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Assaults on Truth and Memory, Part II
The costs of these systematic assaults on truth and memory by those who argue the uniqueness of Jewish victimization have often been high for those whose suffering is correspondingly downgraded or shunted into historical oblivion. This concerns not only the victims of the many genocides occurring outside the framework of nazism, but non-Jews targeted for elimination within the Holocaust itself. Consider, for example, the example of the Sinti and Roma peoples (Gypsies, also called "Romani"), whom Lipstadt doesn't deign to accord so much as mention in her book- Her omission is no doubt due to an across-tbe-board and steadfast refusal of the Jewish scholarly, social and political establishments over the past fifty years to even admit the Gypsies were part of the Holocaust, a circumstance manifested most strikingly in their virtual exclusion from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
In their zeal to prevent what they call a "dilution" or "de-judaization" of the Holocaust, Jewish exclusivists have habitually employed every device known to deniers to depict the Parramjos (as the Holocaust is known in the Romani language; the Hebrew equivalent is Shoah) as having been something "fundamentally different" from the Holocaust itself The first technique has been to consistently minimize Gypsy fatalities. Lucy Dawidowicz, for instance, when she mentions them at all, is prone to repeating the standard mythology that, "of about one million Gypsies in the countries that fell under German control, nearly a quarter of them were murdered." The point being made is that, while Gypsy suffering was no doubt "unendurable," it was proportionately far less than that of the Jews."
Actually, as more accurate-or honest-demographic studies reveal, the Gypsy population of German-occupied Europe likely came to somewhere around two minion in 1939. Of these, it was known at least thirty years ago that between 500,000 and 750,000 died in camps such as Buchenwald, Neuengamme, Bergen-Belsen, Belzec, Chehmo, Majdanek, Sobib6r and Auschwitz. More recent research shows that there have been as many as a million more Gypsies exterminated when the tolls taken by the Einsatzgruppen, antipartisan operations in eastern Europe and actions by nazi satellite forces are factored in. One reason for this ambiguity in terms of how many Gypsies died at the hands of the nazis, leaving aside the gross undercounting of their initial population, is that their executioners not infrequently tallied their dead in with the numbers of Jews killed (thus somewhat inflating estimations of the Jewish count while diminishing that of the Sinti and Roma). In sum, it is plain that the proportional loss of the Gypsies during the Holocaust was at least as great as that of the Jews, and quite probably greater.
Be that as it may, exclusivists still contend that the Gypsies stand apart from the Holocaust because, unlike the Jews, they were "not marked for complete annihilation...... According to Richard Breitman,
"The Nazis are not known to have spoken of the Final Solution of the Polish problem or the gypsy problem." Or, as Yehuda Bauer had the audacity to put it in his three-page entry on "Gypsies" in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust--that's all the space the Sinti and Roma are accorded in this 2,000 page work, the editor of which lacked the decency even to have a Gypsy write the material filling it- "[The] fate of the Gypsies was in line with Nazi thought as a whole; Gypsies were not Jews, and therefore there was no need to kill them all.
Keeping in n-mind the likelihood that there was always a less than perfect mesh between the rhetoric and realities of nazi exterminations in all cases, including that of the Jews, the distinctions drawn here bear scrutiny. As we shall see with respect to the Poles, such claims are of dubious validity. As concerns the Gypsies, they amount to a boldfaced lie. This is readily evidenced by Himmler's "Decree for Basic Regulations to Resolve the Gypsy Question as Required by the Nature of Race" of December 8, 1938, which initiated preparations for the complete extermination of the Sinti and Roma (emphasis added)." Shortly after this, in February 1939, a brief was circulated by Johannes Behrendt of the nazi Office of Racial Hygiene in which it was stated that "all Gypsies should be treated as hereditarily sick; the only solution is elimination. The aim should be the elimination without hesitation of this defective population.""' Hitler himself is reported to have verbally ordered "the liquidation of all Jews, gypsies and communist political functionaries in the entire Soviet Union" as early as June 1940. A year later, Obergruppenfiihrer Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reich Main Security Office, followed up by instructing his Einsatzcommandos to "kill all Jews, Gypsies and mental patients" in the conquered areas of the East.
Heydrich, who had been entrusted with the "final solution of the Jewish question" on 31 July 1941, shortly after the German invasion of the USSR, also included the Gypsies in his "final solution... The senior SS officer and Chief of Police for the East, Dr. Landgraf, in Riga, informed Rosenberg's Reich Commissioner for the East, Lohse, of the inclusion of the Gypsies in-the "final solution." Thereupon, Lohse gave the order, on 24th December 1941, that the Gypsies "should be given the same treatment as the Jews."
At about the same time, "Adolf Eichmann made the recommendation that the 'Gypsy Question' be solved simultaneously with the 'Jewish Question'... Himmler signed the order dispatching Germany's Sinti and Roma to Auschwitz on 16 December 1942. The 'Final Solution' of' Gypsy Question' had begun" at virtually the same moment it can be said to have really gotten underway for the Jews."' Indeed, Gypsies
were automatically subject to whatever policies applied to Jews during the entire period of the Final Solution, pursuant to a directive issued by Himmler on December 24,1941 (i.e., four months prior to the Wannsee Conference which set the full-fledged extermination program in motion). Hence, there is no defensible way the fate of the Gypsies can be distinguished from that of the Jews.
One of the more disgusting means by which Jewish exclusivists have nonetheless attempted to do so, however, concerns their verbatim regurgitation of the nazi fable that, again contra the Jews, Gypsies were killed en mass, not on specifically racial grounds, but because as a group they were "asocials" (criminals) . And, as if this blatantly racist derogation weren't bad enough, the Rabbi Seymour Siegel, a former professor of ethics at the Jewish Theological Seminary and at the time executive director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, compounded the affront by using the pages of the Washington Post to publicly cast doubt as to whether Gypsies can even make a legitimate claim to comprising a distinct people .
Predictably, Yehuda Bauer, no stranger to self-contradiction as he thrashes about, playing all ends against the middle in his interminable effort to "prove beyond all shadow of doubt" the uniqueness of Jewish suffering, presumes to have the last word not once, but twice, and in his usual mutually exclusive fashion. First, completely ignoring the 1935 Nuremberg Laws, which defined Gypsies in precisely the same racial terms as Jews, he baldly states that "the Gypsies were not murdered for racial reasons, but as so-called asocials ... nor was their destruction complete." Then, barely two pages later, he reverses field entirely, arguing that the Sinti and Romani were privileged over Jews-and were thus separate from the "true" Holocaust-because a tiny category of "racially safe" Gypsies were temporarily exempted from death. Besides trying to have it both ways, it is as if this leading champion of exclusivism were unaware of the roughly 6,000 Karait Jews who were permanently spared in accordance with nazism's bizarre racial logic.
To be fair, there are a few differences between the Jewish and Gypsy experiences under nazism. For instance, the Sinti and Roma have a noticeably better genetic claim to being "racially distinct" than do the Ashkenazic Jews of Europe. One upshot was that the racial classification of Gypsies was much more stringent and rigidly adhered to than that pertaining to Jews. By 1938, if any two of an individual's eight great-grandparents were proven to be Gypsy "by blood," even in part, he or she was formally categorized as such. This is twice as strict as the criteria used by the nazis to define Jewishness. Had the standards of "racial identity" applied to Jews been employed with regard to the Sinti and Roma, nine-tenths of Germany's 1939 Gypsy population would have survived the Holocaust.
All during the 1930s, while Gypsies as well as Jews were subjected to increasingly draconian racial oppression, first in Germany, then in Austria and Czechoslovakia, a certain amount of international outrage was expressed in behalf of the Jews. Foreign diplomatic and business pressure was exerted, resulting in an at least partial and transient alleviation in Jewish circumstances, and facilitating Jewish emigration to a degree (I 50,000 left by 193 8). From then until the collapse of the Third Reich, the nazis displayed a periodic willingness to broker Jewish lives for a variety of reasons, and diplomats like Sweden's Count Folke Bernadotte made efforts to affect their rescue. None of this applies to the Sinti and Roma.
The Western democracies have been harshly-and properly-criticized for their failure to intervene more forcefully to prevent the genocide of the Jews, even to the extent of allowing greater non Jewish refugees to find sanctuary within their borders. The fact is, however, that nothing at all was done to save the Gypsies from their identical fate, and in this connection international Jewish organizations have no better record than do the governments of the United States, Great Britain and Canada. To the contrary, it was arguably the Jewish organizations themselves which served as the vanguard in obscuring what was happening to the Gypsies even as it happened, a posture they've never abandoned. As researcher Ian Hancock describes the results: "It is an eerie and disheartening feeling to pick [reference books like Encyclopedia of the Third Reich] and find the attempted genocide of one's people written completely out of the historical record. Perhaps worse, in the English-language translation of at least one book, that by Lujan Dobroszycki of The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, the entire reference to the liquidation of the gypsy camp there (entry number 22 for April 29 and 20, 1942, in the original work) has been deleted deliberately. I have been told, but have not yet verified, that translations of other works on the Holocaust have also had entries on the Roma and Sinti removed. Furthermore, I do not want to read references to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in the national press and learn only that it is a monument to "the plight of European Jews," as the New York Times-- told its readers on December 23, 1993. 1 want to be able to watch epics such as Schindler's List and learn that Gypsies were a central part of the Holocaust, too; or other films, such as Escape from Sobib6r, a Polish camp where, according to Kommandant Franz Stangl in his memoirs, thousands of Roma and Sinti were murdered, and not hear the word "Gypsy" except once, and then only as the name of somebody's dog.
Or, to take an even more poignant another example: National Public Radio (NPR) in Washington, DC, covered extensively the fiftieth anniversary of Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 26, 199t, but Gypsies were never once mentioned', despite being well represented at the commemoration. In its closing report on NPR's "Weekend Edition" on January 28; Michael Goldfarb described how "candles were-placed along the tracks that delivered Jews and Poles to their death." But it was little wonder the Gypsies werent mentioned; they were not allowed to participate in the candle ceremony. An article on the Auschwitz commemoration that appeared not the C.S. press) included a group of Roma staring mournfully reading 'Colci-shouldered: "Gypsies, whose ancestors were to watch the ceremony from outside the compound." In a speech said that the Jewish people "were singled out for destruction during the Holocaust."
The attitudes underlying such gestures are manifested, not merely in Jewish exclusivism's sustained and concerted effort to expunge the Parrajmo from history, but, more concretely, through its ongoing silence concerning the present resurgence of nazi-like antigypsyism in Europe. In 1992, the government of the newly-unified German Republic negotiated a deal in which it paid more than a hundred million deutschmarks to Romania-notoriously hostile to Gypsies--in exchange for that cashpoor country's acceptance of the bulk of Germany's Sinti/Roma population (a smaller side deal is being arranged with Poland to receive the rest). Summary deportations began during the fall of 1993, with more than 20,000 people expelled to date, for no other reason than that they are Gypsies. Their reception upon arrival? A December 1993 news story sums it up very well.
An orgy of mob lynching and house-bun-dng with police collaboration has turned into something more sinister for Romas hated Gypsies: the beginnings of a nationwide campaign. of terror launch led by groups modeling themselves on the Ku Klux Klan... "We are many, and very determined. We % ill skin the Gypsies soon. We will take their eyeballs out, smash their teeth, and cut off their noses. The first will be hanged."
The German government had every reason to know this would be the case well before it began deportations. The depth and virulence of Romania's antigypsy sentiment was hardly an historical mystery. Moreover, a leader of the Romanian fascist movement, directly descended from the Arrow Cross formations which avidly embraced nazi racial policies during World War 11, had openly announced what would happen nearly six months earlier: "Our war against the Gypsies will start in the fall. Until them, preparations will be made to obtain arms; first we are going to acquire chemical sprays. We will not spare minors either."
No accurate count of how many Gypsies have been killed, tortured, maimed or otherwise physically abused in Romania is presently available (unconfirmed reports run into the hundreds). What is known is that there has been a veritable news blackout m the topic, and that reaction from those elements of the Jewish establishment which profess to serve as the "world's conscience" on such matters has been tepid at best. No serious protest arose from that quarter, not even when Romani leaders, hoping to avoid what they knew was in store, took a large delegation of their people during the spring of 1993 to seek sanctuary in the Neuenganune concentration camp where their fathers and mothers were murdered a generation earlier. Certainly, no Jewish human rights activists came forth to stand with them as an act of solidarity.
As usual, it was Yehuda Bauer who produced what was perhaps the best articulation of exclusivist sentiment on the matter. As early as 1990, he was publicly complaining that such desperate attempts by Gypsies to end the condition of invisibility he himself had been so instrumental in imposing upon them was coming into "competition" with the kind of undeviating focus on "radical anti-Semitism" he'd spent his life trying to engender. No better illustration of what the distinguished Princeton historian of the Holocaust Amo J. Mayer has described as the "exaggerated self-centeredness" of Jewish exclusivism and its "egregious forgetting of the larger whole and all of the other victims" can be imagined.
Recovering the Holocaust
There should be no need to go into such detail in rejoining exclusivist denials of the genocides perpetrated against Slavic peoples within the overall framework of the Holocaust. However, a tracing of the general contours seems appropriate, beginning with the familiar assertion that "they were treated differently from the Jews, and none were marked out for total annihilation." As Lucy Dawidowicz puts it, "It has been said that the Germans ... planned to exterminate the Poles and Russians on racial grounds since, according to Hitler's racial doctrine, Slavs were believed to be subhumans (Untermenschen). But no evidence exists that a plan to murder the Slavs was ever contemplated or developed."
There is both a grain of truth and a bucketful of falsity imbedded in these statements. In other words, it is true that Slavs were not named in the Endlosung (Final Solution) sketched out for Gypsies and Jews during the 1942 Wannsee Conference. This clearly suggests that the last two groups were given a certain priority in terms of the completion of their "special handling," but it is not at all to say that Slavs weren't
"marked out" to suffer essentially the same fate in the end. Presumably, the final phases of the nazis' antislavic campaigns) would have gotten underway once those directed against the much smaller Jewish and Gypsy populations had been wrapped Up. In any event, the idea that "no plan [for Slavic extermination] was ever contemplated or developed" is quite simply false.
As is abundantly documented, the Hitlerian vision of lebensraumpolitik-the conquest of vast expanses of Slavic territory in eastern Europe for "resettlement" by a tremendously enlarged Germanic populationentailed a carefully calculated policy of eliminating resident Slavs. In the USSR alone, this planned "depopulation" was expressly designed to reduce those' within the intended area of German colonization from about 75 million to no more than thirty million. This sizable "residue" was to be maintained for an unspecified period to serve as an expendable slave labor pool to build the infrastructure required to support what the nazis deemed "Aryan" living standards. 1 5 0 The 45 million human beings constituting the difference between the existing population and its projected diminishment were to be dispensed with through a combination of massive expulsion-"drive them eastward"-and a variety of killing programs."'
Plans for more westerly Slavic peoples like the Poles, Slovenes and Serbs were even worse (or at any rate set on a faster track). As early as Mein Kampf, Hitler unambiguously announced that they, like the Jews, were to be entirely exterminated. For the Poles at least, this was to be accomplished in a series of stages which seems likely to have been intended as a model for similarly phased eradication of the Ukrainians and other peoples to the east: immediately upon conquest, the Poles would be "decapitated" (i.e., their social, political and intellectual leadership would be annihilated, en toto),- second, the mass of the population would be physically relocated in whatever configuration best served the interests of the German economy; third, the Poles would be placed on starvation rations and worked to death. 153 Whether or not there would have been a fourth and "final" phase a la Auschwitz is irrelevant, since the results, both practical and intended, are identical.
Unlike the Gypsies and Jews, the Slavs were mostly organized in a way lending itself to military resistance. Consequently, planning for their decimation necessarily factored in attrition through military confrontational Insofar as German methods in the East, in sharp contrast to those employed against nonslavic western opponents, always devolved upon the concept of "a war of annihilation," the extraordinarily high death rates suffered by Soviet prisoners of war are not really separable from the extermination plan as a whole. Similarly, according to SS GruppenfWuer Eric von dern Bach-Zelewski, who commanded antipartisan operations in eastern Europe, the manner in which such warfare was wagedwas consciously aimed not just at suppressing guerrilla activities, but to help "achieve Himmler's goal of reducing the Slavic population to 30 million."
Available evidence suggests that the principle victims in the partisan-Nazi confrontations were the civilian population. Thus, for example, when 9,902 partisans were killed or executed between August and November 1942, at the same time the Germans executed 14,257 civilians whom they suspected of aiding the partisans... A Polish scholar, Ryszard Torzecki, views the mass extermination of civilian population as the greatest drama of the Ukraine during World War II. According to him there were 250 sites of mass extermination of Ukrainian people-together with detention camps in which thousands of people perished .. In a great many cases, mass murder was related to partisan warfare. H. Kuhnrich estimated that as a result of the antipartisan war 5,909,225 people were killed. Since the Ukraine was the center of partisan activity, if was there that the greatest losses occurred. According to Kuhnrich some 4.5 million people, both fighters and civilians, lost their lives in the Ukraine, as did 1,409,225 in Byelorussia.
Certainly, these slaughtered civilians should be included in the total of those taken by nazi extermination policies, not labeled as "war deaths." And, if the standard practice of lumping the deaths of Jewish partisan fighters into the total of six million Jews claimed by the Holocaust were applied equally to Slavs, then plainly the body count of partisans should be as well. And again, since the Jews killed by Bach-Zelewski's SS men during the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising are rightly included among the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, so too should the masses of civilian Slavs liquidated during the German seizures of cities like Kiev, Kharkov, Sebastopol and Mink be tallied. When the totals of those deliberately worked to death, who died of exposure during the process of being driven eastward under any and all conditions, who were intentionally starved to death, and who perished in epidemics which spread like wildfire because of a calculated nazi policy of denying vaccines, the true dimensions of the genocide of the Slavs begins to emerge.
'Between 1939 and 1945, Poland, the first Slavic nation to fall to the Germans, suffered 6,028,000 nonmilitary deaths, about ?? percent population reduction (three million of the Polish dead were Jews, and another 200,000 or so Gypsies, so the Slavic reduction would come to about fourteen percent). Virtually every member of the Polish intelligentsia was murdered. 164 In Yugoslavia, some 1.2 million civilians, or nine percent of the population, were killed between 1941 and 1945 (this is aside from approximately 300,000 military casualties suffered by the Yugoslavs). 1 65 Impacts in other non-Soviet areas of eastern Europe e.g., Slovakia and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia-were less substantial, although nonetheless severe.
The USSR suffered by far the highest number of fatalities. By May 10, 1943, the Germans had taken 5,405,616 Soviet military prisoners; of these, around 3.5 million were starved, frozen, shot, gassed, hanged, killed by unchecked epidemic or simply worked to death. Another five million people were deported to Germany as slave laborers--2.2 million from the Ukraine alone-where an estimated three million died as a result of the intentionally abysmal conditions to which they were subjected. 168 By the time the Germans were finally driven completely out of the Ukraine in 1944, its prewar population of almost 42 million had been reduced to 27.4 million, a difference of 14.5 million. Of these, at least seven million were dead. 169 Overall, the Soviet Union lost, at a minimum, eleven million civilians to nazi extermination measures. The real total may run as high as fifteen million, to which must be added the 3.5 million exterminated prisoners of war, and perhaps as many as a million troops who were simply executed by Wehrmacht and Waffen SS units rather than being taken prisoner in the first place. A gross estimate of the results of nazi genocide against the Slavs thus comes to somewhere between 15.5 and 19.5 million in the USSR, between 19.7 and 23.9 million when the Poles, Slovenes, Serbs and others are added in. As Simon Weisenthal, himself a survivor of Auschwitz, long ago observed, "the Holocaust was not only a matter of the killing of six million Jews. It involved the killing of eleven million people, six million of whom were Jews." Weisenthal spoke on the basis of what was then the best available evidence. Today, some fifty years later, the only correction to be made to his statement lies in the fact that we now know his estimate of eleven million was far too low. The true human costs of nazi genocide came to 26 million or more, six million of whom were Jews, a million or more of whom were Gypsies, and the rest mostly Slavs. Only with these facts clearly in mind can we say have apprehended the full scope of the Holocaust, and that we have thereby positioned ourselves to begin to appreciate its real implications.
Uncovering the Hidden Holocausts
University of Hawaii historian David Stannard has summed up the means by with exclusivists attempt to avert such understanding. "Uniqueness advocates begin by defining genocide (or the Holocaust or the Shoah) in terms of what they already believe to be experiences undergone only by Jews. After much laborious research it is then "discovered"--mirabile dictu--that the Jewish experience was unique. If, however, critics point out after a time that those experiences are not in fact unique, other allegedly unique experiences are invented and proclaimed. If not numbers killed, how about percentage of population destroyed? If not efficiency or method of killing, how about perpetrator intentionality (emphasis in original)?" It is as Stephen Jay Gould has said of another group of intellectual charlatans, "They began with conclusions, peered through their facts, and came back in a circle to the same conclusions." As Stannard has concluded, this is not scholarship, it is sophistry.
To put it another way, as Gould does, it is "advocacy masquerading as objectivity." The connection being made is important insofar as Gould is describing the academic edifice of nineteenth century scientific racism which provided the foundation for the very nazi racial theories under which the Jews of the Holocaust suffered and died. Given that Deborah Lipstadt, Yehuda Bauer, Steven Katz, Lucy Dawidowicz and other exclusivists are of a people which has recently experienced genocide, the natural inclination is to align with them against those like Paul Rassinier, Austin App, Robert Faurisson and Arthur Butz who would absolve the perpetrators. Yet, one cannot.
'One cannot, because it is no better for Lipstadt to "neglect" to mention that the Gypsies were subjected to the same mode of extermination as the Jews-or for Dawidowicz and Bauer to contrive arguments that they weren't-than it is for Rassinier to deliberately minimized the number of Jewish victims of nazism or for Butz to deny the Holocaust altogether. C)ne cannot, because there is nothing more redeeming about Katz's smug dismissal of the applicability of the term "genocide" to any group other than his own than there is about Robert Faurisson's contention that no Jews were ever gassed. One cannot, because Yehuda Bauer's The Holocaust in Historical Perspective, Steven Katz's The Holocaust in Historical Context and Lucy Dawidowiez's The Holocaust and the Historians are really only variations of Arthur Butz's The Hoax of the Twentieth Century written in reverse. All of them, equally, are conscious exercises in the destruction of truth and memory.
Deniers of the Holocaust must, of course, be confronted, exposed for what they are, and driven into the permanent oblivion they so richly deserve. But so too must those who choose to deny holocausts more generally, and who shape their work accordingly. Deborah Lipstadt rightly expresses outrage and concern that Holocaust deniers like Bradley Smith have begun to make inroads on college campuses during the 1990s. She remains absolutely silent, however, about the implications of the fact that she and scores of other holocaust deniers have held professorial positions for decades, increasingly branding anyone
challenging their manipulations of logic and evidence an "anti-Semite" or a "neo-Nazi," and frequently positioning themselves to determine who is hired and tenured in the bargain. The situation is little different in principle than if, in the converse, members of the Institute for Historical Review were similarly ensconced (which they are not, and, with the exceptions of App and Harry Elmer Barnes early m, never have been)."
Viewed on balance, then, the holocaust deniers of Jewish exclusivism represent a proportionately greater and more insidious threat to understanding than do the Holocaust deniers of the IHR variety. This is all the more true insofar as the mythology peddled by exclusivists, unlike that put forth by a Faurisson or a Richard Verrall, dovetails perfectly with the long institutionalized denials of genocides in their own histories put forth by the governments of the United States, Great Britain, France, Turkey, Indonesia and many others. Indeed, Lucy Dawidowicz has sweepingly accused those suggesting that the U.S.
transatlantic slave trade was genocidal--or, by extension, that U.S. extermination campaigns against American Indians were the same-not only of anti-Semitism but of "a vicious anti-Americanism." She is equally straightforward in her efforts to contain what Robert Jay Lifton and Robert Markusen have called "the genocidal mentality" within the framework of uniquely German characteristics." Steven Katz and James Axtell, the reigning dean of American historical apologism, have taken to virtually regurgitating one another's distortive polemics without attribution."
Plainly, if we are to recover the meaning of the Holocaust in all its dimensions, according i t the respect to which it is surely due and finding within it the explanatory power it can surely yield, it is vital that we confront, expose and dismiss these "dogmatists who seek to reify and sacralize" it, converting it into a shallow and sanctimonious parody of its own significance ." Only in this way can we hope arrive at the "universality" called for by Michael Berenbaum, executive director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, when he suggested that the "Holocaust can become a symbolic orienting event in human history that can prevent recurrence....... Undoubtedly, this was what the executive director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, Israel Cbamy, had in mind when he denounced "the leaders and 'high priests' of different cultures who insist on the uniqueness, primacy, superiority, or greater significance of the specific genocide of their people," elsewhere adding that: "I object very strongly to the efforts to name the genocide of any one people as the single, ultimate event, or as the most important event against which all other tragedies of genocidal mass-death are to be, tested and found wanting... For me, the passion to exclude this or that mass killing from the universe of genocide, as well as the intense competition to establish the exclusive "superiority" or unique form of any one genocide, ends up creating a fetishistic atmosphere in which !he masses of 9 bodies that are not to be qualified for the definition of genocide are dumped into a conceptual black hole, where they are forgotten."
In restoring the Gypsies and Slavic peoples to the Holocaust itself, where they've always belonged, we not only exhume them from the black hole into which they've been dumped in their millions by Jewish exclusivism and neo-Nazism alike, we establish ourselves both methodologically and psychologically to remember other things as well. Not only was the Armenian holocaust a "true" genocide, the marked lack of response to it by the Western democracies was used by Adolf Hitler to reassure his cabinet that there would be no undue consequences if Germany were to perpetrate its own genocide(s). Not only were Stalin's policies in the Ukrainians a genuine holocaust, the methods by which it was carried out were surely incorporate into Germany's General plan Ostjust a few years later."' Not only was the Spanish policy of conscripting entire native populations into forced labor throughout the Caribbean as well as much of South and Central America holocaustal, it served as a prototype for nazi policies in eastern Europe. Not only were U.S. "clearing" operations directed against the indigenous peoples of North America genocidal in every sense, they unquestionably served as a conceptual/practical mooring to which the whole Hitlerian rendering of lebensraumpolitik was tied.
In every instance, the particularities of these prior genocides-each of them unique unto themselves-serves to inform our understanding of the Holocaust. Reciprocally, the actualities of the Holocaust serve to illuminate the nature of these earlier holocausts. No less does the procedure apply to the manner in which we approach genocides occurring since 1945, those in Katanga, Biafra, Bangladesh, Indochina, Paraguay, Guatemala, Indonesia, Rwanda, Bosnia and on and on. Our task is-must be-to fit all the various pieces together in such a way as to obtain at last a comprehension of the whole. There is no other means available to us. We must truly "think of the unthinkable," seriously and without proprietary interest, if ever we are to put an end to the "human cancer" which has spread increasingly throughout our collective organism over the past five centuries. To this end, denial in any form is anathema.