* According to a story in the Bergen, NJ Record, September 14, 2000, Holocaust survivors may get only $500 apiece from a Swiss settlement involving Swissbank Pact. The terms of settlement involved
1.25 billion. The rest of the money is scheduled to be given to "Holocaust survivors or their heirs whose assets were seized by the Nazis and held in Swiss bank accounts", to "Nazi slave labor camp survivors, but not their heirs" and to "refugees who either were denied entrance to Switzerland or were detained there and suffered harsh treatment."
Some money will also go to ". . . organizations that would aid elderly and poor Holocaust survivors in the former Soviet Union" and other "deserving" projects.
"You can't put a price tag on suffering," said Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress in New York. "This is simply a recognition of that suffering. It is a measure of justice, nothing more."
Understandably, the real Holocaust survivors see it differently, since the loot was accumulated in their name to begin with.
* Journalist Sam Kiley, reporting from Jerusalem, tells us that Ed Fagan, a controversial lawyer representing as many as 38,000 "Holocaust victims", has said the following:
"The papers that we have obtained from the Austrian banks clearly show that there was a great deal more than just commercial motivations on the part of German banks in taking money from Jews."
Described by Sam Kiley as ". . . a colourful figure with a keen sense of how to embarrass organisations that profited from the Holocaust," Fagan is quoted as saying that he would continue to release incriminating documents from Austria which will ". . . keep cutting them until they bleed to death".
* Remember how sanctions were imposed on Austria because Joerg Haider had made a couple of statements mildly praising economic innovations of the Third Reich? From Austria now comes word of an interesting and telling development.
The head of Joerg Haider's Austrian Freedom Party put a deadline (one month) to the 14 EU member nations: Either end the sanctions on Austria, or face a dreaded Austrian referendum!
"There's no alternative," said Vice-Chancellor Susanne Riess- Passer, as quoted in Austria's Format magazine. ". . . should Austria forever go on playing the role of the whipped dog in Europe who goes to Brussels cringing for the next blow?"
* Christopher Hitchens, a well-known Jewish writer who has long been rumored to be a closet revisionist, put it succinctly when he spoke of Professor Finkelstein's book, reviewed in Commentary:
"It ought not to take Commentary magazine to give serious attention to the fleecing of Holocaust victims and the exorbitance of Holocaust profiteers. Yet I open my September issue of this neocon album and find that the most salient article is contributed by Gabriel Schoenfeld and titled 'Holocaust Reparations--A Growing Scandal.'
"The likelihood is that no such essay would have been commissioned or printed if it were not for (this) book by Norman Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, which is currently occupying a word-of-mouth position somewhere between samizdat and 'not in front of the goyim'."
* Yahoo Asia News took a bite out of Horst Mahler, a high profile German attorney who is best known for having switched from "ultra-left" to "ultra right". In a write-up September 10, Mahler is quoted as having said that he is ". . . above all a nationalist, fighting for the identity of the German people and the German nation" - which naturally caused howls in the media.
"The problem is that foreign people, especially Turkish people, have set foot in our homeland and that we (Germans) will become a minority if this flood of migration continues," Mahler is further quoted as having said. "If this is racist, then I am a racist. I oppose that the German homeland becomes Turkey."
"What makes Mahler stand out besides his dramatic past,' writes Yahoo Asia news, "is his unabashed anti-Jewishness, something German politicians, even most of his NPD colleagues, studiously avoid."
For good measure, Mahler has also said that the Jewish God "is a terrible God, a genocidal God," and that ". . . there's a 2,000-year-old conflict between Jewry and the European peoples". He stated that the Jews in Europe are "a foreign body and they want to be a foreign body because that is the way that they can sustain themselves."
"Jews need a hostile environment to survive as Jews in the Diaspora and they create it," Mahler said.
* Revisionism has come to Czechoslovakia. More than 170,000 Germans fell on Czechoslovak soil during or shortly after the war, and around 60,000 still have to be accounted for. Now there are plans to rebury the bones of thousands of these German soldiers, still scattered throughout the Czech Republic in unmarked graves.
Some three million German soldiers died during the war in Eastern Europe and 300 German war cemeteries have been renovated or rebuilt in the East in the last 10 years - 160 of them in Russia. There are less than 10 German war cemeteries in the Czech Republic, and opposition to the latest one being constructed in Prague shows no sign of abating.
More than 2,000 bodies are already being held in a Prague mortuary and are awaiting reburial immediately, while thousands more are expected to arrive in coming months from all over the republic.
Tellingly, work at excavation sites is being hampered by acts of vandalism as well as by trophy hunters who plunder exposed graves in search of Second World War memorabilia. According to Jaroslav Andel, a Czech who still remembers the anarchy that followed the end of the war, villages which do not allow excavations to take place are afraid that past crimes may literally be unearthed.
He said: "Some people went straight out and murdered their German neighbours, and sometimes whole villages were involved. Some of those people are still alive, and amnesty or no amnesty, they don't want their crimes dug up - and neither do their children."
* Likewise, Revisionism in the Baltic states! The Baltic News Agency reported September 15, 2000 that Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar and Hungarian Justice Minister Ibolya David affirmed at the meeting on Thursday [14th September] that exposure of crimes of communism and raising awareness of them to the level of governments is in the interest of both countries.
Ibolya David said that besides a Holocaust museum, Hungary also intends to establish a museum of the crimes of communism, where shocking exhibits and deep-going symbols would speak about consequences of the Red Terror.
The Estonian Prime Minister said that raising awareness of the crimes of communism in Europe and throughout the world was the duty of both countries.
* The aforementioned "black-tie banquet" to honor a handful of high-profile American and Israeli public officials for their support of the Holocaust restitution process continues to make waves - no pun intended. Among the charges leveled against the World Jewish Congress is that it has ". . . plunged into domestic politics." More yet, President Clinton, who attended the dinner, is said to have "waded into the 'uniqueness flap".
Clinton did the almost unforgivable and raised the question of ". . . whether the Nazis' extermination of Jews can or should be compared to other human tragedies." The president's answer seemed to imply that it could.
"What we have to do...is to root out the cancer which gave it life wherever we find it," Mr. Clinton said. "It is not something that was localized in Germany. How many other nations? And thank God, that at a particularly vulnerable stage in their history they did not produce a Hitler. And God forbid they had."
Reactions to Mr. Clinton's speech were muted. Some attendees suggested that his comparisons came close to universalizing the Holocaust.
* And now get this. At this self-same dinner, Germany's Jewish Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, soiled himself and the country he serves as follows in what was described as an "exhaustive mea culpa":
"Allow me once more to ask forgiveness for the crimes of the Nazis for my generation and those before me." He said Germany's responsibility for the Holocaust "will continue to shape foreign policy at home and abroad."
Mr. Steinberg was delighted. "He talked not only about German guilt but he apologized for his generation born after the war, something I believe has never been done before but which I don't even believe is necessary."
* Mr. Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League also spoke at this dinner. He said he feared that the restitution process celebrated at the dinner had opened a Pandora's box.
"There's no question there's now a precedent that can now be applied legitimately or not legitimately where every group that feels it was discriminated against to ask for restitution," Mr. Foxman said.
* And, finally, according to Salon Magazine, Hadassah Lieberman put her foot in her mouth when she told a crowd of Democratic Party supporters at the War Memorial in Tennessee that the memorial was dedicated to US soldiers ". . . who actually liberated my mother in Dachau and Auschwitz."
The New York Times "gently" corrected her that it was the Russians and not the Tennesseeans who liberated Auschwitz - and that the fallen soldiers served not in World War II - but World War I. :)
Thought for the Day:
"No one should let a flashy PR campaign obscure the face of a menacing tyranny."
(National Post editorial, Sep 8, 2000)
Back to Table of Contents of the Sept. 2000 ZGrams