November 09, 2010
This is an article Frank W. and I have been working on for the last two weeks or so. Frank did all the writing and I provided some editorial advice and minor editing.
Today, November 9, is the anniversary of Kristallnacht. It is the day when Nazi Germany unleashed its thugs against the Jews. The Wiki gets right to the point:
"Jewish homes were ransacked, as were shops, towns and villages, as SA stormtroopers and civilians destroyed buildings with sledgehammers, leaving the streets covered in pieces of smashed windows--the origin of the name "Night of Broken Glass." Ninety-one Jews were killed, and 30,000 Jewish men--a quarter of all Jewish men in Germany--were taken to concentration camps, where they were tortured for months, with over 1,000 of them dying. Around 1,668 synagogues were ransacked, and 267 set on fire. In Vienna alone 95 synagogues or houses of prayer were destroyed...Kristallnacht was followed by further economic and political persecution of Jews, and is viewed by historians as part of Nazi Germany's broader racial policy, and the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust."
In the years leading up to this, the Nazis had systematically stripped German Jews of their rights and their dignity. Beginning with Hitler's rise to power in 1933, laws were passed banning them from civil service jobs, restricting university enrollment, and removing them from the medical and legal professions. This mini-pogrom culminated with the 1935 Nuremberg Laws which stripped Jews of their citizenship and even the right to marry outside their "race" which was defined through genetic inheritance, not religion. So if you had a Jewish ancestor, but were Christian, you still qualified as a Jew.
We don't need to recount all the horrors that followed. But one rarely mentioned result of the official persecution that started in 1933 and continued up to the cattle cars and deportations, was suicide. Jews suffered such a cultural death that many - shamed, broke, often alone because their families had been "encouraged" to emigrate - took their own lives. By the time of the deportations, thousands had committed suicide. From Suicide in Nazi Germany by Christian Goeschel:
"The direct effects of the Nazi regime on Jewish suicides were clearer after the Anschluss of Austria in March 1938. Here, anti-Semitic violence outdid anything seen in Germany up to that point. All the different stages of Nazi anti-Jewish policy and action came together in a tremendous outburst of violence meted out to Austrian Jews in the process. Austrian Nazis humiliated Jews in public...Hundreds of Austrian Jews committed suicide amidst the open Nazi violence against Jews and suicide became an everyday phenomenon"
Later, it became an epidemic:
"Suicide was a common reaction to the deportations. According to a list of funerals at the Jewish cemetery in Weissensee, 811 suicides were buried there in 1942..."
Up until the deportations to the camps started the Nazis encouraged the suicides. This changed when they realized that they were being cheated out of their final solution.
It is hard to believe that such things could happen in a civilized country like Germany. Its rich cultural heritage and embrace of Christian morality make it all the more unbelievable. It is as if there was a collective insanity. How could evil on this scale pop out of nowhere?
There is probably no reason to think anything like the Holocaust will ever occur again, especially in a country like the United States, a country born of immigrants and refugees. But there are disturbing signs. Take the gay suicides for instance. While only a tiny fraction, so far, of what happened in Germany, they could be the canary in the coal mine.
At the root of the demonization of Jews in Germany, was a long history of ostracism. As far back as the Middle Ages they were blamed for the Black Death, accused of poisoning public wells, and massacred. Thousands fled to Poland. They were always the easy scapegoat. But over the centuries they somehow managed to obtain acceptance. By 1871 they were German citizens. And during the First World War, they were the largest non-German ethnic group fighting for the Kaiser. 12,000 died for their country in that war. From another Wiki:
"Many German Jews received high political positions such as foreign minister and vice chancellor in the Weimar Republic. The Weimar constitution was the work of a German Jew, Hugo Preuss, who later became minister of the interior. Marriages between Jews and non-Jews became somewhat common from the 19th century; for example, the wife of German Chancellor Gustav Stresemann was Jewish."
It all changed after the hyper-inflation of the Weimar Republic, and the descent into economic depression. Germans needed a scapegoat, again. And who else but the Jews. They blamed their economic misery on losing the war, and conjured up an excuse for that loss called the stab-in-the-back legend. It was the socialists and Jews who lost the war, not German incompetence. It was the Jews in the Weimar government and in finance and business that caused the wheel-barrows of money to buy a loaf of bread.
There are a few parallels here, certainly not on the scale of Germany however. Most states banned Jews from holding public office at one time. There were quotas in universities. Jews were regularly banned from private clubs and even golf courses. And most notably, they were excluded from immigration after passage of the 1924 National Origins Act. Right after Kristallnacht, a Gallup Poll found that only 21% of Americans thought we should allow Jewish refugees asylum. Everyone from Henry Ford to Father Coughlin and the KKK echoed the Nazis.
And just as in Germany prior to the economic collapse in the 1920's, Jews in the US have now achieved total equality.
There's a somewhat similar history of gays in this country. Thomas Jefferson - "All men are created equal..." - has been quoted as saying that homosexuality was akin to rape, and the punishment should be castration. At one time several states including New York, had execution as punishment on their books. Of course these laws originated with Christian religious belief, as did the centuries of Jewish persecution throughout Europe and prior to Hitler. Although the laws were not consistently enforced, until 6 years ago there were states that imprisoned gays for consensual and private relationships.
That has now also changed. No more sodomy laws. Gays about to openly enlist in the military. Gay school teachers. Gay doctors, attorneys, and elected officials. Maybe even state approval of gay marriage.
But...what would happen if real economic misery in the form of hyper-inflation hit this country? It's not inconceivable that certain underlying and suppressed cultural elements will surface, with a hatred and vengeance to be feared. There are already spokesmen for it. On the right, Michael Savage spews his venom daily, and has a best seller on the New York Times list. As a Jew himself, is it just some sick attempt at diversion? His counterpart, Louis Farrakhan, commands a million man march, and says "That land is gonna be cleansed with BLOOD!" after a gay pride parade in Israel. And on the left, there is an embrace of all things Muslim, with concomitant Jew hatred of course, but also a distancing from support for gays. For instance the black Attorney General who couldn't wait to champion the universal civil rights of Elian Gonzalez, now champions official government suppression of gay civil rights. And his Justice Department won't prosecute The New Blank Panther Party whose chairman was Khalid Abdul Mohammad, former minister of the Nation of Islam. Hum.
There are code words for Jews again: banksters. They're everywhere and perhaps the real cause of a possible impending collapse. They have names like Greenspan and Bernanke. They run huge financial institutions like Dimon at Chase or Blankfein at Sachs. The Jews du jour are the neo-conservatives, and are the cause of our support for Israel, and the reason we're now the enemies of the poor and maligned Arab Muslims.
Will it be open season again? We're looking, and when the time is ripe, we already know who to scapegoat. In the meantime, just as in the early days of anti-Semitism in 1920s Germany we've started with an easy group.
If culture is a wider reflection of society at large, then look at the open hostility to gays in the lyrics of Gangsta Rap. This is nothing new, with Eminem having greased the slide. But the slide has ended with the torture and rape of gays in New York, the suicides in Texas and California and New Jersey and Indiana and Oregon and...
I fear these are the canaries in the coal mine, the early markers for the next and deadly serious round of scapegoating. Pray that the Fed doesn't cause an economic catastrophe.
Cross Posted at Power and Control
posted by Simon on 11.09.10 at 05:57 AM
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