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Monday, 12 July 2010

Apologies for Mid-Summer Break!

To all our devoted followers I apologise for not having let people know sooner that I am at present on a European tour with my younger son, Tom.

Today I visited the scene of the most poignant symbol of the extermination of European Jewry, and many many others, Auschwitz-Birkenau. I have quite a lot to say about the way this symbol has been depoliticised, used in the service of the State - both Polish, Israeli and American - and 'inconvenient' facts omitted.

E.g. until I prised it out of the guide there was no mention of the fact that there were 5 Jewish escapees, including Rudolph Vrba. The guide stated that no-one had escaped from the inner or central sanctum of Auschwitz-Birkenau. This is of course wrong, as a cursory reference to Vrba's 'I Escaped From Auschwitz' would confirm.

But then there was nothing to be seen at the bookshops at Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau of Vrba's book. The nearest one gets is a book 'London has been informed...' by Henryk Swiebocki, in which there is a chapter of the escapees Vrba and Wetzler. Why is this? The same reason the book isn't stocked at the Washington Holocaust Museum. Vrba was an anti-Zionist, a dissident and like the Commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Marek Edelman, he was incovenient to the Zionist/American reconstruction of what the Nazi era and Auschwitz and the deportations meant.

As I'm staying in a hostel in Krakow at the moment, with no access to books, it is difficult to give a longer exposition at the moment but remained assured that when back at home..... The guides seem to read from a script since many other 'facts' they gave out are dubious at best and interlaced with a fabled Polish nationalism. One wouldn't know e.g. of the existence of anti-Semitism in the Polish Home Army and Resistance even in the war (though unlike the Zionists they fought and to their credit did their best to bring the existence of Auschwitz to world attention).

However I will leave this and much else to another blog when I return from Europe on July 24!

There are many other stories that I will be saving up and if I have time I will post them, such as the ex-Israeli General who says that Israel should behave towards the Palestinians more like the Nazis!

Again my apologies for the temporary interruption.

Tony Greenstein

6 comments:

Mick Hall said...

I look forward to reading about your trip when you return home. It is hard to believe that such important and moral boosting events as escapes from this camp are now ghosted away. Shameful is hardly a strong enough word to describe this.

Enjoy your trip.

Tony Greenstein said...

Hi Mick,

yes I shall have a lot to say! The guides seemed to take exception to my correcting them because one came up at the end, when the guidance, if that is the right word, had finished to say I should ask before joining her group. She seemed angry and worried but I assured her that one crap guide was enough!

Yes Vrba, just like Marek Edelman and the Bund, have been written out of holocaust history by the collaborators amongst the Jews. Such are the ironies of history.

Such is their hatred of those who fought, and Zionism as a movement never fought, that the Israeli State, which parasites upon the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (the Zionist Yishuv never made any attempt to establish links with the Resistance unlike the admittedly anti-Semitic Polish Home Army) refused to even send a representative to Marek Edelman's funeral (which even the late right-wing Polish President attended).

joe90 kane said...

ps
you're an awfy man TG.

shouldn't your son be on a epicurean hedonistic Club 18-25 holiday - instead of being dragged around grim open-air eastern european museums, being embarrassed by his dad's irate public confrontations with poor guides who don't know any better, and who're only in it for the money anway?

joe90 kane said...

I hope you're enjoying your hols TG.

It's a place I would love to visit which I always find a strange thought given the nature of what went on there and what it reperesents. It's a bit like looking forward to reading the latest book on the ghastly exploits of American foreign policy.

Anyway, you meantioned the Washington DC Holocaust Museum. I thought it might be of interest the way this important regional branch hq of the Holocaust Industry misuses and distorts history for domestic American purposes.

It mis-quotes the first line of Pastor Martin Niemoller famous adage, using the term 'socialist' when Niemoller clearly used the term "communist" -
Martin Niemöller: "First they came for the Socialists..."
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The museum's explanatory text does try to muddy the waters a bit by claiming various forms exist - so why it prefers the 'socialists' to 'communists' version, the one prefered by Niemoller himself, isn't explained. Maybe the official American state religion of anti-communism has something to do with it - Long Live Cuba! Long Live The Revolution!
Ditto Venezula Bolivia etc

I'm sure it was Prof RJ Evans I read on this but can't seem to find the reference at the mo. Maybe it was Saul Friedlander.


I've always wanted to do a bit of camping and mountaineering in the Tatras.

All the best TG and son.

Tony Greenstein said...

thank you Joe!

I'm sure my son will go on these epicurean 18-25 holidays someday but as he's only 13 he's a bit young!!

I also took my daughter on something similar some years ago, indeed on 3 separate hols of the same nature but now she's 18 she won't be seen dead with dad although she did ring me tonight to send her some cash to go out with! (she claimed she had been pickpocketed but I suspect that's me!).

No Tom is a very bright boy. As I explained to him, although his mum is Christian, by Hitler's definition he would be a Mischlinge of the 1st degree and therefore would have been in great danger of dying in Auschwitz too. And anyway he's a good progressive and anti-fascist!

Tony Greenstein said...

thank you Joe!

I'm sure my son will go on these epicurean 18-25 holidays someday but as he's only 13 he's a bit young!!

I also took my daughter on something similar some years ago, indeed on 3 separate hols of the same nature but now she's 18 she won't be seen dead with dad although she did ring me tonight to send her some cash to go out with! (she claimed she had been pickpocketed but I suspect that's me!).

No Tom is a very bright boy. As I explained to him, although his mum is Christian, by Hitler's definition he would be a Mischlinge of the 1st degree and therefore would have been in great danger of dying in Auschwitz too. And anyway he's a good progressive and anti-fascist!