Teaching the Holocaust Blog
Subject: The Bi-Weekly Holocaust Blog
|On 09/01/2008 Rabbi Teller wrote:|
People say the Jews are hated because they are scapegoats, but this does not answer the question, “why the Jews?” What is it about Jews that enables them to be used as scapegoats? What is it that inclines people to blame the Jews?
Many claim that Hitler used Jews are scapegoats. This is false according to historical events. Hitler did not blame Jews in order to gain power. The fact is that in large measure he gained power in order to murder Jews. How else can one explain the fact that Nazis murdered Jews? You don’t kill scapegoats; you subject them to forced labor. When Hitler started losing the war in ’43-’44, he withdrew troops from fronts where he was loosing in order to murder more Jews.
Another theory offered after WWII is of a psychological nature. This is advanced in The Nature of Prejudice, by Gordon Alport where he claims, “Normal men and women prefer to be kind.” This contains the obvious tautology that one who is not kind is abnormal. The major works on Anti-Semitism after WWII all base themselves on this theory. The five-volume The Authoritarian Personality, sponsored by AJC, proposes the theory that Anti-Semitism proceeds from emotional disorders. This theory does not, and cannot explain the tens of millions of Germans and Poles and Ukrainians and French and Dutch etc. who supported Anti-Semitism. That is unless you wish to conclude that hundreds of millions of Europeans were abnormal. Thus, as Prager and Telushkin explain so eloquently in their masterful work, Why The Jews? psychological disorders might have exacerbated the hatred of the Nazis, but it cannot explain them.
|On 09/02/2008 mrweb wrote:|
Thank you for starting this blog, and for your wonderful comments. I look forward to checking in often and seeing what you, and everyone else, has written.
|On 09/04/2008 the pa wrote:|
So what, indeed, caused Hitler\'s overwhelming hatred of the Jews, and why specifically the Jews?
Waiting anxiously for your next installment.
|On 09/28/2008 rogue wrote:|
How do you know that Hitler gained power in order to murder Jews? It\'s an interesting statement, but can you prove it?
I always read that he used Jews as a stepping stone in order to gain power.
Subject: The Bi-Monthly Holocaust Blog
|On 10/02/2008 Rabbi Teller wrote:|
The Nazi hatred of the Jew resulted in the murder of six million innocent individuals and the maiming and wounding of countless others. It also resulted in the total annihilation of Eastern European Jewish life.
The number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust is estimated to be “six million.” This number is too large for the brain to fathom, particularly when you remember that it is a figure comprised of six million individuals. Years ago I suggested to a high school audience to go home and make six million “x”s in order to relate to the enormity of the crime. Those who screened the film Paper Clips understand the difficulty of conceptualizing such a gargantuan figure.
Additionally, the number six million is a misleading amount. By way of analogy, if a suicide bomber blows himself up on a bus murdering nine, little thought is afforded to the 34 seriously injured and how they and their families lives will be changed — usually devastated —forever. One lost her eyesight and another had their spinal cord pierced, one’s kidney has been ruptured and the other suffered irreparable damage to the brain. Many of the wounded will be confined to a hospital for the rest of their lives and their families will have to join to assist them, curtailing their careers and, on many occasions, their family life.
Thus, to focus on just nine victims ignores a major aspect of the tragedy. Likewise regarding the numbers of Jews murdered during the Holocaust.
The survivors ─ even if they did not suffer physical wounds – can they ever be emotionally the same? They saw their parents, siblings, relatives and communal members tortured and murdered before their eyes, they witnessed the constant humiliation of their family and their community. Their childhood and innocence was robbed from them as they were forced to violate a lifetime of values and principles of everything holy.
Subject: Teaching the Holocaust Blog
|On 10/22/2008 Rabbi Teller wrote:|
By Hanoch Teller
Posting # 3
Perhaps the most profound and vexing questions concerning the Nazi hatred of the Jew — and what they did about it — are How and Why? Although we shall attempt to answer these questions, we must bear in mind that the questions will always be stronger than the answers. Furthermore, although the questions as to how could the Nazis execute the spoliation, torture and murder of millions of innocents is a very different question than why did they do it, the attempted explanation does not treat them separately.
Presumably, attacking a people that were well-integrated into German society would require the collaboration of the entire German nation. Even though Germany was exposed to relentless propaganda against the Jews from the time that the Nazis came to power (as we shall explain), surely there were business partners, schoolmates and neighbors that would resist the pillage and plunder of their life-long associates?
I posed this question to the venerable historian and Holocaust authority, Sir Martin Gilbert. He replied that a person has primarily three possessions: business, home and car. Once the Nazis were in power for a few years it was obvious — after the Nuremberg Laws manifest, after Kristallnacht shouting from the rooftops — that all possessions would be removed from the Jews.
Thus, the non-Jewish business partner (and neighbor etc.), even though he has enjoyed thirty-five years of a congenial and profitable relationship with a Jew, knows precisely what his partner owns. If it is going to be expropriated, why shouldn’t he be the one to acquire this wealth?
To better understand this, I asked my seminary students to make an inventory of what they had brought with them for their nine-months of study abroad. The list is seemingly interminable — far, far more than you would imagine could be stuffed into two plus suitcases. Just the number of hair products: from shampoos and conditioners to combs, brushes, pins, clips, accessories, hair dryers etc. takes up a full column!
The Germans had a fair idea of what could be amassed by a household of over forty years and they coveted it to be theirs. The opportunity to get something for nothing, particularly from people dubbed enemy Number One of the German nation, was irresistible.
Subject: Teaching the Holocaust Blog
|On 11/18/2008 Rabbi Teller wrote:|
Posting # 4
Toward the end of WWI the German general staff realized that the war was lost. Every day they were ignobly retreating inextricably closer to the Fatherland. They sued for an armistice — anything to keep the war from German soil.
Alas, the German army never knew that their general staff had sued for peace. The soldiers found it intolerable that for six years they bled to death only to be sold out. Never were they or the civilians informed the truth about the war — all they were told was that with a little more effort, victory was in reach.
They were willing to make that extra effort, but never had a chance because they were betrayed by the Jews. The fact that 12,000 Jews died in the Kaiser’s army did not change the perception of betrayal. As a matter of fact, more Jews per capita died fighting for Germany, than Germans died fighting for Germany ─ but this was immaterial.
The myth of Dolschtuss — “the stab in the back” had been fabricated and overnight became an unassailable fact. The German generals were overjoyed with the stab-in-the-back alibi to explain what could have been perceived as their debacle leading to the signing of the armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
The consequence of the armistice resulted in the creation of something even more distasteful to the German mind than the thought of defeat ─ the birth of the Weimar Republic.
Subject: Teaching the Holocaust Blog
|On 01/12/2009 Rabbi Teller wrote:|
Posting # 5
How can you get the Germans, who fancied their army to be invincible, had not lost a war since Bismarck united the country and had been subjected to rigorous propaganda for most of their lives, to understand that they had been defeated and must now own up to the consequences of their loss?
General John Jay (better known as Black Jack) Pershing, who was always the soundest advice of military wisdom — being the highest decorated soldier in American history — said that if he would have had it his way, he would never have allowed the armistice until the actual invasion of German territory.
Let us digress for a moment to highlight how clever Pershing was by sharing his solution to the problem of Islamic terrorists that he confronted. It was 1911 and General Pershing was in command of a garrison in the Philippines that was plagued by numerous attacks by Islamic terrorists.
Pershing’s men captured a number of the terrorists and a lesson was to be taught. At first the captives were forced to dig their own graves before being tied to posts. Then U.S. soldiers, in plain view of their prisoners, slaughtered pigs and doused their bullets in the blood and fat.
Instantaneously the terrorists were terrorized; they were about to be contaminated with hogs\' blood. This would mean that they could not enter Heaven (with its endless supply of virgins), even if they died as terrorist martyrs.
All but one was shot and looked on as his comrades were unceremoniously dumped into the grave and then covered with hog guts. The lone survivor was allowed to escape and tell his brethren what had transpired resulting in a cessation of terrorism in the Philippines for the next 50 years.