Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts
Volume 14, Numbers 3-4 (Fall 5763/2002)
EUROPE'S BIAS: FROM THE HOLOCAUST'S AFTERMATH TO TODAY'S ANTI-SEMITISM
An intensified defamation campaign against Israel and world Jewry has been taking place during the last two years. Various European governments and media play an important role in it. The moral aspects of post-war European attitudes toward the Jews have as yet been poorly analyzed. Their study within an integrated framework is becoming an urgent Jewish public affairs issue. As so little field research has been done much can be learned by looking at a mosaic of vignettes of individual countries such as France, Austria, Poland, the Baltic and Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and the Vatican. The paradigm of The Netherlands is discussed in more detail. This essay illustrates how part of the infrastructure for Europe's current discriminatory attitudes toward Israel and the Jews started to be laid immediately after the war.
THE JEWS IN PLANS FOR
Many of the Anti-Nazi political exiles who prepared plans for postwar Germany believed that it would not be easy to remove the Nazi anti-Semitic laws. While the postwar projects of socialists included the full restoration of citizenship to all German Jews, the planning of other exiles was based on prevalent stereotypes of Jewish “otherness” and rejected the return of Jews to Germany. They basically approved, on pragmatic grounds, legal discriminatory measures against the Jews, and articulated them in schemes which were similar to those drawn up by the German conservative opposition in the Third Reich. In the postwar plans of both of them - the exiles and the conservative opposition - the Jews were considered a foreign body which should not be reintegrated in a future German society, but given a territory beyond the borders of Europe.
ERNST NOLTE AND THE
MEMORY OF THE SHOAH
Sergio I. Minerbi
Nolte's path is haphazard and contradictory in an effort to enjoy both worlds: to avoid being seen as a negationist of the Shoah while allowing himself to make a series of outrageous and preposterous points regarding the Shoah. His trajectory and tactics are revealed extensively as is the array of claims he makes. Nolte equates Zionism to Nazism and envisages a future recognition of Hitler as the originator of the State of Israel. He belittles the Nazi massacre of the Jews while condemning it as the most terrible mass annihilation in history. Moreover, he notes the relatively small sum given to Jews as reparation after the war while criticizing the very fact that any reparations were given at all. At the same time, he almost equates Jews to Bolsheviks and deems the Nazi “reaction” to this as comprehensible “yet excessive,” while tracing Hitler's anti-Semitism to his anti-Bolshevism. In the process of making the victims culpable for their tragic fate, Nolte stresses the idea that the Jews themselves declared war on Nazi Germany in 1939, blatantly blurring the fact that one could hardly imagine a non-country doing so. This last point serves Nolte in order to underline the rationality he sees in the Nazi perception of the Jews as an “enemy people.” Nolte can be clearly seen as a revisionist historian making a thinly veiled effort to exonerate Hitler and the Nazis from the responsibility of having committed the worst crimes in the history of humanity.
SWEDEN'S REFUSAL TO PROSECUTE NAZI WAR CRIMINALS - 1986-2002
Toward the end of World War II, an unspecified number of Latvian and Estonian Nazi war criminals escaped to Sweden among a wave of Baltic refugees fleeing the advancing Soviet Army. Although the Swedish government established a special commission to investigate their wartime activities, no legal action was ever taken against any of these escaped Holocaust perpetrators.
In 1986, the Simon Wiesenthal Center exposed the presence in Sweden of several Baltic Nazi war criminals and asked the Swedish government to investigate the entry of Nazi collaborators into the country and to take legal action against those who could be brought to trial. The Swedish authorities refused to investigate, let alone prosecute these cases, citing the existing statute of limitations which prohibited the prosecution of any crimes more than 25 years after they were committed.
This has remained the position of the Swedish government even after it was revealed in 2000 that those who had participated in Nazi atrocities were alive and living in Sweden. All the efforts to induce a change in Swedish policy on this issue have hereto failed. Sweden is currently weighing the abolition of the statute of limitations on genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes but will not do so retroactively, so there is no chance that any Nazi war criminal will ever be prosecuted in Sweden.
EMOTIONAL WOUNDS THAT
This essay discusses the discriminatory content of the Compensation Laws (Wiedergutmachung) for Holocaust Survivors in West Germany. It explains how this was based partly on the lack of knowledge of the long-term after effects of psychic trauma, but even more so because of the unwillingness of German physicians to understand and accept the harm the Holocaust inflicted upon the survivors.
PENITENCE AND PREJUDICE:
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
The recent revelations about the slaughter of the Jews of Jedwabne in July 1941 precipitated an unprecedented collective soul-searching in Polish society. The Roman Catholic Church in Poland has been deeply involved in this discussion. The author contends that it is impossible to view the reaction of the Catholic clergy, intelligentsia and grassroots in monolithic fashion. Catholic elements can be found behind various barricades in this debate. Not surprisingly those elements within the Church that demonstrated the greatest sympathy for Jews were among the most eloquent voices calling for contrition. Those who generally viewed the Jews with suspicion found additional reason to give expression to their antipathy. In that respect the Church and the broader community of believers that identifies with it reflects the society in which it is rooted.
HISTORIANS RECEIVING GIFTS
AND THE HISTORIOGRAPHY OF
As a considerable number of non-German historians of the Holocaust have received funding from German sources, the question arises as to whether such funding should be considered akin to gifts to judges from those they judge. A survey of Holocaust historians in Israel was conducted. None of the historians who received German funding expressed the belief that such aid had affected his or her work. Yet the clear differences in the discussion of the subject by those historians who had received German funding and those who had not demonstrated that German funding had indeed affected the thinking of its recipients.