Review

Witness to the Holocaust

reviewed by L. A. Rollins

Witness to the Holocaust is a collection of "eyewitness accounts of a brutal period in history," compiled and edited by Dr. Azriel Eisenberg, "a leading Jewish scholar," who has provided introductions to each of the 27 chapters and to many of the selections contained therein. As psychohistorian Howard Stein has written, "Between 1933 and 1945 some awesomely terrible things took place in Europe — to everyone. It is, however, another matter to view the entire sordid era through the eyes of a single group — the Jew — and to accept this interpretation as the only valid one." But that is pretty much what Witness to the Holocaust does; it views the entire Nazi era almost exclusively through the eyes of a single group — the Jews — and accepts this Judeocentric interpretation as the only valid one.

Eisenberg's Judeocentrism comes out, for example, in his dogmatic proclamation (p5) that "The Holocaust was unique." Of course, in a trivial sense, the Holocaust was unique, for, as Harry Elmer Barnes once wrote, "Every historical situation is essentially unique, never again to be repeated in its entirety." But Eisenberg's proclamation is supposed to be a significant truth. So in what significant sense was the Holocaust unique? According to Eisenberg (p2), "… it was the Jews that were singled out for total destruction." But, as readers of this journal know, this assertion is, at best, debatable. And Eisenberg makes no attempt whatever to prove this at-best-debatable assertion. But even if the Jews were slated for total destruction by the Third Reich, that doesn't necessarily make the Holocaust unique. According to the Old Testament, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites were all marked out for total destruction by the Lord God of Israel. "And so Joshua defeated the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb, and the lowland and the slopes, and their kings. He left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded." (Joshua 10:40). Furthermore, Eisenberg himself contradicts his claim that the Jews were singled out for total destruction. In the very next paragraph after the one in which he makes that claim, he turns around and says:

One people that shared the fate of the Jews were the Gypsies. They, too, had been persecuted through the ages, and like the Jews, the Gypsies were isolated and liquidated, country by country… When the bloodbath was over, only pitiful remnants were left alive… Except for the few survivors, a whole people, unique in its life-style, language, culture, and art, was wiped off the face of the earth. There are no memorials to their dead or commemorations of their tragedy. The death of the Gypsy nation was more than physical; it was total oblivion. (p2)

Thus Eisenberg contradicts Eisenberg. The implication, of course, is that the Holocaust, the alleged extermination of the Jews, was not unique. Nevertheless, three pages later, Eisenberg is insisting, "The Holocaust was unique."

Why the doublethink? Why this insistence on the uniqueness of the Holocaust? Well, as Eric Hoffer observed in The Passionate State of Mind:

Monotheism — the adherence to a one and only God, truth, cause, leader, nation and so on — is usually the end result of a search for pride. It was the craving to be a one and only people which impelled the ancient Hebrews to invent a one and only God whose one and only people they were to be.

Whenever we proclaim the uniqueness of a religion, a truth, a leader, a nation, a race, a party or a holy cause [or a holocaust — L.A.R.], we are also proclaiming our own uniqueness.

Azriel Eisenberg and all the other Jews who proclaim the uniqueness of the Holocaust are also proclaiming their own uniqueness. What is the nature of this uniqueness? As Howard Stein puts it, "To Jews, the Holocaust … interweaves two elements of the doctrine of Choseness: (a) election as moral superiority, and (b) election to suffer." In fact, we find both of these elements of the doctrine of Choseness explicitly affirmed in one of Eisenberg's selections. In "The Time Was Midnight," Zionist Rabbi Joachim Prinz reminisces about his life in Nazi Germany during the 1930s:

I told them from the pulpit, in every sermon, that to be a Jew is to be beautiful, great, noble, and that we had every right to feel superior… There are times when people who have been degraded and humiliated have to say that in reality they are "beautiful." Sometimes I exaggerated. But it was planned exaggeration. I spoke about the Jewish face, the beauty of the Jew as a human being; I spoke about the Jewish contribution to civilization and that the world could not really exist without us, and that Christianity and Islam were indebted to us. All of this was designed not merely to reject the Nazi propaganda, but to replace it with a sense of superiority- moral, cultural, religious and human.

… I spoke about hammer and anvil, and the hammer had to be rejected and detested. It hurt to be the anvil, but it was morally superior. I often preached about "pity the prosecutor," and how superior are the people who are subjected to persecution, how much pride there is in suffering because we believe that in the end hammers and persecutors will be discarded while we shall continue to live. (pp92-93)

As Holocaustomania goes, Eisenberg's case is extreme. We are told that he "has devoted much of his life to a study of the Holocaust." And, apparently, he wants every other Jew to do likewise. He says (pi), " … we must study the Holocaust; the deaths of six million Jews have charged us to live, to learn, to remember, and to tell the world." And, he says (p4), "We should be furious with our peers who are apathetic and to whom this catastrophe is irrelevant to their daily lives." In other words, to be a good Jew, and to avoid Eisenberg's fury, one must be as obsessed with the Holocaust as he is. Now that's Holocaustomania!

Although Eisenberg wants Jews to study the Holocaust, he wants them to study it in approximately the manner in which Catholics study the catechism. He actually has the nerve to tell his readers (pp4-5), "This is not just another book on a heartrending chapter of modern history; it is a scroll of agony and heroism. As such, it must be studied with awe and reverence." And, he declares (p5), "The Shoah [a Hebrew term which is used interchangeably with "Holocaust"] cannot be intellectualized." In other words, Eisenberg is telling his readers: Don't think; don't question; don't criticize. Just feel and believe.

I wonder if Eisenberg has ever read Ayn Rand's novel, The Fountainhead. Here is Ellsworth Toohey, the villain of the novel, explaining his methods of achieving power over others:

"If you get caught at some point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn't make sense-you're ready for him. You tell him that there's something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe. Suspend reason and you play it deuces wild. Anything goes in any manner you wish whenever you need it. You've got him. Can you rule a thinking man? We don't want any thinking men." (p638, Signet, 25th anniversary edition)

When Eisenberg tells his readers the Holocaust cannot be intellectualized (viewed intellectually), that is his way to suspend reason and play it deuces wild. And play it deuces wild he does. I've already shown how he asserts the uniqueness of the Holocaust while making other claims contradicting this assertion. But when it comes to the fate of German Jews under Nazism, Eisenberg goes hog wild playing it deuces wild. According to Eisenberg (p70), "Between 1933 and 1938, 300,000 Jews emigrated [from Germany], 40,000 died, and 160,000 were murdered." This is ridiculous inasmuch as there were about 500,000 German Jews in 1933 so that Eisenberg's statistics imply the gross falsehood that there were no Jews left in Germany as of 1939. In fact, Eisenberg's ridiculous statistics are contradicted by those that were published in 1943 by the Institute of Jewish Affairs of the World Jewish Congress and which are reprinted by Eisenberg on page 115. The IJA cited a June 1933 census (not including the Saar) showing 499,682 German Jews and a May 1939 unpublished census showing 235,000 Jews remaining in Germany. These figures indicate a decline in the German Jewish population of almost 300,000, Eisenberg's figure for the number who had emigrated from Germany during roughly the same period. But while the IJA said 235,000 Jews remained in Germany in May 1939, Eisenberg says 200,000 had died or been murdered between 1933 and 1938. This is confusing enough, but Eisenberg achieves total confusion when, on page 605, he informs us that in the early 1950s the Bonn government agreed that "Germany must pay a billion dollars to cover the expenses of integrating the surviving half-million German Jews into Israeli society…" Come again? The surviving half-million German Jews? In other words, all the Jews of Germany survived both the Third Reich and the Second World War! Presumably, the 200,000 who died or were murdered between 1933 and 1938 had all been resurrected in time to collect reparations from the West German government beginning in the '50s. Quite a miracle! But, of course, in the magical, mystical kingdom of the Holocaust, "anything goes in any manner you wish when ever you need it."

One of the reasons Eisenberg advances for studying the Holocaust is that "We must be prepared to challenge the prevarications and downright falsifications expressed in books, movies, and plays by dodgers of guilt." But what about the prevarications and downright falsifications expressed by mongers of guilt-for example, Eisenberg? On the page preceding his claptrap about challenging prevarications and falsifications, he himself expresses the following flaming falsehoods: "As the Nazi armies overran Europe, Jews were immediately hunted down, transported, and liquidated. The whole Nazi war machine, even when overtaxed and facing certain defeat, was bent on destroying them." (p2) But the "Nazi" armies invaded Western Poland in 1939 and Norway, Northern France and the Low Countries in 1940. Since the alleged extermination of Jews did not begin until mid-1941 (Eisenberg, for reasons known only to Eisenberg, says on page 134 that "the mass deportations to the death factories began … at the end of 1942"), the Jews of Western Poland, Norway, Northern France and the Low countries were not "immediately hunted down, transported, and liquidated." And, if "the whole Nazi war machine … was bent on destroying" the Jews, then who the hell was fighting against the Allied war machines? This is a "leading Jewish scholar?" This is a misleading Jewish scholar.

On page 40, in an excerpt from Friedrich Percyval Reck-Malleczewen's Diary of a Man in Despair, there is this bit of gossip about Hitler from 1936: "[Hitler] has taken to spending his nights in his private projection room, where his poor projectionists have to show sex films for him, night after night." Aha! Hitler the voyeur! But if one consults the Collier Books edition of Reck-Malleczewen's Diary, one finds this on page 26: " … he has taken to spending his nights in his private projection room, where his poor projectionists have to show six films for him, night after night." So the actual gossip, itself almost certainly exaggerated, was that Hitler watched six films, not sex films, every night. Admittedly, this particular falsification might have occurred accidentally. Nevertheless, there it is waiting to mislead any devout Holocaustomaniac reading Eisenberg's book with the necessary "awe and reverence."

Another falsification concerning Hitler can be found on page 33, where Eisenberg asserts: "Hitler glorified the 'big lie.' In his book, Mein Kampf, he wrote, 'The [people] more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie.' " (Bracketed insertion by Eisenberg.) That Hitler did not glorify the big lie can be seen quite clearly if one reads his remarks on the subject in their full context:

It required the whole bottomless falsehood of the Jews and their Marxist fighting organization to lay the blame for the collapse on that very man who alone, with superhuman energy and will power, tried to prevent the catastrophe he foresaw and save the nation from its time of deepest humiliation and disgrace. By branding Ludendorff as guilty for the loss of the World War, they took the weapon of moral right from the one dangerous accuser who could have risen against the traitors to the fatherland. In this they proceeded on the sound principle that the magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil, and that, therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds, they more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big. Such a falsehood will never enter their heads, and they will not be able to believe in the possibility of such monstrous effrontery and infamous misrepresentation in others; yes, even when enlightened on the subject, they will long doubt and waver, and continue to accept at least one of these causes as true. Therefore, something of even the most insolent lie will always remain and stick- a fact which all the great lie-virtuosi and lying-clubs in this world know only too well and also make the most treacherous use of.

The foremost connoisseurs of this truth regarding the possibilities in the use of falsehood and slander have always been the Jews; for after all, their whole existence is based on one single great lie, to wit, that they are a religious community while actually they are a race-and what a race! One of the greatest minds of humanity [Schopenhauer] has nailed them forever as such in an eternally correct phrase of fundamental truth: he called them "the great masters of the lie." And anyone who does not recognize this or does not want to believe it will never in this world be able to help the truth to victory. (Mein Kampf, Sentry edition, pp231-232.)

"Monstrous effrontery?" "Infamous misrepresentation?" Not exactly glorification of the big lie. The irony is positively exquisite. Hitler accused "the Jews" of being the foremost practitioners of the big lie. So how does Azriel Eisenberg respond? With a big lie, to wit, that Hitler "glorified" the big lie. How's that for chutzpah? (For the record, I want to point out that Hitler did not pretend to be a paragon of veracity; he did defend deception in political propaganda. See, for example, Mein Kampf, Sentry edition, p182.)

On page 133, Eisenberg informs us:

The SS used the famine [in Warsaw] as a fiendish trap to ensnare more Jews for extermination. Thus in Warsaw, in July 1942, they posted a notice that those "who will present themselves for selection for resettlement will receive three kilograms of bread and one kilogram of marmalade." Hungry and desperate Jews flocked to the railroad station, where they were packed into deportation trains without food. Why feed people who were soon to die?

Ah, the "fiendish deviousness" of the Nazis! But wait. Here is how Warsaw ghetto survivor Vladka Meed describes the Nazis' "diabolic tactics," in On Both Sides of the Wall (p44): "Hunger drove famished Jews to the bread line, where each received his three kilograms of bread-before being pushed into the waiting railroad cars." And here is what Alexander Donat says, in The Death Camp Treblinka (p13): "Despite some initial apprehensions, most of the Jews of Warsaw really believed that this was no more than a bona fide resettlement. This belief was enhanced by the fact that at one point every Jew who volunteered for 'resettlement' received three kilograms of bread and one kilogram of marmalade." Eisenberg asks, "Why feed people who were soon to die?" But, since the Nazis did feed the volunteers for resettlement (according to Meed, Donat and others), Eisenberg's question actually suggests the possibility that those people were not soon to die. What do you have to say about that, Dr. Eisenberg?

In any case, Eisenberg's distorted account of Auschwitz includes the following (p216): "It is estimated that the ovens 'processed' as many as seven million people." Oh, really? Seven million? But, pray tell, Dr. Eisenberg, estimated by whom? Even the official Soviet estimate, the largest that I recall seeing previously, was "only" four million. I suspect that what Eisenberg has done is to calculate 10,000 killed and cremated daily for almost two years, from early 1943 to late 1944, the period during which the four large crematoria of Birkenau were in use. The figure of 10,000 killed and cremated daily is commonly given as the peak figure for Auschwitz, supposedly reached during the period of the Hungarian deportations in the spring and summer of 1944. But apparently Eisenberg has taken this peak figure and turned it into the norm for the entire period during which the crematoria were operating. Thereby he exaggerates the alreadyexaggerated death toll for Auschwitz. Good work, Dr. Eisenberg. But why settle for seven million victims at Auschwitz? Why not estimate eight million, nine million, ten million, or even 100 million? After all, those who read your book with the appropriate awe and reverence will surely swallow everything you serve up.*

But perhaps Eisenberg does think there are limits to what his readers will swallow. Perhaps that is why his edited version of the Gerstein statement omits Gerstein's claim that 25 million people were killed by gassing. (While Eisenberg normally indicates his editorial omissions with the customary ellipses, he does not indicate this particular omission from the Gerstein statement with an ellipsis.)

In any case, it is interesting to note that Gerstein's purported eyewitness account of the gassing of Jews at Belzec is the only such eyewitness account of the gassing of Jews to be found in Eisenberg's 649-page tome. So how reliable is this account? Paul Rassinier wrote (Debunking the Genocide Myth, pp269-270): "If it is not true that the gas chambers at Belzec, Treblinka, and Sobibor could asphyxiate between 15,000 and 25,000 persons a day; if it is not true that a gas chamber 25 meters square could hold 700 to 800 persons; if it is not true that a train with 45 cars could transport 6,700 persons; and if it is not true that Hitler was at Belzec on 15 August 1942, 1 ask what does it contain that is true since it contains nothing else?" Before concluding that it contains nothing that is true, revisionists should consider the deposition of Dr. Wilhelm Pfannenstiel who, according to both the Gerstein statement and his own deposition, accompanied Gerstein on his fateful visit to Belzec. In his deposition of 6 June 1950, Pfannenstiel claims to have witnessed a gassing of Jews at Belzec. Here is his description of it:

… a shipment of Jews-men, women, and some children-arrived … They were ordered to strip completely and to hand over their possessions. They were informed that they were to be incorporated into a working process and must be deloused to prevent epidemics. They would also have to inhale something.

After the women's hair had been cut off, the whole shipment of people was taken to a building containing six rooms. On that occasion, to my knowledge, only four were used. After these people had been shut up in the rooms, the exhaust gas from the engine was piped in. Gerstein stated that it took about eighteen minutes before quiet was restored inside. While the Jews were being taken in, the rooms were fit up with electric fight and everything passed off peacefully. But when the lights were turned off, loud cries burst out inside, which then gradually died away. As soon as everything was quiet again, the doors in the outside wells were opened, the corpses were brought out, and, after being searched for gold teeth, they were stacked in a trench. Here, too, the work was done by Jews. No doctor was present. I noticed nothing special about the corpses, except that some of them showed a bluish puffiness about the face. But this is not surprising since they had died of asphyxiation. (See Saul Friedlander, Kurt Gerstein: The Ambiguity of Good, pp117-118.)

Interestingly enough, Pfannenstiel went on to comment on the Gerstein statement. "I know that Dr. Gerstein gives an entirely different description of this gassing scene. That version is false. It is full of exaggerations." (The reader is referred to Friedlander's book, pages 119-120, for Pfannenstiel's entire criticism of the Gerstein statement.)

Thus, Pfannenstiel pretty much agreed with the revisionists about the Gerstein statement, but, nevertheless, claimed to have witnessed a gassing of Jews at Belzec. Thus far, revisionists have been content to attack the extremely dubious Gerstein statement, and have not seen fit to even mention the Pfannenstiel deposition, which appears to be somewhat more credible. (I presume that Arthur Butz, for example, knows about the Pfannenstiel deposition, since his bibliography in The Hoax of the Twentieth Century includes Friedlander's book on Gerstein.)

For his own rather different reasons, Eisenberg includes a lengthy excerpt from the Gerstein statement in his book, but not a single syllable from the Pfannenstiel deposition. This despite his pious asseveration that he has "endeavored to include the latest significant data which appeared before this book went to press."

The Pfannenstiel deposition was made over 30 years ago, and the well-known Friedlander book, which quotes it, was published in 1969, but apparently Eisenberg still doesn't know about it. That's what I call keeping up with the latest developments.

(The question of the reality of gassing at Belzec is complicated by the testimony of another self-proclaimed eyewitness, Jan Karski, a wartime member of the Polish resistance who claimed to have infiltrated Belzec, disquised as a camp guard, in early October of 1942, not quite two months after the supposed visit by Gerstein and Pfannenstiel. Although Karski's supposed infiltration of Belzec was supposedly organized by leaders of Jewish resistance groups precisely in order for Karski to observe and then bear witness to the supposed extermination of the Jews, Karski did not report seeing any gas chambers or gassings of Jews. Karski said he saw Jews being herded into railroad cars which then left Belzec. Karski claimed that the Jews were killed by leaving them in the railroad cars until they died of suffocation, starvation or whatever, but he did not claim to have seen this. And what he did claim to have seen is consistent with the revisionist claim that Belzec was a transit camp for Jews being sent "to the East," not an extermination camp. Eisenberg includes an excerpt from Karski's 1944 book, The Story of a Secret State, but it is Karski's description of the Warsaw ghetto, not his account of Belzec.)

In a chapter entitled, "Grim End and Judgment Day," Eisenberg tries to paint a pretty picture of various "war crimes" trials. Regarding the Eichmann trial, he tells us (p575):

… Argentina complained that Israel had violated its sovereignty by abducting Eichmann from Buenos Aries. Others challenged Israel's right to try Eichmann. The trial, however, was meticulously fair. Eichmann was represented by the defense counsel of his choice, all the normal judicial procedures were maintained, and the world press was constantly in attendance.

So the Eichmann trial "was meticulously fair." But here's a second opinion on the Eichmann trial, from Lenny Bruce:

Eichmann really figured, you know, "The Jews-most liberal people in the world- they'll give me a fair shake." Fair? Certainly. "Rabbi" means lawyer. He'll get the best trial in the world, Eichmann. Ha! they were shaving his legs while he was giving his appeal! That's the last bit ot insanity, man. (The Essential Lenny Bruce, Ballatine, p35.)

In a more serious vein, consider some or Hannah Arendt's revelations in Eichmann in Jerusalem. On page 3 (Viking Compass edition), she says it is among the minor mysteries of the new State of Israel that, with its high percentage of German-born people, it was unable to find an adequate translator into the only language the accused and his counsel could understand." On page 7, Arendt reports that in Israel "rabbinical law rules the personal status of Jewish citizens, with the result that no Jew can

marry a non-Jew …" Then she goes on to comment:

Whatever the reason, there was something breathtaking in the naivete with which the prosecution denounced the infamous Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which had prohibited intermarriage and sexual intercourse between the Jews and Germans. The better informed among the correspondents were well aware of the irony, but they did not mention it in their reports. This, they figured, was not the time to tell the Jews what was wrong with the laws and institutions of their own country. (pp7-8)

So, even if, as Eisenberg says, "the world press was constantly in attendance" at the trial, it may have done nothing to guarantee fairness for Eichmann. In any case, according to Arendt (p8), "The journalists remained faithful for not much more than two weeks, after which the audience changed drastically." On page 220, Arendt reports:

The story [of the Final Solution] was confirmed by sworn and unsworn statements usually given by witnesses and defendants in previous trials and frequently by persons who were no longer alive. (All this, as well as a certain amount of hearsay testimony, was admitted as evidence … )

So much for Eisenberg's claim that "all the normal judicial procedures were maintained." On page 221, Arendt says,

It quickly turned out that Israel was the only country in the world where defense witnesses could not be heard [since they were threatened with prosecution under the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators Law], and where certain witnesses for the prosecution, those who had given affidavits in previous trials, could not be cross-examined by the defense. And this was all the more serious as the accused and his lawyer were indeed not "in a position to obtain their own defense documents."

Despite all this, Eisenberg has the gall to assert that the Eichmann trial "was meticulously fair." As Lenny Bruce said, "Ha!" Eisenberg's tedious tome does contain a few tidbits of interesting information. For example, there is an account (pp551-553) of a Purim celebration in a Displaced Persons camp in 1946. This account mentions a poster which announced: (" 'At 6:30 p.m. a public burning of Mein Kampf will take place in the Square." Eisenberg does not denounce this book-burning as "a medieval spectacle," his charactPrization of the Nazis' public burning of books written by "Jews, Christian liberials, and humanitarians" on 10 May 1933. As he says on page 628, "We must guard the freedom of the press and must protect the basic rights of all; at the same time, we must make sure that freedom is not turned to license and used against us."

Another interesting tidbit, necessitating a revision of revisionism, is an excerpt from Salo W. Baron's 1961 book, A Historian's Notebook: European Jewry Before and After Hitler (pp498-500). What is of interest is Baron's statement (p498) that "According to the survey prepared by the Central Jewish Committee in Poland on August 15, 1945, there were altogether 73,955 Jews left in that country including some 13,000 serving in the Polish army and 5,446 recorded in 10 camps in Germany and Austria." This is of interest because it tends to confirm something I was told by a correspondent some years back, to wit, that Paul Rassinier was wrong in asserting that " … Mr. Shalom [sic] Baron, brandishing his title of Professor of Jewish History at Columbia University, claimed on April 4, 1961, before the Jerusalem Tribunal, that 700,000 of them [Polish Jews] were still living in 1945 when the country was liberated by Russian troops… " (Debunking the Genocide Myth, p219.) Since Rassinier, on the supposed authority of Baron, employs this figure of 700,000 Jews in postwar Poland in his demographic study in "The Drama of the European Jews," that demographic study must be revised. If this 700,000 figure is discarded as spurious, then the highest Jewish estimate, mentioned by Rassinier, of Jews surviving in Poland is the estimate of 500,000 which Rassinier attributed to the World Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation. (In his demographic study, Rassinier restricted himself to using statistics from Jewish sources.) Therefore, Rassinier's calculations of the total number of Jewish survivors must be revised downward by 200,000. And his calculations of the total number of Jewish deaths must be revised upward by the same amount.

Because of space limitations, there are a number of aspects of Witness to the Holocaust, such as its strong pro-Zionist bias and its anti-assimilationist conclusion, which I shall not discuss.

Over 2,000 years ago, Cicero insisted that, "The first law is that the historian shall never dare to set down what is false; the second, that he shall never dare to conceal the truth; the third that there shall be no suspicion in his work of either favoritism or prejudice." If Cicero's "laws" for the writing of history were enforced by my enemy, the State, then Azriel Eisenberg, misleading Jewish educator, would be in jeopardy of the maximum penalty. Witness to the Holocaust is, in several senses, including the literal one, a heavy book. As a work of history, however, it makes a good doorstop.