President Wilson’s 14 Points—self
determination of nations, open treaties openly arrived at, etc. The
Kaiser fled Germany and a Republic was proclaimed, headed by Social
Democrat Friedrich Ebert. With German victory so near, the new,
social-democratic republic sought peace—and
with it, defeat. (Actually, Ludendorff and the High command knew that the
German Army had been defeated, and its unpublicized revelation of that
fact to the Kaiser in August 1918 and its demand that he sue for peace had
precipitated the crisis. But in the propaganda about the events, the
military was unblemished, while the theory of the radical’s “stab in the
back” gained ever wider support.)
inside Germany. New Years’ 1918-19, the radical Spartacists attempted a
coup, but were foiled by soldiers returning from the fronts who formed
into new groups, the Freikorps (free corps). They killed the two
Spartacist leaders, Karl Liebkencht, and the Jewish Rosa Luxemburg.
Elsewhere, events went in the opposite direction. In the large southern
German province of Bavaria, a republic was also proclaimed, led by the
Jewish journalist Kurt Eisner, then by the Jewish playwright Ernst Toller,
and finally by the Jewish Communist Eugen Levine. Apparently, one of the
supporters of this radical Left regime was a young corporal, recently
released, who had been gassed in the trenches toward war’s end, Adolf
So the popular notion
that no Nazi could serve under a Jewish President is wrong; after all,
Hitler, the future Fuehrer marched in support of the slain Jewish
President of the Bavarian Republic. Shortly after, Hitler was elected
from his military unit to the local soviet. The Bavarian Leftists
requested support from the new Hungarian Soviet government in Budapest,
led by the Jewish Bela Kun, but Kun was himself on the defensive and soon
defeated.[7b] By the spring of 1918 Levine’s isolated Bolshevik regime in
Bavaria was brutally crushed by right-wing troops; the young Hitler
quickly switched his allegiance to the Right and denied ever favoring the
Jewish-led Soviet Republic of Bavaria. Nevertheless, it is clear that
another common assertion is wrong—some Jews not only dreamt of
overthrowing German governments before the onset of pogroms, some were
quite active in trying to overthrow them, and for short periods actually
succeeded in doing so.
The new Weimar
Republic sought to solidify support. It also proved instructive for those
who believed in the proportional-by-group theory of justice. Not only was
Hugo Preuss, a Jew, the chief author of the Constitution of the Weimar
Republic, but Jews dominated or were significantly disproportionate in
numerous lucrative occupa-tions. To those Americans who support
Affirmative Action, if they are honest and consistent, surely they would
have judged the Jews as oppressors of Germans, a threat to the German
people and nation in the 1920s and early 1930s.
In January 1922
Walther Rathenau was appointed Germany’s Foreign Minister. Rathenau,
Jewish, was the son of the founder of AEG, that nation’s equivalent of
General Electric. During WWI he had headed the Raw Materials Commission,
and had been a kind of economic czar for the Reich, doing much to keep the
military machine functioning during the blockade by the Allies. As
Foreign Minister Rathenau negotiated the Treaty of Rapallo with the
Soviets, an attempt to end the isolation of both “outlaw” nations. But in
June 1922 Rathenau was assassinated by anti-Semites.
In 1923 in Bavaria
Hitler and General Ludendorff, a leading military figure during WWI,
launched their coup against the new Republic. It too failed, and Hitler
was tried and imprisoned for his activities. However, his trial was
broadcast throughout the nation, and Hitler used the opportunity to place
the Weimar Republic in the docket. Many outside of Bavaria were impressed
by his indictment of the government.
And what kind of
regime was the Weimar Republic? In today’s America one is constantly
informed by the media, academia, and government that institutional racism
exists as evidenced by statistics that show that white men—a minority—are
over represented as CEOs, in medical schools, law schools, the
professions, media, government, etc. “White male privilege,” “racism,
“sexism,” “black oppression,” are all phrases commonly heard that flow
from the statistics. These charges are based on numbers—whites earn about
1.5 times what blacks do; men perhaps 1.3 times what women do. If white
men dominate the US and oppress others—as revealed by the statistics—then
who dominated Germany during the 1920s? Who oppressed the Germans?
Robert Proctor notes that in Germany in 1933, 13% of the medical doctors
in the nation were Jews. That meant Jews were represented more than 15
times higher than they should have been (by EEOC-type standards) in the
lucrative medical profession. In Berlin, Jews were 60% of the
doctors! Some of the leading newspapers were owned by Jews—most
important in the days before television and where radio was government
controlled. As for the theater, Bernt Engelmann described the Weimar
situation thusly, “The pre-Hitler German theater would therefore seem to
be a theater of Jews for Jews, with predominantly Jewish authors,
directors, actors, musicians, critics, and presumably also mainly Jewish
audiences.” Engelmann noted Hitler’s revolution in the Reich’s movie
industry: “It could be considered a miracle that any German films
continued to be produced at all, after nearly 40 per cent of the stars and
starlets had been legally barred from working, along with more than half
of all producers and directors.” Georg Iggers, a refugee from
Hitler’s Reich, studied German universities. He reported: “Imperial
Germany saw the opening of the universities to non-converted Jews.
Statistics from the year 1900 reflect both the openness of the Prussian
universities and the extent of discrimination.. Taking into consideration
all ranks of university teachers, there were 35 Catholics per 1,000,000
population, 106.5 Protestants, and 698.9 Jews -- . . . But the
representation of Jews among full professors . . . was considerably
smaller, suggesting discriminatory patterns, namely per 1,000,000 16.9
Catholics, 33.5 Protestants, and only 65.5 Jews.” Iggers adds, “If the
situation was inconsistent in Imperial Germany, it was even more so in the
Weimar Republic. On the positive side, more Jews were able to obtain
university positions than before,” but they were confronted with growing
anti-Semitism. Of course, the statistics Iggers discloses show such
over representation that pro-Affirmative Action groups should call it
Jews, less that 1% of
the population (a mere 4/5ths of 1%) in the Weimar era were 16% of the
lawyers, over 11% of the doctors; Jews owned 40% of Germany’s wholesale
textile firms, nearly 60% of the wholesale and retail clothing business,
half the private banks, composed 25% of the wholesales of agricultural
products, and their departments stores acquired 79% of that market.
While the German
economy staggered and then recovered from the vast inflation of 1923, it
soon stumbled into Depression in 1929. Millions were unemployed, and at
that time the crisis was undoubtly worse in Germany than in Britain or the
Of course, in America
today liberals denounce white male privilege because white men are over
represented among CEOs, etc. Whites earn perhaps $1.50 for each $1.00
earned by blacks; men about $1.30 for each $1.00 earned by women. Because
of this disparity, in America Affirmative Action edicts legalize
institutional discrimination against white men in awarding contracts,
hiring, promotion, admission to university, scholarships, etc. (When
everyone except white males receives a preference, then white men are
being discriminated against.) The justification for such discrimination
is to curb white male dominance and oppression in the seats of power and
But during the Weimar
Republic, Jews earned 3.2 RM for every Reichsmark earned by German
gentiles! “Aryans” were thus earning a mere 30 Pfennigs for each
Reichsmark earned by Jews. And in the Depression! No wonder some
demanded that Jews be restricted. When Hitler became Chancellor in 1933,
he preceeded to do just that. The result, Germany recovered from
Depression. And with the marked economic renaissance, no wonder gentile
Germans were jubilant, thanking Der Fuehrer for restoring prosperity. The
Germans were no different from Americans who adored Franklin Roosevelt
whose New Deal, if it did not create prosperity, at least softened the
impact of the slump.
For many average
German gentiles the lesson seemed clear: in the 1920s Jews dominated
important and lucrative sectors of the economy, and the consequences were
devastating for Germany’s gentiles. By the mid-1930s, with Jews ever more
restricted, German gentiles thrived. Perhaps the Nazis were right;
perhaps the Jews were the enemy of the German people. Moreover, Jews
holding disproportionate influence outside Germany, spread propaganda to
“slander” the new Germany and engaged in boycotts of the Third Reich.
deducing logically from the proportional-by-group theory of justice,
blending with their experience, reached certain conclusions about
reality. Perhaps the Nazis were correct that it was because of nature,
innate racial reasons that Jews managed to acquire such power in banking,
media, academia, law, and medicine. Or, perhaps nurture was the cause of
this Jewish problem of over-representation, perhaps it was a consequence
of their history, environment, etc. Either way, however, Jews held
disproportionate power and were using it to hinder Germany, trying to
cripple its new prosperity. And if Jews refused to remain restricted,
severer measures, indeed a final solution to the Jewish problem, might be
considered. It was not the inevitable outcome, but neither was it
irrational if one adheres to the proportion-by-group notion of justice.
Some Germans undoubtedly reached such conclusions as they followed
logically from their assumptions about group proportions and justice.
Then what happened?
For the moment, forget WWII. Consider only the period January 1933 to
early November 1938. The Depression eased and then disappeared from
Germany. While the New Deal in America staggered from depression to
recession and back to depression again, while Britain slogged along with
dole and depression-rate unemployment throughout the 1930s, while the
Soviets reduced unemployment through gulags, slavery, starvation, and the
murder of millions, Nazi Germany seemed to thrive. What about the Jews?
Some fled. But many asserted, “It won’t be so bad,” and remained. The 1
April 1933 boycott of Jewish stores was worrisome, but it lasted only a
day, and the leading Zionist paper in Germany urged Jews to wear the
yellow Jewish designation with honor. True, Jews lost civil service,
university, media, and legal posts, but others continued working.
(Interestingly, Nazis who believed that German students should not be
taught by and could learn nothing from Jewish professors, like Einstein,
and therefore the Jews must be fired, are echoed by American Leftists who
assert that Blacks can learn only from Blacks, Hispanics from Hispanics,
Asians from Asians, and so children in American schools must have racially
and ethnically appropriate teachers.)
True, there were
humiliations. In 1935 Jews lost their citizenship and the right to marry
non-Jews, but at least Jews would not become extinct through assimilation
and intermarriage. Some, like Revisionist Zionist Georg Kareski, endorsed
these Nuremberg Laws. In 1936 during the Olympic Games, visitors at
one of Berlin’s leading department stores were struck to see all the flags
of the participating nations displayed—all except the German flag. By
then, Jews were no longer permitted to fly the German flag (which was
changed under Hitler from the Republic’s black, red, and gold, to the
Nazi’s swastika). But Jews were allowed to display the blue-white flag of
Zionism. The emblem of Zionism was permitted because the Nazis cooperated
with the Zionists. And why not: both sought to get the Jews out of
Germany. Even in 1933 some Zionists welcomed the accession to power of
Hitler as an opportunity for Zionists. During an interview in 1957, Dr.
Hans Friedenthal, the former head of the main Zionist organization in
Germany, the ZVfD, declared, “The Gestapo did everything in those days to
promote emigration, particularly to Palestine. We often received their
help when we required anything from other authorities regarding
preparations for emigration. This position remained constant and uniform
the entire time until the year 1938.” A deal was forged between
Zionists and Nazis whereby 50,000 Jews left Germany for Palestine and
received imported goods from Germany worth millions of Reichsmarks.
While the Left and some Jewish groups boycotted German goods from the
beginning in 1933, the Zionists rejected the boycott and negotiated deals
to get Jews from Germany to Israel with a sizable portion of their
There was a major
problem for the Zionists in the early 1930s—many Jews did not want to
leave their German homeland, even if it was seeking to disown them. What
would the German Jews do in Palestine, anyway? Or Austria? Or England?
True, thousands were leaving Germany, but, as Proctor writes in amazement,
in the mid-1930s several thousand of the Jews who had left, returned
to Nazi Germany. Why? As Hitler solved the problem of
depression, many Jewish companies not only survived, they thrived. Thus,
the decision by thousands of German Jews to return to Nazi Germany might
be readily comprehended by recalling Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign slogan,
“It’s the economy, stupid!” And, as Gordon Craig noted, “In the clothing
and retail trades, Jewish firms continued to operate profitably until
1938, and in Berlin and Hamburg, in particular, establishments of known
reputation and taste continued to attract their old customers despite
their ownership by Jews. In the world of finance, no restrictions were
placed upon the activities of Jewish firms in the Berlin bourse (stock
exchange), and until 1937 the banking firms of Mendelsohn, Bleichroeder,
Arnhold, Dreyfuss, Straus, Warburg, Aufhaeuser, and Behrens were still
active. Rising waters had raised many boats. For Jews, there might
be humiliations in Germany, but if they avoided politics, they might be
better off than residing under Stalinist tyranny or in depression-ridden
Gilbert notes that during the first five years of Hitler’s reign “no more
than two hundred Jews had been killed, most of them in the first fourteen
months of his rule. The number of Jews, as well as of political
opponents, liberals, and churchmen, held in concentration camps, had
continually dropped.” Gilbert added, “Even Hitler’s anti-Jewish record
over five years was open to positive interpretation.” That was hardly
a “holocaust.” There were probably more gays killed in this period than
Jews. There were certainly more Aryan Germans sterilized (estimates from
200,000 to 400,000, mostly in the 1930s) or killed because they were
physically or mentally handicapped (about 100,000 mostly before the
outbreak of World War II). To the average German, it would seem that
Hitler’s policies had reinvigorated the nation, created prosperity,
achieved international recognition and national pride in diplomacy, in
sports, autos, autobahns, medicine, etc. Restricting Jews seemed to free
Germany so it could flourish and regain its place in the sun. Goebbels
could boast of a German theater, a German film industry, German
publishing, etc. The result was the world’s first televised Olympics, the
best sports film ever made (Riefenstahl’s Olympia), and the
development of the Volkswagen (“the people’s car”). Nazi policy towards
Jews from 1933 to October 1938 could easily fall into the category of
Germany expanded into
Austria, Czechoslovakia, and with war in September 1939, into Poland. The
number of Jews under Hitler’s dominion multiplied geometrically.
Two-thirds of Vienna’s doctors were Jews. A tenth of the Polish
population was Jewish, a third of those dwelling in Warsaw. And when
Britain declared war on the Reich, there was no hope of sending Jews to
Palestine, then ruled by the British. While there might have been other
alternatives, the Nazis decided on the “final solution to the Jewish
problem,” extermination of the Jews. Was it inevitable? This can be
debated. But clearly, it was only with WWII that mass extermination of
Jews began. Furthermore, it was hidden from many average Germans. The
film, The Fuehrer Gives the Jews a City, sought to portray the
concentration barracks of Theresienstadt as a haven for Jews. Euphemisms
abounded from “final solution” to “resettlement in the East” to “special
handling.” Even when Jews were forced to march through Germany, guards
were told not to shoot them in the cities, where it could be observed, but
in the countryside. And if Jews looked ill-fed and miserable, Germans by
then knew their own homes and cities were being massively fire-bombed in
Hamburg, and later, even more devastatingly in Dresden. To many Germans,
all people, Germans and Jews, were suffering from the war.
Naturally, not all
Germans were sufficiently “knowledgeable,” “understanding,” and “morally
courageous” to partake in the enormous undertaking of exterminating
Europe’s Jews. This project was for elite units like the SS, which would
cleanse the continent of the Jews, the mentally ill, physical misfits,
homosexuals, gypsies, and other “low-lifes.”
To rationalize many
of the Nazi measures and murders, the proportional-by-group theory of
justice was essential. That is the identical notion of justice espoused
today in America by the EEOC, the NAACP, NOW, La Raza, and others who lead
this nation toward a time when whites will be a minority. Will a similar
logic ensue in 2050 by which time a possible final solution to the white
male problem may be implemented? (If the question appears absurd,
insensitive, or insulting, the question of German extermination of Jews
would have seemed equally so if asked in 1920, 1930, 1933, 1937.)
Bartov stresses the
importance of the “notorious” Jew count in Germany in 1916. What about
the “Jew count” in America of the mid-1960s? It did not occur and
that is its significance. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited
discrimination based on race, sex, or religion. However, an
official of the EEOC, Alfred Blumrosen, set about to selectively enforce
the law. In violation of the Civil Rights Act, Blumrosen’s EEOC sent out
official forms to major American corporations demanding a “race count” to
determine the proportionality of various races working at the firms. This
annual race count should be deemed as notorious as Germany’s Jew count,
but it is generally ignored—or applauded—by scholars. Soon thereafter the
EEOC also required corporations to submit sex and ethnicity counts, all
aimed to force employers to hire a racially, sexually, and ethnically
proportional workforce. But Blumrosen ensured that the EEOC never
inquired about religion. He was determined to prevent a proportional
workforce based on religion—though religion was one of the categories
mentioned in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Instead, Blumrosen selectively
enforced the law so there would be goals and timetables (quotas) by race,
sex, and ethnicity, but not by religion.
One consequence of
the selective enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was that some
Jews complained in 1999 that Princeton University was being unfair in its
admission policies because Jews constituted a mere 10% of the incoming
freshman class, a decline from 16% in 1985. Jews compose above 2% of the
general American population. But some believed Princeton discriminated
against Jews when that university was compared to other Ivy League schools
like Harvard, where Jews were 21% of the freshmen, or at Yale, 29%. Some
Jews were disturbed that they were only 10% at Princeton and claimed they
were discriminated against, though they were 4 to 5 times over
represented! Jews are about 25% of the freshman class at Stanford and
other elite universities. Yet, some complain they are the victims of
Blumrosen also helped
create the hoax of white male privilege and cleverly deflected hostility
toward white men and away from his own, much more over represented group.
Blumrosen thus used his influence to impose Nazi-like race laws on
Americans while consciously exempting his own group from quotas by
selectively enforcing (or more precisely in this case, mis-enforcing) the
civil rights law.
Thus, the victims may
be different, the perpetrators may be different, but the spirit that
energized Nazi race laws is clearly evident in today’s America. That
spirit is summarized in the view that justice requires all groups achieve
and received a proportional share of wealth and power. Those groups who
overachieve are seen in this theory as oppressors who must be curbed, if
not eliminated. This view of justice is what links proponents of
Affirmative Action to the Nazis. Thus, one may properly conclude that
American liberals have created and enforced the Nazi-like race edicts that
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Hitler’s
Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).
For a discussion of this, see the
first and last chapters of Steven E. Aschheim, Culture and Catastrophe:
German and Jewish Confrontation with National Socialism and Other Crises
(London: Macmillan, 1996, pp. 1-30, 115-35.
Though Germany had been a center of Zionism
prior to outbreak of WWI, by 1917 the Central Powers simply could not
outbid the British on this issue.
While the British could offer
Palestine as a homeland for the Jews, Palestine was then a part of the
Turkish Empire, which was one of the few nations aligned with Germany
during that war.
The Turks were determined to cede
Palestine to neither Zionists nor Arabs, and Germany was unwilling to
offend its ally by promising as much to the Zionists as did the British.
Omer Bartov, “Defining Enemies,
Making Victims: Germans, Jews, and the Holocaust,” American Historical
Review, June 1998, pp. 776-77.
Though many on the Left have dismissed the
assertion as anti-Semitic and anti-Communist propaganda, Lenin himself was
partly of Jewish heritage.
Dimitri Volkogonov states in
his revealing biography of Lenin, “In her letter to Stalin, Anna [Yelizarova,
an elder sister of Lenin who had studied the family’s background] wrote:
‘It’s probably no secret for you that the research on our grandfather
shows that he came from a poor Jewish family, that he was, as his
baptismal certificate says, the son of “Zhitomir Meshchanin Moishe
She went on to suggest that ‘this
fact could serve to help combat anti-semitism.’
Paradoxically for a Marxist . . .
,she also asserted the dubious proposition that Lenin’s Jewish origins
‘are further confirmation of the exceptional abilities of the Semitic
tribe, . . . ’ . . . Anna’s sister Maria handed the letter to Stalin
and waited while he read it carefully.
His response was categorical and
fierce: ‘Absolutely not one word about this letter!’ . . . But
Stalin, the Russified Georgian, could not allow it to be known that Lenin
had Jewish roots, and his strict prohibition remained firmly in place.”
Dimitri Volkogonov, Lenin: A New
Biography, tr. And ed. By Harold Shukman (New York, etc.: The Free
Press, 1994, pp. 8-9.
The revelations from the former Soviet
archives simply demonstrate how often the Left has accepted and defended
Communist propaganda as fact.
Chaim Bermant adds to the discussion
in his The Jews (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1977)
Not counting Lenin, of the seven
members of the early Politburo, four were Jews—Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev,
Furthermore, after Lenin’s death, the
triumverate that assumed power in 1924 to block Trotsky consisted of
Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Stalin.
Only Stalin was a gentile, and he was
married to a Jew.
Sarah Gordon recognized that one of the
“genuine and objective reasons for increased anti-Semitism during and
after WWI” was the impression among ordinary Germans that Jews were linked
to socialism, communism, and
See Sarah Gordon, Hitler, Germans,
and the “Jewish Question” (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1984, p. 23.
The television program “The Rise and
Fall of Adolf Hitler: [Part] I, The Private Man,” contains some revealing
I quote from the narration:
“With the defeat [of Germany in 1918], revolution broke out across
In Bavaria a revolutionary government
was set up.
The socialist president Kurt Eisner was shot
on the street in February 1919.
The people turned out to say
Hitler had returned to his Munich regiment,
his only foothold, his only home.
He was threatened with demobilization
and a return to the hostel.
A fellow soldier later remembered
that Hitler seemed like a stray dog, searching for a new master.
In the funeral procession for the
Jewish Socialist Eisner was a detachment from Hitler’s regiment wearing
both red armbands and black armbands.
The film clip shows a lance corporal
marching with the officers—Adolf Hitler.
Contrary to his legend about
himself—he is wearing the red cloth of the soviets; he sympathizes with
the German Socialist Party, a hanger on with no political home.
After the murder of Eisner, Munich
was shaken by revolution.
The Bolsheviks forced their way into
power and for the month of April 1919 set up a Soviet Republic.
The Bolsheviks’ leaders demanded
loyalty from the soldiers, including Hitler’s regiment.
Spokesmen were being elected; Hitler
stood as a candidate.
With 19 votes he won a seat on the soldier’s
council, or soviet, becoming a servant of the forces which shortly after
he said he had always hated.
In early May troops of the Reich’s
central government captured Munich and crushed the soviet dictatorship.”
Only then did Hitler change sides and
later cover his past in supporting a Jewish led soviet government in
The film was produced by ZDF in association
with ARTE and the History Channel.
Executive Producer: Guido Knopp.
Written and produced by Guido Knopp
and Maurice Philip Remy, 1997.
The film shows one who appears to be
Hitler in the funeral procession, and displays documents about Hitler’s
election to the soldier’s soviet.
The percentage of Jews had declined
since German unification in 1871.
Monika Richarz presents the
statistics showing the decline from 1871 when Jews were 1.25%, to 1900
with 1.04%, in 1910 with 0.95%, in 1925 with 0.90%, to 1933 with only
0.76% after perhaps 25,000 had immigrated because of Nazi rule.
In raw numbers, Jews were 564,379 in
1925, while only 502,799 in 1933.
See Monika Richarz (ed.) Jewish
Life in Germany: Memoirs from Three Centuries, tr. Stella P. Rosenfeld
and Sidney Rosenfeld, sponsored by the Leo Baeck Institute (Bloomington &
Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991, p. 6.
Similarly, Saul Friedlaender
estimates the number of Jews as 535,000 in 1933, in Saul Friedlaender,
Nazi Germany and the Jews, v. I, The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939
(New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1997, p. 15.
The total population of Germany in
1925 was just over 63 million, by 1933, just over 66 million.
Robert Proctor, Racial Hygiene:
Medicine Under the Nazis (Cambridge, Mass. And London: Harvard
University Press, 1988), p. 153.
See Bernt Engelmann, Germany
Without Jews, tr. D. J. Beer (Munich: Wilhelm Godman Verlag, c1979;
New York, etc: Bantam Books, 1984).
His quotation about the
theater appears on p. 72, about the films, p. 67.
The entire book is a discussion of
Jewish over representation in the culture, science, and professions of
Sarah Gordon writes on the same subject, “ .
. . in 1931, 50 percent of the 234 theater directors in Germany were
Jewish, and in Berlin the number was 80 percent; 75 percent of the plays
produced in 1930 were written by Jews; and the leading critics were
Jewish, and a large number of prominent actresses and actors were Jewish.”
Sarah Gordon, Hitler, Germans, and
the “Jewish Question,” p. 14.
Georg Iggers, “Academic Anti-Semitism
in Germany 1870-1933 from a Comparative International Perspective,” paper
delivered at the International Conference “Rethinking German
Anti-Semitism” at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 26-28 November 1996, p.
Donald L. Niewyk, in The Jews in Weimar
Germany (Baton Rouge & London: Louisiana State University Press, 1980)
writes: “ The role of Jews in the economy and, indeed, in the culture of
Weimar Germany has been exaggerated . . . And yet, there can be no
question that Jews contributed in some aspect of German life between 1919
and 1933 in numbers disproportionate to their representation in the
Almost three-quarters of them
[Jews] made their living from trade, commerce, banking, and the
professions, especially medicine and law . . . Although professed Jews
made up at most 0.9 percent of the German population . . . In 1930, Jews
owned four thousand of Germany’s wholesale textile firms, or 40 percent of
the total, and nearly 60 percent of all wholesale and retail clothing
businesses were in Jewish hands, . . . Around a quarter of all wholesalers
of agricultural products were Jewish, . . . Jews were also important in
the wholesale metal trades and retail grocery business . . . Jews were
highly visible as owners of great department stores and chain stores.
In 1932 department stores owned by
Jews accounted for 79 percent of all business done by such enterprises . .
. Jews were similarly prominent as bankers . . . Almost half of all
private banks, . . . ,were owned by . . . famous Jewish banking families .
. . Jews were less prominent in the leadership of German industry,
although they were well represented in a few fields . . . Only in the
publishing industry were Jews unquestionably leaders.
The two largest publishing houses in
Germany, . . . , Jewish journalists were notable across almost the entire
spectrum of the liberal and left-wing press . . . In 1933 they made up 11
percent of Germany’s doctors, more than 16 percent of its lawyers and
notaries public, and around 13 percent of its patent attorneys.” Pp.
Sarah Gordon wrote, “Jews were very active
in the stock market, particularly in Berlin, where in 1928 they comprised
80 percent of the leading members of the stock exchange.
By 1933, when the Nazis began
eliminating Jews from prominent positions, 85 percent of the brokers on
the Berlin stock exchange were dismissed because of “race.”
Sarah Gordon, Hitler, Germans and
the “Jewish Question,” p. 12.
It was not only in Germany where Jews
had a disproportionate share of the wealth.
Rubinstein reports that in Hungary
in1887 some 62.3% of the top business taxpayers were Jewish.
Around 1914 it was estimated that 35%
of Russia’s mercantile class was Jewish.
And in 1929 in Poland 45% of the
highest income earners outside of agriculture were Jewish.
See Rubinstein, “Jews in the Economic
Elites,” Jewish Journal of Sociology, xlii, #1 & 2, p. 6.
Niewyk, Jews in Weimar Germany, p.
Francis R. Nicosia, The Third
Reich and the Palestine Question (Austin: University of Texas Press,
1985), p. 56.
Ibid., p. 57.
my review of
Nicosia’s book in New German Critique, Fall 1987, pp. 176-80.
Proctor, Racial Hygiene, p.
374, note 77, reports that in 1935 some 90,000 Jews left Germany, but
Gordon Craig, Germany: 1866-1945
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 633.
Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust: A
History of the Jews of Europe during the Second World War (New York:
Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1985), p. 57.
Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi
Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (New York:
Basic Books, 1986) p. 27 reports 200,000 to 350,000 sterilized; Proctor,
Racial Hygiene, p. 108, sets the number at 400,00.
On the euthanasia program,
Proctor states 70,000 had been killed by August 1941, pp. 191-92; Lifton
presents numbers killed in this program, which extended through the war
years and into the post-war era of occupation as 100,000.
James Glass, “Life Unworthy of
Life”: Racial Phobia and Mass Murder in Hitler’s Germany (New York:
Basic Books, 1997) states, “Between 1934 and 1945, at least 1 percent of
the German population was sterilized.” P. 39.
Proctor, Racial Hygiene, p. 374, note
For an account of this see, “The
Letter from Dr. Nash,” by Bill Luedens in Milwaukee’s Shepherd Express,
14 November 1996, pp. 9-11.
The newspaper, Milwaukee’s
equivalent of New York’s Village Voice, introduced the article in
this manner: “When Erwin Knoll died on Nov. 2, 1994, he was perhaps the
nation’s best-known proponent of radical ideas, a national spokesman for
the political Left.
Knoll, for 21 years the editor of
The Progressive . . . ” was not a native American.
“ . . . Knoll’s formative years were
spent fleeing the Nazis in Austria.
A letter from his uncle, Eric Nash,
who was captured, told his family what they missed.”
On the question of whether the
holocaust was rational, see a series of my writings:
Polity, Spring 1990, pp. 545-556;
“Science, Reason, and the German
Utopia,” Journal of Unconventional History, Fall 1989, pp. 33-51;
the critique of that article and my reply, Ibid., Spring 1990, pp.
5-12; and my review of Zygmund Bauman’s Modernity and the Holocaust
in German Politics & Society (published at Harvard), Spring 1991,
Though his conclusions differ from mine,
James Glass, Ibid., includes some supportive observations.
For example, he writes on p. 120,
“[Georg] Mosse’s analysis of culture is correct as far as it goes; it does
not however, give adequate weight to the role of science in forging
professional precepts ( . . . ) critical to understanding the Holocaust.”
On the book cover’s inside flap, this
is stated, “Glass, a leading scholar of political psychology and political
theory, argues that the answers [of why the Final Solution] lie in the
rise of a particular ethos of public health and sanitation that emerged
from the German medical establishment and filtered down to the common