Last week, 17 men were arrested in New York for defrauding Germany out of $42 million in payments to phony holocaust survivors. Tens of thousands of American Jews had filed for pensions from Germany claiming to be concentration camp survivors. All swore they had been in the camps, told stories about gas chambers, human skin lampshades and such but not a single one had been in a camp at all. The state of Israel claims to have, alive today, nearly one million holocaust survivors.
As many as 90% of these may well be, not only frauds but many could easily be former concentration camp guards themselves, far more likely than surviving death camps. What better place to hide than Israel?
With numbers of camp survivors going up each year, we tend to forget we are talking about death camps. There were few survivors and most of them died immediately after the war. Those alive were found dying and couldn’t be saved, and most of them weren’t Jews but rather Russians, Gypsies, Communists, trade unionists and anti-Fascists.
Look at the numbers. There were only 5.3 million Jews listed as living in Europe, outside the USSR, in 1940. In a rough average, 12 death camps, filled to the brim with gas chambers and crematoriums ran 24 hours a day for 1000 days. Some are said, in testimony of literally thousands, to have killed from 17,000 to 20,000 per day. Lets use the figure, 10,000 per day times 12 camps times 1000 days.
Where do a million survivors come from? I can see a thousand, ten thousand but not 30,000 and certainly not the 15 million necessary to justify the current number of claimed survivors according to typical actuarial tables for healthy adults of the period, those who were not starved and tortured for years. Look at Vietnam veterans. Only 700,000 of 2.9 million survive 35 years after the war. Something is wrong here.
There are laws in the United States that punish people who wear military medals they didn’t earn or claim other such honors. When veterans discover someone claiming falsely to have served in war, that individual is arrested but also publicly humiliated. They are hunted down like dogs.
There are concentration camp survivors living in America, people who suffered incomprehensibly at the hands of the Nazis. However, there are also, in America we now know, tens of thousands or more who claim falsely to be of the heroic numbers from that period and numbers inside Israel that are unimaginable. Why are these people not punished?
As a Vietnam veteran, I share a common problem with others. For 4 decades, I met veteran after veteran, many were children when the war ended, but each claims some honor tied to military service based on a movie or television show. I have met, over the years, hundreds of such individuals, many at meetings of veterans organizations. I don’t find it horrible or destructive but it is disturbing and I won’t even remotely begin comparing service in Vietnam with the experience of a death camp.
Last week, authorities announced that those who had wrongly filed for benefits had been fooled somehow. I can see fooling someone as to whether they had seen a televisions show or not but there is only one American I can think of who imagined he had been in a death camp who hadn’t and that was President Ronald Reagan and he only claimed to have visited. Reagan’s error was based on dementia, not profit or gain. Now it seems, not only do we have tens of thousands of people who have a single false memory, they seem to remember years of horror, incredible detail and all of it is utterly false. There is no comparison, not with Reagan, not with Vietnam veterans, not with anyone.
Reagan’s error, despite the respect he is held in and his obvious illness, has been used to defame him countless times. His error was not only honest but done in the context of human feeling. How many of the others are lying, not only for financial gain but for something less wholesome?
Why then, in the name of all that is holy, did the authorities and news media immediately write this off as tens of thousands of cases of minor lapses in judgement rather than one of the most horrible moral crimes of all time?
There is no greater disrespect for a holocaust victim than this.
Revisionists and Deniers
Two thousand people in Europe are in prison today for questioning some part, no matter how minor, of the holocaust. The official story of the holocaust is a compendium of testimony of several hundred thousand people as there was little physical evidence left at the end of the war. Some facilities were reconstructed based on testimony, for historical perspective but in general, it is believed that the Germans destroyed all evidence of death camps and mass graves when they learned they were losing the war.
Thousands of those who find this explanation unsatisfactory and had chosen to disagree, some noted historians, some scientists and some simple troublemakers and activists, have been imprisoned. At the trials, holocaust victims claimed that such questioning harmed them irreparably. However, not one holocaust victim has ever spoken up about the endless numbers of phony holocaust victims who besmirch them every day and have for nearly 65 years. Why is that?
One thing the revisionists claim is that almost every story from the holocaust, including notable books and even world famous holocaust survivors are, in actuality, the worst phonies of all. The analogy of the “phony veteran” is applicable here. After each war, endless numbers of those, who for reasons legitimate or not, felt their contribution to the war effort was less than honorable or noteworthy, claim accomplishments they are undeserving of. It is also known that combat veterans are seldom seen on bar stools at service organizations talking about heroic exploits.
In fact, as Americans are learning more and more each day, combat veterans have great difficulty surviving coming home and are often homeless, incarcerated and commit suicide in huge numbers. It would be easy to extrapolate the same for holocaust survivors. There is no greater potential cause of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the history of mankind than the concentration camps of World War 2. Not only would survivors kill themselves out of guilt, most would suffer greatly shortened lifespans. This has been amazingly well documented.
This being the case, only a few hundred holocaust survivors could be alive today, not the one million living in Israel.
Honesty and Truth
Anyone imprisoned wrongly, anyone whose family was killed or whose assets were seized illegally, should be compensated. Anyone wrongly claiming to be part of a group they are not, one this unique in the history of mankind, deserves punishment. Why is this not done? Why is there no normal social pressure to “out” these people and defend the honor of holocaust survivors?
Has anyone ever asked a real holocaust survivor what it is like to see phonies continually on television talking about the holocaust? Do they forgive? We will never know, as it seems nobody cares about real holocaust survivors. The holocaust is brought up when Israel bombs a school or asks for foreign aid but as for the people themselves, these misuses of the suffering of some cheapen human misery and the human condition.
Never Again, What Does It Really Mean?
If one child was taken away, died in a gas chamber, typhus, shot, it doesn’t matter, one life, this is a holocaust. If it was done because of race, the crime is doubly evil in nature. The lesson of “never again” was meant to be a lesson for all mankind to treat every single life with the same honor and respect, not to use the suffering of some as an excuse for financial crime, self delusion or outrageous acts of aggression.
Instead, the holocaust has become theatre, a stage for two sides to debate, to play, to “lawyer” the world to death. Some feel they should fight the holocaust because it has become a tool of evil. Some defend it because it is a tool of evil also but they believe the world is evil and only evil men are meant to survive.
Picture the death of a single child. Then go to the trial of a “holocaust denier.” Who is evil? Who is good? Do any of them ever think of the single child or only how it died, who signed what or how many Palestinian children could be murdered just like that child, in that child’s name perhaps?
The Real War
Why ask the question if 6 million Jews died? It is equally possible that 6 million Germans died in the Ukraine and Europe, not soldiers, not in air raids, but in a holocaust type extinction. This is not talked of but it happened. All of us, Jews, Germans, the west, all of us, were silent when Josef Stalin killed twice that number or more. It started before the war and continued after. The human suffering caused by Stalin was immeasurable but is never spoken of, barely touched on except by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and now his books are banned. They fail to conform to popular mythology.
There was nothing pure about the real war as there is nothing pure about wars today. The myths we may or may not make up to protect some are never really to protect anyone. The weak and vulnerable are never protected, only the powerful. This is how the powerful become such and remain that way. We are such liars.
Nobody ever cared about the holocaust survivors only what using their suffering would bring in honor and riches. Is this the truth? Is this the partial truth? Has anyone asked the hard questions, the real questions? Isn’t it time that all the survivors got together? Some voice is needed, a voice that can say “never again’ with authority.