Friday, November 16, 2007

Terra Incognita 9 Red Cross, Franco, Meinertzhagen

Terra Incognita
Issue 9
A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem, Israel


November 2nd, 2007

1) A Wretched Double Standard : It turns out the Red Cross ran Theresienstadt, a Nazi concentration camp, for 18 days after the Nazis left and before the Russians liberated it. New information unearthed in archives may show that the Red Cross and other international organizations collaborated to harm the Jews and prevent their escape to the West. What does this say about the current predeliction among these same organizations condemning Jews for having colonized Palestine?

2) Meinertzhagen and Lawrence and us : There is a great deal of Shoddenfreud in modern historians’ attempts to tear down historical figures. It says much about our modern culture, but doesn’t say much about what really happened in the past.

3) What is 498 plus or minus 7,000? The Catholic church is beatifying priests who were murdered by the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War. Meanwhile the Spanish government is ordering that mass graves, victims of Franco’s Spain, be unearthed and receive proper recognition. What is one to make of all this?

A Wretched Double Standard
Seth J. Frantzman

The modern day liberal and Islamist has a wonderful proscription for the Middle East; make Israel disappear, send the Jews back to Europe from whence they came and all will be delightful. From Ahmadinjed to Merhseimer and Walt and Noam Chomsky this is the refrain.

But what is most fascinating is that each of these schools of thought, the liberal, the Islamist, the pragmatic, had its chance to take in the Jews when they didn't want to immigrate to Palestine and each one in turn rejected the Jews. Now they blame the Jews and Israel for that rejection. But why should one expect much more from a western post-humanism and Islamism that is so full of contradictions.

In 1942 when the Germans finally decided to solve the 'Jewish Question' once and for all and completely exterminate all the Jews then held in camps throughout Europe the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al Husayni was on hand to tell Hitler; "Don't let the Jews escape, keep them in Europe, don't let them immigrate to Palestine." Islamists played their role. No Muslim country opened itself up to Jewish immigration. The independent Islamic states; Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, did not accept any Jews.

What of the intellectual ancestors of Mersheimer and Walt, the pragmatists at the State Department? They didn't want the Jews. Even Truman's advisors such as Marshall didn't want them. They didn't want anyone to take the Jews, not even Palestine. Only when Truman finally buckled to pressure from a close Jewish friend did American policy vis-à-vis the Jewish refugees in post-war Europe change. But, needless to say, America did not open her doors to all the Jews in Europe yearning to breathe free. The Jews that did escape and were allowed to come to the West chose it over Palestine. From Hannah Arendt to the Rebbes of the Hasidim to Einstein, they all came to the west rather than Palestine.

But what is most amazing is the legacy of the international organizations and the fate of the Jews. The Red Cross collaborated with the Nazis, covering up their crimes and never condemning the Nazi regime, even helping to white-washt he crimes taking place in front of their eyes at various camps. On the 22nd of May, 1945 the International Red Cross was handed control of Theresienstadt, a 'model' concentration camp. For 18 days the international organization ran the camp and for perhaps the first and only time in the history of mankind has an international organization had control over the destiny of a small portion of the Jewish people. For 18 days the Jews were kept penned in the concentration camp by the Red Cross. For 18 days the Red Cross kept up the guard duties of the Nazis, denying the Jews freedom of movement and a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Because of the activities of the Red Cross, in preventing Jews from leaving the camp, a typhoid epidemic broke out and more Jews needlessly died. Not until liberation by the Red Army on May 8th were the Jews given a greater measure of freedom.

This experience of the Jews at the hands of an international organization would not be the last, but it could not have had a positive impact on the Jews who had to watch as the Red Cross officials, emblazoned with the Crusaders Cross on their arms went about freely while not allowing Jews to do the same.

Between May of 1945 and 1952 the Jews of Europe who had been liberated from the concentration camps were moved to news camps, now called Displaced Persons camps. Two things now transpired. Jews placed in DP camps in Germany, behind barbed wire and with armed guards, sometimes at the site of their old concentration camps, had to watch the German public which had voted for Hitler, go back to their normal lives and receive handouts as part of the Marshall Plan. But the Jews were not allowed out. Meanwhile in some places the Jews were classified as 'enemy aliens' as along with Italian and German civilians. This was done to German and Italian Jews who were now classified by the allies being part of the German nation. So they were then ensconced in camps alongside their tormenters, the Germans.

Worse was to come when the allies tried to resettle the DPs. DPs were not allowed to roam free about the land lest they engage in crimes or unsettle the local inhabitants. There were 1.5 million DPs in Europe, many of whome were not Jewish. Countries such as Australia were more than willing to take in the DPs provided they were white. The International Refugee Organization (IRO) which was entrusted by UNRRA and the allies with moving the DPs out of Europe agreed to Australia's terms. Only whites would be allowed to be transported by the IRO. No Jews. In the case of Jewish welfare organizations such as the JDC and HIAS the boats chartered by the Jewish organizations to transport Jews were forced to have a Jewish quota of only 25%, lest a boat of Jews dock in Australia and cause alarm among the white Australians. In one case a boat named the Partizanka was supposed to pick up 150 Jews in Haifa en route from Europe to Australia but these Jews were forced to remain in Palestine due to he 25% quota.

This was the legacy of the international organizations between 1945 and 1952. The Red Cross administered concentration camps, causing Jews to die. The IRO and the UN collaborated with governments to keep Jews out while resettling more than a million hearty 'white' Europeans.

It may be no surprise that the Jews stuck in their new concentration camps, some of whome had been murdered by their Polish neighbors in renewed pogroms in 1946, chose to go to Palestine, since that was the one place that might actually take them.

Today's descendants of the IRO and UNRRA and the Red Cross complain that it was unfair to punish the Palestinians, by forcing them to live next to Jews, for the crimes of the Nazis. Perhaps it is time the Red Cross and the U.N and Ahmadinjed and Mersheimer and Walt look themselves in the mirror and ask 'what did we do in 1945?' It is a direct result of the actions of these individuals that caused Jews to immigrate to Palestine.

Today's wealthy white European and today's rich leftist American and today's playboy Sheikh in Dubai may speak of 'returning the Jews to Europe for the sake of peace' but they ignore the fact that it is because of their actions that the Jews were given no alternative but Palestine. The Arab and Muslim countries throughout the Middle East expelled their Jews between 1948 and 1970, taking away all their assets. Today they complain about the existence of Israel. When these Middle Eastern Jews tried to flee to Australia and other places they were denied entry, Arthur Calwell, the minister of immigration in Australia from 1945-1950 and his successor Harold Holt both did not want Jews from Muslim countries on account of their being "non desirable migrants and that many were non-European in appearance." It should be no irony that people like the Prime Minister of New Zealand the all the leaders of the Muslim world complain about the existence of Israel, while they themselves caused so many people to be forced to migrate to Israel.

The U.N wanted to have its cake and eat it to. It wanted to play god with the Jews. It wanted its chance to run some concentration camps. It wanted to be able to tell the Jews they couldn't go anywhere in 1946 and tell them in 2006 that they shouldn't live in Israel.

Even Jews were involved in the double-standard. For instance Saul Symonds of the Jewish Board of Deputies in Australia noted that "Influential Jews made efforts to induce the [Australian] government not to admit additional Jews, not even children. It is this type of Jew that is fighting against the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine." Once again one sees the same contradiction in someone opposing Jewish immigration while at the same time wishing to deny Jews the ability to immigrate to a place where they might found a state. In Munich, where only 84 out of 11,000 Jews survived the Holocaust "the [84] German Jews did not want to be swamped by the East European Jewish DPs.(Out of the Ashes by Yehuda Bauer, p. 55)" Rabbi Aron Ohrenstein, who served this 84 member community rejected to allowing any Ostjuden to join it. Furthermore the remaining Jews including 1,500 who remained in Bavaria (out of 46,000 before the war) refused to share leftover Jewish property with the newly arrived Eastern European survivors. The Jewish owned-property that had once provided for 57,000 people now was not enough for the remaining 1,584. It may be no surprise that those same Germanic Jews later became the most vigorous opponents of Israel and their descendants can be found today in Israel as the greatest anti-Zionists. We might recall the role of Hannah Arendt, Martin Buber, Prof. Zimmerman, Baruch Kimmerling among other German jews who have repeatedly opposed Israel and its creation. Yet there they were in 1945 opposing Jewish immigration and refusing to share anything with the most wretched, starved and destroyed people. Yet today they complain that those very starving people live in Israel, on the land of the Palestinians. Perhaps if greed and hatred and intolerance had not been the hallmark of some of these German Jewish survivors they could have seen their wish fulfilled, no state of Israel, but then they would have had to coexist with the 'Ostjuden', something they refused to do. It may be no surprise that the secular descendants of the German Jews who live in Israel can be numbered among those who make derogatory comments about religious Jews in Israel, many of whose origins are in Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania and are thus 'Ostjuden.' It is reasonably common to hear the religious described as 'nazis' by these secular descendants of German Jews.

On June 2nd, 1949 the Department of Immigration in Australia noted that "the term [Jew] refers to race and not to religion and the fact that some DPs who are Jewish by race have become Christian by religion is not relevant." It may be no surprise that today one will find leftist Australians that speak of the Arab-Israeli conflict as one between "white apartheid practicing nazi-like Jews and dark colonized, suppressed Arabs." The model of 'white' and 'black' has been applied to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jews are told that their speaking of a 'chosen people' is the same as the Nazis speaking of an 'Aryan nation.' But one might like to know: How did the Jews become white in only 50 years? Is it any surprise that modern western race theorists calling themselves 'human rights workers' and 'progressive leftists' have adopted the rhetoric and endless categorizing of their ancestors. They sleep well at knowing that they can condemn Jews for living in Israel while their ancestors made it virtually impossible for Jews to go anywhere else. In 1948 Australians spoke of not wanting Jewish Zionist terrorists to immigrate. But today's leftist sympathizes with terrorism as 'armed struggle' so long as it is directed against Jews.

Those that condemn Israel as a 'colonialist' state, an 'outgrowth of Western Imperialism' and a 'renewal of the Crusades' should investigate the history of Jewish immigration to Israel. If they were colonists, the Jewish immigrants to Israel were certainly not willing colonists, shoved from one country to another, expelled and murdered, they tried to flee to places such as Australia and were denied entrance. Some even tried to leave Israel for the more prosperous West and were denied entrance. When 600,000 Jews were thrown out of Muslim countries from Egypt to Iraq there was no where for them to go. The modern day fashion for refugees did not exist between 1945 and 1965 when most of Israel's immigrants arrived. In 1947 there were barely 600,000 Jews in Palestine. Today there are 5.3 million. The next time Europeans and Muslims decide to deport and exterminate and make people's lives miserable and then deny them the ability to move anywhere but one country they should think twice about sitting back in their chairs fifty years later and claiming that the same country is now an "outgrowth of western imperialism, a racist, apartheid state."

Meinertzhagen and Lawrence and us.
Seth J. Frantzman
October 30th, 2007

In November of 1917 T.E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was captured while reconnoitering the country around Dara in modern day Jordan. He was subsequently raped and beaten and released. In October of 2007 after watching the film 'Rescue Dawn' this author was privileged enough to hear one filmgoer declare 'Its just too bad its another Great American Hero film, its so ridiculous that it has to end with the American Hero.' Modern biographies have cast doubt on Lawrence's ordeal just as modern westerners don't want to see a film about a war hero. Every historical event today is put before the most rigorous self-flagellation in order to poke holes in it and make sure that every hero becomes a villain and every villain has some nuance that makes him less evil.

What is most ironic is the methodology employed to accomplish this. What is the evidence that T.E Lawrence fabricated his capture and rape? Patricia Goldstone argues in Aaronsohn's maps that the evidence against Lawrence is contained in the diaries of Col. Richard Meinertzhagen, a famous adventurer from the First World War. Meanwhile Brian Garfield argues in The Meinertzhagen Mystery: the Life and Legend of a Colossal Fraud that everything Meinertzhagen produced, wrote or claimed was fake. Logically they can't both be right. Lawrence and Meinertzhagen can't both be lying. But rather than concluding that one or both were liars, one might conclude that both told the truth and that both have subsequently been accused of lying. The evidence for the lie, one must not forget, is only contained in Meinertzhagen's diary, and that is, after all, mere conjecture on the part of Meinertzhagen who admitted that he hated Lawrence.

Let's return to a headline that appeared in the Jerusalem Post in the spring of 2007. It stated 'Sources reveal that Entebbe raid was staged by Israel to make PLO look bad'. That was the gist of the story. A newly 'declassified' document in the British archives showed the British intelligence reported in 1976 that they had information that Israel planned and knew about the Air France hijacking that led to the Entebbe raid. The evidence for this strange claim was an official at an Arab-British public relations group. So the 'secret' document revealed nothing, except that some civilian Arab had informed some Englishman of this 'plot' based on nothing but his own allegation. But now if we read a book on Entebbe we may be treated to the fact that "British intelligence reports from the period showed that the hijacking and subsequent rescue may have been planned at the highest levels in Jerusalem to make the PLO look bad."

This is apparently what the allegations against Lawrence consist of. Lawrence's bruises from being whipped appeared to be 'self-inflicted' according to Meinertzhagen. But then again we must recall that Meinertzhagen claimed he went ashore at Haifa in 1948 to fight on the Jewish side during Israel's war of Independence. The evidence that he didn't go ashore, according to Garfield? No one can recall having seen him there. But how many people living in Haifa in 1948 knew anything about Meinertzhagen? They certainly wouldn't have been on the lookout for him. It’s like saying there is no evidence that I am living in Jerusalem now because in twenty years an interview with a number of random people will reveal that they do not recall having met me. People don't remember that Spiro Agnew was Nixon's Vice-President, but that doesn't necessarily mean he wasn't.

The story portrayed in Rescue Dawn is of an American who was shot down over Laos in 1965 and subsequently escaped. That is a heroic story. The demand by the public to not have to watch 'another' story of an American Hero means that what we really wish is for this eminently true story to be degraded. We would hope to find, for instance, that there is some dark side. Perhaps he escaped through murdering his fellow inmates. Perhaps he arranged a secret deal with the Vietnamese. It is surely convenient that no other inmates can be located who recall this escape. That seems to be how ever new history book is written. Lack of evidence becomes evidence and innuendo becomes evidence and the 'secret' intelligence compiled by ordinary people become evidence. Soon people like our friend Meinertzhagen are known to be colossal frauds.

Where is this impetus to tear down others derived from? Is it a modern form of shoddenfreud? Is it perhaps the admittance that we would not be capable of performing great heroic deeds so we doubt the deeds of others? We have become suspicious because we ourselves fabricate our successes? We pad our resumes with fake job titles and we are encouraged by college admissions to create fake heritages, fake struggles and fake volunteer experience, and even fake leadership experience. Fakeness is everywhere around us so we project these lies into the past in order for us to not have to admit that other people were better than us. Nothing pleases society more than finding out that some great athlete is taking drugs. Who wasn't overjoyed to find out the Tour De France is chock full of drug use and 'performance enhancers.' Surely Lance Armstrong was 'doping'. If Lance was doping that means he is sort of like us, without his drugs he would be fat and overweight and he wouldn't succeed and then we can pretend that we are all like Lance Armstrong. We reveled in Bill Clinton's endless stream of scandals because 'he was like us.' When Ehud Olmert, Israel’s Prime Minister, announced that he had Prostate cancer his approval rating increased. Why? Because now he is sick and he is fragile, like us. FDR never made use of his wheelchair to gain votes, but we can imagine, had he lived today, he would be brandishing it in public all day and have it painted gold to remind us of his disability. He would be described as ‘heroic’ for ‘overcoming his disability.’ But wasn’t he just as heroic and didn’t he overcome it just as much without showing it off. So who is more heroic for admitting they have prostrate cancer, us for being happy that someone else has an illness, or the person for revealing it for no reason to us? Who is more heroic, T.E Lawrence of being raped or the historian who claims it never happened? Neither.

What is 498 plus or minus 7,000?
Seth J. Frantzman
October 29th, 2007

498 people were beatified Sunday, October 28th, for suffering what the Herald Tribune contemptuously put in quotation marks; religious persecution. These 498 Spanish saints and martyrs are to be added to an additional 500 Spaniards beatified over the years by the Catholic church. These 998 people were clergy who died during the Spanish Civil War. That makes up a significant portion of the 7,000 priests and clergy who died during the Civil War.

The church has described their deaths as religious persecution because they died at the hands of "leftist forces" that were "targeting an institution [the Catholic church] they saw as a symbol of wealth, repression and inequality." In 1930's leftist parlance that means the members of this institution had to die.

Spain is reconsidering its past after 30 years of democracy. When Franco died in 1976 he handed the country back to the King who subsequently handed it back to the people. Since that time the right and left have each had their chance to govern the country through elections. The right has never renounced its historical ties to the Franco regime and the Left celebrates its ties to the 'revolutionaries' who fought Franco in the Civil War. But despite the cleavages the country has tried to bury the past, not through Truth and Reconciliation committees as in South Africa, but through moving on. But little by little there is a desire not to move on. The government of Spain, which is run by the Socialists, wants greater recognition for the victims of Franco. They also want the references to Franco stripped from the war memorial in the Valley of the Fallen where members of his army who fell in battle during the Civil War are buried.

What is most strange is the way in which these victims of leftist terror, who died because of their association to the church, are seemingly forgotten. Franco is derided as a fascist and collaborator with the Nazis while the Spanish leftists are memorialized as freedom fighters. Outside of Spain many people romanticize the foreign 'volunteers' who went to fight against Franco in Spain. These members of units such as the Abraham Lincoln battalion included in their ranks men such as Ernest Hemingway. The main character from Casablanca is described as having been one.

These romantic men, like the Americans who went and joined Castro in 1959, are seen today has having been ever prescient of the danger of fascism. Like Churchill they understood the threat early on, in 1937, and went to fight it when their countries would not. The fact that Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany supplied Franco with men and planes certainly doesn't help Franco's image. But what is often forgotten is what sort of a beast the foes of Franco really were.

Franco was not fighting a monolith but a strange combination of forces that arose in Spain during the first quarter of the 20th century. Owing the Spain's decline in the 19th century, her defeat at the hands of America in 1898, perhaps also her brutal occupation by Napoleon between 1800 and 1814, and her lack of participation in the First World War, forces were unleashed there that were altogether stronger and different than those found elsewhere. To start with it was the only country where Anarchism became a mass movement (ironic given the fact that anarchists don't like organizations supposedly). Communism existed alongside large Socialist and Trotskyite parties. Various mini-revolutions and massive civil unrest that swept the country during the 1920s and 1930s led to cleavages in society (for instance the architect Gaudi's blueprints were burned by anarchists because he was a churchgoer). Assassinations became common.

When Franco decided to launch his coup in 1936 he believed he was being invited back to Spain from Morocco, where he was stationed with the army, to save it from the forces of 'Socialism, anarchism, communism and freemasonry.' Later portrayed as anti-Semitic, Franco had enjoyed a good relationship with the Jews of Spanish Morocco and during the Holocaust tens of thousands of Jews escaped through Spain. Probably pleasing to modern liberals, Franco brought with him a division of Moroccan Muslim Rif tribesmen who he used with brutal success against his leftist opponents.

Few recall today that one major factor in the defeat of the leftists in the Spanish Civil War was the infighting amongst them. While Franco's war council only loosely included Jose Antonio Primo De Rivera's Falange party and the monarchist militias, The leftist government in Madrid was rife with internal contradictions. Socialists sat with Communists and Trotskyite's and Basque and Catalan separatists to wage a war against the right. In 1938 and the last months of the war in 1939 the Soviet-Russian advisors sent by Stalin finally gained control over the left wing government. They had spent most of 1937 and 1938 persecuting and murdering Spanish Trotskyites, which culminated in a siege of Barcelona. Eventually they set themselves to slaughtering anarchists and socialists, modeling their purges on Stalin's own that took place in the same year. In the most ironic turn of events, once they were done bleeding Spain white by murdering and alienating all their leftist allies the Soviet advisors withdrew and the Communists who were left were driven from Spain at the point of the bayonet. The Stalinists were so suspicious of their own allies that they sent all the foreign volunteers home. Their presence in Spain virtually guaranteed that Blum's France and Chamberlain's England could not support the Spanish Republican leftist government.

Franco, to his credit, did not ally himself with Hitler, claiming that Spain had to get back on her feet. He did become a dictator but he gave away power at his death unlike other dictators such as Stalin, Hafiz Asad and Gamel Abdel Nasser who made sure to perpetuate their reigns.

Leftists want to memorialize the 100,000 or more victims of Francoism, the leftist veterans of the war who Franco is accused of having put in labor camps or had shot. That is a worthy goal. But one must remember that there was nothing romantic about much of the leftist forces in Spain. The anarchists and Communists were brutal, the socialists less so. But one cannot escape that figure: 7,000 priests shot in three years by the leftist government. That is just the number of priests, not ordinary shopkeepers and 'capitalists' caught in the leftist net. One may mock the church for claiming 'religious persecution' but what else should it be called. Targeting the priests for destruction is more than persecution, it is choosing religion as a target for extinction. Rarely in history have so many religious figures been killed in such a thorough manner.

We are supposed to remember Federico Garcia Lorca, the leftist poet executed by Franco's army in 1936. It is tragic to target a cultural figure. But such memorializing doesn't hold much weight when those that do it can't see the crime in slaughtering 7,000 men of the church.

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