Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Road to the Holocaust was Paved by Demonizing the Jews

originally posted on July 17, 2013

As a History student, I wondered, how did the Nazis get away with the Holocaust's atrocities?
The Holocaust did not start with the ascent of the Nazis to power. What did begin, at that time, was Joseph Goebells YSvZ, his evil propaganda machine and Die Stuehrmer, etc. Over time, the Nazi portrayal of the Jews as the Misfortune of Germany took hold. This took the planted spark of anti-Semitism and fanned it to become the flames of the Holocaust.

«The propaganda of the National Socialist German Workers' Party regime that governed Germany from 1933 to 1945 promoted Nazi ideology by demonizing the enemies of the Nazi Party, notably Jews and communists, but also capitalists and intellectuals»

Themes in Nazi propaganda - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The lesson is clear to me. Beware of the tendency to "demonize," especially when committed by powerful people. I suspect demonization played a role in the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. It certainly did in the case of  Anwar Sadat.

Best Regards,


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

It's all cultural.
Modern Germans didn't inherently hate Jews but were great students so when the Nazis, y"sh, taught them to be Jew-haters they learned efficiently.
The Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Hungarians, etc. inherently hated Jews but were afraid of the consequences of mass murdering them. But the Germans showed them there were no consequences.

TK said...

The underside of Human Rights, Social Justice and all forms of “equalitism” morality is that the spectrum of thought starts with concern for “the oppressed” and ends with demonization of “the oppressors”. Virtually everything is seen from that lense and not unlike all other ‘isms’, stereotypes are created, so you have you don’t just have oppressive behavior, you have labeled “oppressors”, like…. wait for it… a country labelled as "apartheid".

As are all too familiar examples, Israel can do no right (as oppressor), suicide bombs are tragic but suicide bombers are understandable (as oppressed), any discussion about “root causes” (though we’d _never_ blame the victim... but the oppressor had it coming), anyone who says “sure the Holocaust was bad, but Jews don’t have the corner on suffering” and “don’t confuse anti-Israel with anti-semitism” (because oppressors can’t be sympathized).

Israel is taking the brunt of the antisemitism in the world, but the dual news releases of finalizing the ban of ritual slaughter in Poland and the EU essentially economically boycotting Jews should give us pause. If there was no Israel right now, we would have much _more_ of putting restrictions on circumcision (Germany), or ritual slaughter (Poland) since they _oppress_ the poor baby/cow. If there was no Israel right now, there would be more curtailing religious expression in public, most noticeably under the guise of separation of church and state, the idea of which has been reduced to "all religion is oppressive and needs to be kept out of the public relm" (Quebec).

As proof of this, consider "organized religion" vs "organized labour". Why does the former connote a negative, and the latter positive?

It should also not be a surprise that our brethren are the first to try to distance themselves from the unenlightened “Old World”. If we change this or that ("shelo asani isha", "equality" at the Wall), we’ll be accepted by the world. We’ve seen this cycle before, pretty recently. “Never Again”? Hardly, and coming to a democratic, "progressive" nation near you.

Rabbi Rich Wolpoe said...

I'm recommending that we be vigilant regarding 2 kinds of demonizations

Genre #1. When there is public demonization in general, and sometimes covertly attacking Jews

One I've heard lately is the revival of "it's all the fault of rich bankers - such as the Rothschilds". We need not say more. This is a kind of back door "Protocols of Zion" stuff

2. Midarchei Mussar, we should ourselves eschew demonization as an inherently repulsive tactic. When necessary - attack evil when committed, but do out best not to "demonize" people. Hate the Sin and not the Sinner, because Demonization can lead to "Witch Hunting".

Best Regards,