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My life as an accidental Holocaust expert—and why I decided to quit

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(Illustration: Tablet Magazine; blackboard:

It should have been a straightforward talk on the impossibility of talking about the Final Solution. But a funny thing happened on the way to the abyss that night—an event that led me to rethink the place of the Holocaust in modern history.

I was giving a guest lecture on the subject of Primo Levi at a synagogue in Houston, presenting Levi’s masterpiece, Survival in Auschwitz, to a crowd of 50 or so. I spoke about the nature of Levi’s experience at Auschwitz: his relationship with fellow prisoners, the camp’s makeshift economy and pecking order, the reasons he thought he survived while so many others died, and the narrative strategies he adopted to describe something that could not be described. In particular, I dwelt on Levi’s notion of the “gray zone”—the ways in which death camps blurred the frontiers between guilt and acquiescence, persecutor and victim. By way of conclusion, I revealed to the audience that the title of the book in its original Italian was If This Be A Man. With that abrupt flourish, I slowly closed my lecture binder and looked down at my hands.

I was superb.

An elderly and energetic man in the audience, however, did not agree. He raised his hand, gave his name—I’ll call him Siggie—and announced he was a survivor. A respectful hush fell over the audience, and all heads craned toward the small figure. Siggie declared that Levi didn’t know what he was talking about. “Gray zone, schmay zone,” he declared, more or less. As I stared at him, Siggie then launched into a long and polished account of his own experience at Auschwitz, one that drew fast and sharp lines between victim and victimizer. Moreover, Siggie suggested, anyone who tried to offer a literary or theoretical account of Auschwitz was little better than an interloper. This applied not only to Levi, but even more so to academics like me, who had never been in a concentration camp.

I tried to respond but soon gave up; as a survivor, Siggie commanded not just the moral high ground but the ontological depths, too. What could I say? He was right: I had not been there. Normally, being “there” is not an issue for a historian. Only a lunatic would repudiate an account of, say, the fall of the Bastille or Battle of Marathon because the historian had been born one or one hundred generations too late to savor the sulfur or participate in a phalanx. In fact, historians have long assumed that not being there is a professional advantage. In an odd phenomenological twist, we have always claimed that the distance provided by time and space, along with the accumulation of documents and data, permits us to know the past even better than did an event’s contemporaries, who were stuck in the chaos as they happened. Anyone can make history, but it takes a historian to understand it.

But Auschwitz was different. This, at least, is what Siggie reminded me as he gesticulated with his branded forearm. The grim tattoo was an infinitely more powerful sign of authority than the leather patches on my tweed jacket. With a wince, I recalled Elie Wiesel’s claim: “Any survivor has more to say than all the historians combined about what happened.” As a historian, I knew Wiesel’s statement was nonsense; but as a Jew facing a survivor, I knew it was irrefutable.

Did I even dare suggest that, after nearly half a century and countless retellings, Siggie’s own experience had crystallized into a story—a story whose relationship with the event was perhaps even more problematic than Levi’s or my own? Where, I asked myself, did the scales tip between my doctorate and Siggie’s experience? As I looked at Siggie and the audience, all of these questions were no-brainers. Hiding my elbow patches as best I could, I ceded the floor to Siggie. Apologies to Adorno, but I concluded that, after Auschwitz, history—at least the sort where historians do what they are trained to do—was certainly possible, perhaps even necessary. But, most important, it was irrelevant.


There is a sense in which Emil Fackenheim was right to say that for Jews to forget Hitler’s victims would be to grant him a “posthumous victory.” But it would be an even greater posthumous victory for Hitler were we to tacitly endorse his definition of ourselves as despised pariahs by making the Holocaust the emblematic Jewish experience.

These are the concluding lines from Peter Novick’s The Holocaust in American Life. Published slightly more than a decade ago, shortly after my encounter with Siggie, Novick’s book provided me with an epiphany about the oddness of my vocation. A historian at the University of Chicago, Novick was attempting to explain how the Holocaust—an event that had happened more than a generation earlier on a different continent and affected a mere fraction of those living here—became by the late 1960s the central experience in the American Jewish historical narrative. Novick suggested that this sudden communal awareness of the Holocaust, far from being the result of deep trauma, instead resulted from a series of political events that prodded American Jewry to embrace the destruction of European Jewry as its defining narrative. The rise in racial tensions in the United States, the existential character of the Yom Kippur War, the growth in “identity politics” and its dark side of victim culture: These are some of the factors, Novick suggested, that led to American Jewry’s belated discovery of the Holocaust.

The issue of identity certainly played a role in my becoming—almost by accident—a Holocaust specialist. Levi? Auschwitz? I was no more an expert on either subject than I was on thermal dynamics or the mating habits of the manatee. My dissertation had been on the relationship between the Jewish and Protestant communities in a French city during World War II, but I had never studied the history of the Holocaust, had never read the literature generated by the Holocaust, and had never written on the Holocaust. My own work orbited like a distant moon around the dense black mass of Auschwitz.

But, it turned out, that was close enough. Almost immediately upon my arrival in my first teaching job, I became the go-to guy for the Holocaust. Of course, this was partly due to my dissertation, but in larger part, I suspect, because of my Jewishness. This was fine with me for a number of reasons. First, as a junior faculty member, this identification, though merely professional, could only help in my quest for tenure. An expert on the Holocaust carried infinitely greater weight, I thought, than an expert on ministerial instability during the French Third Republic.

More important, though, such expertise appealed to my sense of self-dramatization. If the Holocaust is, as is so often said, an “inexplicable mystery,” inspiring awe and bordering on the sacred, then I wanted to be part of it. This was not simply the sort of subject that fell outside the normal purview of a historian, but one that also carried a bit of flash. In my lectures on Levi or Frank, Borowski or Delbo, the metaphysical and, well, melodramatic undertow always pulled me away from the strictly historical and textual. I ignored dry-eyed and serious historians like Raul Hilberg and instead steeped in the theological ruminations of Emil Fackenheim. Looking back, I now believe my membership in the American Historical Association should have been revoked.

Actors Equity would have rightly wanted no part of me either. When Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List opened in Houston, a local news station contacted me for an interview. Between the phone call and news crew’s visit to my office the next day, I tore through not just the Thomas Kennealy book on which the film is based but also dozens of book and movie reviews. Once the lights were deployed and my nose powdered, off I shot like a helium balloon, bouncing from one insight to the next. In the midst of my academic preening, I managed to make the humdrum point that while Schindler was flawed, he was also a remarkably good man in dark times.

The following night I settled in front of the TV and encountered a different kind of shock and awe. From that hourlong interview, 59 minutes had ended up on the editing room floor. In the 60 seconds that remained, I’d noted that the real Oskar Schindler was an alcoholic and a womanizer, adding that had it not been for the Holocaust, he would never have amounted to anything. But the news editor was not through with me. Sandwiched between my observations was an interview with another elderly survivor. He wasn’t Siggie, but no matter: Old and kindly looking, he rightly sang Schindler’s praises. No need to go on, I think. The bell for the first round had scarcely rung, and I was already down for the count, floored by the one-two combo of my own vanity and the modern news-cycle.


Why teach Holocaust texts? For more than a decade, I’d taught such works as part of a “Great Books” course, yet I had never bothered to ask myself this basic question. Nor did I ever question the conviction that Levi (or Wiesel, Borowski, or the like) should always bat cleanup. Like the Great Bambino pointing his bat at the center field wall, these writers pointed their pens at the wall the Holocaust had thrown up against history. Along with the rest of my colleagues, I worked on the unspoken assumption that the great ark of Western history, rising on the vast wave created by the Renaissance and Reformation, the Industrial and French Revolutions, was bound to crash and smolder in the crematoria of Auschwitz.

I loved this ending: It appealed to me for all sorts of awful reasons. First of all, it satisfied my desire as an acculturated and agnostic Jew for identification with the religion of my ancestors. In his intellectual memoir, The Imaginary Jew, Alain Finkielkraut, born after World War II and ignorant of anti-Semitism, described how he happily shouldered the Holocaust as a cheap yet effective form of self-identity in France, one that carried all of the metaphysical weight with none of the historical experience. Finkielkraut wrote that, thanks to the all too real tragedy of the war, he eagerly assumes the heroic leading role in his own make-believe tragedy. “The interminable list of all of these deaths,” he noted, “was my passport to nobility.”

Teaching the Holocaust ratified my professional pose as the intellectual gatekeeper to the end of life as we knew it, validating my standing as a historian pas comme les autres. Progress? Enlightenment? Ha. I enjoyed the thought that I was pulling the philosophical rug out from beneath the feet of my students. The joke, it turned out, was on me: My perverse joy in claiming that progress was a sham was all the more perverse because the students never knew that progress had been on the march. They had never worried about the fate of humankind before my course, and I’ll bet bottom dollar they have not worried about it since. In a word, my kids had no dog in this fight.

Long ago Lionel Trilling observed that he asked his students “to look into the Abyss, and, both dutifully and gladly, they have looked into the Abyss, and the Abyss has greeted them with the grave courtesy of all objects of serious study, saying: ‘Interesting, am I not? And exciting, if you consider how deep I am and what dread beasts lie at my bottom.’ ” Imagine Trilling’s reaction if the abyss had already been institutionalized in his own time as a museum, one where students could, like my own, tour it with a kindly docent while carrying an ID card identifying them with an actual victim. He might have concluded that progress does, in fact, exist—we were simply looking for it in the wrong place.

More troubling, of course, was my own attitude toward the abyss. Of course, I cannot speak for others who have taught the subject. But at least I had come to read everything that preceded the Holocaust as prologue, an ineluctable series of events destined to end in what Levi rightly called the anus mundi. At one time historians fell victim to what Herbert Butterfield called the “Whig interpretation of history”: the tendency to portray the past as yoked to a present of greater liberty and happiness. For these historians, at the end of all of mankind’s toil and travail lay the Reform Act of 1832. But I had fallen victim to the very opposite spin: that Western history was destined to lead to the Wannsee Conference of 1942.

In fact, beyond mere teleological fallacy, I was guilty of a kind of eschatological fantasy. I approached the past like the Jews after 70 C.E. who, Yosef Yerushalmi has argued, interpreted all subsequent history through the prism of the Second Temple’s destruction. By then, Yerushalmi suggests, the Jews had all the history they needed. Even the traumatism of the Spanish Expulsion did not spur the growth of history writing. Instead, the cataclysmic event fed into the flourishing of the Kabbalah. When push came to shove, Jews plumped for mysticism over footnotes.

In a similar fashion, I was shoveling history into the Final Solution. All roads of modernity seemed to lead to Auschwitz. Not surprisingly, Yerushalmi had already anticipated this moment. Toward the end of Zakhor, his masterpiece on the intersection of history and memory, he noted how hard it is to “escape the feeling that the Jewish people after the Holocaust stands today at a juncture not without analogy to that of the generations following the cataclysm of the Spanish Expulsion.” Would we decide to do like our ancestors? Transform a single event and allow our past, and thus our future, to be defined by it? Would we, through the desperate conviction that, as Cynthia Ozick once blurted, “all the world wants the Jews dead,” go on sacralizing the Holocaust? Did plain old history, with its insistence on the mundane categories of time, space, and causality, ever stand a chance against such passions?

Yerushalmi was not optimistic: “Most Jews today are in search of a past, but they patently do not want the past that is offered by historians.” American Jewry’s stubborn refusal of history is underscored, paradoxically, by its equally stubborn insistence on the lessons to be drawn from the history of the Holocaust. Despite the gloom and doom of my own lectures, I pretended to do the very same thing with my Holocaust texts. I believed there were lessons to be learned. What were they? If pressed, I would echo the mission of the Houston Holocaust Museum: “Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, we teach the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.”

Of course, while no one could argue against such didactic aims, no one—including myself—could explain why we required the Holocaust as an example in reaching them. In fact, as I eventually realized, such aims were either incoherent or irrelevant. As Novick observed, the “very characteristics of the Holocaust that make it such an appealing illustration of this or that lesson make it a dubious source of lessons.” If I were to insist on the unique character of the Holocaust—though my reasons constantly shifted as, one by one, fellow historians pulverized them—then it simply could not, by definition, serve as a source of lessons. But when I conceded that the Holocaust was unique only insofar as any historical event is necessarily unique, I could not answer why so extreme and horrifying an event was the best of examples to teach the virtues of tolerance and dialogue along with the dangers of prejudice and indifference. I would be the last to deny the magnitude of the crime. But I also wonder if, by a glance at the pages of the local newspaper, we cannot find an abundance of examples that, precisely because of their pedestrian character, make them far more conducive to “teaching moments.”

Toward the end of his book, Novick plaintively wondered if, as a matter of practical morality, “our greatest worry [should] be about people blindly following explicitly genocidal orders.” An immediate and by no means glib reply is that for those at the receiving end of such orders, this is the only question that counts. But Novick seemed to be pointing us in the same direction as Madame du Deffand did in a famous bon mot. When told about the miracle of Saint Denis, who walked two miles with his decapitated head cradled in his arms, she replied: “It’s only the first step that is difficult.” As a matter of practical morality, and more important as a matter of historical integrity, we might take such advice to heart.

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MethanP says:

Of course the Shoah is the defining moment.
For 3,000 years, our slavery and redemption in the Exodus has been what has defined us as a people. Yet you suggest that the single most traumatic event in the history of our people should not define us. Rubish! In Jewish history, there is pre Holocaust, and post Holocaust. And let us never forget that this set a new standard. There have been persecutions and pogroms throughout our long history. But never has there been so concerted an effort to destroy us. The Nazi war effort was subordinated to the “Final Solution”. If the choice was a train of war suplies to the front or of Jews to the gas chambers, the train to the gas chambers always won. In this day, when enemies preach a new holocaust while denying the first, it is incumbant uponus to remember. “We are all survivors, or none of us are”! This happened in living memory. Yet there are denyers. Never Forget.

I found this contribution to be an exceptionally rewarding essay. Insightful and well written. Thank you Robert Zaretsky.

Froma Zeitlin says:

I have taught several different Holocaust courses ever since 1987 to seminars in which Jewish students are the minority. I can say that these courses have been the most rewarding in my lengthy academic career. Students from past years repeatedly tell me that this is the single course they remember; some even say that it changed their lives. The abyss is there and draws all of us up short in the field of the Humanities.

The Holocaust was unique because of introduction and use of scientific methods used in the destruction of the Jews.

Compare the Nazi death camps to the Gulags and the latter will camps where millions also died appear as primitive.

The uniqueness of the Shoah is also made evident by the antisemitism that made it possible.

Hitherto antisemitism was used as a means to degrade Jews and make them appeared as a people cursed by God.

The at the time new antisemitism which was practiced by atheists as well as some racist believers aimed at a “final solution.” They hopes that by the liquidation of the Jewish people a new more “pure world” would come into being.

Hence the Shoah was also part of a Utopian project. Their aim wasn’t merely grand theft (to steal Jewish property, etc) but was also metaphysical.

Finally, the Shoah was unique because it was an international project. While the German Nazis led the way people from all countries in Europe and some people from the Middle East participated in the effort.

The uniqueness then can be seen in the structure of this evil project and not just in the murder itself.

What is noteworthy about this article is that it joins many other such articles claiming that we have “too much Holocaust memorials.” That e should cut back and not talk so much about this horrific event.

Why have some Jews (in America, but not only here) decided that talking about antisemitism is not acceptable? Are some Jews tiered of being singled out and hope by not mentioning the Holocaust they will not be noticed.

Why have we become so cowardly about being proud Jews?

philip mann says:

Methan P;

I once heard some local talk show,where the guest was some jewish personality- I forget his exact function.

The host , who was also Jewish, asked what it means for him to be Jewish , and he answered that we are the people who went through the Holocaust.

I thought then , and still think, that this was a terrible answer. To some people who went through it,it may be. But even among them, they did not get stuck,rivetted to that spot in their lives. They went on,prospered,raised famiklies . They may have been deeply effected,but they went on.

we who are more and more removed have even less reason to focus on it. Tell most kids about the Holocaust , and it`s ancient history-like the Spanish Inquisition. Besides, there is nothing to be done about it. We aside from visiting Auscwitz,what do we do about it now ? We support israel because it is a Jewish state,not just because of what happened seventy years ago.

Most of all , it teaches kids that to be Jewish is to be a victiom. Leave being Jewish , and no more problems.

dusan kahan says:

” But at least I had come to read everything that preceded the Holocaust as prologue, an ineluctable series of events destined to end in what Levi rightly called the anus mundi.” – apparently you hadn’t read everything for then you’d know that term ‘anus mundi’ was the title of a book by Wieslaw Kielar and from that took on as the most fit description of concentration camps reality.

I find a lot that’s refreshing in Zaretsky’s piece, it occurs to me that, indeed, the overarching quality of the Shoah is mystery, in the original sense of the word: unknowable through rational or discursive thought. I find that I can agree with all the points of view cited: the Shoah is unique; it’s not unique; it’s the defining event in modern Jewish experience; it’s centrality, as Novick says, is more a construction than an inevitability; it’s definitely sacred; it’s history; it’s an amalgam of countless contradictory narratives; it’s a Rorschach or a litmus test. Clearly, it’s inexhaustible. But so is the story of the Middle Passage and its nightmare sequelae; so is Pol Pot’s reign in Cambodia. So is the Inquisition. If there is any “lesson” in the Shoah and in any of these other phenomena, I believe it’s simply this: whenever we humans exclude any sentient beings and brand them “other,” a great failure of empathy ensues and any kind of horror, brutality, violence and cruelty becomes inevitable. That’s why I so admire David Grossman’s novel, “See Under: Love” which risks the transgressive act of imagining the perpetrator’s humanity rather than relegating him (a Nazi camp commandant) to the demonic. He does this without ever condoning or excusing the evil the man has done, in fact, his fictional Jewish storyteller-hero defeats the Nazi by “infecting him with humanity.” Maybe we have to abandon the hope of ever coming up with the equivalent of a unified field theory of the Shoah and recognize that we can only understand it through engaging with the myriad specific experiences, stories and contradictions that add up to this unknowable immensity.

Not impressed. You have your tenure my friend, and have made a very nice living off the Holocaust. I have no qualms about it, but your iterations of “teshuvah” strike me as very facile.

“Most of all , it teaches kids that to be Jewish is to be a victiom”. Actually it teaches kids (and adults too) what might happen if you cannot defend yourself and your family and nobody else is willing to do it for you.

Bill Pearlman says:

Have to agree, only people who were there can truly comment on what it was like. And methan is also correct. Sidney Zion once said that post holocaust Israel is the central enterprse, effort if you will, of the Jewish people. If you think Israel should not exist then you think the Jewish people should not exist.

philip mann says:


Put the Holocaust in that context,then I agree.

This is really part of a much longer discussion ,but maybe next time.

michael livingston says:

I think Zaretsky is unduly pessimistic. The key is to teach the Holocaust without mystifying it or sanctifying it. I think this is possible, difficult, but possible.

One problem: The logical conclusion of this argument that only survivors can comment on the Holocaust is that once the last survivor dies, we can no longer talk about the Holocaust, teach it, learn about it. At some point, we’ll have to accept that the Holocaust is a part of history and we need historians to continue to study it.

joe webb says:

hardly a lucid piece. The holocaust was caused by jews. YOu get anti-semitism from jews. That has been my personal experience, long before becoming someone that jews do not like….an anti-semite.

If you are not an anti-semite, you are either stupid, a coward, a fool, or on the jew pay-roll.

Different peoples kill one-another for Darwinian reasons: resource competition, genetic dissimilarity, invasions, and so on. Jews invade, steal, hate the goyim and are generally unpleasant to be around.

The best solution to the world’s racial problems is Separation. I do not hate the jews for their zionism, I hate the jews because they are starting world war 3 because of the theft of Palestine.

Hate is not quite the right word. I am a fascist-lite, and admire the jews for their fascism. They are biologically correct. They have an evolutionary group strategy best represented by the OT, Torah. Talmud teaches how to hate effectively the goyim, how not to get caught hating and killing goyim, and how to out-wit the goyim (Esther, etc.)

The wars-for-Israel fought by goyim boys from the US is great stuff. Of course, your Benjamin Ginzberg warned you about The Fatal Embrace, Jews and the State, but you won’t heed his advice because of your Chosen Pride, etc. So, you will go down sooner or later, having learned nothing from the Holocaust, in whatever its dimensions (one million by bullets or 6 million by magic).

It is all very Darwinian. The holocaust was not Evil, Jews are not Evil, I am not Evil, etc. We are just genetically Different peoples who do get along. Separate…Huntington’s Clash…tells us what to do.

Different peoples killing one-another is the Age-Old game of bio-diversity and how to maintain it. Nature desires bio-diversity. Among other things, human bio-diversity requires that each race or ethny not be ruled by another ethny or race.

Jews are trying to rule Whites. Whites awoke in Germany, and they are awaking in Europe and the US. Beware.

Hey, Siggie! Q. How do you “survive” a “death camp?”
A. You were in a work camp not a death camp.
There were no gas chambers, except ones to kill lice in clothing. The biggest threats to your life were the brutal Allied bombings of Germany’s infrastructure that disrupted its ability to keep you fed and treated medically.

How can you people not see that the “Holocaust” is a very successful propaganda
campaign, a collection of lies that has extorted billions from a Germany that never put a single Jew in a gas chamber.

The lies are exposed one by one but the story never changes. I remember shuddering when I heard the words Dachau and Buchenwald, thinking of all the Jews dying in the gas chambers at OOOOH! SHUDDER! Dachau! and OOOOH! SHUDDER! Buchenwald!

Now the Holohoaxers have had to admit that there were NO REPEAT NO death camps in Germany proper!!! Go to the Museum of Tolerance LOL in Los Angeles and look at the map that shows no death camps in Germany. The lying Shoah show has had to
be moved to Auschwitz in Poland where the Soviets were nice enough to construct a “gas chamber” to shock the stupid tourists.

Oh! And about the holy Six Million lie!
Jews have been collecting money with that mythical figure forever. In 1900 Rabbi Stephen S. Wise used it in a sob story. It was used in 1919 and the 20’s. No matter what happens the Holy Six Million figure survives. At Auschwitz “4 million killed” was engraved on a stone. It had to be quietly dropped a few million but that did not affect the Holy Six Million figure.
Six Million minus Two Million equals Six Million. Jewish math! Give Israel another submarine or two, Germany, because of the
Six Million! Is there one Jewish Tablet reader reading this who is embarrassed enough with this hoax to stand up and say
I am right. Go to Go to Learn something about the Holohoax. Speak out about it. Be a mensch.
….Go to You Tube. “The Wise Old Man at the
Stephen S. Wise Temple.” Pt.I-II. That’s me.

This is absolutely true. Thank you for this fantastic article. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg, holocaust scholar whose father was in Auschwitz and mother in Buchenwald.

I worry that when the survivors die, there will be no one to speak about them. Maybe Zaretsky needed to listen and not just read, but soon we shall have nothing but taped stories to preserve the voices. I also disagree that students in courses that teach the holocaust are not worried about the fate of humankind.

If Zaretsky considers himself a “fake” holocaust historian, then it’s a good thing he’s moving aside so the real ones can step in. The holocaust was not a myth American Jews grabbed onto; it is a fact of history. Of course different survivors see (and saw) the event through their own experiences. That does not make the historian’s approach any less imperative.

I wonder if a discussion on holocaust could ever happen without participation of anti-semites? I also wonder what they are trying to achieve by participating in such discussions?
But going back to business. Sunny wrote: “The logical conclusion of this argument that only survivors can comment on the Holocaust…” I guess it depends. If you are looking for the stories from the personal point of view – yes. But if you are trying to uncover some more general aspects of the holocaust like participation of the local population in the atrocities or the reasons for Peron’s government desire to protect mass murderers from justice or, let say, a phenomenon of “holocaust deniers” – then this is a business of holocaust historians.

When I saw the two noxious anti-semitic rants up there, my first thought was: “kick those sick fucks the hell off this board!” I was all set to call for these discussions to be moderated or for the ability to flag “inappropriate” posts. But my second thought was, “No, better to experience the discomfort of such verbal aggression since it’s out there rather than shielding ourselves from the painful truth that haters keep on hating.” But I feel a lot of immediate anger, fear, revulsion deep in my kishkehs. In spite of what I said in my previous post, when that violent Holocaust-denying rhetoric comes my way, it’s not so easy to see the writers of it as fellow mammals, let alone humans. But who ever said it was supposed to be easy.

Zan Overall here. Gene wrote this referring to my post of Dec. 20 4:01 AM:
“I wonder if a discussion on holocaust could ever happen without participation of anti-semites?” Gene, it’s so easy to dismiss what I wrote with a slur and quickly rejoin the herd. It would be much harder to dismiss any part of what I wrote. Did you know that, as I mentioned, Dachau and Buchenwald are now not listed as death camps at the Museum of Tolerance, that it is admitted there were no gas chambers there. After all the years of lies telling us differently! You should be THANKING me for informing you, but NOOOOOOOO! That’s not Gene’s style. Gene was “carefully taught,” as the song says.

BTW,if by calling me an “anti-semite” you mean I instinctively dislike or hate all Jews, you are so wrong. I love Benjamin Freedman. You are Jewish, I suppose, Gene.
Do YOU like Freedman?

Gene, you also wrote:
“I also wonder what they are trying to achieve by participating in such discussions?” Gene, wonder no more. I will tell you although I think most people would
not have to be told. The answer is: Having studied the subject and become aware of the lies that we ourselves once believed about the Holohoax, we are trying to wake you up too.
Both misery and enlightenment love company.
(I just made that up.)

I don’t sense that you will be joining us in the light any time soon, Gene, but perhaps even ONE Tablet reader will go to or and be enlightened.

Please, someone! Do that and post what you find….I have characters left so I will suggest that some of you check out my videos on You Tube.
To just get your toes wet search
for “Introducing the Wise Old Man.” That’s me. For the full Monty:”The Wise Old Man at the Stephen S. Wise Temple.” Parts I & II. Part I shows what happened when I stood at the gate with a placard reading “BE SKEPTICAL OF THE HOLOCAUST! THE GAS CHAMBER LIE WILL GO THE WAY OF THE LAMPSHADE LIE AND THE JEWISH SOAP LIE. REMEMBER WHEN WE BELIEVED THEM?”

i guess the immediately previous e.mails (and others) are part of the small fringe of deniers Novick has told us not to worry about. . . . thanks, Pete!

John Zimmerman says:

As one who is not Jewish, maybe I should keep my mouth shut, but my feelings dictate otherwise. First, for what to me are obvious reasons, those who are not Jewish have a greater responsibility then the Jewish people to honor the memory of the victims, and ponder on what was done to them. And we who are Christian should also remember the horrific persecutions of the descendents children of Jacob for the last thousand years, during which time some estimate 1 out of 2 of these descendents of Jacob were killed (many, many more surviving severe persecution) all on behalf of the Father of us all. Then read the scriptures of regarding Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their families, and realize Jews are their descendents.

John Zimmerman says:

As for these anti-Semites like the two herein. They are just looking for attention, like children who have done a prank and wait in the bushes to enjoy the outcome. They put together as provocative a rant as they can in the hope of an emotional explosion, which will result in an angry written response, to which they can take credit for as they read it in glee.
I offer the following to you two and any others that are as yourselves. First, understand that to be able to do what you have done requires the absence of normal feelings of human intimacy and a love for others. These feelings are normally instilled through the parent (particularly mother) child relationship. Through your mother and father’s deep love for you, and expressions of affection you develop the ability to love others. Through your parent’s example and their teaching that you are to respect and help others, you develop these traits. The Nazis knew this so removed the German youth from their homes to prevent this normal development in order to create a callous warrior. I hope you can achieve reconciliation with that part of you that is kind, and overcome any ill feelings you have towards those that should have been dear to you.

This is going to sound crass, but your reaction to the gentleman who talked at your reading seems like an overreaction. So, Jews who were in a concentration camp always trump a historian or own the final say on the experience? Obviously, you were right to give the man the floor, and allow people to learn from him. But a holocaust survivor no sooner owns the history than anyone else? In fact, I’d argue that being a part of a piece of history actually makes it (for some people) so you understand it less in the grand sense than say a historian who has devoted their entire life to studying it. Obviously, that man’s experience is a part of it all, but that doesn’t mean he has the last word. Might as well never write any book about the holocaust then. I understand what the man was saying, but I find people who try to own it (like this Siggie) can be false in their own way. Yes, for some their was a grey zone. Just take the notion of the Jewish kapo. Is that person guilty for trying to keep themselves alive? What about a filmmaker like Leni Reifenstahl? Is she guilty of something? The list goes on. War is confusing.

Frank Knarf says:

Only participants have the legitimacy to analyze: Saidism.

Hi Robert Zaresky,

I was born in Feb 1943 and so for me and many others, the Shoah will never be over.

However, the use of that nightmare to give Jews the right to claim victimhood is long over. And Israel is the biggest offender as in:Do unto others what was done unto us.”

I speak as one who lived in Jerusalem for 15 years. Wendy

PS: I was a journalist and wrote a book about all I saw. I now blame Israel for never missing a chance for peace.

I appreciate the self-doubt implicit in the article, though its rhetoric is largely incoherent. I would’ve expected tighter focus from someone with elbow-patches.

Also, I think that if the Holocaust is folded into a larger discussion of 20th century atrocities (Heaney referred to the century as an “abbatoir”), rather than approached as a qualitatively and quantitatively unique event, it will simultaneouly muzzle the rabid deniers and decentralize its place in the Jewish psyche.

Gary Mandel says:

I agree with the writer who said,
“The key is to teach the Holocaust without mystifying it or sanctifying it. I think this is possible, difficult, but possible.”
Zaretsky is now making a big deal of his change of mind, so Zaretsky is not the guy for the job.

VHJM van Neerven says:

Dear readers,

I will keep this apodictic. For why’s, how’s and where’s, I refer to libraries and academics. Take time to study, apply yourself. Keep looking.

Nu: from the above it has become brilliantly clear that we do need shoa scholars to present the facts as they have been established and to go on searching those still disputed.
Personal experience and the stories people distill from them are not history, just its raw material, like documents and monuments; artefacts.
Teleology doesn’t have a place in history. It belongs to the world of meaning, theologies and atheist beliefs.
The mix of knowledge of the past and hope for the future can be extremely volatile. This is especially the case if one, or whole tribes and peoples, has too much to hope for and too little knowledge.
Fanaticism is the result, destroying exactly what they started from, real knowledge and realistic hope.
Instead, we need to imbue knowledge with the firm belief that what we do matters, while at the same time believing that all we know can be altered, in the blink of an eye.

May you all live to a ripe old age. It is dark around us now. Enjoy all the feasts of light.

Mazzel en broge.

Walter Sobchak says:

I knew Novick, he was an @$$#013.

Hugo de Toronja says:

While I’m Jewish and believe the Shoah singular in a great many respects, I fail to see how the difficulties it presents in terms of research, scholarship, and testimony, are any different from those posed by other significant historical events.

I don’t think any serious scholar of, say, the Mexican Revolution, labors under a moral obligation to produce a perfectly complete, and empirically verifiable, factual account that infallibly presents all subjective and objective experiences of the event.

The best scholars chip away at a small corner of the revolution that’s best suited to their expertise and skills. As for the “meaning” of the Mexican Revolution? That’s something they leave to poets, novelists, filmmakers, political philosophers, and philosophers.

Were scholars of the Mexican Revolution to spend their time pondering epistemology, or the phenomenology of historical consciousness, they’d never get around to making any headway in whatever it was that interested them in the Mexican Revolution in the first place.

The word “Holocaust” has lost its meaning. It would be better if everyone used the term the Murdered Jews of Europe as in the Berlin, Germany “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.”

No euphemism, just a factual statement. Then it would not be possible to speak of “other Holocausts.”

Steve Binghampton says:

I’m hardly an anti-Semite but I do find this genre of article increasingly tedious. Read Norm Finkelstein’s ‘Holocaust Industry’ and be done with it. The world doesn’t need yet another Holocaust museum, or yet another anthology, or yet another documentary. The (Ashkenasi) Jews are the smartest, wealthiest, and most successful people on earth, in just about every field, yet they (or at least their loudest members) incongruously insist on this state of perpetual victimhood. I don’t doubt that 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis (though I do object to those who would make any scientific investigation of that figure an illegal activity), but what about the extermination of 10 million Congolese under the Belgians, or the extermination of 20-30 Chinese under Mao, or the extermination of 30-50 million Russians under Stalin? Weren’t those greater crimes, at least in statistical terms? And if so, why do Jews, or more accurately the hysterical squeaky-wheel-gets-the-grease Jews, feel the need to monopolize all the suffering, when there’s clearly so much to go around? And then shout ‘anti-Semite’ at anyone who would dare question the Received Narrative? It all gets a bit annoying, really, and more importantly, it gradually erodes whatever vestigial goodwill people inherently feel towards Jews in general. I think that the Kate Winslet character in Ricky Gervais’ ‘Extras’ said it best: “We get it. It was grim. Move on.”

Christian John Zimmerman wrote: “As for these anti-Semites like the two herein. They are just looking for attention, like children who have done a prank and wait in the bushes to enjoy the outcome.”

John, I don’t see how you would call my posts a “prank.” Readers, if you read those posts you will find I gave reasons to doubt the “holy” Holocaust Gospel.

Reasons like: `
Lies, such as the Jewish soap lie and the lampshades made from Jewish skin lie, are abandoned but the faithful’s faith
never flags.
Dachau and Buchenwald are now not listed as death camps. That does not shake your
faith, John? You still have Auschwitz and Commandant Hoss’s confession. The problem is the confession was obtained by torture by us, the LOL “good guys.”

That’s what you call a “prank?” You compare me to a child hiding in the bushes, waiting to enjoy the outcome ofmy “prank.” Well, I have returned to see the “outcome” of my
posts. I hoped that some of you would confront the assertions I have made.
I hoped that I would not find what has happened EVERY time I have tried to present a contrariant view in a Jewish publication. As usual, all you Tablet readers could come up with were ad hominem attacks and NEVER a debate on substance. Good tactics when you have a weak case. Jews who behave that way are clever but not admirable.

Tablet readers,redeem your self respect, go to and
“Committee for the Open Discussion of the Holocaust” and the
“Institute for Historical Review.” Google “Holocaust 101.” Learn something.

I think you will find that the people posting here are living in an insular dream world. In it you talk about the Holocaust, defined as a willful,deliberate campaign of genocide against Jews, as if it actually happened. When someone tries to wake you from your dreams, you compare them to children and if you are in Europe you put them in prison. Bad show!

(Google “The Wise Old Man at the Stephen S. Wise Temple.” That’s me on

As to John Zimmerman’s psychoanalysis of me, he said what I have done “requires the absence of normal feelings of human intimacy and a love for others.”

John, all I did was disagree with you.
All I did was try to bring you in touch
with reality. I think that is a good thing.

Andrea D. Merciless says:

Wiesel or Weasel is someone for whom the saying ‘there’s business like shoah-business’ applies.

Also, his example made it clear that Holocaust survivors are generally do not make the best spokesmen on the subject–that is if he is indeed a Holocaust survivor.

Wiesel used the historical tragedy to fatten his pocket, promote himself as a saint, to apologize for Zionist imperialism in the Middle East, and to extort money from white gentiles, even those who fought in WWII to rid the world of the Nazi threat. Wiesel gives Jews a bad name.

Hirsh Goldberg says:

Hey, Zen, you think your statement that Dachau was a work camp and not a death camp was a ‘discovery’ proving somehow that the Holocaust was a lie, or not as horrific as the Jews say it was (forget that many non-Jewish historians have written about the Holocaust and there is so much evidence in the form of pictures, films, testimony by survivors and liberators of the camps that the Holocaust has been called the most documented crime in history). As any historian knows,Dachau was not a death camp. It was, however, a work camp in which Jews, non-Jews and other perceived enemies of the Nazis were punished, terrorized and either worked to death or transpoted to Auschwitz when their labor was no longer needed. The Nazis did not erect death campa on German soil; they put them elsewhere, especially on Polish soil. There were scores of such camps — some of which were exclusively extermination centers. And Auschwitz encompassed both a concentration camp and a death camp. This is one of the many subtleties of a very complex, shrouded, deceitful enterprise that the Nazis concocted to murder Jews across the face of Europe. You say it wasn’t six million. Where are the three million Jews that before 1939 lived in Poland? Where are the one million Polish Jewish children? Only about 300,000 Polish Jews survived. As for the lampshade made from skin, this wasn’t a Jewish contrivance. There is film footage of General Eisenhower, so appalled at what he saw at a newly freed concentration camp, showing the people of a town near the camp
the horrific conditions of the inmates and pointing to several items made with human skin. How do you explain the top U.S. military figure and a future President serving as an eyewitness to the Holocaust? How do you explain General Patton, a hard-nosed military man, vomiting when he came across the inhuman conditions in a concentration camp. Oh, excuse me, there were some inmates still alive, so I guess this wasn’t a death camp.

nicky gordon says:

This article makes some good points. In the same spirit, Jews should stop talking as if they understand gentiles and know what is good for the gentiles. Who is Anne Appelbaum to be writing about the Gulag when she was not one of the millions of Christian Slavs killed by communists, many of them Jewish radicals?

Just as Zaretsky cannot really understand what it was like to be at Auschwitz, Jews should understand that they have no idea what it means to be a goy, especially one living in the NWO that is dominated by the Zionist agenda that allows sharks and crooks on Wall Street rip all of us off and then install some puppet president to bail them out at the expense of mostly goy middle class.
And heaven knows Jews have no understanding of what it means to be a Palestinian who has lost his homeland to Zionist imperialists and must face humiliation every day.

maurice behan says:

Patton was an anti-semite. He despised the ragged and starving jews he encountered in the liberated areas of Europe. He probably viewed them as non-European non-combatants much like the Roma. This prompts my query :
why did European jewry accept their horrible fate and not fight back ? Why did the European jews have few friends in central Europe ? Were they bad neighbours ? Did they display anti-social traits or were their Polish/Russian/Lithuanian etc countrymen complete bigots ?

There is nothing “unique” about the Holocaust except its promotion as THE defining Jewish experience and justification for the expulsion of Palestinians from their ancestral homes. While Jews were being slaughtered by the Nazis, Jewish communist commisars were continuing their slaughter and starvation of Russian, Ukranian, etc. Christians in the USSR.Thankfully, many thoughtful Jews are coming around to the view that the Holocaust is a legacy of supine defeat, complete with the collaboration of Jewish “kapos” in the concentration camps. Hardly an uplifting, much less defining, legacy. Stick with Masada.


First, I don’t understand how someone could write his thesis on Proestants and Jews in a French village during World WarII and not have to read about events leading up to the Holocost and their impact on local French villages. On that alone the author should have been denied a degree.

Second, I believe that the importance of the Holocost is unique in that it was a systematic isolation, deligitimization and destruction of an entire people where “good” citizens stood by not only in Germany and in the ountries they took over but in almost the entire world and allowed it to occur. There was no escape for the Jews of Europe from this even countries like the US denied them refuge.

I believe the lesson we should learn from the Holocost was said best by a German Protestant minister. Please excuse my paraphrasing. First they came for the Jews and I stood by, then they came for others and I stood by and when no others were left, they came for me. We are all our brothers keepers and we should understand that we are all “the others”.

The Jews’ motto of “Never Forget” is for their survival. It is, however, not exclusive for all mankind.

leor b says:

I agree with June’s first point: unless the period his thesis covered ended on July 10, 1940, with the dissolution of the Third Republic, there is no way a serious historian of the period could ignore the Vichy collaboration in genocide of French Jews.
There were French Jews who spent the Shoah in hiding, disguised as non-Jews or hidden by non-Jews. There were French Jews who managed to flee Occupied France for neutral countries that would admit them (such as Spain). There were French Jews deported to death camps, some of whom survived. How all of that escaped Prof. Zaretsky’s notice boggles the mind. Even if the primary documents he dealt with were written by French non-Jews determined to ignore the deportations, he should have used other sources to point out the ommisions. That is what I was taught historians are supposed to do, when I was pursuing my BA in History.

leor b says:

As for Prof. Zaretsky’s inability to understand the Shoah on a teleological basis, that is the result of the Professor’s lack of Yiddishkeit. Without a firm understanding of Jewish thought on the subject of suffering, exile and persecution, an observer of the events from 1933 to 1945 (and especially from 1941, when the annhilitionist phase began, with Einsatzgruppen units following the advance of Operation: Barbarosa) can not see any distinction. Either this is a unique horror or it is a banality (as the evil Hannah Arendt believed). It is not unique, except in scale. What is the teleological difference between Lavan, Haman, Titus, Hadrian, Edward I, Ferdinand II or Alexander III and the Nazis, other than scale? What is the teleological difference between the German Jewish Reformers and the Misyvenim, or between Martin Buber and Achan? The answers to these questions will continue to elude agnostic, assimilated Jews like Professor Zaretsky, who have turned the tragedy of the Shoah into a Golden Calf.

All these posts overlook something about who “was there.” The PERPETRATORS were there, too. Alleged perpetrators (e.g., John Demjanjuk) are STILL being hunted down, stripped of their (US) citizenship, deported, tried, tried, and retried until they are convicted. So obviously, no one who could possibly be branded a perpetrator will step forward, though, as Levi said, many victims were also (the worst) perpetrators. All we can hope from from these “others” who unquestionably WERE THERE is posthumously-revealed accounts, written or perhaps even recorded, but never in any way “live.”

Of course, putative victims are also STILL entitled (for life) to receive pensions from Germany and the field of eligibility was just last week further EXPANDED to include people who were never so much as interrogated, much less incarcerated, made to work, or killed.

So: the designated “guilty” shut up, forever, while the designated “victims” continue to complain at the top of their voices. Forever.

I don’t think sense in this matter has any chance of arising as long as ANY survivor or perpetrator is alive.

Tarara Boumdier says:

I cannot usefully comment on this article, but would like say that I was an unwilling participant in one of the famous Watershed Moments of American history, and that a sort of official myth has sprung up around it, which has little to do with reality and much to do with being an Authority and/or Tragic Figure and selling books. I have occasionally tried to correct the record; you may be sure I have not been thanked. Soon I will be gone, and the myth, much more dramatic and interesting than my dull narrative, will live forever. My point? Eyewitness/survivors don’t necessarily have a lock on truth.

The Last Days of the Big Lie – Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust Hoax Exposed –

It’s interesting to see how this encounter with “Siggie” is treated. Siggie’s experience gives him a right to talk about and have opinions, on his own experience. One man, one journey. All else is hearsay.
My own father was taken prisoner in Singapore in 1942, he attempted, afterward, to write about and recall as much as he could, and accepted that his knowledge of what had happened to him, and of all those around him, was merely a fragment.
Historians take those disparate fragments, and attempt to make sense of the bigger picture. People like Siggie can criticise and edit THAT WHICH THEY PERSONALLY KNOW, but no person, whether or not they have a tattooed number that attests to a part in that picture, has the right to decry another’s account, another’s life.
And it is clear that one person’s experience of even Auschwitz is not the same, necessarily as that of another.
Let Siggie talk. But don’t let him shout down other voices.

And as a non-Jew, let me remind you that Jews are not the only people who suffer and die. When you focus on nazi germany, on holocaust museums, you so easily lose sight of the truth, that persecution is around us, as it was in Bosnia, as it is in Africa, what do you know of “the rape of Nanking”?
Look at humanity. Stop seeing it all as Gentile vs Jew.

Prof Zaretzky is wrong to doubt his craft in the face of an eye-witness to the history he writes. The eye witness, even if he or she is an historian, will never write history. Writing history is interpretation of meaning. It’s discovering the dialectic of change and permanence that defines the evolution of civilization.
If people want to think that remembering the Holocaust makes Jews into eternal victims, then let them. They’ll hate Jews no matter what interpretation they put on it. The fact is that the Holocaust made Jews into a State with an army. This is why no Jew has to take shit from people like Steve Binghampton or nicky gordon, et al. These people can be compassionate toward Jews if they’re victims but not if they’re successful. Then, Jews are some kind of Wall Street monsters who sap the life-blood from the good people of Planet Earth. It’s an old story. It’s the same story that led to the Holocaust. But—as we can see even here—it’s still happening. However, now that Jews have an army, this hateful trash is pretty much harmless. Being harmless is the worst fate for them.
maurice behan says that Jews were “bad neighbors” so they presumably deserved what they got. Why didn’t they fight back? Well…sometimes they did. But even if they didn’t the explanation isn’t that they “accepted their fate.” They didn’t even know what their fate was until it was too late. They couldn’t have known because even the Germans didn’t know they would be exterminating the Jews until 1942-43. Were their Polish, Ukrainian and Lithuanian neighbors complete bigots? Of course they were. Even after the war the Polish people organized massacres of Jews, either out of bigotry or to steal their property. Maurice behan is as good an example of this kind of traditional bigotry as any.

@Roque Nuevo: I agree with most of your comment, except for two points:

1) You wrote: “The fact is that the Holocaust made Jews into a State with an army.” That is not really the case. The First aliyah began in the 1880’s, sixty years before Auschwitz opened. By 1941 the Jewish Agency for Palestine’s militia, the Haganah, had been operating for over twenty years.

2) The Einsatzgruppen, the roving death squads who targeted Polish, Lithuanian and Russian Jewish populations, began their activities in 1939. After Operation: Barbarosa began, they increased their murder rate. It is true that the Wannsee conference was held in 1942, but the Einsatzkommandos had already murdered at least upwards of 3/4 of a million Jews by the time of Wannsee.

@leor b:

Thanks for agreeing with me. Of course you’re right about the two points.
As for the first, I didn’t mean to imply that the state of Israel is a result of the Holocaust and I’m sorry that my loose editing made that implication. I’m aware of 19th cent Zionist history and I’m aware that the IDF, ie the Haganah, existed prior to the State of Israel. However, I still say my point stands because the State/army means that Jews don’t have to take shit off the likes of maurice behan, et al, any more. Before that, it wasn’t the case, as the Holocaust itself shows.
As for the second point, I’m not aware that the Einsatzgruppen were common knowledge amongst Germans or Jews. Even so, the so-called final solution hadn’t been designed yet. The Einsatzgruppen was a stop-gap solution, amongst others that were being debated, for example, the Madagascar plan and others. Therefore, I say that Jews couldn’t have rebelled against their fate because that fate wasn’t known to them or even to the German high command until 42-43 because it hadn’t been designed.

Hirsh Goldberg has finally done more than insult me and ignore the arguments I raised against belief in the “Holocaust.”

I wrote: “I gave reasons to doubt the Holy Holocaust Gospel. Reasons like: The Jewish soap lie, the lampshade lie are abandoned but the faithful’s faith never flags. Dachau and Buchenwald are now not listed as death camps but that does not shake your faith?”

Hirsh replied in part: “You think your statement that Dachau was a work camp and not a death camp was a “discovery”proving somehow that the Holocaust was a lie….As any historian knows Dachau was not a death camp.”

Hirsh is admitting that I was right about the absence of death camps in Germany but he is avoiding the point I was making:
namely that these lies that people believed for years can be blithely abandoned with no damage done to the belief in the Holy Holocaust

A bar of alleged soap from Jewish corpses was in the Museum of Tolerance. Oops! It’s gone but the faithful still troop in there.

People used to believe Ilse Koch had lampshades made from Jewish skin with unusual tattoos (Do Jews get tattoos—voluntarily?). Everyone, except Hirsh,now admits that was crude propaganda but no apologies are made to the lady’s memory or to Germany itself.

The Nuremberg “show trials” used tales of gas chambers at Dachau and Buchenwald to convict and hang Germans. Those tales are now abandoned, even by Hirsh, but the Shoah Show goes on. That was the point of my bringing up Dachau and Buchenwald.

Because of Jewish power over our media and government the Holocaust tale spinners suffer no consequences when they are caught in their lies. If they were witnesses in court and kept changing their stories as they do, a bailiff would be taking them to jail for perjury.

Hirsh, I hope you don’t get in trouble with fellow Jews for breaking the rule: Never debate a Holocaust revisionist.

More about Hirsh’s post in another comment.
Check me out at
Zan Overall, The Wise Old Man.

Replying to my skeptical comments about the
fabled “Holocaust,” Hirsh Goldberg wrote:
“As for the lampshade made from skin, this wasn’t a Jewish contrivance. There is film footage of General Eisenhower, so appalled at what he saw at a newly freed concentration camp, showing the people of a town near the camp the horrific conditions of the inmates and pointing to several items made with human skin. How do you explain the top U.S. military figure and a future President serving as an eyewitness to the Holocaust?”

Hirsh says Eisenhower was a witness to the Holocaust when he viewed starving people in a camp and piles of dead bodies. It would be great if some knowledgeable Jewish readers of these comments would set Hirsh straight on this tired old canard but I won’t wait for that to happen. I’ll have to do it myself. Sigh!
Piles of skeletonized bodies and starving people do NOT bear witness to a horrific German policy of cruelty and genocide.
They bear witness to a cruel and genocidal policy of mass bombing of Germany, STARTED BY THE BRITISH! and continued by us, the Good Guys LOL. This is what caused the starvation and epidemics. It bears witness to an unconditional surrender policy demanded by Stalin and supinely agreed to by FDR, surrounded by Soviet spies and agents, many Jewish.

Eisenhower SHOULD have shown the bodies to
JIMMY STEWART! who piloted one of those planes which bombarded Germany from a cowardly and relatively safe height and flew back to a warm bed in England.

If any of you automatons doubt that the Brits started the Blitz, against Hitler’s wishes, go to a Barnes Review article on the subject. The easiest way to get the sources for all that is to go to my video on Google: The Wise Old Man Puts Down “The King’s Speech” Part 2
The Wise Old Man—that’s me! but you are all aware of that by now.
Room for this. Patton wanted to continue the war and fight Stalin, the true danger to Europe, as Hitler had done. So we killed him.

maurice behan says:

For the benefit of poster Roque Nuevo.

I did not state nor intimate ( nor believe ) the following as stated in your post :

maurice behan says that Jews were “bad neighbors”

I posed a rhetorical question on a lively board that might inspire some thought-provoking insight and feedback.I did not make the statement you wrongly attributed to me. For the record, I asked ” Were they ( European jews) bad neighbours ? “.
We are well aware of European jewish life during WW2, but little is known of quotidian jewish life before it. I’ve read some wonderful accounts of the era like Gregor von Rezzori’s ” Memoirs of an Anti-Semite “, but I found his often-enlightening observations of Austro-Hungarian life to be elitist and top-down
I’d welcome any suggestions for further reading.

Susan Kane says:

First, your membership in the AHA should not be revoked for your failure to see the Holocaust more objectively.

It should, however, be revoked for your spelling of the word “arc” on “page” two of this article (as in “ark of Western history”).

Either that, or your copy editor at Tablet should be shot. Take your pick.

One might suggest that publications which do not require postage or dead trees *might* spend a bit *more* on basics like English grammar and spelling, but one might be wrong these days.

    He clearly is referring to a boat when he says ark, “I worked on the unspoken assumption that the great ark of Western history, rising on the vast wave created by the Renaissance and Reformation, the Industrial and French Revolutions, was bound to crash and smolder in the crematoria of Auschwitz.” Ark -> rising on the vast wave -> crash and smolder… maybe you should learn to read before you comment about other people’s basic English grammar and spelling.

I claimed in an earlier comment that the “Brits started the Blitz.”

Here are some specific sources for that claim.

Barnes Review issue of Jan.-Feb., 2011. An article therein titled “Churchill’s Greatest War Crime: Fire Bombing Civilians.”

The primary source is a book titled “Bombing Vindicated” by J.M. Spaight, published after the war. Spaight during the war was Principal Secretary to the Air Ministry. I will paraphrase what he wrote in the book. To get the whole thing find the book or go to that issue of Barnes Review. If you go to one of my Wise Old Man videos you will hear me read it from Barnes Review. (Go to youtube.com1WOM. Look for my video called “The Wise Old Man Puts Down “The King’s Speech.” It’s in Part 1 I believe. Here’s the paraphrase (couldn’t put my hands on the magazine):
Hitler only started the bombing of British civilians reluctantly three months after the RAF started bombing German civilian targets. Hitler was sincerely interested in reaching an agreement with Britain to limit the use of aircraft to battle areas. (End of my paraphrase.)

The magazine adds that Chamberlain stated that bombing civilians was entirely against international law.

Have any of you Jewish readers of Tablet Magazine heard this about Brits starting the blitz and the reluctant Hitler? Of course not. You read Tablet Magazine and not the Barnes Review.

As I said earlier:
“I think you will find that the people posting here are living in an insular dream world. In it you talk about the Holocaust, defined as a willful, deliberate campaign of genocide against Jews, as if it actually happened. When someone tries to wake you from your dreams, you compare them to children and if you are in Europe you put them in prison. Bad show!”

I would like to thank the powers that be at Tablet for letting me
make these many comments.

A few years ago Tablet interviewed two of the leading Holocaust revisionists, Bradley Smith of and Mark Weber of

You published a negative article on them. (What else?)
Bradley tells me he asked Tablet to print a reply from him
but you would not. Might you rethink?

SimonDM says:

I find myself agreeing with Zan Overall. It is easy to brand people like him antisemites just because you refuse to consider their viewpoints, not because he is. I don’t hate jews. I’m European and like most of us was taught about the Holocaust in school. Then I started reading on about the Holocaust and noticed discrepancies with what I had been taught, but my eyes really opened when I watched I can also recommend visiting codoh and ihr. You can still believe in all the Holocaust you want afterwards, but at least consider the viewpoints of the people who don’t, understand where they are coming from and why they believe what they believe instead of just closing all discussion by branding them as antisemites.

dusan kahan says:

“But at least I had come to read everything that preceded the Holocaust as prologue, an ineluctable series of events destined to end in what Levi rightly called the anus mundi.” – but it wasn’t Levi that called Auschwitz anus mundi. That was a Polish writer Wieslaw Kielar:


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My life as an accidental Holocaust expert—and why I decided to quit