That Other Holocaust, Revisited

February 2, 2006, 10:01 am
  


 



By Andrew L. Jaffee

Every time I bring up the Holocaust, the same thing happens. Some of the people want Hitler’s genocide to be the archetype of a people’s suffering, denying others their right to bring similar atrocities to light. Some want to deny it (like current Iranian President Ahmadinejad). Some want to straddle the line or apologize: “There would have been no Hitler if not for the reparation payments put upon Germany after World War I.” What are we to do, create a chart ranking peoples’ suffering: “mine was worse than yours?” These were all horrors. Calling one a genocide while not allowing another to call it a holocaust is sophistry. Denial is just historic ignorance — or caused by some ulterior motive, like racism.

By far, the biggest “controversies” arise when I compare Hitler’s genocide to the various communist atrocities of the same century. The extreme leftists always get upset because it challenges their beliefs about “socialism.” They tend to subscribe to the Leninist adage, “The ends justify the means.” Some get defensive, or perhaps feel a tad bit guilty, because, after all, Stalin helped us defeat Hitler, never mind the fact that he murdered millions of innocents himself. And some say that communist atrocities were secular — not motivated by ethnic divisions. (Yes, I know: Stalin was from Georgia).

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Take the Russian communist atrocities. These were in fact racially/ethnically motivated. During the reign of the Soviets, which was basically a Russian-dominated endeavor, with help from plenty of indigenous collaborators, the motivation was precisely ethnic cleansing (Ukraine, Estonia, etc.).

Why do I emphasize Russian complicity in Soviet atrocities? Simple: Some have tried to paint the Soviet Union as some kind of distinctly “communist” phenomena. That’s like saying Germans had nothing to do with the Nazi Party during WWII. Sorry to disappoint the historical revisionists, but let’s give credit where credit is due. According to the U.S. Library of Congress:

The ethnic composition of the [Soviet communist] party reflected further disproportions between the party and the population as a whole (see table 26, Appendix A). In 1922 the share of Russian members in the party exceeded their proportion of the population by 19 percent. Since that time, the gap between Russians and other nationalities has narrowed. In 1979 Russians constituted 52 percent of the Soviet population; however, they constituted 60 percent of the party in 1981. Moreover, the percentage of Russians in the party apparatus was probably even greater than their percentage in the party as a whole.

After the mass slaughters, intensive Russification was carried out in the Soviet “republics.” Selective murders were carried out by the KGB and NKVD for 50 years to quell indigenous cultural expression. For example, the Latvian and Estonian nations were pushed to the brink of extinction through policies of forced language learning, outlawing of cultural/religious practices, and by encouraging huge numbers of Russians to emigrate to the “republics.” Estonia ended up with a 42% Russian population while Latvia ended with a 30% Russian population. If not for these peoples’ tenacity, and a little help from Reagan, ex-pats, etc., the attempted genocide would have been completed.

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All the occupied republics had resources which Russians either needed or wanted. As Orwell said, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” The commissars got personal dachas, pocketed local tax revenues, and exercised unlimited power. It was good being at the top.

Before the Soviets, the czars ruled most of the later-labeled “republics.” The “greater Russia” concept, that Russians were a master race that deserved to rule the inferior satellites, was simply carried on by Soviet czars.

Go to Lithuania. Go to Turkmenistan. Ask the locals about how the Russians ruled them, czar or commissar alike. Ask the people there how they viewed Russian domination. The Russian neo-imperialists are still talking of a “greater Russia.”

The Russian rulers mistreated the satellites for power and greed. Their master plan was to fill nations like Estonia up with Russians until there was nothing left but Russians. The satellites were inferiors (and were resented for their economic successes), just as the Nazis considered the Jews. Remember that Hitler had the same plan for countries like Lithuania. He planned to work the populaces to death, and then fill the nations with German settlers.

It was racist, plain and simple.

Stalin systematically eliminated Crimea’s Tartars. Hitler killed the Jews, gays, and gypsies. Saddam gassed the Kurds. The Teutonic Knights exterminated every last living Prussian (the Baltic people; before Germans ever lived there). American settlers fed diseased cattle to Native Americans. Five years after Cortez’ arrival in Mexico, 70% of the indigenous peoples were dead.

Is one tragedy more equal than the others? Does it matter as long as we remember the mantra, “Never forget; never again?”

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5 Responses to “That Other Holocaust, Revisited”

  1. Bill Narvey Says:

    Andrew L. Jaffee has made further comments and raised more questions in his revisiting his views about all tragedies of mass murders of peoples with a distinct ethnic background.

    Jaffee makes the following comments:

    “Some of the people want Hitler’s genocide to be the archetype of a people’s suffering, denying others their right to bring similar atrocities to light….What are we to do, create a chart ranking peoples’ suffering: “mine was worse than yours?” These were all horrors. Calling one a genocide while not allowing another to call it a holocaust is sophistry. Denial is just historic ignorance — or caused by some ulterior motive, like racism.”

    Jaffee proceeds from the lofty premises that all human life is equally precious and that the wrongful death of one or many at the hands of an evil racially motivated madman is no less a tragedy than the wrongful death of another or many persons caused by a similar evil madman. Any caring person would agree with these notions.

    If one accepts Jaffee’s premises, then he is probably correct that to draw qualitative distinctions as to which racially motivated mass murder is more heinous then the other is somewhat of an exercise in sophistry.

    The frame of reference and the premises Jaffee employs however, are too simplistic and motherhood and apple pie sentiments that are divorced from more grounded realities.

    Advocating that the Holocaust perpetrated on the Jews by the Nazis is a uniquely evil event in history does not deny the right of others to speak of a mass murder tragedy visited upon them by some other evil doer, racially motivated or otherwise.

    While racial motivations may well have factored, even largely into those other travesties, those were not the only factors at play which included the power aspirations of what was once Imperialist Russia which were maintained by the megalomaniac and insanely paranoid control freak, Stalin. Stalin may actually not have been motivated so much by racism at all, but rather he saw racism as a useful pretence to garner support for his mass murder of those in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania or the Ukraine.

    One should be very wary of the motives of those who seek to denigrate the unique evil of the Nazi Genocidal Holocaust to destroy the Jews.

    We are today witnessing with increasing frequency, various nations, political and ethnic groups and institutions such as the UN and various media outlets, seeking to raise up the level of their own or someone else’s historical mass murder tragedy to the status of the Nazi Genocidal Holocaust against the Jews. Those who are speaking out in that fashion essentially do so based on the simplistic premises that Jaffee has employed to make his argument.

    Is the world morally motivated to raise up the significance of all other allegedly racially motivated ethnic mass murders to the level of the Holocaust or is the world immorally motivated to bring down the Holocaust of the Jews as being a uniquely evil historical travesty?

    As best as we can discern from the words and deeds of these nations, institutions, political leaders, pundits and ethnic leaders who are engaged in the effort at drawing moral and qualitative equivalences between various mass murder events in history and the Holocaust of the Jews, we see that such efforts are being carried out in conjunction with efforts, laced with barely disguised anti-Semitism to demonize and de-legitimize Israel. That is pretty compelling evidence that the world’s motives in these efforts are anything but pure.

    In the end, Jaffee’s argument seeking to show that there is no qualitative difference between one racially motivated mass murder from another, regardless of the number of deaths and that therefore all such mass murders should be called a holocaust and a genocide rising to the level of the Nazi Genocide and Holocaust of the Jews, becomes itself an exercise in sophistry.

    To therefore answer Jaffee’s questions:

    “Is one tragedy more equal than the others?”

    In all the circumstances, the one tragedy of the Nazi Genocidal Holocaust indeed rises high above all others and that should remain its place in history for all time.

    “Does it matter as long as we remember the mantra, “Never forget; never again?”

    Since WWII there have been other racially motivated mass murders, be it in Uganda, Rwanda, Kosovo or more recently in the Darfur area of the Sudan. The world has in those and similar instances forgotten the mantra, “Never Forget, Never Again”.

    The world, in spite of its efforts to believe that it has expiated its guilt over the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews, the world has not yet managed to completely cleanse its conscience.

    It very much matters and it is absolutely imperative that that the world’s conscience is never let off the hook. If the world, when it comes to the Jews, is ever allowed to forget that mantra “Never Forget, Never Again”, the odds are excellent that there soon thereafter will be no Jews left in this world.

    Cross posted at Israpundit

  2. publisher Says:

    Wow. You’re accusing a very politically-active pro-Israel Jew of trying to “denigrate the unique evil of the Nazi Genocidal Holocaust to destroy the Jews.” Impressive.

  3. Bill Narvey Says:

    Not at all!

    I am however pointing out that such thinking can quite unwittingly lead one to find themselves on the wrong side of the issue standing with the wrong people.

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