The Holocaust Historiography Project


Jews are without a doubt the most literary and prolific publishers in the world; indeed they have been called “the people of the book.” Besides owning or controlling large sections of the commercial book, newspaper and magazine publishing world, their ethnic publications by far outstrip those of any other racial or religious group in America. Even the Communist Party USA has a special publication for Jews: Jewish Affairs; a privilege not accorded to much larger minority groups such as Negroes or Irish-Americans. Probably the most respectable Jewish publication is the monthly Commentary, whose editor, Norman Podhoretz was one of those Jews who “switched” from leftist to neo-Conservative when some naive folk started trying to apply humanitarian values to Israel’s naked imperialism and colonialism. The values which Jewish radicals busily advocated in regard to U.S. policy in Vietnam suddenly became “absolutist” and “sentimental” when applied to the Jewish statelet.

The better-known Jewish publications like Commentary are consequently those which are accessible to non-Jews. Editorials and position-papers are written in flowery, urbane, if somewhat turgid, style. They will take a dozen pages to arrive at a single point in the last paragraph which more often than not will ask: “Is it good for Jews?” Once in a while, a Jewish writer will acknowledge this ethno-centric position in more personal terms. In Newsweek magazine of 15 September 1980, Joseph Eger wrote:

“Survival was the big and only question in my family when I was growing up — economic survival and survival of the Jews as a people. My grandmother judged all but strictly family affairs by one criterion: 'Is it good for Jews?'”

Eger also described how his family cut off, and declared as dead, his sister who married a Goy. They even recited the rites for the dead on her behalf, and:

“She obediently died a few years later — of colitis, which many psychologists connect with repressed grief or anger.”

We have already noted in our odyssey about the tomes and tombs of Judaica that anal fixations do indeed seem to have greater frequency among Jews than among non-Jews. Whether that fixation emerges as colitis, cancer of the colon, chronic constipation, obsessions with toilet jokes or abuse, excretory nightmares; whatever the particular manifestation, the root cause remains the same. Jewish guilt and self-hate brought about by a punitive childhood seems to be at the bottom of it all. We are immediately reminded of the oft told Jewish joke where the Jewish mother is telling her son:

“Eat your chicken soup! You'll need strength to worry!”

Humor is, of course, the synthesis of much “street-wise” knowledge of many social phenomena. Put simply, ethnic jokes would fall flat on their face if there was no grain of truth within them. Jewish jokes told in North Dakota would probably have little impact, because there would be such a meager data base for the listener to draw upon. But a Jewish joke told in New Jersey would be the hit of the evening, on account of the listener’s intimate familiarity with the Jewish culture and lifestyle. Of course, Jewish humor is often times only permissible when it is presented by Jewish comedians. Anyone else who takes the liberty of lampooning Jewish values is liable, in fact destined, to be labelled as that social leper: an “anti-Semite".

The more specific, more ethnic Jewish publications also give a better insight into the Jewish outlook. The Jewish Press of Brooklyn is probably the largest circulation of all the strict Jewish newspapers (although there are ultra-orthodox publications and groups beyond it; notably the Neturei Karta sect which regards Israel as a blasphemy). The Jewish Press vigorously supports Israel, Menachem Begin, and the Jewish Defense League. A survey of the Press's features reveals that the contributors appear to suffer from an excess of punitivity. Regular features like “Ask the Rabbi” explore debates on the observation of the tiniest details of Jewish ritual law, and the regulation of Jewish life. News features about this or that aspect of U.S. relations with Israel are full of punitive expressions like “rebuke,” “chastise,” “slap in the face,” “wrath,” and “penance.” Nowhere can one find the slightest manifestation of joy, happiness, nature, or love. Rarely does America get any appreciation. The American government is the subject of continuous complaint and invective. The Israeli government — especially its more chauvinistic wing — is the recipient of great praise.

Psychohistorian Howard F. Stein has written extensively on the nature of this Jewish obsession with brooding. In his article “Judaism and the Group Fantasy of Martyrdom” which appeared in the Journal of Psychohistory Fall 1978, he pointed out that a favorite Jewish expression is “Der Olem is a Golem” — “The Universe is a Monster.”

“The world is experienced as a heartless, mechanical monster that may strike at any time. The Golem is a creature Jews created to protect them, but which then menacingly turned on them and threatened — and continues to threaten — to destroy them …

“One need only evoke the modern literary imagery of Franz Kafka’s Castle, The Penal Colony, The Trial, The Burrow, and Metamorphosis to know that the Golem still reigns unchallenged. Only the characters and settings are different; the Jewish script is the same as it has been for millennia: trials, endless judgments, judges, painful punishments, death, and execution …

“The unfolding of the Golem drama is an unearthing of what Jews felt they might become, and perhaps have become, to their own people. The fear of the Golem is the Jew’s fear of himself, of his own projected unbridled rage … The legend of the Golem teaches Jews what not to become, while (protectively of course) reminding them of who they in fact are and fear to become. Like God, the Golem is supposed to bring life; instead he is nothing but God in another of his guises: the Angel of Death.”

Stein reveals that even in the heights of “enjoyment” Jews are still not free of the shadows of their own obsession with death. The well-known toast L'chaiym ("To Life!") is only for stage shows like Fiddler on the Roof it seems. There is a second toast which undoes the first — a toast to death which is never uttered. As Stein comments:

“The historic Jewish covenant with death is far stronger and more enduring than with life. The language of death is spoken unconsciously, unofficially. Its toast is one of depressive self punishment and ultimately, self-destruction. The Chosen People … have chosen themselves for sacrifice, suffering, martyrdom, persecution, victimization. At the close of his novel The Family Moskat (written before the Holocaust) Isaac Bashevis Singer pens the terrible truth that 'Death is the Messiah'.”

Stein also gives us yet more examples of — wouldn’t we have guessed — Jews being burned alive wrapped up in their Torahs:

“In Roman times … the study of the Torah had seen prohibited, on penalty of death. The venerated Rabbi Hananyiah ben Tradyon and his students were caught by Roman legionaries in the act of secretly studying the Torah in a cave. According to legend, Rabbi Hananyiah was wrapped in the sacred scrolls and burnt alive. During my early Hebrew education he was invoked by countless teachers and rabbis as perhaps the quintessence of Jewish loyalty and valor… I (also) remember hearing as a child the grueling story of Rabbi Amnon of Medieval Mainz, Germany. Living during times of forced conversion to Catholicism, Rabbi Amnon was a devout Jew who refused to capitulate. The Archbishop made one final attempt to convert him, and failing, ordered that the Rabbi’s hands and legs be severed, as an example to other stubborn Jews… Years later I was told that Rabbi Amnon probably never existed, nor did the events happen.”

Stein does not discuss whether the Nazi immolating and torturing of Jews might not be as equally soundly based as the yarns about Rabbis Hananyiah and Amnon. But he does provide us with a remarkable insight into the mentality that would create such a scenario:

“Mark Zborowski has elegantly documented how the Jewish experience of illness and pain expresses dominant Jewish preoccupations. One is anxiously future-oriented about the outcome of disease. One’s current doctor really did not cure the disease at all. Feeling good, healthy, is only temporary. Relapse is bound to occur. The future is bleak, just as illness is chronic. Life itself is a fatal disease; it is only a matter of time.

“In a letter written to me several months ago, a Jewish literary colleague expressed the same thing, thoughbeit in humorous admonition: 'I think actually that I am down because I've been up for too long. It is not good for a psyche to be up for too long. You begin to feel arrogant about your place in the world and you know and I know that will never do for us Jews. It’s in the blood to come down when you've been up for quite a while.' One should not feel too good, too competent, too secure; it just isn’t Jewish…

'"The solution is self-constriction, self-doubt, a depressive, self-punitive, self-castrating, making oneself, incidentally, into the stereotypically stooped-over, invisible 'little Jew' whose male dominion consists of the ritualized confines of Talmudic (or scientific) scholasticism…

“There are no 'small' errors: to err in the slightest is to bring upon oneself ridicule, severe reprimand, a censure from the teachers — and from an anxiously performing classroom of sibling-rivals, all competing for the taskmaster’s (or taskmistress's) favoritism and protection from further ridicule. To survive, one must be compulsively perfectionist — while fomenting its opposite, a recalcitrance toward authority and a wish for vengeance on the exacter of tribute (mother, father, teacher, rabbi, God) and an exodus into instinctual freedom. The latter, of course, generates guilt and the fear of punishment, so that one becomes his own severe moral judge, exacting from and suppressing in others what one forbids in oneself.”

Now we are getting closer still to the kernel of Dr. Stein’s brilliant analysis. The infliction of guilt upon Jewish children by their parents causes them to become self-hating. Whatever they do, it is not enough. No matter how successful, how wealthy, how smart; never is it enough to conquer the genetic Jewish fatalism. Always there is the knot of fear that just around the corner is yet another Holocaust. Always there is the even deeper fear that perhaps Jews deserve to be Holocausted. Always there is the dread that within one’s Jewish self there is a schlemiel, a fool whom the Gentiles will take advantage of — “a part of oneself that parents mirrored to him and warned him not to become".

How do Jews act out these internal psychological forces? We have seen in the preceding chapters, that Jewish self-hate can manifest itself in many different forms. It will almost surely exhibit what are almost psychosomatic characteristics, in that self-hating Jews almost invariably have “hang-ups” in their sexual and anal functions. Karl Marx was for ever going on about “shit” and “crap” in his correspondence with Engels. Freud seemed to be unable to think in any other terms. Modern humanistic psychologists seem to have a “thing” about sexual and toiletry terms of abuse. Many Holocaust survivors and Exterminationists seem to harp about such matters in their testimony. Many of the Jewish personalities we have studied have suffered (often terminal) ailments in these areas.

Self-hating Jews also frequently dwell on the symbolism of self destruction . They will conjure up the imagery of Dante’s Inferno, where Jews are burned alive (with or without Torah scrolls) by Romans, by Medieval Germans, by Nazi Germans, and by Palestinians. Jews are torn apart by dogs or by rats or by more Germans.

Always, the fear and anxiety of brutal destruction hangs like a shadow over Jewish life. In reaction, Jews exhibit neurotic behavior patterns. Male Jewish babies are mutilated in a weird, primitive ritual known as circumcision, which surely exists as a token castrating. Brooding over their own sense of inadequacy, Jewish fathers vicariously and tokenly castrate their own sons, perhaps because they wish that they could chop off their own penis. Or perhaps they mechanically react to their parents' dumping on them, by passing on all that neurosis onto their own children. What better way could there be to start off a life of neurosis than to mutilate a tiny baby’s penis without the benefit of an an aesthetic, in the middle of a crowd of spectators, where the castrator ritually gives the baby a “blow-job".

Then there are the Jews who go overboard in seeking to deny their own origins. They are so full of self-hate and a sense of personal inadequacy that they will change their name, change their religion, change their noses, change their hair, change their friends, change their lifestyle — all in a mad scramble not to appear Jewish. Some, like Karl Marx, will make a special point of over-compensating and will deride and ridicule every “little Jew” who crosses his path — often in the most outrageous way. (But as the insightful Russian Anarchist Bakunin pointed out, Marx had not a word to say about the immensely powerful Jewish banking dynasties, such as the Rothschilds.) Then we have Trotsky, who changed his name, but otherwise stuck pretty hard and fast to the traditional Jewish pattern of ambition and power-seeking. Most of the modern Jewish radicals, especially those of the 1950s and '60s would fit into this mold. Although on the surface they might be perceived as “trying to pass” not very far underneath one will find all the (compensatory) chauvinism that less radical Jews openly display. As Stein pointed out earlier, this kind of Jew is projecting his hatred and resentment of parental/rabbinical authority against the Establishment. But always this rebellion is laced with guilt, and the Jewish radical “becomes his own severe moral judge, exacting from and suppressing in others what one forbids in oneself". The Yippie movement of the 1960s, which was almost totally Jewish-led, illustrates this perfectly. Anyone over the age of 30 was derided and hated. Jewish radicals were enlisting and bamboozling thousands of gullible Gentile youngsters into acting out their own Jewish anxieties and neuroses.

Not all “passers” are radicals of course. The worlds of politics, show business and commerce are strewn with examples of Jewish name-changers who somehow think that adopting an Anglo-Saxon moniker will advance their careers. In this case the names are changed not so much as an attempt to deny one’s own Jewish identity, but to try and hide it from the Gentile’s querulous gaze. If Jews start to make themselves too obvious, and if the Gentile starts counting up just how many Jews there are in positions of control, well … you just never know how they might react. Most of these name-changers will admit their Jewishness when questioned, and indeed will privately support Jewish causes and even attend synagogue once in a while. In Hollywood, there is a kind of party game played which revolves around “Is he, isn’t he?” where partners exchange tidbits of background information to determine which star is “one of us".

A variation to the Jew who tries to “pass” is the “Portnoy” type. The Philip Roth novel Portnoy’s Complaint describes what happens to the Jew who tries ever so hard to “pass” and then fails. Portnoy seeks to integrate into WASP society; sleep with the most Aryan WASP women; do WASP things; and hope that some of all that WASPness will rub off on him. There was nothing Portnoy would have loved better than to have had some of that blue blood flowing through his Jewish veins. When he finds out that it doesn’t quite work out that way, he turns bitter and resentful, and his original envy turns into hate. Although the 100% Portnoy caricature is a rarity in the everyday, non-fictional world, we can still detect aspects of his Complaint interwoven amongst other Jewish behavior patterns.

But of course, the most common, “typically Jewish” manifestation of Jewish anxieties is the pushy, ambitious, aggressive, manipulative Jew who readily admits his Jewishness and seeks to fulfill Momma’s dreams by always trying harder. This too is a form of self hate, because as Dr. Stein indicates, whatever one does, it is never enough. High achievement is still inadequate achievement. Momma and all the others have drummed it into their Jewish sons that no matter what, you have to get out there and work. Work night and day. Take work home with you. Worry during your sleep. For, if a Jew starts to slip and loses his social position of importance and power, then when the next Holocaust comes: Pow! Jews must always be on the lookout for anti-Semitism around every corner, under every rock. Jews must negotiate themselves into positions of influence — no, not obvious positions of influence like President or TV News anchorman, but back room positions like Presidential advisor, News Editor or whatever. It’s not a question of “if” the next Holocaust will come, but “when". And Jews must be ready for it.

Many Jews are of course aware of these symptoms. Few actually deal with them on an objective basis. Even those in the psychology industry seemingly avoid facing up to such questions by simply universalizing their fears and anxieties and projecting them onto non-Jews. As we have discovered in an earlier chapter, psychotherapy appears largely to be a program of Jews telling Gentiles that they suffer from Jewish problems! Fortunately, not all are afflicted with this tunnel-vision. Again, we defer to Dr. Howard Stein’s superb article, where he concludes:

“Auschwitz does not stand alone as one grim event, but is a metaphor for Jewish history itself. Holocaust is the meaning of Jewish history. The price of Jewish history is the enactment of a group-fantasy in a martyr-role which has made varieties of dying a way of life. For Jews do not alone passively find themselves in that world but also employ it to make victims of them. The world of social reality is coerced into confirming the Jewish group-fantasy of history. The ultimate lesson of Jewish history is that 'peace' will never be attained until Jews can relinquish their grim and lachrymose fascination with millennia of Auschwitzen: until they can let go of the self-destruction fantasy that is the very substance of Jewish identity.

“Jews cannot escape Jewish history by trying not to be Jews. Only by not having to live by and to live out the group-fantasy of martyr/victim will Jews be able psychohistorically to transcend Jewish history. Perhaps then Jews will not have to 'escape' from history at all and will no longer need to fashion idols in the wilderness to redeem them. For, no longer self-imposed exiles from history, erstwhile Wandering Jews will have found a homeland rooted in the only secure home this world can offer: in themselves, and thereby in life.”

Dr. Stein has indeed described the only possible final solution to the “Jewish Problem". Only through the Jews regaining their own self-esteem will they be at peace. Continuation of Jewish anxiety and low self-esteem can only mean, as we have seen, a continuation of the Jewish “bunker mentality” where every non-Jew is seen as an enemy or potential enemy. It can only mean a continuation of quack therapy cults, where the Jews try to purge themselves of neuroses by projecting them onto non-Jews and insisting that it is the non-Jew and not the Jew who suffers from such anxieties.

The development of Psychohistory by Dr. Stein and his colleagues is truly one of the most encouraging phenomena to arrive on the academic scene in decades. Let us hope that the “exiles from history” do not retreat into their psychological bunkers, dismissing Psychohistory with the most ironic projection of all: “self-hate.”