otto's war room banner

otto's war room banner

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Auschwitz and today's world - Part 1

I post a lot of articles from A World to Win, but I especially like this one. In a time of great hypocrisy and phony tears over human rights violations by the imperialist powers, this article is especially relevant.

2 February 2015.

 Seventy years ago, on 27 January 1945, Soviet troops reached the walls of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex in Poland and liberated the few thousand prisoners still alive out of the 1.3 million people taken there. The memorial ceremony at Auschwitz was not meant to express sorrow and keep alive the memory of those who suffered and died merely to serve as an opportunity for reactionary governments to push agendas that have brought and will bring the world even more suffering and death.

The presidents of Austria, France, Germany and Poland attended, along with royals from Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark. U.S. President Obama sent his treasury secretary. Russia's President Putin was not invited, despite the former Soviet Union's role, when it was still a socialist country, in liberating Auschwitz. This was another sign of the Western power's bellicose contention with their Russian imperialist rivals. Inter-imperialist conflict, at the heart of World War 2, is not confined to the past.

Further, in the name of defending Western "civilisation" against the "barbarism" of Islamic fundamentalism, painted as the successor to Nazism, these Auschwitz commemorations covered up the fact that the rulers of the imperialist countries are the world's biggest perpetrators of barbaric crimes – not only in the past, but also today.

By invading or otherwise destroying Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Mali and so many other countries, just to speak of today, not to mention the millions killed in their wars against Algeria and Vietnam, they have achieved a death toll unmatched in history. Not to mention the ordinary workings of their lethal global system.

Furthermore, this anniversary was used to glorify the barbaric and criminal state of Israel. It is worth noting an editorial in the Guardian, because actually this UK newspaper attempts to distinguish itself for being critical of Israeli policies, in contrast to the governments of the U.S., UK, Germany, France and so on. It said, "A people who came close to extinction cannot be blamed for not wanting to put their fate ever again in other hands." This is an excuse for Zionism, even if the editorialists might wish for a kinder Zionism than has ever existed or could exist, a state built in the name of one ethnicity and religion (a political outlook that belongs to the Dark Ages) through murder, expulsion and terrorism against the people whose land it was built on.

The Nazi genocide, a real historical event that should shed light on the inherent cruelty and unreformability of the imperialist system, has been turned into a mystical token to justify more crimes. The Zionists and ruling classes served by Zionism try to make it forbidden – even blasphemous – to ask why this genocide occurred, as though understanding it meant justifying it. Today, when the imperialist powers are claiming to represent certain values in their conflict with Islamic fundamentalism, and use the dangerous revival of anti-Semitism to hide their own historic and current crimes, more than ever what is needed is a scientific analysis of a past that seems to loom larger and larger.

The following is from an AWTWNS article published on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz a decade ago.

A thick stench of hypocrisy and lies filled the air as world leaders gathered at Auschwitz-Birkenau to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi death camp. The truth is that the U.S. and UK failed to lift a finger to stop the genocide, covered it up while it was happening, and after the war protected the men who did it. The question is, why, and what does that mean for today?

When the Nazis came to power in the German elections of 1933, their hatred of the Jews was well known. Germany had about half a million Jews, less than one percent of the population. The Nazis started by repressing the communists. Many of the tens of thousands of German Jews who emigrated in the first wave were leftists. This was followed by the secret murder of the mentally ill, handicapped and other "misfits" in what turned out to be a pilot project for the death camps inaugurated eight years later. Homosexuals were also especially targeted.

Street violence and murder against the Jews aimed to drive them out of Germany. In 1936, the Nuremberg laws deprived them of civil rights and made marriage between Jews and non-Jews illegal. Yet once they were swept out of all positions of authority, there was a pause that some people took to mean that the worst was over. This illusion was shattered by the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in 1938, when the Nazis led mobs in attacking Jewish businesses and homes. With that event and the German annexation of Austria that year, more and more Jews were trying to leave.

But few countries let them in. In fact, only one welcomed them in unlimited numbers: the then socialist USSR. In 1938, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt convened the Evian Conference, a meeting of 32 countries held in France, to decide what to do about Jewish refugees. Although the U.S. and UK were admitting tens of thousands a year, ten times more were applying for visas. The two main powers asked other countries to take them instead. France refused. The only country in attendance that agreed to increase its quotas was the Dominican Republic. The Nazi press saluted the conference as a sign that the world was coming around to its racial policies.

The ship Saint Louis departed Hamburg, Germany, in May 1939 bound for Cuba with 937 desperate refugees aboard, nearly all German Jews. Most had applied for visas to the U.S. Cuba had given them permission to land there while they waited for an answer. Just before they arrived, the U.S. pushed Cuba to change its mind and forbid the refugees to leave the ship. No other Latin American country would take them either. The ship sailed so close to American shores that passengers could see the lit streets of Miami at night. It waited offshore for a response to a cable sent to Roosevelt asking for humanitarian refuge. The U.S. government had already decided against them, but sent no reply. In June, the ship was forced to return to Europe, where many of its passengers ended up in Nazi death camps.

By 1941, when the Nazis officially forbade Jewish emigration, more than 80 percent of German Jews had already left. But the German invasion of Poland had brought Europe’s main concentration of Jews under the control of the Third Reich. As the Nazi armies moved through Eastern Europe and into the Soviet Union, rampaging through heavily Jewish areas in what are now Belarus and and Ukraine, many millions of Jews came under their boot. In January 1942, at a conference in a leafy green suburb of Berlin called Wansee, they adopted a plan for "the final solution": all Jews would be sent to camps in the east. Those too weak to work would be exterminated. The rest would be worked and starved to death. Those who survived would also be exterminated.

The Western Allies knew about this, but kept it secret. When the World Jewish Council in Geneva sent the U.S. State Department a cable detailing the Wansee plans, the government not only ignored it but told a leading American rabbi who had also received the report to keep his mouth shut. The Vatican knew the full story from the beginning through Catholic sources, but despite requests from below, Pope Pius XII refused to make a public statement against killing Jews, whom the Church still officially considered "Christ killers".

In the Warsaw ghetto, a Jewish fighting organisation led by communists and other resistance forces sent scouts through the sewers and beyond the walls where the Nazis had locked them in. They followed the trains that were taking families away by the thousands to an unknown destination. At the end of the line was Auschwitz, where eventually more than a million Jews, 75,000 non-Jewish Poles, 18,000 Roma (Gypsies) and 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war were to perish, killed by poison gas, their bodies burned in ovens.

A representative of the pro-British Polish government overthrown by the Nazis was brought into the ghetto to hear their story. They described the camp and told him that the trains were carrying 10,000 Jews a day to their deaths from Warsaw alone. Although not particularly inclined toward Jews, he agreed to slip out of Poland and tell the British and American authorities, thinking that as a political ally they would listen to him. He was the kind of man who expected to meet with Churchill, and he had a long talk with Roosevelt. Nothing happened.

Auschwitz, like the other concentration camps, was fed its constant intake of Jewish lives and coal by rail starting in 1942. Without those railroad tracks, the death factory would have ground to a halt and the gas ovens grown cold. Why didn't the Allies bomb them? After all, they were pounding German-occupied European ports into ruins to wreak economic havoc, and bombed the city of Dresden into an all-consuming firestorm for the same reason. What held them back?

To be continued....à

No comments: