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Past and future holocausts

By Alan Caruba
web posted June 19, 2006

In 1963, when Hannah Arendt's book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, was first published, it stirred up all the arguments about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust that killed Jews for the crime of being Jews. The Holocaust is in the news because Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has both denied it and is obsessed with it.

The "Final Solution", code for the genocide of all of Europe's Jews, was worked out at a January 1942 meeting in Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin, that lasted about an hour and a half at most. It required "more than the tacit acceptance from the Reich's State apparatus," Arendt wrote, "it needed the active cooperation of all Ministries and the whole Civil Service." It required, too, that otherwise ordinary, seemingly decent, people turn a blind eye to it. It required the destruction of morality.

Adolf Eichmann became one of the chief architects of Hitler's Holocaust, the mass killing of Jews that included the comparable mass murder of anyone deemed an enemy of the Nazi regime. In all, an estimated eleven million died in the death camps, six million of whom were Jews. After World War II, he was captured in Argentina by Israeli operatives and returned to stand trial in Israel.

As Arendt noted, "The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal." Responding to the criticism that arose from the publication of her book, Arendt, who died in 1975, said, "I held and hold the opinion that this trial had to take place in the interests of justice and nothing else."

Mahoud AhmadinejadMahoud Ahmadinejad is an Islamist version of Hitler, who in a recent interview with Spiegel, a German publication, asked, "Why isn't research into a deed that occurred 60 years ago permitted?" The interviewer replied, "there has been a great deal of research, and there is neither the slightest doubt about the Holocaust, nor about the fact—we greatly regret this—that the Germans are responsible for it." But Ahmadinejad persisted, trying to tie the Holocaust to the current situation involving the Palestinians. "And if the Holocaust actually occurred," he said, only to be asked if he thought it was a myth. "I will only accept something as truth if I am actually convinced of it."

Suffice it to say, Ahmadinejad used every argument at his disposal to either deny the Holocaust or claim that the "Zionists" of today were holding Germans "hostage" to the past. "If there really had been a Holocaust, Israel ought to be located in Europe, not in Palestine." The ability to dismiss some 3,500 years of Jewish history, recorded in the Torah and in the New Testament requires a level of denial that exists throughout the Middle East and is widespread throughout the world.

Ahmadinejad is consumed by several things, not the least of which is the hatred of Jews inherent to Islam. In a veiled threat, he cited "three mistakes" which he deems Europe made "with respect to our people. The first mistake was to support the Shah's government…the second mistake was to support Saddam in his war against us. The third mistake was Europe's stance on the nuclear issue. Europe will be the big loser and will achieve nothing."

It is absolutely essential to understand that Ahmadinejad is not merely threatening Israel, but all of Europe with the Iranian insistence on acquiring nuclear weapons that portend a new Holocaust, one that could take the lives of millions of Europeans.

To those who opposed the U.S., British, and coalition members removal of an Iraqi despot responsible for the deaths of millions and who now oppose the use of military power to thwart Iran's drive to acquire nuclear weapons, the only rational conclusion to be drawn from history is that the pre-emptive destruction of Iran's nuclear facilities will soon be the only option left. The countdown has begun.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. © Alan Caruba, 2006

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