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Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor, and the Unfinished Business of World War II;Germans, Swiss, and French. Now the Holocaust Industry Targets Nazi-German-Victim Poland. Lack of Transparency--Then and Now

jan peczkis|Thursday, May 11, 2017

NO HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY, HUH? THE AUTHOR CONFUSES THE ISSUE

My review focuses on items largely untouched by the many previous reviewers.

NO HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY, HUH? THE AUTHOR CONFUSES THE ISSUE

Although author Stuart E. Eizenstat does not mention Norman Finkelstein by name, he would have us believe that there is no such thing as the Holocaust Industry because, according to him, very little of the Holocaust reparations monies went to the lawyers. He asserts that many lawyers worked pro bono in the Swiss bank case in which he was actively involved, while other lawyers got only about 1% of the settlements. He compares this with victorious mass-injury cases, in which the attorney gets 15%-30% (or more) of the settlement. [p. 345].

However, even if Eizenstat’s assertions are completely true and validly applicable, they constitute a red herring. Any profiteering by the attorneys (or lack of it) is—at most—a sideshow. The REAL issue is how much of the money actually was paid to Holocaust survivors—in this and in all previous Holocaust restitution settlements to date (including the 1952 Luxembourg Agreement).

-----The following [except the titles in CAPS, and comments in brackets] are direct quotes-----

THE FUNDAMENTAL UNFAIRNESS OF HOLOCAUST-RESTITUTION SETTLEMENTS

I also learned a great deal about the challenges of life in post-Communist Eastern Europe…I found a seething bitterness that their citizens, also Hitler’s victims, had never received compensation from the Germans comparable to the billions paid to Jewish Holocaust victims. [p. 28].

BELABORING THE OBVIOUS: TO WHAT DOES THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY OWE ITS SUCCESSES AS COMPARED WITH NON-JEWISH MASS-RESTITUTION CASES?

For the Holocaust suits, the combination of sympathetic victims in one of history’s worst tragedies, heavy political pressure, and serious foreign policy implications was unique. [p. 352].

…it is unclear whether the U.S. government will again devote the kind of time, energy, and resources it did here… [p. 352].

If they can galvanize public opinion and generate political support, as the Holocaust cases did, they may succeed despite their legal infirmities. [p. 352]. [And if a cow acquires wings, then it can fly, and fly as well as the birds.]

One of the most revealing aspects of this piece of history is what it suggests about the political influence of the Jewish community in the United States. [p. 354].

THE LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY: KEEPING THE POLISH POPULATION IN THE DARK—COURTESY OF PRESIDENT KWASNIEWSKI’S GOVERNMENT

My first visit to Poland, on May 9, 1995, was considered so sensitive that the Polish government insisted that it receive no publicity. [p. 42].

No publicity in Poland: U.S. Department of State cable, “Polish Officials Express Concern About Eizenstat; Worry About Press,’ May 9, 1995 (Warsaw 6442). [Full text of reference 42 to pages 36-51; p. 384].

After several trips and meetings with President Kwasniewski…[a new law] became effective on May 11, 1997. [p. 42].

WERE POLAND’S REMAINING JEWS (JRCP), AND THE WORLD JEWISH RESTITUTION ORGANIZATION (WJRO), IN CONFLICT?

Here [Poland], more than anywhere else in eastern Europe, an unseemly power struggle between the WJRO and the tiny Jewish community of some 5,000 Poles [Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland], many recent emigrants from the former Soviet Union, stymied progress on communal property restitution with a receptive Polish government. [pp. 40-41].

SPECIAL EX POST FACTO TRIBAL RIGHTS FOR JEWS? (DO THE WORLD’S JEWS NOW APPOINT THEMSELVES THE COLLECTIVE OWNERS OF THE ONETIME BELONGINGS OF POLAND’S NAZI-GERMAN-MURDERED JEWS?)

The restitution of private property has been disappointing in most Eastern European countries…Poland, for example, is so traumatized by the prospect of returning or denationalizing large numbers of properties that it has enacted no private property laws at all. [p. 359].

CENSORSHIP FOR STATING UNWELCOME HISTORICAL FACTS: ONE STANDARD FOR JEWS AND ANOTHER STANDARD FOR POLES

Germany’s Christian Democratic Party expelled Martin Hohmann from the German Parliament after he stated that today’s Jews bear a collective responsibility for the actions of Jewish communists during the 1917 Russian Revolution. [p. 367]. [Notice the use of Communists in lower-case, as if to lessen their crime. Now shed some crocodile tears for the mere censure that Jan T. Gross has gotten from today’s PiS government in Poland. ]

HOLOCAUST SUPREMACISM: IT IS ALL RIGHT FOR THE NAZI GERMAN GENOCIDE OF POLES TO BE MENTIONED AS LONG AS POLES “KNOW THEIR PLACE”

Was it indeed, as Wiesel and I believed, a distinctively Jewish event?...Aloysius Mazewski of the Polish American Congress did not see it that way. He told Rabbi Greenberg that the 3 million Polish victims of World War II shared the Holocaust with the 6 million Jewish victims. For over a year this debate raged…In the end, a more inclusive council and Holocaust definition, still recognizing the particular Jewish dimension, gave the [U. S. Memorial Holocaust] museum the broad support and moral force that have made it an unqualified success. [p. 19].

In 1973 only two universities offered courses on the Holocaust; by the 1980s the number had exploded to 210. [p. 16]..
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BOOKS ON THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY, AND ITS INAPPROPRIATE ATTEMPTS TO RE-VICTIMIZE POLAND:

Click on, and read my detailed reviews of:

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Beyond Violence: Jewish Survivors in Poland and Slovakia, 1944-48 (New Studies in European History)

Walls Around: The Plunder of Warsaw Jewry during World War II and Its Aftermath

Nie musimy placic Zydom!

Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History by Finkelstein, Norman(June 2, 2008) Paperback

The Holocaust Industry Publisher: Verso; Second Edition

For details on Norman Finkelstein's warnings, specific to Poland, about the Holocaust Industry, please click on, and read the detailed English-language review, of Operacja "Jedwabne": Mity i fakty (Polish Edition).

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Here is William D. Rubinstein, a Jewish university professor, who supports Norman G. Finkelstein's conclusions on the Holocaust Industry, notably regarding its targeting of Poland for extortion attempts:

Rubinstein's review of Finkelstein's THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY originally appeared in the December 1, 2000 issue of FIRST THINGS. The reviewer, William D. Rubinstein, is Professor of History at the University of Wales.

Rubinstein thinks that Finkelstein overreaches, pointing out that Holocaust activists are not necessarily motivated by base motives. He also criticizes Finkelstein for his leftist, anti-Zionist criticisms of the State of Israel.

Whatever his disagreements with Finkelstein, Rubinstein unreservedly supports Finkelstein's criticisms of the World Jewish Congress (WJC). He writes: "Despite its grandiose-sounding name, the WJC, founded in 1936, cannot be termed a representative body of the Jewish people...Most of the hostile reviews of THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY have notably and studiously avoided commenting directly on the charges Finkelstein makes against the WJC, presumably because there is no adequate reply. Finkelstein accuses the WJC of being, in effect, a pirate ship, sailing the waters, hunting for booty, and using the unique moral credibility of the Holocaust to extort fortunes from European governments."

Rubinstein comments, "After the war, a Jewish community of up to 250,000 very briefly emerged again in Poland. Their property was indeed confiscated by the Communists, not because they were Jews but because they were capitalists--the property of gentile capitalists was also seized. I personally cannot see any compelling reason why the present Polish government should pay one cent for former Jewish properties. "

Then Rubinstein makes his money-extortion point even stronger: "It is difficult to believe that a person of good will could approve of these demands. As a Jew who lost relatives in the Holocaust, I find them frankly odious, and Finkelstein should be praised rather than condemned for exposing them."
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The following quotes, from author Matthew Abraham, speak for themselves:

[Abraham, Matthew. 2011. THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE AND THE SUBVERSION OF ACADEMIC FREEDOM: DEPAUL’S DENIAL OF TENURE TO NORMAN G. FINKELSTEIN. Arab Studies Quarterly 33(3/4)179-203.]

“In his THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY: THE EXPLOITATION OF JEWISH SUFFERING, Finkelstein indicts those who would use the Holocaust to justify Israel’s treatment of Palestinians living under occupation, as well as those who would use Jewish suffering to extort money from European countries such as Germany and Switzerland under the cover of Holocaust reparations. In brief, Finkelstein argued that a lucrative extortion racket was being carried out in the name of needy Holocaust survivors, while in fact the money being generated was actually going to Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress. Upon the publication of THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY, Finkelstein promptly lost his long-term instructor position of political science at Hunter College, City University of New York. Despite possessing an outstanding teaching record and three internationally recognized books to his credit at that time, he was let go under the pretext of a budgetary cut within the political science department.” (pp. 193-194).

“Despite the sound and the fury around his tenure denial, Finkelstein ultimately praised DePaul University upon reflecting on the unique set of pressures that eventuated in his unjust dismissal: ‘For the record, I did not begrudge DePaul’s decision to deny me tenure. It has always been my belief that no one except me should have to bear the costs of my political convictions. The sustained pressures exerted on a middle-tier Catholic institution vulnerable to charges of anti-Semitism would probably have proven intolerable.’” (p. 180).

“Since Finkelstein’s compelling indictments of American Zionism in books such as THE IMAGE AND REALITY OF THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT, THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY: THE EXPLOITATION OF JEWISH SUFFERING, AND BEYOND CHUTZPAH: THE MISUSE OF ANTI-SEMITISM AND THE ABUSE OF HISTORY could not be rebutted by serious counterarguments, his ideological nemeses resorted to attacking Finkelstein’s tone, writing style, and personality, effectively shifting the terms of the debate from the Israel-Palestine conflict to issues of civility and behavior.” (p. 191).

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HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY TARGETS POLAND—A 2017 UPDATE

LACK OF TRANSPARENCY, COMBINED WITH WHINING ABOUT POLISH NONCOMPLIANCE (for public consumption):

Here is what is said for public consumption: THE HOLOCAUST (SHOAH) IMMOVABLE PROPERTY RESTITUTION STUDY, written April 24, 2017, and located on the World Jewish Restitution Organization Website (wjro.org.il):

Extracts in Quotes:

PRIVATE PROPERTY RESTITUTION

“Other former Communist states of Eastern Europe have not yet fulfilled their Terezin Declaration [2009] obligations to enact immovable property legislation covering Holocaust-era property. Poland, with the largest Jewish population in prewar Europe of which ninety percent did not survive the war, is the prime example. Poland and Bosnia-Herzegovina stand alone as the only countries that have failed to establish a comprehensive private property restitution regime for property taken either during the Holocaust or Communist eras, or one that addresses both types of takings.” (pp. 1-2).

[Bravo, Poland!]

COMMUNAL PROPERTY RESTITUTION

“Progress in some countries that passed laws to return communal property has been very slow. For example, in Poland, fewer than half of 5,550 Jewish communal property claims filed under the 1997 restitution law have been adjudicated.” (p. 2).
[Bravo, Poland!]

HEIRLESS PROPERTY RESTITUTION

“Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, POLAND, and Slovenia have not enacted heirless property legislation. Of note are the Baltic States and Poland, which had the highest percentage of deaths in its Jewish population in all of Europe, and correspondingly, likely the largest percentage of heirless property due to the number of deaths.” (Emphasis added) (p. 3).

[Bravo, Poland!]

HOLOCAUSTSPEAK IN ACTION. SPECIAL RIGHTS FOR JEWS? EX POST FACTO LAWS IN THE MAKING?

“A large obstacle is that, under the domestic law of most European countries, both Western and Eastern, heirless property reverts to the state. The Terezin Declaration [2009], recognizing the uniqueness of the Holocaust and the unprecedented scale of heirless property left following the mass murder of millions of people, recommends that heirless property should be allocated for the benefit of needy Holocaust survivors, commemoration of destroyed Jewish communities, and Holocaust education rather than simply escheating to the state. Unfortunately, this has not been implemented.” (p. 3).

[Bravo, Poland! And Stay Vigilant.]
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