An un-American story: Hate crimes and special victims
It is human nature to resent groups and individuals deemed more special than others
Kathleen Parker, June 27, 2007, Washington
The fallacy of hate-crime laws -- the prosecution of which requires a degree of mind-reading not yet available to most Earthlings -- has been cast into stark relief the past few weeks following an interracial rape-murder that has bestirred white supremacists and led to death threats against an African-American columnist.
The spark that caused the firestorm was the brutal rape-murder of a young white couple, Channon Christian and Chris Newsom, who were carjacked last January in Knoxville, Tenn. Five blacks -- four men and a woman -- have been charged in connection with the slayings. Because the story didn't receive national media attention, some commentators and others have asserted that the media do not treat racial crimes equally. They point out that when a black stripper charged three white members of the Duke University lacrosse team with rape, the national media grabbed the story by the ankle and wouldn't let go. Not so Knoxville.
The perception of media bias is understandable -- and a credible case can be made that the media rushed to condemn the Duke athletes because it fits a recognizable racial narrative, especially in the South. But while race was clearly a factor in stimulating media interest, other factors absent from the Knoxville case -- privilege, town and gown conflicts, politics, underage drinking and the name Duke -- also added to the broader "story" appeal.
Nevertheless, the media's largely unskeptical embrace of the charges in the absence of due process, coincident with the horrible events in Knoxville, have stoked passions among some whites who contend that black-on-white crime is underreported.
Adding to the current heat is the decision that the Knoxville blacks won't be charged for hate crimes. Officials say that’s because the accused have had white friends, they weren't driven by racial hatred. That seems a flimsy argument, but it does serve to underscore the potential errancy and misapplication of laws that rely on the subjective judgment of others' psychological motives. As the mother of one of the victims said: "If this wasn't a hate crime, then I don't know how you would define a hate crime."
Hate crimes are not defined only by motive, but by their effect on other members of the same group. The argument for hate-crime laws is that crimes motivated by animus toward an individual because of race, sex, gender identity or disability victimize all members of that group by causing fear and intimidation. Adding still more fuel to the media- bias claim is a group of white supremacists on one side and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts on the other. Pitts drew fire when he pointed out that the Knoxville incident wasn't considered a hate crime and refuted claims that black crime is underreported. He ended his column with four words for whites who feel oppressed: "Cry me a river." That's pure columnist flare, but decidedly, um, gutsy considering the likely reaction from people who are not widely known for tolerance. A neo-Nazi group has posted Pitts' address, phone number and his wife's name on its Web site, Overthrow.com. Pitts has received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls, including several death threats that are being investigated by the FBI.
Obviously, Overthrow's editor and the 280 contributors to his American National Socialist Workers Party are the definition of a fringe group that doesn't deserve so much attention. But the same also might be said about those who commit >>hate crimes.<< In 2005, among about 7,000 hate crimes -- mostly characterized by intimidation - 48.9 percent - and simple assault - 30.2 percent -- just six murders and three forcible rapes were reported as fitting the hate-crime definition, according to the FBI's Hate Crime Statistics report. Though we may hate >>hate crimes,<< those numbers hardly seem sufficient to justify extra laws designating a special category for certain crime victims.
Groups such as the Anti-Defamation League have insisted that hate-crime laws are necessary because crimes that make minority communities fearful >>damage the fabric of our society and fragment communities.<<
The Duke and Knoxville cases cast serious doubts on that premise. It is human nature to resent groups and individuals deemed more special than others. Signaling through laws – or media treatment – that one group's suffering is more grievous than another's, or that one person's murder is worse than another's, is also likely to fragment communities, as well as to engender the very animosities such laws are meant to deter.
Kathleen Parker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Auschwitz-Victim-Numbers - official sources of information
French Investigation Panel on Nazi-War-Crimes
Chief Rabbi of Poland - Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany
Le Monde - French daily
Die Welt - German daily
Eugen Kogon, Der SS-Staat - famous book of a holocaust survivor, p. 176
Der Neue Herder - Enzyklopedia, Germany, 7th edition, p. 214
IMT-Document 008-USSR - Nuremberg Military Tribunal
USA-Today – daily
Chief Prosecutor, Mr. Majorowsky, Wuppertal, Germany - indictment 12 Js 1037/89
Allgemeine Jüdische Wochen Zeitung - Jewish weekly, Bonn
ZDF-Nachrichten - German TV, ZDF-News Magazine
Wetzlarer Neue Zeitung - German daily
IMT-Document 3868-PS - Nuremberg Military Tribunal
Damals - official monthly magazine on history, sponsored by German government
The Peninsula Times - daily, San Francisco, USA
Hamburger Abendblatt - German daily
Die Welt - German daily paper, quoting Chancellor H. Kohl. Minimum of 2 million
USA-Today - daily paper USA
Allgemeine Jüdische Wochen Zeitung - Jewish weekly, Bonn
ZDF-Nachrichten - German TV, ZDF-News Magazine
Die Welt - German daily
Die Welt - German daily
Le Monde - French daily
BUNTE Illustrierte - German weekly magazine
Welt am Sonntag - German daily, Sunday edition
Die Welt - German daily
IfZ - Institut for Contemporary History, München, a government institution
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - German daily
J C Pressac, Auschwitz, Technique ...Auschwitz report, Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
Die Welt -German daily
Welt am Sonntag - German daily, Sunday edition
Focus - German weekly magazine
Die Welt - German daily
Pressac, Die Krematorien ... - 2nd Auschwitz report, Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
Welt im Film - British newsreel, No. 137
Frankfurter Rundschau - German daily paper
Hoffmann, Stalins Vernichtungskrieg - on Stalin's war by German historian, p.302 f.
Intern. Red Cross, Arolsen - Department of Holocaust investigations,Ref. No.:10824
Fritjof Meyer, >The Number of Victims of Auschwitz, New Insights due to new Findings in the Archives<, in: Osteuropa, Zeitschrift für Gegenwartsfragen des Ostens - essentially decommissions Krema II as a killing centre and places it in a fictitious >farm house<. NB: In 1996 R J van Pelt/Deborah Dwork de-commissioned Auschwitz-Stammlager, Krema I, in: Auschwitz: From 1270 to the present.
350,000 gassed in Bunker II
World Heritage Committee renames Auschwitz
Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST, Jun. 28, 2007
UNESCO has officially renamed the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland to make clear it was established and run by occupying German Nazi forces, a World Heritage Committee spokesman said Thursday.
The camp will now be known as >>Auschwitz-Birkenau. German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945),<< said Roni Amelan, a spokesman for UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.
The committee agreed to change the name from >>Auschwitz Concentration Camp<< at a meeting in New Zealand following a request from Poland, and the change is effective immediately, Amelan said. Auschwitz, where the Nazis killed more than 1 million people, has become a symbol of the Holocaust. Birkenau was the neighboring camp and the site of the main gas chambers and crematoriums.
Todeslager in Auschwitz wurde umbenannt
Die Vereinten Nationen haben nach polnischen Angaben einer Umbenennung des ehemaligen Vernichtungslagers in Auschwitz zugestimmt. Die beiden Gedenkstätten Auschwitz und Birkenau würden künftig Nazi-deutsches Konzentrations- und Todeslager Auschwitz-Birkenau heißen, sagte am Mittwoch Kulturminister Kazimierz Ujazdowski. Er sprach von einem "Sieg der historischen Wahrheit über die Lüge".
>>Niemand kann mehr straffrei von polnischen Vernichtungslagern sprechen.<< Die Entscheidung der UNESCO erfülle ihn mit persönlicher Genugtuung, sagte Ujazdowski, dessen Großvater 1942 als politischer Häftling in Auschwitz ermordet wurde. Ein Sprecher der UNESCO wollte die Umbenennung nicht bestätigen.
Polen hatte die UNO im Frühjahr 2006 gebeten, die Gedenkstätte umzubenennen. Zur Begründung verwies die Regierung darauf, dass die häufige Bezeichnung als polnisches Lager das Land diffamiere, da sie eine Zusammenarbeit mit den deutschen Besatzern impliziere. In ausländischen Medien war immer wieder vom >>polnischen Konzentrationslager<< und von >>polnischen Gaskammern<< geschrieben worden.
Seit Mittwoch lautet laut polnischen Angaben die offizielle Eintragung in der UNESCO-Welterbe-Liste "Auschwitz-Birkenau. Deutsches nationalsozialistisches Konzentrations- und Vernichtungslager (1940-1945)", wie der Sprecher des polnischen Kulturministeriums der polnischen Nachrichtenagentur PAP sagte.
David Peleg, der israelische Botschafter in Polen, wertete die Entscheidung als >>Ausdruck der Wertschätzung für alle Opfer von Auschwitz-Birkenau<<. Er betonte, Israel und die Holocaust-Gedenkstätte Yad Vashem hätten die polnische Initiative von Anfang an unterstützt.
Im unweit von Krakau gelegenen Auschwitz waren während der Nazi-Herrschaft bis zu 1,5 Millionen Menschen getötet worden. Die meisten von ihnen waren Juden.
Quelle: APA http://www.kleine.at/nachrichten/politik/481889/index.do
A NUMBER OF years ago a book publisher asked me to co-author a book on the Arab-Israeli dispute with Hyman Bookbinder, a spokesman for the American Jewish Committee. We each wrote half of the book, then went on a nationwide book tour which involved a series of debates on the issue as a way to promote sales of the book. The book was titled Through Different Eyes, and the publisher was an American Jew by the name of James Adler. The literary agent who came up with the idea was Ron Goldfarb, also a Jew. Given that the Palestinian side had never gotten the coverage that it should have, the fact that both Adler and Goldfarb pushed the idea will lead me to argue against anyone who tries to say that the American Jewish community is monolithic in its view toward Israel.
I also thought it was an excellent way to get the Palestinian side of the story told to a much larger audience than usual. Together, we did more than 75 joint appearances around the United States, debating before regular audiences, in synagogues, in hotel ballrooms, on radio and television stations—in short, anywhere we could find an audience.
Before writing the book, I immersed myself in the literature of the dispute, reading everything that I could get my hands on, all of which served me well during the debates in which Bookbinder and I participated. I relied quite heavily on Donald Neff’s Middle East Warriors trilogy, available from the AET Book Club, which are the best histories in print on the 1956, 1967 and 1973 wars fought between the Arabs and the Israelis.
But how I wish that Ilan Pappé had already written The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine – also available from the AET Book Club - when I was studying the matter in depth. His excellent book on the subject was written with an historian’s eye, using in-depth research, diaries written by the leaders of the Zionist movement, and interviews whenever they were available. The story he tells of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine is one, as Pappé says, that has been largely ignored in the Western media. As a result, the Israelis have been given virtually free rein to do whatever they have wanted with the Palestinians and with the land the Zionists stole both before and after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, with little or no complaint by the world community—and, in particular, little or no complaint by the United States government and media.
The monstrous tragedy of the European Holocaust during WWII became a bonanza for the Zionist movement and its leaders. Pappé informs us, however, that the plans by the Zionists to take over Palestine and make it their own country were first developed beginning in the 1920s, then supplemented during the 1930s and 1940s.
It was clear to the leadership, notably David Ben-Gurion, that the Zionist project could only be realized through the creation in Palestine of a purely Jewish state, without the inconvenience of Palestinians to muck things up. That was the objective, and the means to achieve this objective continued to develop as the years went on. What is troubling about Pappé’s revelations is that so much of the planning by the Zionists to take over all of Palestine by force was done without any real public disclosure either by the press or by historians.
In December of 1947, Ben-Gurion made a speech to senior members of his party—the Mapai—in which he noted that the U.N. partition resolution, 181, that was so disastrous for the Palestinians, left “40 percent non-Jews in the areas allocated to the Jewish state…Such a demographic balance questions our ability to maintain Jewish sovereignty…Only a state with at least 80 percent Jews is a viable and stable state.”
It should be noted here that Resolution 181 was passed by the U.N. General Assembly, thus making it a non-binding resolution, unlike Security Council resolutions. But that mattered little, as the Zionist movement seized on its passage and has ever since argued that the U.N. created Israel. To the misfortune of the Palestinians, the dozens of non-binding General Assembly resolutions passed since that time requiring Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories have been ignored by Israel and by its chief sponsor, the United States.
What aided the Zionists in their cleansing project was the inventory the movement took of each Palestinian village during the mandatory period following World War I. That inventory included a topographical map of each village and its surroundings, the names of Palestinians who might be a threat to the cleansing operation, as well as the “Hebraic” origins of each village. It was thought by the Zionists that some of the villages were “quite new,” having been built in the 1830s.
By the late 1930s the archives of information were virtually complete. The inventory included each village’s access to roads, quality of the land, water springs, the main sources of income, its socio-political composition, religious affiliations, names of the village mukhtars, its relationship with other villages, the names of individual men between the ages of 16 to 50, as well as the village’s “index of hostility” to the Zionist project. The inventory also contained a list of everyone who had been involved in the revolt of 1936 (against the British, when they were allowing Jewish immigration into Palestine). By 1947, the inventory included lists of “wanted persons” in each village, which lists were used by Jewish troops in their 1948 search-and-arrest operations.
The plans for ethnic cleansing developed by the Zionist leadership involved, at first, retaliatory attacks by the Haganah (the military wing of the Jewish Agency) in response to anticipated Palestinian violence—with help, of course, from the Irgun and the Stern Gang (the two Jewish terrorist groups that invented Middle East terrorism). Orders were given to the Jewish military to clean out entire villages, sometimes by frightening the Palestinian inhabitants, and other times by simply murdering everyone in sight.
Although there were pockets of Palestinian resistance over the years before 1948, Pappé explains that most Palestinians wanted no part of the violence being introduced into their homeland by the Jewish military. That nonviolent strain at first gave the Zionist leadership serious problems as it tried to implement its policy of “reacting” to Palestinian resistance to its settlement plans. Pappé describes secret meetings in Ben-Gurion’s home with the Zionist leadership where complaints were voiced that the peacefulness of the Palestinians deprived the Jewish military of its rationale for its ethnic cleansing operations. Eventually, the military—including the Jewish terrorist groups—was ordered to take the offensive and not to wait for Palestinian attacks on Jews. That order, as we now know, resulted in the destruction both of the people and the structures in a great number of villages, which included the well-known Deir Yassin massacre.
Zionist political expertise far surpassed that of the Palestinian leadership, a leadership which had largely collapsed as a result of the British crackdown during the earlier Palestinian uprisings. The Jewish community owned less than 6 percent of the land in Palestine at the time the British Mandate ended, but the Zionist leadership demanded—and got—from the U.N. at least half of the land of Palestine.
As Pappe writes:
>>On 42 percent of the land, 818,000 Palestinians were to have a state that included 10,000 Jews, while the state for the Jews was to stretch over almost 56 percent of the land which 499,000 Jews were to share with 438,000 Palestinians. Jerusalem, with a population of 200,000, was to become internationalized and was to be equally divided between Arabs and Jews.
Ben-Gurion told his inner circle of Zionist leaders that there “are no territorial boundaries for the Jewish state” in light of the refusal of the Arabs to cooperate with the U.N. after it passed 181.
The injustice of the U.N.’s action, which fueled the ethnic cleansing already underway, was barely commented on by any of the leading Western newspapers then covering Palestine, and the lack of such coverage persists to this day.
The formalized plan for ethnic cleansing was Plan D, or Plan Dalet, adopted by the Zionist leadership in March of 1948. Plan Dalet was quite specific in its directions for ethnic cleansing:
These operations can be carried out in the following manner: either by destroying villages (by setting fire to them, by blowing them up, and by planting mines in their debris) and especially of those population centers which are difficult to control continuously; or by mounting combing and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the villages, conducting a search inside them. In case of resistance, the armed forces must be wiped out and the population expelled outside the borders of the state. (From Plan Dalet, March 10, 1948).
Armed and Dangerous
Another part of the Zionist propaganda that lingers to this day is the myth that the Jewish armed forces were able to defeat a superior combined Arab army. But on the eve of the 1948 war, the Jewish military had about 50,000 troops, of which 30,000 were fighters and 20,000 auxiliaries. The irregular Palestinian paramilitary had no more than 7,000 troops, and even that relatively small fighting force lacked structure and hierarchy and was poorly equipped. By the end of the summer of 1948 the Jewish forces numbered 80,000, and the combined Arab armies from neighboring countries never exceeded 50,000. While the Arabs’ weapons supply had been blocked by the British, Israel’s Communist Party wangled a large shipment of heavy arms from Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union.
During Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon, the news was full of the targeting of Haifa with Hezbollah rocketry, and the resultant suffering of the city’s Jewish inhabitants. What was missing last summer was the history of how the Zionists ethnically cleansed Haifa in 1948. Although the British military was responsible for keeping law and order in Haifa, and in other parts of Palestine, when Zionist troops targeted Haifa for cleansing the British commander told Palestinian leaders that it would be better if the Palestinians left the city. Zionists employed loudspeakers directing Palestinian residents either to leave their homes or be killed. Although Haifa’s Jewish mayor, Shabtai Levi, begged the Palestinians to stay, the operations officer of the Carmeli Brigade, Mordechai Maklef, issued orders to his troops to “kill any Arab you encounter; torch all inflammable objects and force doors open with explosives.” (Maklef later was rewarded by being appointed the Israeli army’s chief of staff).
Haifa’s Palestinians had gathered in panic near the city’s port to attempt to escape when the Zionists began shelling the gathering with mortars. What followed was a mass exodus of the families trying to escape. As one survivor recalled:
Men stepped on their friends and women on their own children. The boats in the port were soon filled with living cargo. The overcrowding in them was horrible. Many turned over and sank with all their passengers.
When reports of the massacre reached London the British government finally decided to take some sort of action. Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin was furious, but General Montgomery (of World War Two fame) defended the British commander who had advised the Palestinians to leave, and who refused to help them when they were attacked.
The cleansing of Haifa was repeated time and time again throughout Palestine. When Palestinians would leave their homes under threat of death and violence, Jewish troops routinely would go in and loot what they had left behind. Even the holy city of Jerusalem was not spared, as Palestinians were forcibly cleansed both by killing and by “transfer” out of the city, followed by heavy looting of the city and its environs.
One of the worst incidents took place in Acre when the Haganah injected typhoid germs into the city’s water supply. With the typhoid epidemic in full swing, Jewish forces then used loudspeakers to cleanse the city with, “Surrender or commit suicide. We will destroy you to the last man.”
On May 27, 1948, the Egyptians caught two Jews, David Horin and David Mizrachi, trying to inject typhoid and dysentery viruses into Gaza’s wells. The Egyptians executed the two men, but at the time Ben-Gurion only noted the incident in his diary without protest. Jaffa’s entire population of 50,000 was expelled, with only slightly less panic than that observed in Haifa.
In his book Pappé discusses the attempts by some of the Jewish military to cleanse their own consciences, describing such efforts as “shoot and cry.” The Palestinians were dehumanized in order to make it easier to kill them. Some of the Jews underwent “moral remorse” at what had been done, allowing them to continue to enjoy the benefits of the ethnically cleansed country without burdening their conscience.
By the time the surrounding Arab countries decided to send in troops, a quarter of a million Palestinians had been ethnically cleansed from Palestine, and two hundred villages had been destroyed and dozens of others emptied of their populations.
Although Pappé discusses what are described as “peace efforts” following the cleansing of Palestine, his point is well taken that most peace efforts involve the United States and Israel cutting deals without consulting the Arabs. Anyone who knows anything at all about the Arab-Israeli dispute is forced to painfully laugh at the motions made by a series of American secretaries of state who, like the current one, Condoleezza Rice, lay down conditions to Hamas for “peace talks” such as the requirement that it must first recognize Israel’s right to exist before they can be part of any talks. If it were not such a serious matter, such conditions would be the longest running joke of our civilization.
With the knowledge of the thuggery perpetrated by the Zionist movement against the Palestinians, one can only see despair and hopelessness in the future. It is the United States that continually enables the Israeli government to continue its aggressive posture and its ability to ignore what needs to be done to stop the violence against the Palestinians. It is a violence that is barely reported anymore in the American press—which, as we know, allows Israel to continue its thuggery without being called to account. As one of my friends—a Jew—once said to me, >>Israel has nothing to do with Judaism, but it has everything to do with fascism.<<
Pappé ends his book with the following:
>>The problem with Israel was never its Jewishness—Judaism has many faces and many of them provide a solid basis for peace and cohabitation; it is its ethnic Zionist character. Zionism does not have the same margins of pluralism that Judaism offers, especially not for the Palestinians.
What makes matters seem hopeless is the way in which the world ignores Israeli crimes in the occupied territories. From the humiliation visited upon Palestinians at the dozens of checkpoints throughout the occupied areas, to the violence visited on the people of Gaza, there is no accounting, and thus nothing to prevent this oppression from continuing into the future.<<
Ilan Pappé has contributed an amazing work for those who are interested in the origins of Israel’s invasion and its subsequent brutal occupation of Palestine. One can only hope that those in power in the U.S. government will learn something from it, thereby hopefully putting a stop to the crimes being committed on a daily basis by Israel.
James Abourezk is a former U.S. senator (D-SD) and founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He now practices law in Sioux Fall, SD.
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May-June 2007, pages 23-25.
DETROIT — On Tues. June 19, approximately 50 people attended a lecture by local human rights activist Rudy Simons on his trip to Iran as a civilian diplomat with the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The lecture — called "Building Bridges to Iran: Diplomacy, Yes. Bombs No!" and sponsored by the Michigan Coalition of Human Rights — took place in Barth Hall at the St. Paul Cathedral in Detroit.
After a brief introduction and a vote inducting new members to MCHR, Simons began describing his experiences in Iran as one of 23 Americans seeking to cut through the fog of propaganda that surrounds the row between the U.S. and Iran.
Beginning with the Persian greeting, "Sha'ab a Kher," meaning "Good evening," Simons described Iran as a country in flux, where events are "fluid" and change by the day, different from when he was there in Feb.-March of this year. During his talk, Simons referred to a photo exhibit on the wall that included pictures of one of Shah Pahlavi's palaces, a disabled veteran from the Iran-Iraq war and random shots of children.
Simons painted a disturbing picture of the U.S.-Iran situation. From a significant U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf to the bipartisan call for a preemptive strike to forestall Iran's nuclear program, these and other factors have led to increased repression by the Islamic Republic.
Describing the government's fears of a "velvet revolution" behind the arrest of the four dual nationals, among them Prof. Haleh Esfandiari of the Woodrow Wilson International Center, Simons said, "things have never been so tough for liberals as now."
There has been some good news, Simons said, referring to Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice's recent diplomatic initiative to Iranian Foreign Minister Manucher Mottaki in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, which was dashed when Mottaki walked out of an official dinner. More good news came in the form of Admiral William Fallon, stationed in the Persian Gulf.
"He said, we will not bomb Iran, not on my watch," Simons said, adding "encouraging, but one doesn't know how replaceable he is."
The trip took the delegates to Tehran, from there to Shiraz and the ancient ruins of Persopolis, to Isfahan. In Shiraz, they visited the tombs of famous poets and learned how much love Iranians have for poetry, while in Isfahan, they were taken to a church, a synagogue and a Zoroastrian temple.
At the synagogue, the delegation learned that 300 worshippers go there for weekly services and they heard the views of two female workers there about Israel.
"When asked about Israel, they opposed the Israeli govt., but they don't wish ill to them and that was the end of any political discussion," he said. Meanwhile, at the Zoroastrian temple, a molgh or priest explained the major tenets of the religion, and astounded the listeners as they learned that the largest concentration of Zoroastrians are located in the United States.
Along the way, they met Iranians, young and old, who were eager to practice English and discuss the current political situation. They were amazed, Simons said, at how young people were especially quick to express their criticism of Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the recent Holocaust conference, as well as their grasp of the English language.
Concluding his talk, Simons said that it was important to continue these kinds of exchanges, and that it should consist of musicians, artists, students, teachers and athletes, to name a few.
"Because people who know each other are less likely to go to war with each other," he said.
For additional information about the Fellowship of Reconciliation, go to www.forusa.org
Hitler’s Holocaust may have stemmed from syphilis from Jewish prostitute
London, June 21: A brief encounter with a Jewish prostitute might have led Hitler to orchestrate the genocidal Holocaust, according to a new study by psychiatrists.
Hitler might have contracted syphilis, which, possibly untreated, led to his madness and eventually targeting of the Jews and the mentally retarded.
There is "ample circumstantial evidence" for the theory, according to psychiatrist Dr Bassem Habeeb.
Dr Habeeb said that there had been speculation that Hitler had syphilis from diary entries made by his personal doctor, Theo Morrell.
"If Hitler's life is looked at through the lens of a syphilis diagnosis, one clue leads to another until a pattern of infection and progressive infection emerges, a disease that may have defined him from youth as an outsider and that progressively ravaged his body and mind,” said Dr. Habeeb.
Yet despite significant medical and political clues, the theory has never been rigorously examined, he said.
The disease would have fuelled a "deadly logic and blueprint for the Holocaust" which focused on particular minorities, he added.
Hitler, who reportedly had sex with a Jewish prostitute in Vienna in 1908, put syphilis high on his political agenda, devoting 13 pages to the disease in his book Mein Kampf.
The job of "combating syphilis - the Jewish disease - should be the task of the entire German nation," he wrote, adding, "The health of the nation will be regained only by eliminating the Jews."
According to Dr. Habeeb, "Hitler's bizarre belief that syphilis was a hereditary disease that was originated and propagated by the Jews and resulted in insanity and mental retardation" could be the reason he attempted to eliminate the mentally retarded.
He said well-documented aspects of Hitler's behaviour and health such as mood swings, paranoid rages, rashes and stomach problems were typical of syphilis.
Incidentally, in his diary, Dr Morrell also noted Hitler's severe gastric crises, skin lesions, Parkinson's disease and violent mood swings as evidence that he had syphilis.
Together with "sudden criminal behaviour, paranoia, grandiosity and mania", these are characteristic of cases of the advanced stage, neuro-syphilis, Dr Morrell wrote in his diary.
Dr Habeeb, who works at Hollins Park Hospital, Warrington, said though experts had previously explored the possibility that Hitler had syphilis, this was the first time that he and his team have put together the chain of secondary neuro-symptoms that meant the Holocaust became the focus of Hitler’s psychotic behaviour.
"This disease can send you mad and it could be a horrible explanation for the obsession that led to the Holocaust. It's very hard to say with certainty. There's ample circumstantial evidence, though no final proof, that he definitely had it,” said Dr Habeeb.
"But many other historical figures in the 19th and early 20th century suffered from syphilis without the murderous consequences wreaked by Hitler,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
Dr Habeeb presented his findings at the Royal College of Psychiatrists' annual meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Two more countries have endorsed opening a Nazi war archive to Holocaust museums, bringing the documents locked away for more than half a century a step closer to release, Red Cross officials said Tuesday.
Luxembourg and Greece joined seven other countries on the archive's 11-nation governing commission that have ratified changes to a 1955 treaty that would allow museums in Washington and Jerusalem to receive copies of the 50 million pages of Nazi war records.
The two countries still must file ratification papers with the German government to complete the process, said Iris Moeker, a spokeswoman for the German Red Cross.
Only Italy and France have yet to pass the treaty amendments through their parliaments for ratification. In France, the process has been delayed by legislative elections, which ended Sunday.
The files maintained by the International Tracing Service, part of the International Committee of the Red Cross, were kept confidential to satisfy European privacy requirements, intended to protect survivors and victims from indiscriminate disclosures. But the commission agreed last year to partially lift the secrecy after years of pressure from survivors who wanted to see their own histories.
The documents, including death registers, transportation lists, forced labor documents and postwar displaced persons records, are stored in 16 miles of shelf space in the central German town of Bad Arolsen.
Indexed by name, they have been used mainly to track the fate of millions of victims.
In a separate step Tuesday, archive technicians in Bad Arolsen completed their first trial run of transferring data, and will give the test copies to the United States and Israel later this week, said Michael Hoffmann, head of the archive's technology department.
Hoffmann said 13 gigabytes of data were stored on portable hard discs and will be sent to the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Berlin for transfer to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.
The discs will allow the two institutions to work on integrating the full data into their systems. The first of four transfers — up to 3 terabytes, or 3,000 gigabytes — will be transferred by the end of July, Hoffmann said by telephone from Bad Arolsen.
The first batch comprises incarceration records from Auschwitz, Buchenwald and thousands of other camps.
The Central Name Index, with the names of 17.5 million victims, will be sent by the end of the year, with forced labor documents following within the next half year, Hoffmann said. The final batch of postwar records will move by mid-2008.
Under the agreement, a single national archive from each of the 11 states is entitled to receive a digital copy of the archive, to be made accessible to the public according to that country's own laws.
The member states are the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Britain, Israel, the United States, Luxembourg, France, Italy and Greece.
Much deserved freedom of movement for 93-year-old Erich Priebke
Released last week from his Rome house arrest by an Italian military judge, 93-year-old Eric Priebke on Monday, 18 June 2009, enjoyed a visit to the inner city. His lawyer, Paolo Giachini, is taking Priebke on his scooter to his office where translation work awaits Priebke. Jewish organizations, still lusting for revenge and needing the >Nazi< bogeyman to justify their extermination program against the Palestinians, are furious. In 1998 an Italian military tribunal found Priebke, a former SS Hauptsturmführer, had participated in a massacre near Rome of 335 civilians, many of them Jewish, and sentenced him to life in prison.
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