Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Nizkor Project: David Irving on "Ausrotten"

From The Nizkor Project:

David Irving on 'Ausrotten'


One of the first tasks which any Holocaust-denier must undertake is to explain, if Hitler never intended to exterminate the Jews, why he said so repeatedly in public.

On January 30, 1939, speaking before the Reichstag:

Today I want to be a prophet once more: if international finance Jewry inside and outside of Europe should succeed once more in plunging nations into another world war, the consequence will not be the Bolshevation of the earth and thereby the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.

September, 1942:

...if Jewry should plot another world war in order to exterminate the Aryan peoples in Europe, it would not be the Aryan people which would be exterminated but Jewry...

November 8, 1942:

You will recall the session of the Reichstag during which I declared: if Jewry should imagine that it could bring about an international world war to exterminate the European races, the result will not be the extermination of the European races, but the extermination of Jewry in Europe. People always laughed about me as a prophet. Of those who laughed then, countless numbers no longer laugh today, and those who still laugh now will perhaps no longer laugh a short time from now.

The phrase "annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe" in the 1939 speech is, in German, die Vernichtung der jüdischen Rasse in Europa. This is unambiguous; and there is no question as to its proper translation, even from Holocaust-deniers. If your computer supports RealAudio, you can listen to that portion of the speech, as it was excerpted in the Nazi propaganda film Der Ewige Jude.

But David Irving says of these speeches, and other Hitler speeches, that Hitler's meaning was not really extermination. The German word for "exterminate" and "extermination," in the 1942 speeches, is ausrotten. According to German dictionaries, it means one thing and one thing only when referring to living beings: to kill. (See next page.) The nature of the killing is often rendered as "exterminate" or "extirpate" in English, but the meaning is the same: to kill.

Yet Irving, who is fluent in German, claims that:

it really means "stamping out" or "rooting out." For example, Irving (1977) translates a conversation between Hitler and Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi Reich Minister for the Eastern Occupied Territories. In the Rosenberg's discussion of handling the Jews, Irving infers "stamping out" for the word ausrotten, and then concludes that Rosenberg meant transporting Jews out of the Reich (p. 356n).

The above is from an article in Skeptic magazine by Dr. Michael Shermer, who interviewed Irving in 1994.

When confronted with a native-speaking professor of German who informed Shermer that the word did mean "exterminate," Irving's response was:

The word ausrotten means one thing now in 1994, but it meant something very different in the time Adolf Hitler uses it.

How does Irving know this? Let's start with what he told Shermer in 1994:

Different words mean different things when uttered by different people. What matters is what that word meant when uttered by Hitler. I would first draw attention to the famous memorandum on the four-years plan of August, 1936. In that Adolf Hitler says, "we are going to have to get our armed forces in a fighting state within four years so that we can go to war with the Soviet Union. If the Soviet Union should ever succeed in overrunning Germany it will lead to the Ausrottung [1] of the German people." There's that word. There is no way that Hitler can mean the physical liquidation of 80 million Germans. What he means is that it will lead to the emasculation of the German people as a power factor.

By extension, Mr. Irving is saying that when Hitler spoke of the "Ausrottung" of the Jewish people, he meant only that they would be "emasculated ... as a power factor."

Ten years earlier, Irving had said very nearly the same thing at the 1983 "International Revisionist conference" of the IHR. You can find a complete transcript of his speech on the CODOH website. He said:

I made a card index of every instance where he used that word in the 1930s. About 15 documented instances. Look at his memorandum on the Four Year Plan of August 1936. [...] in that document is the following phrase: The Wehrmacht has got to be ready in four years to fight the Soviet Union (which is significant, because he's only ever looking eastwards) because if the Soviet Union should ever succeed in invading and conquering Germany it will end with the "Ausrottung" [1] of the German people, of the German Volk. And I say to the historians: Is Hitler really saying here that if the Soviet Union succeeds in invading all Germany and conquering them, it's going to end up with the liquidation, the murder, of 80 million Germans? Of course he's not: he's just saying it means the end of Germany.

Again, Irving argues by comparison that Hitler only referred to "the end" of the Jewish religion or Jewish culture, not necessarily to the murder of millions of Jewish people.

Irving makes a good argument. The only trouble is, it just isn't true.

And since Irving has paid such close attention to where Hitler has used that word, he surely knows it isn't true.

The Context
Let us see exactly what Hitler means by the word "ausrotten" -- the word he uses repeatedly and publicly to describe what he will do to the Jews.

What was Germany's war situation at the time?

By May 26th, 1944, Germany was on the losing side of the war, and was sliding fast. The great Allied offensive had begun in summer 1943; with Italy captured and Germany's air force decimated, Allied bombers were destroying nearly any target they pleased in Europe.

"Toward the end of 1943 at the latest," the now unemployed General Halder would later write, "it had become unmistakably clear that the war was militarily lost." [2]

By May of 1944, the Allied invasion of France was expected at any minute (and D-Day was in fact just two weeks away).

Hitler and the Nazi leaders insisted, even when things were hopeless, that victory would be theirs -- but, in order to secure that victory, the German people would have to fight to the bitter last -- down to the last man, woman, and child. This commitment to total war had been part of Hitler's rhetoric from the beginning, but became more important as the Allied armies approached the German border.

Hitler's May 26th Speech
To establish this fixated suicidal determination in the people, the army, and the officers of the army, required that Nazi leaders convince them that death, and worse, was the price of defeat. Hitler stressed this point over and over. The war may look hopeless, he repeated, but surrender or defeat would mean such utter destruction that the war must be fought at all costs.

To communicate this image of utter destruction, on May 26th, 1944, Hitler painted a vivid picture of what a German loss would mean:

Meine Herren Offiziere, wir stehen in einem Kampf auf Leben und auf Tod. Wenn in diesem Kampf unsere Gegner siegen, würde das deutsche Volk ausgerottet werden. Der Bolschewismus würde Millionen und Millionen und Millionen unserer Intellektuellen abschlachten. Was nicht durch Genickschuß stürbe, würde abtransportiert. Die Kinder höherer Schichten würden wegkommem und beseitigt werden.

In English:

My dear generals, we are fighting a battle of life and death. If our enemies are victorious in this struggle, the German people will be extirpated. The Bolsheviks will butcher millions upon millions of our intellectuals. Those who escape the bullet in the back of the neck will be deported. The children of the upper classes will be taken away and got rid of.

This speech was met with loud applause.

Hitler's aim in this part of the speech was to emphasize the total destruction which awaited defeat, and to make it appear so horrible that no one could do anything but fight to the very end.

And how did Hitler describe this butchery? What word did he choose to underscore the horrible slaughter of millions, to communicate the brutality which awaited the German Volk?

...das deutsche Volk ausgerottet werden.
...the German people are to be extirpated.

"Ausgerottet werden" is the present passive infinitive of the verb "ausrotten."

Recall from the previous page that David Irving had quoted Hitler:

If the Soviet Union should ever succeed in overrunning Germany it will lead to the Ausrottung [1] of the German people.

Because this was the same word used by Hitler to describe his plans for the Jews, Mr. Irving sought to nullify its meaning:

There's that word ("ausrotten"). There is no way that Hitler can mean the physical liquidation of 80 million Germans.

But this is what Hitler meant, excepting the exact figure: the "butchery" of "millions and millions and millions."

Hitler's words, regarding what would happen to a defeated Germany, could have referred to the Holocaust of European Jews with great accuracy. Shall we say that the Holocaust was the butchery of millions and millions, including children, and the deportation of those who survived execution? If Mr. Irving or anyone else wishes to say that, no historian will argue.

Recall that Hitler said repeatedly: [3]

[...] it would not be the Aryan people which would be ausgerottet, but Jewry [...]

[...] the result will not be the Ausrottung of the European races, but the Ausrottung of Jewry in Europe.

Was Irving Unaware?
Mr. Irving has clearly ignored the May 26th speech. But can he claim he was not aware of it?

The answer is no. The translation above is David Irving's.

It is David Irving's translation, from the 1977 edition of his book Hitler's War, p. 631. In fact, it is only thanks to Mr. Irving that Nizkor became aware of this speech at all! [4]

So what are we to make of Mr. Irving's "card index" of Hitler's usages of this word? Perhaps his card index really only applied to the 1930s, and perhaps he somehow overlooked this usage in 1944 (even though he had translated it himself). Or perhaps he will expect us to believe that, despite Hitler's continuing to use the word to refer to the destruction of European Jews throughout the war, [5] he was correct to turn a blind eye to its meaning in this speech.

Did the Meaning Change?
And what are we to make of his claim that "the word ausrotten means one thing now in 1994, but it meant something very different in the time Adolf Hitler uses it"?

Words do change meaning over time, it is true, but German dictionaries tell us that "ausrotten" has not changed at least in this century. [6]

But, since Mr. Irving doubts the dictionaries, it would be interesting to see him try to explain how the word changed meaning between page 51 of the transcript of Hitler's speech and page 53!

On page 53, Hitler says:

Ich habe auch hier eingegriffen, und auch dieses Problem wird nun gelöst werden, wie ich überhaupt sagen muß: der Jude hat als Programm aufgestellt die Ausrottung des deutschen Volks. Ich habe am 1. September 1939 in Deutschen Reichstag erklärt: wenn jemand glaubt, durch einen solchen Weltkrieg die deutsche Nation auszurotten, dann irrt er sich; wenn das Judentum das wirklich arrangiert, dann wird derjenige, der ausgerottet sein wird, das Judentum sein.

In English -- again, the translation is Mr. Irving's, along with the bracketed comment:

If I may say this: the Jews had as their program the extirpation [Ausrottung] of the German people. On September 1, 1939, I announced in the Reichstag, if any man believes he can extirpate the German nation in a world war, he is wrong; if Jewry really tries that, then the one that will be extirpated is Jewry itself.

The other words that he translates "extirpate" are also ausrotten.

As we have seen, he has later explained how Hitler did not mean literal killing of people -- only "emasculation" and so on. So perhaps he can also explain how the meaning changed from the "butchery" of "millions and millions" on p. 51, to "the emasculation of the [Jewish] people as a power factor" on p. 53.

Of course, even if he could explain this, Hitler's other speeches on the ausrotten of the Jewish people would remain.

Or, on the other hand, perhaps he can admit that his theories are wrong, and that Hitler really did speak, publicly, of the extermination of the Jewish race in Europe.


Note that both Shermer's and CODOH's transcription of what Irving said are almost certainly wrong. Irving would know better than to use the verb "ausrotten" as a noun, or to fail to capitalize the noun, "Ausrottung." Because these are transcriptions of spoken text, I am giving Irving the benefit of the doubt, and silently correcting these errors.

Shirer, William, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 1960, pp. 1009-1010.

Please see previous page.

My thanks go out to Nizkor volunteer Laura Finsten for finding and copying the microfilm of Himmler's transcript of Hitler's speech. As Irving's book indicates (p. 883n), it is at the National Archives on microfilm, Microcopy T175, roll 92, pp. 3475 et seq. Nizkor has scanned ten pages of the transcript; the section quoted is on page 51.
I do not claim that Mr. Irving's translation is perfect; I use it mostly so that no supporter of his can accuse me of mistranslation.

See e.g. Shirer, op. cit., p. 964. Regarding Hitler's 1939 prophecy to the Reichstag, quoted on the previous page, Shirer says "he repeated it five times, verbatim, in subsequent public utterances." Two of those occasions are also quoted on the previous page, once directly above.

See for example the 1906 edition of the Muret-Sanders enzyklopädisches englisch-deutsches und deutsch-englishes Wörterbuch, published in Berlin-Schöneberg by Langenscheidtsche Verlagsbuchhandlung:
aus-rotten I v/a. (21) b. sep. 1. [...] Volksstämme, Wölfe zc.: to exterminate.


aus-rotten 1. [...] Tribes or races of people, wolves, etc.: to exterminate.

Or, Der Sprach-Brockhaus. Deutsches Bildwörterbuch für jedermann, published in Leipzig by F. A. Brockhaus in 1935 (this is the complete entry):

die Aus rottung, -/-en,
voellige Vernichtung.


die Aus rottung, -/-en,
complete annihilation.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

About contemporary anti-Semitism in Germany

In the context of the piece posted below I also suggest you read the book The New Germany and the Old Nazis by Tete Harens Tetens and read the previous posts on this blog entitled Poll: 68 percent of Germans believe that Israel is waging a "war of extermination" against the "Palestinians" and Report: 62% of Germans are tired of hearing about the Holocaust, and 70% respond with anger when the subject of Nazi crimes is discussed ).

From Jewish Political Studies Review:

Jewish Political Studies Review 16:3-4 (Fall 2004)

Anti-Semitism In Germany Today:
Its Roots And Tendencies1
Susanne Urban

The new millennium has witnessed a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the world, especially in Europe. Anti-Semitism certainly did not disappear in Germany after WW II. What is new is the blunt expression of anti-Semitism and the fraternization between left-wing and right-wing, liberal and conservative streams. Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism continue to spread in German society and are more and more openly expressed.

Right-wing groups and neo-Nazis are no longer the only ones who agitate against Israel and Jews. Together with "traditional" anti-Semitism, Germany has seen a growth of leftist anti-Semitism along with anti-imperialist, antiglobalization, and anti-Zionist attitudes, all reinforcing the new German claim of having been victims in WW II.

There is a widespread animus against Israel, clearly not only toward Israeli policies, that often goes along with pro-Palestinian partisanship. This development is intensified by anti-Israeli media coverage in Germany, often accompanied by anti-Semitic language and images.

This "new" anti-Semitism in Germany correlates with changes in the nation's attitudes toward WW II and remembrance of the Shoah. Laying the blame for "immoral" conduct on Israel, and therefore "the Jews," makes clear that "they" did not learn the lessons of the Shoah; whereas Germans see themselves as having learned the lessons by being watchmen against "immoral" politics.

In 1967 Jean Améry wrote: "The classic phenomenon of anti-Semitism is taking a new shape. The old one still exists, this I call coexistence....To be clear: anti-Semitism, included in...anti-Zionism as the thunderstorm is part of the cloud, is again respectable....But: a respectable anti-Semitism is not possible."2

More than thirty-five years later, it seems nothing has changed. Although anti-Semitism masks itself above all as anti-Zionism or "criticism of Israeli policies," its roots are pure, traditional anti-Semitism.

The Devil in Disguise

Améry’s appeal not to become complacent toward anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism has lost none of its importance. Born in 1912 in Vienna, Améry survived the Holocaust and after 1966 worked mainly as a journalist. His writings are responses to anti-Semitism by someone who lost faith in the world in Auschwitz. He committed suicide in 1978.

The new millennium has witnessed a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the world, especially in Europe. There is a clear link to the terror war in Israel, and a widespread animus against Israel (not just Israeli policies) and Diaspora Jews along with pro-Palestinian partisanship. This development is intensified by anti-Israeli media coverage including the use of anti-Semitic language and images.

In Germany, anti-Semitism certainly did not disappear after WW II. What is new is the blunt expression of anti-Semitism and the fraternization between left-wing and right-wing, liberal and conservative streams. Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism continue to spread in German society.

Anti-Semitism in Germany, 1945–2004

Anti-Semitism appears to be an essential part of the European cultural tradition, and in Germany, more or less conscious Jew-hatred exists by "tradition" as well. Former East Germany, and before that the Soviet Occupation Zone, never conducted a survey of anti-Semitism, and no data is available. Such surveys were, however, conducted in West Germany. In 1949, a quarter of the West German population described themselves as anti-Semites; in a 1952 survey, one-third said they were definitely anti-Semites.3

By 1980, however, the tracking of various population samples showed that anti-Semitism had decreased. Surveys conducted after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 revealed a huge gap in anti-Semitic attitudes between East and West Germany.4 Surprisingly, East Germany appeared to be very congenial to Jews with almost no anti-Semitism. This, however, was a fallacy related to the fact that many people and even researchers make a facile distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, despite the fact that scholars from the Centre for Research on Anti-Semitism in Berlin5 pointed to the similarities. In addition, East Germans were used to saying what was officially required of them. And, as implied, anti-Zionism and attitudes toward Israel per se were not probed. Indeed, in subsequent surveys the gap between eastern and western Germany closed quickly.6

In May 2003, the Federal Office for Protecting the Constitution published a special study on anti-Semitism and its links with rightwing and neo-Nazi groups.7 The same institution recorded more than 1400 anti-Semitic crimes in 2001,8 confirming a steady rise including a 100 percent increase for Berlin. Anti-Israeli activities, however, such as attacks on the Israeli embassy, are not included in these reports because there is still no systematic monitoring of anti-Zionism.

In 2002, as the neoliberal FDP Party maligned Israel, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and German Jewish leader Michel Friedman, anti-Semitism became an issue for the first time in a postwar German election campaign.

In April of that year, the Sigmund Freud Institute in Frankfurt am Main and the University of Leipzig confirmed a new height of anti-Semitism. In their joint study, 20 percent of the respondents agreed that "Jews are to blame for the major conflicts in the world," and another 26 percent shared this opinion to some extent.9

In May 2002, the weekly magazine Der Spiegel published a survey in which 25 percent agreed that "what the State of Israel does to the Palestinians is no different than what the Nazis did during the Third Reich to the Jews."10

As reported in 2003, studies now estimate overt anti-Semitism at around 23 percent, and covert anti-Semitism as existing among 30–40 percent of the German public.11

In 2002, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) in Vienna and the above-mentioned Centre for Research on Anti-Semitism conducted a study on "Manifestations of Anti-Semitism in the European Union: First Semester, 2002." In October 2003 the first version of the report was submitted to the EU, and by January 2004 the final report was in the hands of the EUMC, which kept the study - with the EU’s knowledge and approval - under lock and key. The research shows that, aside from the clear threat posed by "ordinary" right-wing anti-Semitism, Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups are also playing a crucial role. Furthermore, leftist and antiglobalization groups such as ATTAC were described as more or less anti-Semitic.12 The EUMC vaguely criticized the study, saying that "there was a problem defining anti-Semitism, the definition being too complicated," as a member of the Centre for Research on Anti-Semitism told the author. Once again, anti-Zionism was treated as distinct from anti-Semitism.

In April 2004, as the Conference on Anti-Semitism in Europe took place in Berlin, the Stephen Roth Institute of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University revealed that the countries with the highest rates of anti-Semitic incidents in the world are Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and Canada.13 Compared to France or Britain, in Germany Islamic and pro-Palestinian groups are involved in only a very small percentage of anti-Semitic incidents: indigenous German anti-Semitism does not need "support" from others. Since there was never a time free of anti-Semitism, it is necessary to ask whether the current wave is really "new anti-Semitism" or centuries old anti-Semitism that has been "modernized" and adapted to the circumstances. Above all, it is a post-Auschwitz anti-Semitism. For many people, provided they are not Holocaust deniers or neo-Nazis, Auschwitz as the symbol of the Holocaust is the obstacle to expressing anti-Semitism and aversion to Jews and Israel. Hence Germans, like many other anti-Semites, use the "anti-Zionist" disguise. This enables declaring Israel "the most evil country" and "nazifying" Israel with comparisons to the Third Reich, or advocating that it vanish from the world’s stage. This, in turn, opens the door to proclaiming Jews to be evil people in general.

These manifestations of anti-Semitism in Germany are deeply linked to the German past from 1933 to 1945 and the wish to get rid of guilt or responsibility for dealing with that past. Germany’s ideological unification since 1989 has two main pillars: a strong anti-American and anti-Israeli attitude, and a new position toward the history of WW II.

Rewriting History

For more than fifteen years, German intellectuals, writers, politicians, and ordinary people have gradually worn down moral and political barriers that for decades kept the overwhelming majority away from open and extensive anti-Semitism.

It started with the Historikerstreit, a series of articles written in 1986, and did not end with the anti-Semitic election campaign in spring 2002. The Historikerstreit was mainly propelled by an article by the historian Ernst Nolte in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which portrayed the National Socialist state and its terror as only a reaction to the Bolshevik threat, and the persecution of Jews and the Shoah as not really singular in human history. (Jürgen Habermas, a representative of the Critical Theory school and intellectual descendant of Theodor Adorno, sharply protested Nolte’s claims.) Germany is a country with far more memorials and museums to the concentration camps, as well as Jewish museums, than other European countries. The volume of Holocaust education in schools and other educational institutions, the number of conferences and workshops devoted to the subject, seems close to unique in Europe. As Yehuda Bauer, chief historian of Yad Vashem, said in an interview:

Germany is most active in promoting Holocaust education for which there is a very good reason. Given their history, they understand the importance of education as a means of preventing future disasters. The Holocaust today serves as a symbol for what we ought to oppose: racism, genocide, mass murder, ethnic hatred, ethnic cleansing, anti-Semitism and group hatred.14
Nevertheless, the opposition to inhumanity in general is no obstacle to German anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Holocaust education in Germany may be intensive, but most of the textbooks use cliche's and stereotypes. Moreover, many of the teachers convey compassion for the murdered Jews along with strong reservations toward the Jews of today and, of course, the anti-Israeli attitude. Although Germany is proud of its well-developed culture of Holocaust remembrance and education, which for many years was seen as a force against anti-Semitism, the latter force has gone weak. It was a fallacy to think that knowledge about the Shoah would lead people to love their neighbors or even their Jewish neighbors. Holocaust education in Germany is being slowly but steadily undermined by the new trend of seeing Germans themselves as victims, with many people feeling that they are fed up with the Shoah.15 Well-intended rituals and remembrances have not proved an effective shield against anti-Semitism and the rewriting of history. This widespread "victim" trend in Germany needs to be monitored carefully, since in the long run it may lead to a rewriting of the history of WW II and, in the worst case, to a minimization of the Shoah.

The leading figure among the German "new historians" is Jörg Friedrich, who has published two books on the Allied bombings of Germany.16 The first book deals with the strategy of the Allied bombings and condemns them as inhuman and pointless. Friedrich’s popularized style helped this book become a bestseller. He uses terms that for decades were associated with Nazi persecution and the Shoah; thus, cellars and air-raid shelters in which Germans died are "crematoria," an RAF bomber group is an Einsatzgruppe, and the destruction of libraries during the bombings constitutes Bücherverbrennungen. In this way the Shoah is minimized through language.

Friedrich’s second book was also a bestseller and also depicts Germans as victims. There are no SA men, no SS, no soldiers involved in persecution, murder, and "aryanization." The book contains horrifying photos of the effects of the Allied bombings of Germany. Ruins, burnt bodies, and ashes everywhere evoke associations with the Warsaw Ghetto after its liquidation in 1943 and well-known images from Auschwitz and other extermination camps. Friedrich even declared openly, in several television interviews in winter 2002: "Churchill was the greatest child-slaughterer of all time. He slaughtered 76,000 children." Yet Friedrich, formerly known as a serious historian, never devotes a single word to the 1.5 million murdered Jewish children.

German historiography increasingly portrays Germans as victims in WW II and not as perpetrators, bystanders, or people deriving benefit from persecution. The revised perspective on German history - from the Allied bombings to the Germans’ expulsion from Poland and East European countries - undoubtedly reflects a historical consciousness that is newly embraced by the majority, though not new in itself. There was never any taboo on speaking about the Allied bombings or the postwar expulsions; documentaries, books, journals, and films have dealt with these subjects since the early 1950s, and WW II was commonly discussed in families and by certain organizations. What is new, however, is the public reinterpretation of history, encompassing intellectuals and politicians of both the Left and the Right.

From a Trickle to the Mainstream

A few examples will illustrate this trend. In Frankfurt in 1998, when he received the Peace Prize of German Publishers, the famous German writer Martin Walser gave a speech in which he expressed his weariness at being confronted with Auschwitz; he was supported by large numbers of Germans including intellectuals and politicians. Jews who spoke out in protest were almost on their own. Four years later in 2002, for 8 May - the day marking the liberation in 1945 - Walser was invited for a discussion with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on "Nation and Patriotism." Their dialogue focused on the question of whether the Allies of WW I were really the ones responsible for Hitler’s coming to power. Walser maintained that patriotism must be based on emotions and deeply rooted in history, and the German chancellor asserted: "The way we as Germans deal with our history shall be decided by each and every generation anew." The decision seems to have been made.

Since the second Palestinian uprising began in the fall of 2000, many consider that Israel is losing the media battle. The Israeli government is frequently blamed for not making its viewpoints known effectively. Pro-Israeli media watchers are an important source of information for their readers. But above all, they are private actors in the Arab-Israeli public relations war.

On 9 November 2002, the memorial day for Kristallnacht in 1938, German public television for the first time in years did not screen the usual quantity of movies and documentaries on this topic. The main news programs devoted about ten seconds to a historical review. Two documentaries were shown at around 11 p.m., one on Hitler’s secretary and the other, not broadcast on either of the two national channels but on three of the sixteen federal stations, on the Sonderkommando (Jews forced to work in the crematoria) in Auschwitz. However, this time the first national channel, ARD, presented the first episode of a three-part series on the German general Erwin Rommel and also the first episode of a six-part series on the SS, and although the SS was portrayed as a brutal organization its victims were absent.

On 17 November 2002, the Day of National Mourning, which is dedicated to soldiers and civilians who died in WW I and WW II, parliament held a four-hour ceremony. Tall black crosses were emplaced in the parliament despite the supposed separation of church and state. Between some classical music pieces, a young woman read from letters written in 1942 by German soldiers based in Stalingrad. During the whole ceremony there was not one word about war crimes, or about the army units that slaughtered Jews. ¨

Peter Sloterdijk, a German philosopher born in 1947, has stepped out of academia and become a star of German television. Since 2002 he has had his own show, Philosophical Quartet,17 in which he and his regular comrade Rüdiger Safranski, a philosopher and writer, host two other guests to discuss the latest issues. Sloterdijk is known for an elitist and anti-American attitude that goes hand in hand with a conservative view of the German past, a synthesis of leftist and rightist positions. His latest book, Airquake: At the Source of Terror18 recounts catastrophic events that for Sloterdijk are all similar: the Holocaust, the Allied bombings of Germany, the atomic bombing of Japan, and September 11 are the strange pearls on Sloterdijk’s string. He maintains that the source of all these catastrophes was the first attack with poison gas in WW I, which, he emphasizes, was primarily made possible by the German chemist Fritz Haber. With a cynical undertone Sloterdijk stresses the fact that Haber was Jewish, and then alleges a continuity between Haber’s experiments and the gas chambers during the Shoah. Although Sloterdijk does not make the connection explicitly, he implies a horrible conclusion: that without a Jewish chemist there would have been no Holocaust.

In November 2002 Sloterdijk invited to his show Luc Bondy, a theatrical director, to discuss the topic of anti-Semitism. Bondy told the audience: "After WW II, as small children, we were confronted with guilt. It was so massive. We as children in postwar times were under fire nearly nonstop and saw those pictures everywhere. My thesis is: the only possible way to get rid of anti-Semitism is therefore to be anti-Semitic again."19

These and many other popularized historical reinterpretations reflect the fact that Germany is on a path toward self-reconciliation. It is a reconciliation between the generations, as the gap that opened between the 1960s leftist movement and the parent generation, who were accused as participants in the war, is closed; and it is also a reconciliation between Left and Right. No longer do historical debates drive a wedge between Germans.

As Anne Applebaum has written:

The country’s collective conscience was enlightened by the TV-Series "Holocaust" to an extent that could never have been achieved by historical science and all its publications. What imperative message, fuelled by emotionalism, is carried by today’s self-reconciliation trend? The discussion on victimhood has now been extended to include the perpetrators. In the dispute over the planned "Centre against Expulsion," for example.20
The gates are wide open to a new cult of victimhood that minimizes - even without malicious intention - Germany’s guilt for the outbreak of war, its crimes against humanity (including those committed by German army units), as well as the uniqueness of the Holocaust.

Misusing the Shoah

The decreasing interest in the Holocaust does not prevent Germans from invoking it in political debates. The "lesson" that Germans now draw from WW II and the Holocaust is one of opposition to the United States and Israel.

It is often claimed that the German public has been sensitized to realities such as the 2003 war in Iraq or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by decades of education on German war crimes and the Shoah as a unique genocide. The Shoah is misused to oppose military conflicts, particularly if they are carried out by the United States or Israel against terror regimes, terror movements, and Islamic fundamentalism. Once a domain of the Left, anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism are now embraced by ordinary Germans, reinforced by the books on the Allied bombings and the like. The extreme Right, which normally is identified with xenophobic attitudes, has discovered its solidarity with Islamic and Palestinian "freedom fighters." Pro-Palestinian, anti-American, and anti-Semitic themes were common in the 2003 demonstrations against the war in Iraq.

Israel is condemned, but terrorist movements in Spain, Ireland, or Israel itself are not. The German public does not organize demonstrations after a bus bombing in Israel, but it does after a Hamas leader is killed. Israel, and hence "the Jews," are accused of horrendous behavior that is alleged to be even worse because they are "former victims." In other words, Israel and the Jews have not learned their lessons from the Shoah, whereas Germans have learned them thoroughly.

To clear themselves of the suspicion of being anti-Semitic, Germans accompany every castigation of Israel with the mantra that it is "only criticism" motivated by a just, democratic preference for peaceful solutions. The other side of this coin is their claim that because of the Holocaust, Germans have to side with today’s victims, namely, the Palestinians. Undoubtedly the best tactic, however, is to quote leftist Jews or Israelis to buttress their own views. Jewish witnesses are taken to court against Israel.21

Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism Go Hand in Hand
This anti-Israeli attitude is state-of-the-art in parts of the German media.22 Photos and illustrated reports present the Israeli Goliath against the Palestinian David, Palestinian children against heavily armed Israeli soldiers. We see ruins of Palestinian buildings with distressed women and children standing in front of them, juxtaposed with settlers who live in green, opulent surroundings and act aggressively toward Palestinians.

A 2002 study showed that German media coverage of the Middle East is often characterized by a lack of context and hostile undertones against Israel. Not uncommonly, the Holocaust is minimized by comparing Israel with the Third Reich, blood libels are invoked regarding Palestinian children, and Zionist conspiracy theories are mentioned. The study concluded: "German media coverage of the conflict contributed to an anti-Semitic view of Israel among the German population."23

At the end of 2002, the Federal Centre for Civic Education in Bonn followed up with its own study, which concluded that "an important effect in media is to present Israel and its military power only to convey the impression that Israel is the aggressor."24 During the official presentation of this study, however, the results were distorted and played down. The opening lecture was by Werner Stüber of the University of Düsseldorf, who had lived many years in East Jerusalem and taught at Bir Zeit University. He did not say a sentence about Palestinian terror, but did speak of the "powerful Jewish lobby in the United States." An attempt to dispute this lecture was stifled with the words that the lecture backed the position of the Centre for Civic Education - which, seemingly, did not consider the results of its own study, and, incidentally, is directly connected to the German state. As the conference continued, the focus was not on anti-Semitic tendencies in German media but rather on Israel’s "aggression," "inhuman" behavior, and so on.

After the Jenin operation in April 2002, Süddeutsche Zeitung published a cartoon showing Sharon in front of an Israeli tank that was identified as Jewish-Israeli with a Star of David. To the left of the tank was a bulldozer carrying away dozens of dead, emaciated bodies. UN staff were trying to approach, but Sharon shouted at them, "Go away, this is war!" The bulldozer with the dead bodies is a clear association with images from the liberated extermination camps, in which thousands of dead bodies were carried by bulldozers into mass graves. The simple message of the cartoon is that "the Jews" are Nazis. As Deidre Berger, head of the American Jewish Committee in Germany, noted succinctly, "Israel is under fire in the German media."25


There are various facets of anti-Semitism in Germany today:

Pre-Auschwitz anti-Semitism, found above all in neo-Nazi circles
Neo-Nazi anti-Semitism, typically combining Islamism and anti-Zionism
Neoliberal anti-Semitism, combining massive anti-Israeli attitudes and resistance to both financial and moral responsibility for the Holocaust
Leftist anti-Semitism, hand in hand with anti-imperialist and antiglobalization attitudes
Anti-Semitism disguised by general, reflexive “criticism” of Israeli policies
Anti-Semitism and, hence, anti-Zionism as part of the new German claim of having been victims in WW II
There are no effective, large-scale activities against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, and the majority of Germans would not support them. Although certain individuals and organizations try to put the problem on the agenda, this is much more cosmetics than a successful strategy.

As the historian Julius Schöps of Potsdam University put it in the newspaper Tageszeitung:

Protests against anti-Semitism, organized by small groups, do not get extensive attention in Germany. Resolutions by the German parliament to reject anti-Semitism are drivel of the worst kind....But all those ineffective actions are presented to the world as a strong defense against the charge of anti-Semitism. The truth is: no one is really interested in these matters. No one really cares.26
* * *

1. This article is based on a lecture presented at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on 11 May 2004.
2. Jean Améry, "Der ehrbare Antisemitismus," Die Zeit, 25 July 1969 (German).
3. See Werner Bergmann and Rainer Erb, Antisemitismus in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Ergebnisse der empirischen Forschung von 1946–1989 (Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 1991) (German).
4. Bernhard Prosch, Reinhard Wittenberg, and Martin Abraham, "Antisemitismus in der ehemaligen DDR. Überraschende Ergebnisse der ersten Repräsentativ-Umfrage und einer Befragung von Jugendlichen in Jena," Tribüne, No. 118 (1991), 102–120; Emnid, for the American Jewish Committee, 1991 (German). ¨
5. Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung, Technical University (TU), Berlin. Its director, Prof. Wolfgang Benz, is a renowned scholar in this field. Prof. Walter Berg, a member of the Institute, already decades ago pointed to the similarities between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in his research.
6. Surveys were conducted, e.g., by Emnid in 1994 (Zentralarchiv für empirische Sozialforschung, Cologne, No. 2418), Infratest Burke (1996), Forsa (1998), and Infratest Sozialforschung (2002), and published, e.g., in the weeklies Der Spiegel, Stern, and Die Woche.
7. Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, "Die Bedeutung des Antisemitismus im aktuellen deutschen Rechtsextremismus," 20 May 2003. See http://www.verfassungsschutz. de (German).
8. Ibid., p. 40.
9. Elmar Brähler and Horst Eberhard Richter, "Politische Einstellungen in Deutschland. Einstellungen zu Juden, Amerikanern und Arabern," results of a representative survey conducted in spring 2002. A press conference was held at the Sigmund Freud Institute in Frankfurt am Main, 14 June 2002 (German).
10. Der Spiegel, May 2002 (German).
11. "Unser Verhältnis zu den Juden" (a survey by FORSA), Stern, No. 48 (2003) (German).
12. The EUMC website now presents the study and some additional material, http://eumc.eu.int/eumc/index.php?fuseaction>content.dsp–cat–content& catid>1.
13. See Stephen Roth Institute, Tel Aviv University, http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/.
14. Manfred Gerstenfeld, "From Propagating Myths to Research: Preparing for Holocaust Education - An Interview with Yehuda Bauer," in Europe’s Crumbling Myths (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Yad Vashem, World Jewish Congress, 2003), Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 3, December 1, 2002, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, p. 1, p. 119.
15. A 1998 survey found two-thirds of Germans over age 14 saying there should be an end to discussions of Nazi rule and the Shoah. See Harald Welzer, Opa war kein Nazi (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 2002) (German). The study concluded that a high percentage of Germans tell myths about the years 1933–1945 and try to disguise their own role while claiming that there was no anti-Semitism and much resistance.
16. Jörg Friedrich, Der Brand. Deutschland im Bombenkrieg (Berlin: Propyläen Verlag, 2002), and Brandstätten (Berlin: Propyläen Verlag, 2003) (German).
17. See the TV channel’s website, http://www.zdf.de/ZDFde?inhalt/8/0,1872, 1021352,00.html (German).
18. Peter Sloterdijk, Luftbeben. An der Quelle des Terrors (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2002) (German).
19. See http://www.zdf.de/ZDFde/inhalt/23/0,1872,2021239,00.html, and, there, the link to "Zitate aus der sendung" ("Quotes from the Show") (German).
20. Anne Applebaum, "Germans as Victims," International Herald Tribune, 15 October 2003.
21. See Susanne Urban, "Friend or Foe? Jewish Self-Degradation and Its Misuse by Anti-Semites in Contemporary Germany," Nativ Online, http://www.acpr. org.il/ENGLISH-NATIV/03-issue/urban-3.htm, and the printed issue, Nativ, June 2004 (Ariel Center for Policy Research).
22. There have been some analyses of the anti-Israeli media coverage, e.g., "Medientenor," Tribüne, No. 162 (Frankfurt am Main: Tribüne Verlag, 2002), p. 93. (German).
23. This survey was conducted by the Duisburger Institut für Sprach- und Sozialforschung (DISS) for the German office of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and published in 2002. See http://www.ajc.org/german/israel–medien.-asp, where many more articles on this topic are available (German).
24. On 9–10 December 2002, they held a conference called "Learn to Be Suspicious about Pictures" on media coverage of Israel and the Palestinians, during which the Bundeszentrale presented its study, "Nahostberichterstattung in den Hauptnachrichten des deutschen Fernsehens," http://www.bpb.de (German).
25. Deidre Berger, in the presentation of the study conducted together with DISS (see n. 24) in Berlin, 1 May 2002.
26. Julius Schöps, "Antisemitismus ist Teil dieser Kultur," Taz, 25 October 2002. See http://www.berlin-judentum.de/bildung/antisemitismusforschung.htm (German).

* * *
DR. SUSANNE URBAN is a historian whose current research, along with the subject of contemporary German anti-Semitism, deals with the topic of Youth Aliyah (an organization for Jewish children's immigration to Israel) during the Holocaust. She is affiliated with the Hebrew University and was a research fellow at Yad Vashem in 2004. She is also preparing a book on Jews at the Volkswagen factory in 1944-1945.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Poll of Italians

From ANSAmed:

2007-07-11 18:18

(ANSAmed) - MILAN, JULY 11 - There is more fear and distrust in Italian cities about immigrants identified as 'Arab', or those coming from Islamic cultures. With the drop of opinions in favour for granting these immigrants the right to vote in local elections, a strong rise in opposition to the construction of mosques, and a progressive decline of those who see favourably the formation of mixed couples. These are the results of a study carried out by the Milan Chamber of Commerce in Milan, Bologna, Rome, Naples and Palermo. According to a representative sample of the population, the opinions in favour of the opening of a new mosque fell to 28% against 48% last year. The motivations of the 'no' are various: according to 30% of those against "public money could be better spent", 28% think that Islam is "a dangerous religion which does not allow integration", 24% of those against clearly speak of mosques as "gatherings of terrorists." The favouring to granting the right to vote in local administration for immigrants regularly present for 10 years is in vertical fall in the Italian cities: in 2005 a total 63% were in favour, last year 51%, in this year's polls only 28%. As many as 60% of the people against the right to local elections vote explain their position with the fact that "they don't have Italian citizenship yet", 13% because the immigrants "are not part of our system and of our society", 12% think that "they are not perfectly integrated even after 10 years." According to the research carried out on the occasion of the forthcoming Euro-Mediterranean conference of Milan, scheduled for Monday with the participation of Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, among others, the opinions in favour of the 'mixed couples' are also down: they were 72% in 2005, 68% last year, now they are 52%. Moreover, half of the polled by CedCamera do not point out what activity they would be ready to launch no matter if the person is Italian or Arab and 25% say they have major distrust compared to a year ago towards Muslim immigrants, against 60% who do not reveal a different attitude and 1% who say they have less distrust today as regards the 'Arabs.' The fear of attacks is more clear: passing near crowded public areas, such as train stations, underground stops or trade centres, 54% of residents of Milan, Bologna, Rome, Naples and Palermo say they feel less safe compared to a year ago, 22% feel the same fears and 22% did not answer. Only 0.4% of the residents of the five big cities say they feel more safe today compared to a year ago.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Quote regarding Britain, Italy and Islam

From Newsmax:

Europe Grows Hostage to Its Muslims
NewsMax.com Wires
Thursday, July 10, 2003
by Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI religion editor


"Consider: In Manchester, England, a radical Muslim who does not even speak English has been elected to the city council, where he needs an interpreter.

Consider: According to the German media, secret Shari'a courts appear to be meting out "justice" in Italy."

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fremtidens befolkning i Norge

Från Aftenposten:

Fremtidens befolkning i Norge

FREMTIDENS NORGE. Kan etniske nordmenn bli en minoritet i Norge? Spørsmålet er blitt diskutert med styrke i norsk offentlighet. Svaret er at det kan skje i midten eller slutten av vårt århundre. Men det er stor usikkerhet knyttet til tallene.
Først publisert: 30.01.06 | Oppdatert: 30.01.06 kl. 00:37


"INNVANDRERBEFOLKNING. I desember presenterte Statistisk sentralbyrå (SSB) nye befolkningsfremskrivninger for Norge frem mot 2060 (www.ssb.no/innvfram/). Dette er blitt omtalt i de fleste riksdekkende aviser, men jeg har foreløpig ikke registrert noen dyptpløyende artikler om emnet.

En slik behandling av stoffet er imidlertid påkrevd av både demokratiske og intellektuelle grunner, for konsekvensene av den utviklingen SSB beskriver, kommer til å bli store. La oss se nærmere på hva tallene egentlig forteller.

Det SSB har gjort, er å velge ut visse alternative forutsetninger. Så har byrået brukt sine matematiske modeller for å beregne hva resultatet vil bli, gitt disse forutsetningene.


For å kunne avgjøre hvilke av SSBs alternative fremtidsscenarier som er de mest realistiske, må man altså bedømme sannsynligheten knyttet til de alternative forutsetningene for de ulike variablene.

Det er ikke så vanskelig som man kanskje skulle tro, for ifølge SSB er det bare én variabel som virkelig har betydning: "Det er forutsetningene om nettoinnvandring som styrer (det fremtidige innvandrertallet), mens det vi oppfatter som sannsynlige variasjoner i fruktbarhet og dødelighet betyr lite i denne sammenhengen."

De neste 55 år.

Så hva er sannsynlige verdier for nettoinnvandringen de neste 55 årene?

SSB har lagt tre alternative nivåer for denne variabelen til grunn for sine fremskrivninger. Lavalternativet (L) forutsetter at nettoinnvandringen synker fra dagens nivå og etter 2010 stabiliserer seg på 9000 per år i snitt. Mellomalternativet (M) forutsetter at nettoinnvandringen holder seg på dagens nivå med 16 000 per år. Høyalternativet (H) forutsetter at nettoinnvandringen stiger fra dagens nivå og etter 2010 stabiliserer seg på 24 000 per år i snitt.

Det er altså interessant å spørre hvor sannsynlig det er at forutsetningene for alternativ L, M og H vil slå til. Litt forenklet kan vi si at de to første alternativene bare kan bli virkelighet dersom innvandrerne mister interessen for å komme hit, eller vi foretar en dramatisk omlegging av innvandringspolitikken.

Så lenge våre politikere fastholder dagens kurs, er det sannsynligvis bare det høye alternativet som har interesse når vi ser mer enn 10-20 år fremover i tid.

Innvandring gir mer innvandring.

For selv om årlig nettoinnvandring kanskje ikke vil komme opp på 24 000 allerede fra 2010, så kan vi være ganske sikre på at den vil overstige dette litt lenger frem i tid. Det viser seg nemlig at nettoinnvandringen øker i takt med antall innvandrere som allerede er kommet hit.

SSB kommenterer dette fenomenet slik: "Denne trenden reflekterer den økende nettoinnvandringen til Norge de siste 30-40 år. Det ser imidlertid ut som om denne veksten har skjedd ved skift til nye og høyere platåer. (Vi ser) at innvandringsnivået var på 5000 rundt 1980, om lag 10 000 på 1990-tallet, og ca. 15 000 rundt år 2000".

Vi må altså ta høyde for at nettoinnvandringen kan fortsette å vokse hele tiden frem mot 2060, noe som vil gi enda høyere tall enn de SSB nå har lagt frem. Det som er viktig er imidlertid ikke de eksakte tallene, men hovedtendensen i utviklingen, som ifølge SSB er "sterk vekst i innvandrerbefolkningen".

Hva er en innvandrer?

Forøvrig må vi ha klart for oss hva SSB mener når de forteller oss at Norge vil ha så og så mange "innvandrere" i fremtiden. SSB benytter nemlig følgende definisjon: "Innvandrerbefolkningen består av personer med to utenlandsfødte foreldre".

Enkelt sagt betyr det at tredje- og fjerdegenerasjonsinnvandrere ikke regnes som innvandrere. Det betyr også at dersom en andregenerasjonsinnvandrer finner seg en ektefelle fra sitt opprinnelsesland, slik tendensen gjerne er, så vil parets eventuelle barn heller ikke regnes som innvandrere.

Nordmenn en minoritet.

Men om man er interessert i å få en idé om hvor stor andel av befolkningen i Norge som etter hvert vil utgjøres av innvandrerne og deres etterkommere, er det forholdsvis enkelt. SSBs fremskrivning viser nemlig at Norge med høy nettoinnvandring vil ha en befolkning på godt over syv millioner i 2060. Studerer man de bakenforliggende tallene, ser man at etniske nordmenn vil utgjøre ca. fire av disse millionene, mens drøye tre millioner vil være innvandrere og etterkommere av innvandrere.

Dermed har SSB svart på et spørsmål som har versert i norsk offentlighet lenge, og med ekstra stor styrke i 2005: Når vil etniske nordmenn bli en minoritet her i landet? Og svaret er altså at det kan skje i midten eller slutten av vårt århundre. SSB understreker imidlertid at det er stor usikkerhet knyttet til tallene, noe som selvsagt kan slå begge veier. Min egen vurdering er at denne usikkerheten sannsynligvis vil gi opphav til raskere heller enn mer langsomme endringer.

Muslimsk Vest-Europa.

Det er ikke lenge siden slike fremtidsutsikter ble avfeid som feberfantasier eller det som verre er, men utviklingen er den samme i mange andre land, og SSB får støtte fra en rekke fagfolk som påpeker at Vest-Europa vil få muslimsk befolkningsflertall om noen tiår.

Timothy Savage skriver i artikkelen "Europe and Islam" i The Washington Quarterly sommeren 2004: "Hvis trenden fortsetter, vil det være flere muslimer enn ikke-muslimer i Frankrike og muligens hele Vest-Europa innen 2050".

Og i artikkelen "A Crescent Over Europe?" i Air Force Magazine i juli 2005, siteres professor Niall Ferguson fra New York University slik: "Hele Vest-Europa er nå på vei inn i en epoke med demografiske endringer som savner sidestykke i moderne historie".

Det kan også nevnes som et apropos at Wall Street Journal 4. januar i år, gjennom sitt bilag Opinion Journal, publiserte artikkelen "It's the Demography, Stupid", om utviklingen i Vest-Europa. Denne tegner et enda mer dramatisk bilde enn ovennevnte kilder."

"Uønskede perspektiver.

Både undertegnede og andre har de siste årene kritisert Statistisk sentralbyrå for ikke å ha gitt gode nok demografiske fremskrivninger. Etter min vurdering har byrået nå i det store og hele gjenopprettet tilliten.

Så spørs det hvordan politikere, intellektuelle og medier reagerer. Skal vi fortsette å undertrykke uønskede perspektiver på et område der de etiske dilemmaene står i kø, eller skal vi begynne å gjøre disse spørsmålene til gjenstand for den drøftelse og analyse de fortjener?"