Monthly Archives: February 2017

Britain’s Holocaust memorial shortlist: right time, wrong place?

[From The Guardian]


1600“A
mazing, most amazing position,” said a US government official in 1943 of British reluctance to help with a plan to rescue 70,000 Jews from a part of the Soviet Union under axis occupation. The British feared “the difficulties of disposing of any considerable number of Jews”. Or as the American paraphrased: “We let them die because we don’t know what to do with them.” In 1945 the Liberal politician Viscount Samuel described the British and international response to the Holocaust another way. “Out of that vast reservoir of misery and murder,” he told the House of Lords, “only a tiny trickle of escape was provided.”

These facts, recorded in Whitehall and the Jews 1933-1948 by the lawyer and historian Louise London, should be remembered. For everything that Britain has to be proud of in the defeat of Nazism, including a slightly less mean attitude to refugees than some other countries, and the children’s rescue programme, Kindertransport, the response to the displacement and slaughter of millions was to admit only by the thousands those trying to escape. The government feared immigrants taking British jobs, and social unrest. In terms that sound familiar now, it tried to distinguish political refugees from “economic” migrants. Much of the press backed them up. “The law of self-preservation”, said the London Evening News in 1938, “demands that the word ‘enter’ be removed from the gate.”

Click here for more

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news

We need new ways to ensure our history is not forgotten

[From The Guardian]

1600The fate of the Jews in Nazi Germany and the countries it occupied seems far more vivid to me now than it did in the 1950s and 1960s, when the term concentration camps rather than the word Holocaust was used to describe their deliberate elimination – as though it were barbed wire and overcrowding rather than gas and shooting that had killed them. For this I have to credit a wide range of books and films – from Art Spiegelman’s graphic memoir, Maus, to Claude Lanzmann’s 10-hour documentary, Shoah – and also, I suppose, the general feeling that produced these works: that the horror needed to be understood in its intimate particulars, which the passage of time had made us readier to see and hear.

To me, as I suspect to many others, the idea that those events could be mislaid by the public memory seems impossible. Nevertheless, this week Prince Charles told the charity World Jewish Relief, in what was seen as a criticism of Donald Trump’s refugee policy, that the work of “reaching beyond your own community” was particularly valuable “at a time when the horrific lessons of the last war seem to be in increasing danger of being forgotten”.

Meanwhile the Trump administration came under more direct attack, from the scholar Deborah Lipstadt, who said the new regime was “flirting with Holocaust denial” by failing to mention in a statement issued to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Dayon 27 January that Jews were the principal victims.

Clock here to read more

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news

Historian Deborah Lipstadt accuses Trump advisers of ‘soft Holocaust denial’

[From The Guardian]

1312The internationally renowned historian Deborah Lipstadt, whose courtroom battle with Holocaust denier David Irving is the subject of the new film Denial, has accused President Donald Trump’s “innermost circle” of being guilty of “soft Holocaust denial” and the “de-Judaization” of the Nazi genocide.

Writing in the Atlantic, Lipstadt – a leading expert on the Nazi effort to wipe out Europe’s Jews – took aim at the Trump administration for its failure last Friday to mention Jews as the primary victims of the Holocaust.

“Holocaust denial is alive and well in the highest offices of the United States,” wrote Lipstadt. “It is being spread by those in President Trump’s innermost circle. It may have all started as a mistake by a new administration that is loath to admit it’s wrong.

“Conversely, it may be a conscious attempt by people with antisemitic sympathies to rewrite history,” she added. “Either way it is deeply disturbing.”

Lipstadt’s intervention came in amid an escalating row over the White House’s statement on Holocaust Memorial Day. On Monday, Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, accused the media of a “pathetic” attempt to whip up controversy.

Click here for more

Leave a comment

Filed under Holocaust in the news