gilad.co.uk | 25Jan2010 | Gilad Atzmon
The Shoa Must Go On
Last week saw Holocaust survivor Thomas Blatt, 82 give testimony at the
trial of John Demjanjuk. Blatt stated that he still has nightmares
about his time at the camp at Sobibor, "I go there in my dreams, they
are so real. In them I am still there. I can't get it out of my head.
This is the price I paid for getting out."
Ukrainian born John Demjanjuk, 89, is accused by the Munich court of
being an 'accessory'* in the death of 27,900 Jews at the Sobibor camp
while being a German POW. As it happens, the German Justice system is
now chasing 'accessories' to the Nazi crime. Embarrassingly enough it
doesn't do very well in the current case. Demjanjuk denies anything to
do with the crime referred to him and furthermore, the German
prosecution lacks any evidence whatsoever that supports or links
Demjanjuk personally with murder or any other holocaust related
Mr Blatt does not remember John Demjanjuk either, nor can he say if he
is guilty as charged of helping to gas 27,900 Jews. "More than 60 years
have passed" said Blatt "I can't even remember the faces of my parents.
The court must decide if he was there. If he was there when I was there
then I can imagine he shoved Jews at bayonet point to the gas chambers".
According to The Mirror, Blatt was brought to the court "to give a
living voice to the horror instead of a dusty historical account".
Seemingly in our current state of hyper realistic world affairs,
historical documents and factuality are diminished to "dust" while a
personal narrative, saturated with speculation, associations and
emotions are realised as a persuasive 'living voice'. At the end of the
day, Demjanjuk, a geriatric man is accused here of assisting in the
death of no less than 27,900 people. The German court better bring
something concrete rather than mere speculations.
Mr Blatt maintained that "Ukrainians 'like Demjanjuk' were the worst of
the worst. We were more afraid of them than we were of the Germans."
There were "120 Ukrainian guards compared with only 17 S.S. men at any
one time" said Blatt to the German court. Blatt clearly 'got away' with
generalisations. I wonder whether a Palestinian boy suggesting that
Jews 'like Blatt' who killed his family a year ago dropping bombs on a
UN shelter in Gaza, would also be welcomed at the Munich court. For
some bizarre reason, within the context of the Western liberal
discourse, where Jews are concerned, generalising is okay and so is
freely employing racial categories and even suggesting guilt by
association. Somehow the rest of humanity is advised to avoid such a
manner of speech.
However, such crude blanket accusations of the Ukrainians as a people
that apparently pass as evidence in the Munich court, may actually
throw light on the sinister motivation behind the current court case.
Like the rest of humanity, the Germans seem to show some clear signs of
'Shoa fatigue'. They appear to prefer to withdraw responsibility from
the Nazi past and to leave Ukrainian POWs to take the heat. Similarly,
we could expect that at a certain stage America and Britain may decide
to use the same tactics and to charge their collaborators in the Arab
world for the death and carnage they themselves left behind. Israel,
that is now facing pressure for its mounting record of crimes against
humanity, may also put the German trick into action. It may also want
to cherry pick some Palestinians and charge them for being accessories
to the crimes against the Palestinian people.
But there is a much more interesting twist to this evolving shameful
legal case. While Demjanjuk denies being an accessory to the Nazi
crime, Mr Blatt freely admits working for the SS and assisting in what
he himself describes as a death machine: "Another job was to cut the
hair of women about to be killed", says Blatt. "Those from places like
Holland believed the lie," he maintains. "The women would say to me:
'Please don't cut my hair too short!' But the Polish Jews - they
already knew. They had heard too many stories, smelled the bonfires at
night." Blatt continues, "they would say 'How can you do this? How can
you work for the S.S.?' I did it to survive."
One may wonder why Blatt's will to survive is more Kosher than an
Ukrainian prisoner's desire to come home. In other words, considering
Blatt's admission in assisting the SS, why isn't he charged by the same
German court for being an 'accessory' for the Nazi crime?
One possible answer is that Blatt is a Jew and Demanjuk is a Goy. As
sad as it may be, in the eyes of the Munich court, a Jew's will to
'survive' must be superior to an Ukrainian's desire to make it to the
end of the war in one piece. If this is indeed the case, the German
court fails to operate ethically and universally. Accordingly, it would
be reasonable to argue that the Munich court fails to draw the
necessary and elementary lesson from Germany's Nazi past. German
Justice somehow differentiates between people according to their race
*An 'accessory' is a person who assists in the commission of a crime,
but who does not actually participate in the commission of the crime as
a joint principal.
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