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political world

The End of the Holocaust

jan peczkis|Friday, July 29, 2016

Virtually everything in this book has been said before. For instance, Rosenfeld brings up the old controversies about President Reagan’s visit to Bitburg, Germany.

The author inveighs against the way the Holocaust is being used in comparison with other genocides, as if the Holocaust was peerless. He thinks that the Holocaust is being trivialized. In fact, he berates Polish bishop Tadeusz Pieronek for criticizing the Jewish overemphasis on the Holocaust at the expense of the sufferings of other people. (p. 240). What is so horrible about that?

In spite of all this, Alvin H. Rosenfeld points out, based on THE ASSOCIATION OF HOLOCAUST ORGANIZATIONS DIRECTORY, that there are hundreds of Holocaust-promoting institutions the world over. (p. 9). So what exactly is he complaining about? What genocide of what other people enjoys this level of privilege?


Although Rosenfeld does not stress the (presumed) uniqueness of the Holocaust, he does repeat, or allude to, the contention that the Nazis intended to murder all Jews. (p. 4; pp. 245-246). He does not explain why this should make the Holocaust special. (Is it some kind of self-evident truth, or is it a rationalization to justify the supremacy of the genocide of Jews over the genocides of all other peoples?) Besides, it is untrue. Fact is, the Nazi authorities deliberately spared thousands of Jews and half-Jews, even giving them certificates that declared them full-blooded Aryans. Please click on, and read my detailed review, of Hitler's Jewish Soldiers.

[For further analysis of commonly-repeated but incorrect assertions about the uniqueness of the Holocaust, please check the link in the first Comment under this review.]

Alvin H. Rosenfeld repeats the well-worn myth that, in past decades, Poles were not taught that most of the victims of Auschwitz were Jews. This is patently untrue. For example, see my review of Scenes of Fighting and Martyrdom Guide; War Years in Poland 1939-1945. [I visited Poland in 1973, and the Poles freely verbalized the fact of the Jewishness of most Auschwitz victims.]


Rosenfeld stresses the fact that Americans learn much less about the Holocaust from scholarly books than they do from the media. He comments, “By way of illustration, it is worth recalling that tens of millions of Americans watched the NBC docudrama HOLOCAUST when this popular television miniseries was first shown the in the spring of 1978. More recently, an even larger mass audience has seen Steven Spielberg’s SCHINDLER’S LIST…more people are likely to learn about Jewish victimization under the Nazis from these films or from reading Frank’s THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL or Art Spiegelman’s MAUS than by reading [Holocaust scholar] Hilberg.” (p. 54).

The author adds that, “The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum annually attracts exceptionally large crowds (as of March 2010, it has drawn thirty million visitors), and everything about it suggests that for years to come it is destined to be a powerful instrument for educating vast numbers of Americans and others about the Holocaust.” (p. 66).

Although Alvin H. Rosenfeld does not address anti-Polonism, the informed reader and the student of Polish-Jewish relations can deduce the manner by which Polonophobic images, in the foregoing, shaped American public opinion against the Poles. I now describe this for the benefit of newcomer readers:

The HOLOCAUST series had the absurd falsehood of Polish soldiers shooting Jews; SCHINDLER’S LIST had the scene of a Polish girl cheering the Jews being sent to their deaths (Cheers of that nature went both ways). MAUS features the travesty of Poles as well-fed pigs under the German occupation. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum includes the so-called and probably Soviet-staged Kielce Pogrom, which is doubly ironic in light of those Jews who complain about the “relativization of the Holocaust”. (Obviously, they mean it in a very selective manner. Juxtaposing the Holocaust and Kielce Pogrom is like juxtaposing the Pacific Ocean with a pond.) In addition, while rationalizing the inclusion of Kielce, the United States Holocaust Memorial is—predictably--silent about the murders of tens of thousands of Poles, by Soviet-collaborating Jews, during the same post-WWII time period.
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