Fundamentally Freund: Hands off the Holocaust

The Holocaust is unique in the annals of history, and has no place being used by politicians or interest groups as a comparative tool or analogy.

Holocuast memorial flame 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Holocuast memorial flame 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
It is that time of year again, as Jews around the world solemnly commemorate the victims of the Holocaust while various pundits and politicians demean and desecrate their memory.
With little respect for the facts, and even less for those who were murdered, these puerile purveyors of propaganda do not hesitate to invoke the most horrific act of organized mass murder in mankind’s history all for the sake of trying to score a political point or two.
On March 22, for example, liberal television host Chris Matthews compared former president George W. Bush and those behind America’s war in Iraq with the Nazis who stood trial at Nuremburg.
“I was really embarrassed,” Matthews opined, “by my country, how a President of such limited ability, limited rhetorical ability, mental ability, historic ability, could talk us into a war. You know, the Nuremberg trials were primarily, before the Holocaust and all those other issues, were against people who launched an aggressive war. And this was an aggressive war,” he said.
If Matthews has anything to be embarrassed about, it is his breathtaking ignorance. How dare he equate a democracy’s principled decision to go to war with that of a murderous dictatorship bent on genocide! And then of course there are the harebrained activists of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which has revived a campaign called “Holocaust on your plate” comparing the slaughter of chickens at factory farms to the Nazi murder of Jews at death camps.
“Just as the Nazis tried to ‘dehumanize’ Jews by forcing them to live in filthy, crowded conditions,” said a PETA press release, “animals on today’s factory farms are stripped of all that is enjoyable and natural to them and treated as nothing more than meat-, egg-, and milk-making ‘machines.’” Such contemptible thinking, however, is not only found on the Left of the political spectrum.
Last month, a student group called Students for Life at Eastern Michigan University said they wanted to put on a campus exhibit likening abortion to the Holocaust. And back in January, Idaho Republican state senator Sheryl Nuxoll compared President Barack Obama’s health care plan to Hitler’s mass murder of Jews. In an email she sent to supporters, Nuxoll wrote, “The insurance companies are creating their own tombs. Much like the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps, private insurers are used by the feds to put the system in place because the federal government has no way to set up the exchange.”
Huh?! However absurd such comparisons may be, they signify a worrying trend, as a growing number of people feel no compunction about making them. In effect, this serves to undermine the uniqueness of the catastrophe of the Holocaust by insinuating that it is comparable to other world events, rather than standing out in a category all of its own.
This too is a form of Holocaust-denial, one that is no less pernicious than the blatant attempts to say that it never happened. Before long, if such statements continue to proliferate and are left unanswered, they will become the norm.
And this cannot be allowed to happen.
Let’s get one thing straight: the Holocaust is not a political talking point. It was the systematic attempt by the Germans and their collaborators to erase the Jewish people from the face of the earth.
When my late grandmother’s first cousin, Isaac Kottler, and his wife Anna, were rounded up by the French police and then deported on September 2, 1942, on Transport 27 to Auschwitz, where they were murdered by the Germans, it had nothing to do with modernday political agendas or policy debates. It was about anti-Semitism, the age-old hatred of Jews.
The Holocaust is unique in the annals of history, and has no place being used by politicians or interest groups as a comparative tool or analogy.
So stop.
Stop suggesting that Darfur and Rwanda are like Auschwitz.
Stop saying that government-mandated health care, or Kentucky Fried Chicken, are the embodiment of Hitler’s Final Solution.
They aren’t.
If you want to fight for your cause, however just or ludicrous it might be, go ahead. But keep your hands off the Holocaust. When you mix the Holocaust into the equation, it is akin to spitting on the dead and defacing their memory.
And for that there can be no forgiveness.