Holocaust Studies, Two:
Frustrating Truth and Collective Historical Guilt
According to a survey published Monday, May 18th, 2009, more than 40 percent of Israel's Arab citizens claim that the Holocaust never happened. This is up from "only" 28 percent who felt that way in 2006.
Dr. Sammy Smooha, the University of Haifa sociologist who directed the survey, said that he thinks the increase indicates "rising frustration among Arabs." This strikes us a pagan trait, preferring comforting lies to uncomfortable truths. Anyway, we wish that all the Holocaust deniers would read the new book by Richard J. Evans, The Third Reich at War. See below:
Collective Historical Guilt
The Third Reich at War (Penguin, London, 926 pp.) is the third and last volume in Evans' brilliant, magisterial work that covers the whole eleven year history of "the Thousand Year Reich." It wasn't just the Nazis that savaged the Jews of Europe, Dr. Evans shows, but the Germans as a people.
Evans, a senior professor of history at England's famous University of Cambridge, draws on "documents and speeches, diaries, letters, memoirs, transcripts of private conversations, secret reports by the Nazis about the popular mood, and even the jokes that made the rounds" (from "We Are All Guilty" by Walter Reich, a review of Evans' book in The New York Times, Sunday, May 17, 2009) to prove that the Germans, with only a relatively few exceptions, fell for the Nazis and carried out their brutal programs not reluctantly or grudgingly but with great enthusiasm. True, they began to sour on their leadership when the War turned against them, but they went along with their program cheerfully enough otherwise. And, when it came to the Jews, they were, by and large, pitiless.
Evans uses one German Army officer's diary throughout the book. Wilm Hosenfeld was stationed in Warsaw, Poland. He knew what was happening at Treblinka, the nearest concentration camp - really, an extermination camp.
Hosenfeld must have been a Bible-reader. (It's odd that so few people recognize that, rather than being "godless," the Nazis and the Germans invoked God, or their conception of Him, all the time; they were, on average, far more familiar with the Bible than are most Americans today.) He was perceptive, and - according to Evans - utterly exceptional, because he felt and could express shame at the actions of his countrymen.
Evans quotes this diary entry from June, 1943, Hosenfeld speaking of Treblinka:
"With this terrible murder of the Jews, we have lost the war. We have brought upon ourselves an indelible disgrace, a curse that can never be lifted. We deserve no mercy, we are all guilty."
We at this foundation find this thought to be so remarkable that we felt it necessary to post it for the widest possible audience to see it. We hope to offer more on this subject later. We welcome your comments on this subject.