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A review of Norman Finkelstein's The Holocaust Industry

Richard Hoste 

December 10, 2009 

If you’re like me and have been through the American education system, you as a child may have never learned a word of Greek or Latin, the history of the Bible or been assigned to read a work by a great philosopher.  You probably do remember, however, learning about Martin Luther King, the Klan and the “six million who perished.”  What gets placed in a curriculum is a zero-sum game and Western civilization had to lose for the cult of victimhood to win.

But unlike other unfortunates we’re supposed to feel sorry for, the Jews are successful, and the crimes against them didn’t take place in the United States. For them to become a protected class, the holocaust, a historical event, had to be turned into The Holocaust, a religious one.  Liberal professor Norman Finkelstein wrote The Holocaust Industry to bring to the world’s attention the exploitation of Jewish suffering in World War II.  His book also explains how we got here.  Thanks to the Industry, Israel, “one of the world’s most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, has cast itself as a ‘victim’ state, and the most successful ethnic group in the United States has likewise acquired victim status.”   

This is a recent phenomenon.  In 1963 Hannah Arendt published Eichmann in Jerusalem.  At the time there were only two other English language scholarly books on the Holocaust.  One of them was Raul Hillberg’s The Destruction of the European Jews.  His thesis advisor at Columbia University told him “It’s your funeral” to discourage him from touching the subject.  Until the late 1960s, there was only one university course offering on the holocaust in the United States.   

Jews themselves were indifferent to the events many of them had fled.  In a 1961 Commentary symposium on the subject of “Jewishness and the Younger Intellectuals,” no more that two of thirty-one writers stressed the holocaust.  It was almost completely ignored in a 1961 roundtable sponsored by the journal Judaism on “My Jewish Affirmation.”  There were no museums, no monuments and no organizations dedicated to keeping the memory alive.   

In 1956 after President Eisenhower pushed Israel to withdraw from the Sinai, his support among American Jews actually increased in that year’s presidential election.  Attitudes would be different after the June 1967 war with the Arab states.  Norman Podhoretz noted that after the conflict Israel became “the religion of American Jews.”  To trace this journey from indifference to obsession, Finkelstein informs us that in 1955 and in 1965 the entries for Israel in The New York Times Index went on for 60 column inches.  In 1975 the Israel entries filled 260.  Now Jews would compare any situation the Israelis found themselves in to the peril Jewry faced in 1930s Germany.  They told themselves they wouldn’t be like those that quietly went into the gas chambers.   

Unfortunately, Finkelstein’s liberalism distorts his understanding of the change in Jewish activism.  According to him, right after World War II talking about the holocaust was taboo due to US support of West Germany.  In later years the Arabs would align with the Soviet Union and Israel became an important ally.  The Jews were once again “matching in lockstep with American power.”  What the author doesn’t admit is that by the 1960s Jews were American power.  Mearsheimer and Walt’s The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy demolishes the idea that the alliance with Israel provides any benefit for the United States.  It is a nuisance at best and bankrupting the nation at worst.   

Secondly, Finkelstein doesn’t seem to see the rise in Jewish activism in the 1960s as part of a larger trend in American culture.  He points to a few neo-cons who oppose affirmative action and ignores the critical role of Jewish left wing activism in establishing the culture of victimhood — what has become the culture of Western suicide.  Finkelstein writes that of “Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, women, gays and lesbians, Jews alone are not disadvantaged in American society” — as if who gets to play the identity politics game is decided by an objective measurement of who the victims are!   

Despite his blind spots, the author does a fantastic job of exposing the gang of charlatans and frauds that constitute The Holocaust Industry.  For a fee of $25,000, survivor Elie Wiesel will tell you that the “secret” of Auschwitz’s “truth lies in silence” and that The Holocaust “leads into darkness,” “negates all answers,” “lies outside, if not beyond, history,” “defies both knowledge and description,” “cannot be explained nor visualized,” and is “never to be explained or transmitted.”  To him, to compare Jewish suffering to that of others is a “total betrayal of Jewish history.”  A parody of a New York tabloid once had the headline: “Michael Jackson, 60 Million Others, Die in Nuclear Holocaust.”  The parody included a letter supposedly from Eli Wiesel in which he protested “How dare people refer to what happened yesterday as a Holocaust?  There was only one Holocaust.”   

Not only does Wiesel think that Jewish suffering is in a class of its own, but he and organized Jewry guard their unique status in a very creepy way.  He withdrew from a conference on genocide because the slaughter of Armenians by the Turks would be mentioned.   Jewish organizations have lobbied against a day of remembrance for the Armenians.   

Predictably, when the victims of violence are the enemies of Jews, compassion goes out the window.” To Wiesel, Arabs hate Jews for their existence.  American Blacks are simply a race of ingrates, unable to appreciate what the Jews have done for them.   

Wiesel not only appears to suffer from a histrionic personality disorder, he is also an inveterate liar.  After surviving a death camp, he claims to have read Kant’s A Critique of Pure Reason in Yiddish.  No such translation exists.  He once met a “mysterious Talmudic scholar” who “mastered Hungarian in two weeks, just to surprise me.” He told The New York Times that after being hit by a taxi in Times Square he “flew an entire block.  I was hit at 45th Street and Broadway, and the ambulance picked me up at 44th.”  

While there’s a debate over whether Night by Wiesel is a memoir or novel, other writers have been exposed as frauds.  Jerzy Kosinski wrote The Painted Bird, supposedly about his time as a young Polish Jew who wandered alone through rural Poland during the World War II.  Finkelstein notes that one reader described the book as “the product of a mind obsessed with sadomasochistic violence.”  Poles are depicted as pathological torturers of Jews. Kosinski’s work became required reading in many high school and college classes.  On the speaking circuit, Kosinski would describe himself as a “cut-rate Elie Wiesel.”  

In reality, the author of the book lived with his parents during the war.  The Poles whom he had slandered had sheltered his family at great risk to themselves.  

Binjamin’s Wilkomirski’s Fragments is a more recent hoax in the field of Holocaustology.   According to Finkelstein the book is similar to The Painted Bird in that the author presents himself as a child victim of The Holocaust and  “each chapter ... climaxes in an orgy of violence.”  In this book it’s the Germans who are the irredeemable sadists.  After he’s freed, young Benjamin goes to Switzerland, where he’s taunted by the kids at school.  They point at him “and make fists and yell ‘He’s raving, there’s no such thing.  Liar!  He’s crazy, mad, he’s an idiot.’”   

Turns out the children were right.  Wlkomirski spent the whole war in Switzerland and isn’t even Jewish.  Nor is his name Binjamin Wilkomirski.  It’s Bruno Dössekker.  The fraud wasn’t exposed until the author of Fragments had had his book translated into a dozen languages and become a star through his participation in documentaries, Holocaust fund-raisers, and of course, the speaking scene.  

Finkelstein says that with all the lies we’ve been fed, it’s amazing that there are so few Holocaust deniers.  But he doesn’t cite the worst of the worst.  For example, there’s this 1988 story from The New York Times:

Later, [retired butcher Morris Hubert] was sent to Buchenwald. ''In the camp there was a cage with a bear and an eagle,'' he said. ''Every day, they would throw a Jew in there. The bear would tear him apart and the eagle would pick at his bones.'' ''But that's unbelievable,'' whispered a visitor. ''It is unbelievable,'' said Mr. Hubert, ''but it happened.'' 

I’m surprised they’ve yet to find an eagle to put on trial for the crime.   

At least authors of Holocaust memoirs provide entertaining stories.  Even worse, Jewish organizations have turned the Holocaust religion into a criminal Industry.  In fact, they may have pulled off the biggest robberies in human history.   

First, it was claimed that Swiss banks were denying heirs of Jewish holders of accounts their money.  In 1995 two Representatives of the World Jewish Congress including President Edgar Bronfman met with Swiss bankers.  Bronfman would later humbly tell the Senate Banking Committee that he spoke on behalf of “the 6 million, who cannot speak for themselves.”  The Swiss could only find 775 unclaimed dormant accounts, holding $32 million.  When the Swiss offered this number as a basis to begin negotiations, the WJC rejected it as too low.   

The WJC would mobilize the American political establishment to lobby on its behalf.  Bronfman recruited Catholic New York Senator Alfonse D’Amato to his cause — a move that assured D’Amato would receive Jewish money and votes.  The House and Senate banking committees took up the issue.  An aide to D’Amato would later brag that they forced the Swiss “into the court of public opinion where we controlled the agenda. ... [w]e were judge, jury, and executioner.”  A study supported by D’Amato’s office and the Simon Wiesenthal Center would claim that “dishonesty was a cultural code that individual Swiss had mastered to protect the nation’s image and prosperity” and that “Swiss greed was unique.”   

In 1996 a parade of elderly Jews gave testimony before the US Congress on the malevolence of Swiss bankers.  They presented no evidence that they actually had assents in the banks.  To top off the spectacle, D’Amato for some reason brought none other than Elie Wiesel to address Congress.  Testified poor Wiesel: “Is there no limit to pain?  No limit to the outrage?” 

Even before this event, the Swiss had set up a commission headed by former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker with three members of the World Jewish Restitution Organization and three from the Swiss Bankers Association.  They would abide by whatever the group decided.  Jewish organizations wouldn’t let up in the media, hoping that the Swiss would settle before the commission issued its report.  After stories got out of indigent survivors, the Swiss in 1997 put $200 million into a “Special Fund for Needy Victims of the Holocaust.”  

The commission was dangerous to the Industry for two reasons.  First, as with the Holocaust itself, so many ridiculous stories had been told that some of them would inevitably prove to be illegitimate. Second, if the owners of the dormant accounts were identified, they themselves would be compensated, and not Jewish organizations.   

When bad mouthing the Swiss through the media failed to extort enough money, the Jews filed class action lawsuits and ordered boycotts of the country.  Volcker protested that such actions would interfere with the work of his commission, but that was precisely the point.  In January 1997 chair of the Jewish Agency Avraham Burg threatened, “Until now we have held back international Jewish pressure.”  New York Governor George Pataki publicly supported sanctions on Swiss banks.  Local state governments in Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York passed resolutions threatening a boycott unless the Swiss settled with organized Jewry.  The city of Los Angeles was the first to impose sanctions.  Other governments followed suit.   

In June 1998 the Swiss made a final offer of $600 million.  Head of the ADL Abraham Foxman called it “an insult to the memory of the victims.”  By August the bankers finally gave in with a $1.25 billion settlement.   

A year after the settlement, no plan was drawn up to distribute the money to actual Holocaust survivors.  By December 1999 only half of the $200 million originally given in 1997 had reached the victims.  Finkelstein’s last edition of the book was released in 2000 but as of 2009 only $490 million of the $1.25 billion had gone to individual claimants.  The rest went to such worthy causes as lawyer fees, Jewish organizations and Holocaust propaganda, presumably to help create a new generation of suckers.  Holocaust programs in schools are recommended or required in seventeen states.  

Volcker and his committee's Report on Dormant Accounts of Victims of Nazi Persecution in Swiss Banks cost $500 million.  They took all the accounts found to have belonged to Jewish victims of the Holocaust and modified them to their 1945 value.  They then multiplied the number by ten to reflect long term investment rates and came up with a number of $380 million.  Moreover, there was “no proof of systematic destruction of records of victim accounts, organized discrimination against the accounts of victims of Nazi persecution, or concerted efforts to divert the funds of victims of Nazi persecution to improper purposes." 

After routing the Swiss, the Holocaust Industry went on to try to steal from the Germans.  They demanded $20 billion in compensation from German Industry for WWII slave labor.  Full-page newspaper advertisements appeared claiming without evidence that pharmaceutical corporation Bayer “directed” the experiments of Josef Mengele.  President Clinton lobbied for restitution.  Never mind that monetary agreements reached shortly after WWII already covered slave labor.  Germany had given the modern equivalent of close to a billion dollars to the Jewish Claims Conference.  The organization characteristically used much of the money for their pet projects.  In 1999 German corporations would agree to hand over another $5.1 billion.  The country’s government has to date given more than $60 billion to Jewish organizations.   

The Holocaust Industry continued East but found it much more difficult to whip up hysteria against impoverished former Soviet countries.  The demands against Poland were so great that Jewish Week reported that the parliament was afraid that Jewish claims would bankrupt the nation.  The fear of American pressure stops European countries from standing up to this blackmail.  A Knesset member recalled his meeting with the uncooperative Prime Minister of Romania: “But I ask one remark, in the middle of the fighting, and it changed the atmosphere.  I told him, you know, in two days I am going to be in a hearing here in Congress.  What do you want me to tell them in the hearing?  Whole atmosphere was changed.”  The US is the muscle behind organized Jewry.  Bronfman, the WJC president, in 1998 claimed that his organization alone had amassed around $7 billion in Holocaust compensation.  

It’s not a coincidence that the only countries who’ve fallen for this scam are White ones, and not Arab nations that expelled Jews in the 20th century.  As Kevin Macdonald wrote in The Culture of Critique:

The key for a group intending to turn Europeans against themselves is to trigger their strong tendency toward altruistic punishment by convincing them of the evil of their own people.  Because Europeans are individualists at heart, they readily rise up in moral anger against their own people once they are seen as free riders and therefore morally blameworthy—a manifestation of their much stronger tendency toward altruistic punishment deriving from their evolutionary past as hunter gatherers. 

Thus the current altruistic punishment so characteristic of contemporary Western civilization: Once Europeans were convinced that their own people were morally bankrupt, any and all means of punishment should be used against their own people. Rather than see other Europeans as part of an encompassing ethnic and tribal community, fellow Europeans were seen as morally blameworthy and the appropriate target of altruistic punishment. 

It takes a special sort of goyim to fall for the scam: Holocaust propaganda helps create a people prone to extortion, and the money stolen goes to fund more Holocaust propaganda.  Not to excuse the behavior of the thieves themselves, but the success of the Holocaust Industry is simply another symptom of a people that has lost its way.  

Richard Hoste (email him) writes on race, immigration, political correctness and modern conservatism.  His articles have appeared at VDARE.com, The Occidental Observer, The Occidental Quarterly and TakiMag among other places.  His blog is HBD Books, where he regularly reviews classic and modern works on these topics.

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