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Anti-PC League

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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Holocaust Debt Long Overdue for Repayment

Mass grave at BelsenThe truly vile picture you see to the left comes to us courtesy of, "the Jewish network". If you find this image crude, just think about how crude the reality it portrays would have to be in Jewish eyes, anywhere. Yet experience tells me that if I were to put a mailform on this site and thus make responding easy, I'd probably hear from somebody who, having seldom thought about the incident, would be outraged at the portrayal. Actual horror, some can forgive and forget. It's being reminded of that horror that provokes their anger. One could not image a more genuinely selfish point of view, and yet the Emily Post standards of "etiquette" called for by "proper, high class people" in this country tend to be perversely supportive of that which common decency would condemn. Perhaps this is why some of us, at times, seem to embrace an almost self-conscious earthiness: we are too used to seeing a brittle facade of elegance laid over a core of savagery that would bring shame to the heart of a New Guinea headhunter, and we find ourselves with a deep craving for directness. With that thought in mind, I'm going to be a little blunt about a story that just bounced across the Yahoo homepage.

In Ynet news (an Israeli news site), we find the story "Survivors still waiting for compensation". I could not help but be annoyed by the opening passage:

"Thousands of Holocaust victims who have yet to receive compensation from Germany are living in Israel. The sums are not large and will not make them wealthy, but they will help Holocaust survivors end their lives with honor.

Some of them live beneath the poverty line, and they hope that their legal suit against the Prosecutions Committee – an international organization connecting the Holocaust survivors and the German government – can help them out of their sad situation.

In 2002, 1,915 Holocaust survivors sued for the compensation, under the name of the non-profit organization "The Children of the War". The survivors sued for a sum of NIS 19 million (about USD 4). The prosecutors claim the Prosecutions Committee decided on criteria for who is eligible for the compensation which do not appear in the decision of the German government.

The criteria which appear for men is that they must show 80 percent disability or 50 percent lack of physical fitness, which came as a direct result from Nazi persecution. ...

Now, excuse me, but let's draw a few distinctions that some are bound to use a little impassioned rhetoric to try to gloss over. This is not a group of people doing as some PUSH members would do here in Chicago, and say "your ancestors oppressed my ancestors 500 years ago, so you owe it to me to buy me a summer home". "Yeah, yeah, Antistoicus", somebody usually pipes up, "but this was over 60 years ago, so shouldn't we let bygones be bygones". "Oh, really?", I'll respond to the (usually Anglo-Saxon) person asking the question, "let's say that I was a lot older, and that I had taken an woodman's axe to a few schoolchildren in Kenilworth during the 1920s - would you be prepared to let bygones be bygones". (For those living outside the Chicago area, Kenilworth is a very rich, very Anglo-Saxon kind of place). Disgusted expressions and a shocked hush usually follow, pierced by my raised voice as I ask where they get off being offended by my question, given what they just had the nerve to ask. Take a good look at that photo. To be clear on this, I've never committed any such crime as the one I hypothetically described, but if I were that kind of person, I could clear out an entire school district, raping every little victim before and after their demise, and I still would not be able to compete with the people who made the above picture possible for just sheer, graphic, gratuitous and horrific evil.

Do I have to put it that crudely? Yes, I do, because if I should be so cooperatively gentle as to leave alone the sensibilities of those I'm bothering at this point, I'm going to be letting them sidestep a question that "polite" people have been allowed to sidestep for far too long. Why does my hypothetical example of an atrocity committed on a lesser scale among Anglo-Saxons produce more horror than the reality of atrocities committed with unimaginably greater cruelty to far more people, for absolutely no reason whatsoever? Before the survivors of the Deutsche Yehudim prudently fled, in many cases to America where their descendents are often noteworthy for their patriotism as Americans, the Jewish population of Germany wasn't just a pack of innocent bystanders, by and large, they were a loyal, productive and patriotic segment of the German population, contributing to their society in a measure out of all proportion to their actual numbers. What was done to them, then, becomes not only an exercise in savagery but one in an almost incomprehensible cowardice, the frustrations of the post WWI era taken out on a nearly defenseless minority population that had worked long and hard to be a good friend to the people among whom it had dwelled for generations.

Why does this not produce more outrage than it does? Yes, one can show a few graphic pictures, and after some griping about how unnecessary such graphic imagery is, one will hear maybe a few reluctant expressions of horror from some of our upper crust friends, but one wonders if one has hit them in the heart or the stomach. The uncomfortable reality is that as much as some of these "nice" people will try to deny it, they don't see their Jewish neighbors as being quite as fully human as those they more closely identify with, and no, that is not a universal human trait. Worrying about your own people (whoever they may be) first may be a universal trait, but "do not do unto others that which you would find hateful if done unto you" is an observation that spans most of the globe, and most of the microcosm of that globe that is American society at its less "polite", lower, working and middle class grassroots level.

"It's been over 60 years, so can't we just let bygones be bygones". In a case in which we are talking about the compensation, not of the distant descendents of the victims but of the victims themselves, this only makes matters worse. One of the issues that has arisen has been the compensation of Jews who had their property confiscated by the German government under Hitler and never had it returned. Imagine being robbed when you are twenty, having to wait until you are eighty before compensation is even considered, and then being asked to forgive the *ahem* loan you were coerced into making to your own personal oppressors on the basis that their heirs had dragged their feet on repayment for so long. If this were done to "nonhyphenated Americans" (ie. members of the Anglo-Saxon psuedo-majority), the expected response to such a suggestion would be one of pure, out of control rage, even under circumstances far less provocative, yet Central European Jews are expected to be "good sports" about the exact same thing, by "high class" people who then wonder out loud why they are hearing talk about hypocrisy.

"It's been over for 60 years ..." Can you picture walking past a pile like the one seen in that photo, looking down unsure as to which of those withered corpses was a parent or sibling, and being pyschologically whole in a hundred years, much less 60? But, of course, as we can see by looking at those insane conditions set for compensation, psychological wholeness is not the only issue. Imagine it! If one is "merely" 75 percent disabled, a glorious 25 percent removed from being confined to a feeding tube for the rest of one's life - and don't ask me how such a thing could be quantified - too bad for you. You'd be basically helpless in a job market in which even the partially disabled have mostly faced long term unemployment for years, your disability the product not merely of negligence but of open, malevolent, willful harm done by the authorities, but you get nothing and you get flipped the bird in the name of sovereign immunity and German government policy.

What boggles my mind is that the German government was allowed to set the terms for compensation, in an episode that should almost redefine the word "actionable". Just imagine the possibilities for wrongful death suits, alone. But, we get back to that bad old concept of sovereign immunity, strangely supported by many conservatives, under which a government can only be sued with its own consent. Real conservatives, as far as I'm concerned, believe in holding people responsible for their own choices. The rationale I've heard for sovereign immunity holds that the people should be viewed as being an innocent party, too, who would be wronged by the need to raise their taxes in order to pay out for any judgement against their government (thus transferring the penalty to them), but in a democratic society, who is to blame for the fact that the current idiots are in charge, but the people themselves? To reject sovereign immunity, then, is to do no more than extend the established and sensible principle that an employer is civilly liable for the misdeeds of his employees, the employees of the population as a whole being its government.

Some will try to respond to this by saying that Nazi Germany was no democracy, which it certainly wasn't, but Weimar Germany was, and as much as some apologists would like to forget this, Hitler et al. did come to power through democratic means, at a time when they were anything but vague about what it is that they believed. How surprised did the German people really have the right to be? Then there are those who will point out that after all of this time, we would be penalizing an electorate most of which had not even been born at the time the outrages occured. Were we to talk about demonizing contemporary Germans based on what had occured in their country during the 1930s and 1940s, that would certainly be unjust for exactly that reason, but we're not. We're talking about repayment of a debt, something of a more civil than criminal nature in spirit, and there is no precedent for the notion that debts are dissolved upon the death of the debtor. They, in fact, are inherited along with the estate that ran them up, so unless the current German people wish to vacate Germany, it is difficult to see how one can justify such a refusal to honor their legitimate debts, even hereditary ones.

Unjust? Unfair? Are we not setting the grandchildren's teeth on edge because their grandparents have eaten bitter lemons? Hardly. Look at the basis for objection. One could call for the end of Social Security on the same basis, or even the confiscation of the bank accounts of retirees who are, after all, effectively obtaining the living their money buys in exchange for work performed before those from whom they obtain those goods and services they buy today were even born, very often - do you feel cheated by this fact, or do you accept this as being simply a matter of the elderly getting their due? The same principle applies. What should have been done at the end of WWII is clear - even granting the residual and righteous anger that the highhanded imposition of the Versailles treaty produced in Germany, the Germans should have been forced to accept their debts, at gunpoint if necessary, which if you think about it is pretty much how individuals are forced to accept their debts. (Try unilaterally reneging on a debt and ignoring a court judgement, and see what happens).

Today, that would be a little more difficult to do directly, as Germany isn't lying prostrate as it was in 1945, and we are dealing with the heirs of the guilty rather than the guilty themselves which would make waging war in collection of the debt an option almost nobody would care to entertain, myself included, but it is not too late to apply a little pressure. Germany, like any net food importer, is highly dependent on foreign trade, and as musch as some of their citizens may like to make defiant remarks about "Jewish ears perking up to the sound of German cash registers", the Germans can ill afford to disregard the sensibilities of a world community among which they must trade merely to obtain the necessities of life. To exploit this fact in order to extract from them more than is just would be wrong, but there is no injustice in forcing others to grant justice, especially when justice is so long overdue. The only question is whether the world community will care enough about justice to be bothered.

The question almost answers itself, doesn't it?