© Michel Fingerhut 1996/7

Pierre Vidal-Naquet:
A Paper Eichmann (1980) - Anatomy of a Lie (7)
Translated by Jeffrey Mehlman
in Assassins of Memory (NY: Columbia University Press 1992),
English translation © 1992 Columbia University Press
Reproduction interdite sauf pour usage personnel - No reproduction except for personal use only

We are very grateful to Pierre Vidal-Naquet and his american publisher, Columbia University Press, for allowing us to make this text available here.

7. The Jewish War

Serge Thion, in the nuanced evocation of him that he gives (p. 14), notes in Faurisson "a certain propensity [which he shares] to side with the defeated, with those who have received the short end of the stick." But who are the defeated? The Germans, and more precisely the Nazis? To be sure, they were defeated, and the German people has suffered, frightfully, as have other peoples who were not defeated --the Russians, the Poles, the Yugoslavs, the Czechs, and the Greeks. The Jews, in Eastern Europe and in several other regions (in Holland, in Greece), were not defeated; they were annihilated. It is not always easy to comprehend what that means. One can feel it almost physically in the immense Jewish cemetery of Warsaw, near the ghetto where "the Marxist Brandt," as Butz calls him, one day came to kneel (The Hoax, p. 244): the gravestones suddenly disappear around 1942 only to reappear on an infinitesimal scale in 1945. Richard Marienstras has tried to articulate this: "Those whose civilization --whose respiration-- was entirely defined by Yiddishkeit, those for whom every vital relation depended on the Yiddish world, those people, following the disappearance of their culture, can not modify and displace their allegiance to what no longer is and which can exist only in an obsessive and terrified memory. For them, there is no project and no deliverance; they do not forget when they say they have forgotten; they do not hope, even if what they have substituted for hope is strident -- its stridency reveals the despair and the unhappiness of which it is made."[79] It was necessary to attempt to articulate what can barely be said, and if there are those who feel "redeemed" by the military victories of Israel, I, for my part, can only pity and even despise them.

It was not a war and, as I have already said, the State Council of the Polish Republic which, in April 1967, conferred military decorations on the victims of Auschwitz for having died "while struggling against Hitler's genocide" revealed that it had not understood or had not wanted to understand what had happened.[80] But, we are told, a war is precisely what it was. An Englishman, Richard Harwood (the pseudonym of the neo-Nazi Verrall) explained it to us in his famous pamphlet, which provoked the just outrage of P. Viannson-Ponté and prompted Faurisson to reenter the battle (Le Monde, July 17, 1977, and Vérité, pp. 65-92):

On September 5, 1939, Chaim Weizmann, president of the Zionist Organization (1920) and the Jewish Agency (1929), who later became president of the republic of Israel, had declared war on Germany in the name of Jews the world over, specifying that "the Jews stand by Great Britain and will fight on the side of the democracies.... The Jewish Agency is prepared to take immediate measures to make use of Jewish manpower, Jewish technical competence and resources, etc." (Jewish Chronicle, September 8, 1939)
It is of little consequence, to be sure, that Weizmann had no power to speak in the name of Jews throughout the world, nor that he had no intention of doing so.[81] A Zionist leader with strong ties to Great Britain, despite the conflict provoked by the British policy of ceasing immigration to Palestine, he spoke, as did Ben-Gurion during the same period, in the name of his own followers and of a minority ideology. The feelings of American Jews, for example, were not in doubt, but no one could declare war in their name. Not content with merely repeating "Harwood," Faurisson adds a rather significant error: "In the person of Chaim Weizmann, the President of the World Jewish Congress,... the international Jewish community declared war on Germany on September 5, 1939" (Vérité, p. 187, repeated on p. 91). The president of the World Jewish Congress at the time was the American rabbi Stephen Wise. But, given the impossibility of invoking the spokesman of international Jewry, the best thing is to invent him. The "declaration of war," Faurisson specifies, was the consequence of the economic boycott of Nazi Germany decided on by "the international Jewish community in retaliation for the anti-Semitic measures taken by Hitler." It is all quite simple: "That fatal machinery was bound to lead, on both sides, to a world war" (Vérité, p. 187).[82] Once the wine has been poured, it will have to be drunk: the war came; "the German soldier engaged in fierce combat against the partisans,... including, if need be, against women and children mingling with the partisans." But, Faurisson specifies, "the army gave the most Draconian orders that no German soldier was to participate in excesses against the civilian population, including the Jews." Better yet: it may be said of the Wehrmacht, including the SS, "that it was, in certain respects, far less threatening for non combatant civilians than many other armies" (Vérité, pp. 187 and 211n45). Apparently, the Einsatzgruppen did not exist.

From this point on, it becomes possible to explain and justify everything. The Jewish star? A military measure. "Hitler was perhaps less concerned with the Jewish question than with ensuring the safety of German soldiers" (Vérité, p. 190).[83] Many Jews spoke German and were suspected of practicing "espionage, terrorism, black market operations, and of arms trafficking." Children wearing the star at age six? Faurisson has an answer for everything: "If we remain in the framework of military logic, there are today a sufficient number of stories and memoirs in which Jews recall that already as children they were engaged in all sorts of illicit or resistance activities against the Germans" (Vérité, p. 190).

And on that same page, which one would do well to feature in an anthology of the obscene, Faurisson shows us, through a precise example, that the Germans were quite right to be distrustful: "They feared what was, moreover, about to take place in the Warsaw ghetto, where, suddenly, right behind the front, in April 1943, there was an insurrection. To their stupefaction, the Germans then discovered that the Jews had built seven hundred bunkers. They put down that insurrection and transferred the survivors to labor and concentration camps. This was a tragedy for the Jews." It is useful to read this page a bit more closely. All footnotes have charitably disappeared, but note 48 on page 211 allows us to learn Faurisson's source and to see him at work. His "informant," as the anthropologists say, is Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler himself, and more precisely his speech at Poznan on October 6,1943:"I cleaned up large Jewish ghettos in territories of the rear. In a ghetto in Warsaw, we had street-fighting during four weeks. Four weeks! We demolished about seven hundred bunkers."[84]

Faurisson has commented on this text and that event on several levels, first of all by adding to Himmler's indication "in territories of the rear ( in den Etappengebieten)" the little words "right" and "front," which make it coherent with his military logic. The reader may thus forget that the "front" was at the time quite distant, more than a thousand kilometers away, rather astonishing changes from someone as obsessed with footnotes and precision,[85] but the "front," after all, is a rather ambiguous notion. Concerning the event itself, which occurred at a time when the ghetto was already emptied of three-quarters of its population by massive deportations, the reader will learn noth ing. Here, too, Faurisson's master is Himmler, who, on June 21, 1944, at Sonthofen, attempted to make the German generals as sembled believe that he was forced to confront, in Warsaw, not a handful of insurgents, but "more than five hundred thousand Jews," whom he was obliged to liquidate "in five weeks of street fighting" (Geheimreden, p. 170). There is a similar silence concerning the immediate context of the speech of October 6,1943, which had Himmler protesting against the same economic tyranny so often invoked by the revisionists: "The ghetto manufactured fur coats, clothing, etc. Earlier, when one wanted to enter, one was told: 'Halt! You're interfering with the war economy! Halt! This is an arms factory!"' (Geheimreden, p. 170). Silence is maintained about all this, but there is a warning to the reader (in the same note 48, p. 211) concerning Geheimreden: "This work is to be used with precaution, particularly in its French translation." Why that precaution? We already know, from read ing the speech at Poznan, that the reader might learn, on the preceding page, that Himmler had given the order to kill (umbringen) the men, women, and children of the Jewish people. It is clear that in that war, Himmler was not defeated.

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