In 1934, Harry W. Freeman, my grandfather, was already lecturing about the dangers of Hitler and Nazism. Nobody listened. The Holocaust was not prevented. Today, in 1998 there are one billion Arab & Moslem people who plan a Second Holocaust against the Jews of Israel. Their first stage is to use the so called "peace process" to weaken Israel and strip it of its strategic territories. They are being aided by the same hypocrites and accomplices in the West who failed to aid the Jews of Europe in their darkest hour. Unfortunately, even left-wing Israelis have fallen victims to the seductive lure of peace and have begun a policy of appeasement similar to that tried with Hitler. The results will be no different.
The Arab propaganda full of slanders and libels; the media bias against Israel replete with double standards and the rewriting of history are all working to the same end: the delegitimation of Israel. Israel is the only country considered by many to be GUILTY OF ORIGINAL SIN by virtue of its very existence. This process of delegitimation has as its goal creating a world climate in which the DESTRUCTION of Israel is acceptable. Many in the Jewish community are either apathetic or fail to recognize this threat.
I founded the FREEMAN CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES in order to create a powerful voice to arouse the Jewish community to the action necessary to frustrate the evil designs of the enemies of Israel. I need your help to accomplish this mission.
..............Bernard J. Shapiro, Executive Director
Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of April 23, 1998
On Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day we obey the biblical injunction:
"Zachor: Remember what the Amalekites did to you."
We cannot forget the many accomplices the Germans found among the Ukrainians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Romanians and Hungarians, nor the indifference with which most of the world watched the German attempt to exterminate the Jewish people. In effect, the Jewish people were abandoned to their tragic fate by the governments of nations engaged in battling Germany during World War II.
The story of two ships, loaded with refugees seeking a haven from the Nazi terror, symbolizes the refusal of countries throughout the world to grant a refuge - even if temporary - to the Jews fleeing the German murder machine. The St. Louis and the Struma were two among many such ships, barges and boats - all truly life boats - that sailed the seas seeking a safe harbor in which to discharge their human cargo.
In 1939, the 930 Jewish refugees from Germany on the St. Louis were refused entry to Cuba. As the ship sailed on to Miami in the hope that US immigration authorities would allow the refugees to land, it was shadowed by a US Coast Guard cutter with orders to prevent any refugees from disembarking. To pleas from the Joint Distribution Committee, the State Department replied that there would be no compromise of US immigration laws. The St. Louis was forced to return to Europe.
The Struma, a 180-ton Romanian vessel carrying 769 Jewish refugees, left Constanza for Palestine in December 1941. Overloaded and endangered by a leaking hull, the ship broke down off Istanbul. The Turks would not let the passengers land unless they received permission from the British to proceed to Palestine. The British refused and the Turks towed the Struma, which had lost its engines, out to sea, where it sank. There were only two survivors, who managed to swim to shore.
When the Warsaw Ghetto revolt erupted in April 1943 it was already what Churchill called "the beginning of the end" for Germany. Rommel had been beaten at El Alamein, American troops had landed in North Africa, the Germans had suffered a major defeat at Stalingrad, and German cities were being bombed day and night. The allies were winning the war on land, at sea, and in the air. At this very time it was already well known that the Germans were killing over 100,000 Jews every month, with the explicit aim of exterminating the Jewish people.
Much could have been done to slow, or possibly halt, this demonic campaign. But the Warsaw Ghetto fighters received no aid nor even a sign of encouragement. During the ensuing two years, until Germany surrendered in May 1945, halting the slaughter of the Jews never became a strategic objective of the Allies.
TO THIS day, it is incomprehensible that over 500,000 Hungarian Jews were taken to the gas chambers in mid-1944, after the war had essentially been won. At the end of March, the Germans had decided to take over Hungary. One month later the mass deportation of Hungarian Jews to the death camps began. By then the Red Army was nearing the Hungarian border, the Allies had captured Rome, and all of Germany was under intense daily bombardment. Yet, in the following five months, over 500,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered.
The news reached the capitals of the world, as neutral observers in Budapest reported daily on what was happening. Requests to the Allies to bomb Auschwitz, or the rail lines leading to it, so as to impede the slaughter, were rejected out of hand. One man, Raoul Wallenberg, succeeded in saving thousands. It is an indication of what could have been done had the Allied governments taken action.
The Holocaust would probably not have happened, certainly not in its full dimension, had it not been for the indifference of the world to the fate of the Jewish people during those tragic years. It is in this context that it should be remembered, and it is this lesson that the world hopefully has learned.
[Editor's Note: We hope the Jewish People learn this lesson.]
(c) 1998 The Jerusalem Post
Moshe Arens is a former Defense Minister of Israel.