ISSN 1440-9828
                                                                                   No 322


David Brockschmidt exposes another historical lie about Kristallnacht

In regards to Mark McKenna’s ‘Being There: The strange history of Manning Clark’, in The Monthly, March 2007, permit me to make some important corrections.

McKenna, a senior research fellow in History at the University of Sydney, accuses leading Australian historian, Manning Clark, of directly or indirectly falsifying or distorting history and/or mixing up the dates in regard to the so-called 1938 ‘Reichskristallnacht’ in Germany. It is anybody’s guess as to what motivated Clark, who died in 1991, to mix up the dates of his own arrival in Bonn, Germany, on 9 November 1938, and of his actual arrival sixteen days later, as McKenna has discovered by reading through Clark’s diaries. Mixing up the dates could have been a genuine mistake as Clark’s son said. Or did Clark have other political and ideological reasons, as we would say since the US invaded Iraq in 2003, for ‘sexing-up’ his Kristallnacht report. It appears that Clark absorbed as his own the account that his soon to be wife, Dymphna Lodevickx, personally observed and wrote in letters addressed to him.

The fact is that historians do fabricate history as we have seen in the Reynolds’-Windschuttle affair where the fabrication of Aboriginal history by Reynolds, and other left-wing historians, was exposed by Windschuttle. In academia it was known as the historian war, which also raged in Germany during the 1970s-80s in regard to Germany’s war record, the ‘Holocaust-Shoah’, and so on.

Unfortunately, when it comes to history the staff at The Monthly did not do its homework either.

Page 29 of the March 2007 edition features a full page photograph of a burning synagogue during the so-called Reichskristallnacht in Berlin on 9 November 1938. The photograph published of this synagogue, known as the Great Synagogue in Oranienburgerstrasse in Berlin-Mitte, is not from 1938 but from 1943.

The editor’s name of The Monthly is Sally Wahrhaft, which is a beautiful German name meaning truthful. Address: The Monthly, 5/ 289 Flinders Lane, Melbourne – 3000, Australia;;

Now here is the true story about the Great Synagogue in the Oranienburger street, in Greater Berlin. During the night of 9-10 November 1938 some thugs dressed in SA uniform were trying to damage and lay fire to this magnificent more than a hundred years old oriental-style building, which is built like a mosque but instead of the crescent it had the Star of David on top.

On duty during this night protecting the synagogue from attacks was 58-year-old police officer, Wilhelm Krützfeld who died in 1953. The right front side-door of the synagogue was slightly fire damaged when Krützfeld chased off the thugs and called the fire brigade, which arrived within ten minutes and put the fire out. The damaged door was replaced and the synagogue was put under 24-hour police protection.

Now my important revisionist argument: The photo used in The Monthly is not from 1938 but from 1943. Why do I say this and what proof do I have that there has been a mix-up of dates? Is this mix-up on purpose or is it merely sloppy research?

The 1943 photo of the burning synagogue is the result of the Anglo-American’s phosphor terror bombing of Berlin that targeted mainly civilian areas and destroyed whole city blocks containing historical buildings.

In 2000 the synagogue was rebuilt with German taxpayers’ money and now shines in its old glory.

Now my revisionist evidence: On 5 September 1966 the Jewish community of East Berlin, together with the collaboration of the communist authorities in East Germany, installed a memorial plaque at the outer wall of the synagogue. This plaque failed to mention police officer Krützfeld’s action preventing the attempted arson of the synagogue in 1938. Neither did it mention the arrival of the fire brigade that put out the small fire at the side door.

The German words on this plaque are already misleading. It reads that this synagogue was burned down by the Nazis during the Reichskristallnacht on 9 November 1938. This is an outright lie.

The plaque then also mentions that the Anglo-American bombing attacks of 1943 also destroyed the synagogue. This is the essence of the second paragraph on the plaque. Why would this second paragraph feature on the plaque? It suited the communist authorities in East Berlin who wished to blame the Allies for Germany’s destruction during World War Two. In this way the Soviet’s destruction of Germany is blended out and committed to the dustbin of history.

The Jewish community of East Berlin also got its pound of flesh in the sentence: ‘This synagogue was burned down by the Nazis on 9 November 1938’. Such a sentence purposefully omits the action taken by Police officer Krützfeld and the Berlin Fire Brigade.

Most of Germany’s synagogues were damaged or destroyed in 1938 or were destroyed by Anglo-American indiscriminate bombings with more than 600,000 civilian victims during World War Two. The destruction of German cities was made clear by British Air Marshall ‘Bomber’ Harris who stated that, “Our main aim was always the destruction of the city centers”. This in itself is a war crime!

In West Germany most of the synagogues were re-built from the 1950s onward. In East Germany, for example the Great Synagogue lay in ruins in East Berlin until Germany’s re-unification in 1989. The Jewish communities in Germany, Israel and world-wide were paid billions of dollars in compensation for loss of life and property.

Police officer Wilhelm Krützfeld remained a policeman until the end of World War Two. His memorial plaque celebrating his role in saving the synagogue during the 1938 attack was put up on the front wall of the building next to the synagogue, which also belongs to the Jewish community, on orders of the Berlin Police president in 1990.

It states quite clearly:

 “During the Pogrom night, 9-10 November 1938, Police Officer Wilhelm Krützfeld courageously prevented the destruction of this synagogue”.



                     The Great Synagogue, Berlin                         The plaque states it was destroyed through bombing in 1943  



             The burning Synagogue in 1943                           On 9/10 November 1938 Krützfeld prevented its destruction 




David Brockschmidt on Kristallnacht 
-----Original Message-----
From: Mel Fowler []
Sent: Tuesday, 6 March 2007 6:08 PM
To: Adelaide Institute
Subject: Re: Another lie exposed - much like the 'HOLOCAUST' has reality only in memory but not in space and time!

McKenna asked: "Does this make Clark a fraud?"
Answer: Of course it makes him a fraud - in regard to his representation to have seen the events of the so-called Kristallnacht. Obviously, it doesn't mean he never  told the truth. But there is a rule of court which is instructive here: In his instructions to the jury, a judge will tell the jury that, if a witness is found to have lied on any point, the jury may reject the entire testimony of that witness.
Both McKenna and Clark's son try to deny the fraud, which of course they cannot do, the result being that they commit another fraud of their own. All in an impossible attempt to remove the stain of dishonesty from the elder Clark . What foolishness! 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 10:37 PM
Subject: FW: Another lie exposed - much like the 'HOLOCAUST' has reality only in memory but not in space and time!

From: Welf Herfurth []
Sent: Monday, 5 March 2007 11:53 AM
Subject: Another lie exposed

Another lie exposed………… I wonder if the Jewish Board of Deputies and/or Jeremy Jones will step forward and complain about anti-Semitism….

The point here is not that he lied about having been there, the point is that he claimed to be there; used this to became a “acclaimed historian” and the other people started to quote him as a witness.


Shared life, shared memories ... Dymphna and Manning Clark in 1989. It now appears it was Dymphna, not the historian, who saw the aftermath of the Nazi pogrom.  Photo: Heide Smith

Manning Clark's fraud revealed

David Marr
March 5, 2007

AS AN old man looking back on his life, Manning Clark claimed to have seen with his own eyes the horrors of Kristallnacht. Witnessing this notorious Nazi pogrom changed his life, said Clark, and made him the historian he was. It became the most famous story of a great storyteller.

"I happened to arrive at the railway station at Bonn am Rhein on the morning of Kristallnacht," he told the poet John Tranter in 1987. "That was the morning after the storm-troopers had destroyed Jewish shops, Jewish businesses and the synagogues. Burned them and so on … I saw the fruits of evil, of human evil, before me there on the streets of Bonn."

But Clark was not there that day. The historian's biographer, Mark McKenna, reveals this week in The Monthly that Clark did not reach Nazi Germany for another fortnight. The person who saw the broken glass and smoking synagogues on that morning in November 1938 was the woman Clark was to marry. "It was Dymphna Lodewyckx, not Manning Clark, who witnessed the immediate aftermath of Kristallnacht."

It's not a small point. In the last dozen years of his life, Clark told the story on radio, on television and in newspapers. He wrote a most moving version in his memoirs: "Dymphna was there on the platform at the Bonn railway station when I stepped off the train early in the morning of 8 November, 1938. We walked in ecstasy up the stairs of the Bonn railway station, out of the darkness below into the light. We were in for a rude shock. It was the morning after Kristallnacht."

McKenna was shaken by the discovery that Clark could not have been there that morning to see the wreckage that foretold the Holocaust. But there was no doubt about it. Working on the Clark family papers last year, McKenna found a letter Dymphna Lodewyckx had written from Bonn to Manning

Clark in Oxford a couple of days after these events describing the smashed shops, the ruined synagogue and a rabbi's house in flames: "The violence was over when I came - but the crowds were everywhere - following the smiling SS men, children shouting in excitement, grown-ups silent …"

At first McKenna thought he had made a mistake. "Like many others, I had taken Clark at his word. I had even quoted the Kristallnacht story in my published work. I reread Dymphna's letter carefully, checked Clark's diary entries, and saw that it was impossible for Clark to have been in Bonn on the morning of 10 November. As his own diary confirms, he did not arrive in Bonn until 26 November."

This revelation is bound to reignite the controversies that have blazed around Australia's most famous historian since Clark emerged in the late 1970s as a public defender of the Whitlam government. These attacks culminated in 1999 in an eight-page "investigation" in Brisbane's The Courier-Mail condemning the historian as a communist, an agent of influence and perhaps a Soviet spy.

That attack collapsed in derision, but the 16 years since Clark's death have seen continuing questioning - both academic and political - of his sweeping six-volume narrative of Australian history, and of the quirky persona he created for himself of the Old Testament prophet in a battered Akubra.

Even so, Clark remains the nation's most influential historian. McKenna's biography, due for publication next year by Melbourne University Press, is one of at least two under way.

Presenting his Kristallnacht discovery for the first time to an academic conference last year, McKenna had no doubt the historian set out to deceive.

"I am convinced that Clark chose deliberately to place himself on the streets of Bonn, knowing full well that he was not there. This was Clark's inner lie. But he had also told the story in public, and traded on his audience's trust in him as a historian."

McKenna asked: "Does this make Clark a fraud?"

His answer then was yes and no: while inventing the details of that morning said a great deal about Clark's self-dramatising character, McKenna didn't doubt for a moment that what Clark learnt of the pogrom and what he saw of its aftermath a few weeks later had the profound impact he always claimed. McKenna writes: "In this sense, there is no fabrication."

But in a chunk of the biography published this week in The Monthly, McKenna has taken a big step back from his original allegation of deliberate deceit.

"I believe that the older Manning Clark did possess some awareness of the fact that he was not present on the morning after Kristallnacht," he writes. "But to claim to know the extent to which he was conscious of it is to claim to know the inner depths of his mind."

The fallible memory of an old man must not be ruled out, argues McKenna. "I know I can never recover what he truly remembered, the memory of his inner voice, the voice only he heard."

But McKenna, a fellow in history at Sydney University, acknowledges the big problem for Clark is the retelling of the Kristallnacht story in the 1990 autobiography A Quest for Grace. Here Clark quotes other letters of his and other diary entries from those months in 1938. "It seems highly unlikely," McKenna told the Herald, "that Manning did not see the letter that showed quite clearly that Dymphna was there the morning after Kristallnacht and not him."
The historian's son, The Australian Financial Review journalist Andrew Clark, has told the Herald, "Mr McKenna has discovered what he believes is a discrepancy in the dates of my father's visit to Bonn … He is not contesting that my father visited my mother in Bonn after Kristallnacht, just the precise date of his arrival." He argued that the fact his father was recalling events 40 or 50 years in the past "goes some way in explaining any alleged discrepancy in dates".

Clark faults McKenna for not providing readers with a full context of those events. "If he had done so, readers would have known that at the alleged time of my father's arrival in Bonn, the Nazis' murderous acts against Jews was still in evidence."

He regrets McKenna did not speak to him: "Not because I am my father's son, but because I had extensive conversations with my late mother about this period, conversations which vividly confirmed the enormous impact this evil act … had on my father."

If another round of the so-called Culture Wars is to be fought over Manning Clark's reputation, this piece of operatic scene setting - "both romantic and tragic", writes McKenna, "like Verdi doing Shakespeare" - will be the focus of renewed and perhaps savage controversy. Had Clark forgotten he was not there? Had his wife's memories become his own in a 50-year marriage? Was he mischievously pulling our legs? Or was he setting out to deceive?

McKenna is hoping for a nuanced discussion of his discoveries, not one that simply slams Clark's credibility.

"He created himself as a myth, cultivating a theatrical persona of the people's priest and sage, telling history as parable. And as the Kristallnacht epiphany reveals, the moral of the parable always mattered more than the facts."


AFTER a Polish Jew shot a Nazi diplomat in Paris in late 1938, a savage assault was unleashed on the Jews of Germany.

About 100 people were killed on the nights of November 9 and 10, nearly every synagogue in the nation was damaged or destroyed and about 30,000 Jewish men were taken to concentration camps.

The slang name Kristallnacht - roughly, the night of broken glass - came from the shattered shop windows that littered the streets of every German town and city.

4. Was Manning Clark a fraud?

By Jane Nethercote and Thomas Hunter

Historian Manning Clark spoke vividly -- and often -- about being in Bonn the day after Kristallnacht. "Witnessing this notorious Nazi pogrom changed his life, said Clark, and made him the historian he was", writes David Marr in The Sydney Morning Herald. "It became the most famous story of a great storyteller."

But biographer Mark McKenna reveals in The Monthly that he wasn't there after all. Instead, it was his future wife Dymphna Lodewyckx, not Manning Clark, "who witnessed the immediate aftermath of Kristallnacht." Clark was in Oxford at the time and joined Dymphna two weeks later.

"I don't know if there's really terribly much at stake here", critic Peter Craven told Crikey today, and it's unlikely to be "deliberate mendacity".

"I get a bit bored by these things", Craven says. People say that "Lawrence of Arabia couldn't have been raped by Turkish soldiers" in Deraa because his itinerary seems to disprove it. My natural response is that "the date's wrong rather than the substantial fact."

So was Manning Clark a fraud? 

Greg Melleuish, professor of history at University of Wollongong, says:

The recollection of Kristallnacht isn’t really a part of Clark's work as historian -- it's in his autobiography. Clark was a romancer and he wanted to make himself look good. Many people do that with their autobiographies. At one level that’s bad because he distorted the truth but at another, like an Archibald prize winner, you accept that there are going to be faults. You might even say Clark's work is more like art than social science. In this case he said that he hadn’t gone back and looked back at his own letters. He might have just been relying on his own memory. When people think about a historian they expect somebody who has a deep respect for the facts and somebody who doesn't allow the emotions to cloud those facts, but that's not what people turn to Manning Clark for. For Clark, the story was more important than the detail. He was more interested in getting the essence of the story. You might question why are people still buy Manning Clark’s history? Is it because it’s a good story? Whatever the answer, this is not a new criticism of Clark. There's a general view that his later work contains factual flaws, and it has been suggested that is partly because he was heavily reliant on research assistants. I suspect when people discuss Manning Clark it’s probably been some time since they read him, if they have read him at all. The public debate tends to include a lot myth about him.

Clark's son Andrew says:

Mark McKenna was given unqualified access to my father’s personal files by our family. As a result of this privileged access, Mr McKenna has discovered what he believes is a discrepancy in the dates of my father’s visit to Bonn after the Nazi regime conducted a violent pogrom against Jews in Germany, called Kristallnacht. He is not contesting that my father visited my mother in Bonn after Kristallnacht, just the precise date of his arrival. This is a slim reed on which to accuse my father of an “inner lie.” Three facts make McKenna’s charge bizarre. First, he draws on references made about this period which were at least 40 years after the event, a period which goes some way in explaining any alleged discrepancy in dates. Second, McKenna has not provided relevant context. There is no real attempt at summarising what actually happened on and after Kristallnacht. If he had done so, readers would have known that at the alleged time of my father’s arrival in Bonn, the Nazis’ murderous acts against Jews were still very much in evidence, with burnt out synagogues, destroyed shops, debris strewn around the streets, and Nazi thugs still on the rampage. Further, and even more puzzling, Mr McKenna did not speak to me before deciding to rush this material into print. This is important not because I am my father’s son, but because I had extensive conversations with my late mother about this period, conversations which vividly confirmed the enormous impact this evil act – some historians mark Kristallnacht as the beginning of the Holocaust -- had on my father. What makes this matter bizarre is that the incident, and the recording of it, played no formal part in my father’s six-volume A History of Australia.

Meanwhile, long-time critic and friend of Clark, Peter Ryan, wouldn't be drawn further on the issue. But the former director of Melbourne University Press who published five volumes of Clark's History of Australia confirmed to Crikey what he told The Australian -- that he'd always known that Clark's Kristallnacht recollections were not his own:

[Peter Ryan] said he has always known the historian's vivid recollection of the 1938 pogrom against Jews was that of his wife Dymphna, not his own. Clark told Ryan while they were studying at Melbourne University that he was at Oxford University when news of the German "disorder" broke and he went to rescue Dymphna. "You'll agree that it is a great deal more dramatic to say 'I was there, the synagogue was burning' than 'I went over to get Dymphna and I read it in the newspaper'," Mr Ryan said.




Here is something REVISIONISTS have known for a long time

Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the German born Hebrew University professor, was probably the first to suggest that the Holocaust has become the new Jewish religion. 'The Holocaust' is far more than historical narrative, it indeed contains most of the essential religious elements:

1: It has its priests – Simon Wiesenthal, Elie Wiesel, Deborah Lipstadt, etc.-  and

2: prophets – Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and those

3. who warn about the Iranian Judeocide to come.

4. It has its commandments and dogmas – 'never again', 'six million', etc..

5: It has its rituals – memorial days, Pilgrimage to Auschwitz etc.

6: It establishes an esoteric symbolic order – kapo, gas chambers, chimneys, dust, Musselmann, etc.

7: It has its shrines and temples – Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and now the UN.

8: If this is not enough, the Holocaust religion is also maintained by a massive economic network and global financial infrastructures – Holocaust industry a la Norman Finkelstein.

9: Most interestingly, the Holocaust religion is coherent enough to define the new 'antichrists' – the Deniers – and it is powerful enough to persecute them –Holocaust denial laws.

Critical scholars who dispute the notion of 'Holocaust religion' suggest that though the new emerging religion retains many characteristics of an organised religion, it doesn't establish an external God figure to point at, to worship or to love. I myself cannot agree less. I insist that the Holocaust religion embodies the essence of the liberal democratic worldview. It is there to offer a new form of worshiping. It made self loving into a dogmatic belief in which the observant follower worships himself. In the new religion it is 'the Jew' whom the Jews worship. It is all about 'me', the subject of endless suffering who makes it into redemption.

Now the full article

Counter Punch - Weekend Edition, March 3 / 4, 2007, Purim Special

From Esther to AIPAC


"In certain contexts, memory can be subversive; in others, memory can shield the status quo. When individuals and communities become vested with memory as a form of identity and specialness, then other suffering threatens to displace the centrality of our experience. Instead of a bridge of solidarity to others who are suffering in the present, suffering in the past can become a badge of honour, protecting us from the challenges that are before us. Then our witness, originally powerful, opening questions about God and power, becomes diluted, can be seen as fake, contrived, even wilfully so. An industry grows up around you, honours you, and at the same time uses your witness for other reasons. In the end a confusion results, externally and internally, until the witness himself can no longer differentiate between the world of interpretation he helped articulate and the world that now speaks in his name. Is this what happened to Wiesel, or is Finkelstein's more acerbic analysis accurate?"[1]


Jewishness is a rather broad term. It refers to a culture with many faces, varied distinctive groups, different beliefs, opposing political camps, different classes and diversified ethnicity. Nevertheless, the connection between those very many people who happen to identify themselves as Jews is rather intriguing. In the paragraphs that follow, I will try to further the search into the notion of Jewishness. I will make an attempt to trace the intellectual, spiritual and mythological collective bond that makes Jewishness into a powerful identity.


Clearly, Jewishness is neither a racial nor an ethnic category. Though Jewish identity is racially and ethnically orientated, the Jewish people do not form a homogenous group. There is no racial or ethnic continuum. Jewishness may be seen by some as a continuation of Judaism. I would maintain that this is not necessarily the case either. Though Jewishness borrows some fundamental Judaic elements, Jewishness is not Judaism and it is even categorically different from Judaism. Furthermore, as we know, more than a few of those who proudly define themselves as Jews have very little knowledge of Judaism, many of them are atheists, non-religious and even overtly oppose Judaism or any other religion. Many of those Jews who happen to oppose Judaism happen to maintain their Jewish identity and to be extremely proud about it[2]. This opposition to Judaism obviously includes Zionism (at least the early version) but it also is the basis of much of Jewish socialist anti-Zionism.


Though Jewishness is different from Judaism one may still wonder just what constitutes Jewishness: whether it is a new form of religion an ideology or if it is just a 'state of mind'.


If Jewishness is indeed a religion, the next questions that have to be asked are, "what kind of religion is it? What does this religion entail? What do its followers believe in?" If it is a religion, one may wonder whether it is possible to divorce from it as much as it is possible to step out of Judaism, Christianity or Islam.


If Jewishness is an ideology, then the right questions to ask are, "what does this ideology stand for? Does it form a discourse? Is it a monolithic discourse? Does it portray a new world order? Is it aiming for peace or violence? Does it carry a universal message to humanity or is it just another manifestation of some tribal precepts?"


If Jewishness is a state of mind, then the question to raise is whether it is rational or irrational. Is it within the expressible or rather within the inexpressible?


At this point I may suggest to consider the remote possibility that Jewishness may be a strange hybrid, it can be all of those things at once i.e., a religion, an ideology and a state of mind.


The Holocaust Religion


"Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the philosopher who was an observant orthodox Jew, told me once: "The Jewish religion died 200 years ago. Now there is nothing that unifies the Jews around the world apart from the Holocaust." (Uri Avnery[3])


Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the German born Hebrew University professor, was probably the first to suggest that the Holocaust has become the new Jewish religion. 'The Holocaust' is far more than historical narrative, it indeed contains most of the essential religious elements: it has its priests (Simon Wiesenthal, Elie Wiesel, Deborah Lipstadt, etc.) and prophets (Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and those who warn about the Iranian Judeocide to come). It has its commandments and dogmas ('never again', 'six million', etc.). It has its rituals (memorial days, Pilgrimage to Auschwitz etc.). It establishes an esoteric symbolic order (kapo, gas chambers, chimneys, dust, Musselmann, etc.). It has its shrines and temples (Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and now the UN). If this is not enough, the Holocaust religion is also maintained by a massive economic network and global financial infrastructures (Holocaust industry a la Norman Finkelstein). Most interestingly, the Holocaust religion is coherent enough to define the new 'antichrists' (the Deniers) and it is powerful enough to persecute them (Holocaust denial laws).


Critical scholars who dispute the notion of 'Holocaust religion' suggest that though the new emerging religion retains many characteristics of an organised religion, it doesn't establish an external God figure to point at, to worship or to love. I myself cannot agree less. I insist that the Holocaust religion embodies the essence of the liberal democratic worldview. It is there to offer a new form of worshiping. It made self loving into a dogmatic belief in which the observant follower worships himself. In the new religion it is 'the Jew' whom the Jews worship. It is all about 'me', the subject of endless suffering who makes it into redemption.


However, more than a few Jewish scholars in Israel and abroad happen to accept Leibowitz's observation. Amongst them is Marc Ellis, the prominent Jewish theologian who suggests a revealing insight into the dialectic of the new religion. "Holocaust theology," says Ellis, "yields three themes that exist in dialectical tension: suffering and empowerment, innocence and redemption, specialness and normalization."[4]


Though Holocaust religion didn't replace Judaism, it gave Jewishness a new meaning. It sets a modern Jewish narrative allocating the Jewish subject within a Jewish project. It allocates the Jew a central role within his own self-centred universe. The 'sufferer' and the 'innocent' are marching towards 'redemption' and 'empowerment'. God is obviously out of the game, he is fired, he has failed in his historic mission, he wasn't there to save the Jews. Within the new religion the Jew becomes 'the Jews' new God', it is all about the Jew who redeems himself.


The Jewish follower of the Holocaust religion idealises the condition of his existence. He then sets a framework of a future struggle towards recognition. For the Zionist follower of the new religion, the implications seem to be relatively durable. He is there to 'schlep' the entirety of world Jewry to Zion at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian people. For the Socialist Jew, the project is slightly more complicated. For him redemption means setting a new world order, namely a socialist haven. A world dominated by dogmatic working class politics in which Jews happen to be no more than just one minority amongst many. For the humanist observant, Holocaust religion means that Jews must locate themselves at the forefront of the struggle against racism, oppression and evil in general. Though it sounds promising, it happens to be problematic because of obvious reasons. In our current world order it is Israel and America that happen to be amongst the leading oppressive evils. Expecting Jews to be in the forefront of humanist struggle sets Jews in a fight against their brethren and their supportive single superpower. However, It is rather clear that all three Holocaust churches assign the Jews a major project with some global implications.


As we can see, the Holocaust functions as an ideological interface. It provides its follower with a logos. On the level of consciousness, it suggests a purely analytical vision of the past and present, yet, it doesn't stop just there, it also defines the struggle to come. It defines a vision of a Jewish future. Nevertheless, as a consequence it fills the Jewish subject's unconsciousness with the ultimate anxiety: the destruction of the 'I'.


Needless to say, a faith that stimulates the consciousness (Ideology) and steers the unconsciousness (Spirit) is a very good recipe for a winning religion. This structural bond of ideology and spirit is fundamental to the Judaic tradition. The bond between the legal clarity of the halacah (ideology) and the mysteriousness of Jehovah or even Kabala (spirit) makes Judaism into a totality, a universe in itself. Bolshevism, the mass movement rather than the political theory, is built upon the same structure, the lucidity of pseudo-scientific materialism together with the fear of the capitalistic appetite. Neoconservative's politics of fear is again all about locking the subject in the chasm between the alleged forensic lucidity of WMDs and the inexpressible fright of 'terror to come'.


This very bond between consciousness and unconsciousness brings to mind the Lacanian notion of the 'real'. The 'real' is that which cannot be symbolized i.e., expressed in words. The real is the 'inexpressible', the inaccessible. In Zizek's words, 'the real is impossible', 'the real is the trauma'. Nevertheless, it is this trauma that shapes the symbolic order. It is the trauma that forms our reality.


The Holocaust religion fits nicely into the Lacanian model. Its spiritual core is rooted deeply within the domain of the inexpressible. Its preaching teaches us to see a threat in everything. It is the ultimate conjunction between the ideology and the spirit that has materialised into sheer pragmatism.


Interestingly enough, the Holocaust religion extends far beyond the internal Jewish discourse. In fact the new religion operates as a mission. It sets shrines in far lands. As we can see, the emerging religion is already becoming a new world order. It is the Holocaust that is now used as an alibi to nuke Iran[5]. Clearly, Holocaust religion serves the Jewish political discourse both on the right and left but it appeals to the Goyim as well, especially those who are engaged in merciless killing 'in the name of freedom'[6]. To a certain extent we are all subject to this religion, some of us are worshipers, others are just subject to its power. Interestingly enough, those who deny the Holocaust are themselves subject to abuse by the high priests of this religion. Holocaust religion constitutes the Western 'Real'. We are not allowed to touch it or to look into it. Very much like the Israelites who are entitled to obey their God but never to question him.


The Scholars who are engaged in the study of the Holocaust religion (theology, ideology and historicity), are engaged mainly with structural formulations, its meanings, its rhetoric and its historical interpretation. Some happen to search for the theological dialectic (Marc Ellis), others formulate the commandments (Adi Ofir), some learn its historical evolution (Lenni Brenner), other expose its financial infrastructure (Finkelstein). Interestingly enough, most scholars who are engaged in the subject of Holocaust religion are engaged with a list of events that happened between 1933-1945. Most of the scholars are themselves orthodox observants. Though they may be critical of different aspects of the exploitation of the Holocaust, they all accept the validity of the Nazi Judeocide and its mainstream interpretations and implications. Most of the scholars, if not all of them, do not challenge the Zionist narrative, namely Nazi Judeocide, yet, more than a few are critical of the way Jewish and Zionist institutes employ the Holocaust. Though some may dispute the numbers (Shraga Elam), and others question the validity of memory (Ellis, Finkelstein), no one goes as far as revisionism, not a single Holocaust religion scholar dares engage in a dialogue with the so-called 'deniers' to discuss their vision of the events or any other revisionist scholarship.


Far more interesting is the fact that none of the Holocaust religion scholars have spent any energy studying the role of the Holocaust within the long-standing Jewish continuum. From this point onward, I will maintain that Holocaust religion was well established a long time before the Final Solution (1942), well before the Kristallnacht (1938), well before the Nuremberg Laws (1936), well before the first anti-Jewish law was announced by Nazi Germany, well before the American Jewish Congress declared a financial war against Nazi Germany (1933) and even well before Hitler was born (1889). The Holocaust religion is probably as old as the Jews.


Jewish Archetypes


In a previous paper I have defined the notion of 'Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder' (Pre-TSD) [7]. Within the condition of the Pre-TSD, the stress is the outcome of a phantasmic imaginary episode set in the future, an event that has never taken place. Unlike the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, in which stress is realised as the direct reaction to an event that (may) have taken place in the past, within the state of Pre-TSD, the stress is formed as the outcome of an imaginary potential event. Within the Pre-TSD an illusion pre-empts the conditions in which the fantasy of future terror is shaping the present reality.


As it seems, the dialectic of fear dominates the Jewish existence as well as mindset far longer than we are ready to admit. Though fright is exploited politically by Jewish ethnic leaders since the early days of emancipation, the dialectic of fear is far older than modern Jewish history. In fact it is the heritage of the Tanach (the Hebrew Bible) that is there to set the Jew in a pre-traumatic state. It is the Hebrew Bible that sets a binary framework of Innocence/Suffering and Persecution/Empowerment.


More particularly, the fear of Judeocide is entangled with Jewish spirit, culture and literature.


I would argue here that the Holocaust religion was there to transform the ancient Israelites into Jews.


The American anthropologist Glenn Bowman who specialised in the study of exilic identities offers a crucial insight into the subject of fear and its contribution to the subject of Identity politics. "Antagonism," says Bowman, "is fundamental to process of fetishsation underlying identity, because one tends precisely to talk about who one is or what one is at a moment in which that being seems threatened. I begin to call myself such and such a person, or such and such a representative of an imagined community, at the moment something seems to threaten to disallow the being the name I speak stands in for. Identity terms come into usage at precisely the moment in which for some reason one comes to feel they signifying a being or entity one has to fight to defend." [8]


In short, Bowman stresses that it is the fear that crystallises the notion of identity. However, once the fear is matured into a state of a collective pre-traumatic stress then identity re-forms itself. When it comes to the Jewish people, it is the Bible that is there to set the Jews within a state of Pre-TSD. It is the Bible that initiates the fear of Judeocide.


More and more Bible scholars are now disputing the historicity of the Bible. Niels Lechme in 'The Canaanites and Their Land' argues that the Bible is for the most part "written after the Babylonian Exile and that those writings rework (and in large part invent) previous Israelite history so that it reflects and reiterates the experiences of those returning from the Babylonian exile."[9]


In other words, being written by home-comers, the Bible incorporates some hardcore exilic ideology into an historic narrative. Very much like in the case of the early Zionist ideologist who regarded assimilation as a death threat, "The communities which aggregated under the leadership of the Yahwehist priesthood (at the time of the Babylonian exile) saw assimilation and apostasy not only as social death for themselves as Judeans but also as attempted deicide. They resolved to maintain an absolute and exclusive commitment to Yahweh who they were sure would lead them back to the land from which they had been expelled. The prescribed blood purity as a means of maintaining the borders of the national community, thus proscribed inter-marriage with those surrounding them. They also established a series of exclusivist rituals that set themselves off from their neighbours, and these not only included a surrogate form of temple worship but also a distinct calendar which ritualistically enabled them to exist in a different time frame than the communities with which they shared space. All of these diacritical devices served to mark and maintain difference, but did not prevent them from trading with and thus being able to sustain themselves amongst the Babylonians."


Looking into Bowman and Lechme's spectacular reading of the Bible and the Judaic narrative as a manifestation of exilic and marginal identity may explain the fact that Jewishness flourishes in exile but rather loses its impetus once it becomes a domestic adventure. If Jewishness is indeed centred around an émigré collective survival ideology, than its follower will prosper in Exile. However, that which maintains the Jewish collective identity is fear. Similar to the case of Holocaust religion, Jewishness sets the fear of Judeocide at the core of the Jewish psyche, yet, it also offers the spiritual, ideological and pragmatic measures to deal with this fear.

Book of Esther


The Book of Esther is a biblical story that is the basis for the celebration of Purim, probably the most joyous Jewish festival. The book tells the story of an attempted Judeocide but it also tells a story in which Jews manage to change their fate. In the book the Jews do manage to rescue themselves and even to mete revenge.


It is set in the third year of Ahasuerus, and the ruler is a king of Persia usually identified with Xerxes I. It is a story of a palace, conspiracy, an attempted Judeocide and a brave and beautiful Jewish queen (Esther) who manages to save the Jewish people at the very last minute.


In the story, King Ahasuerus is married to Vashti, whom he repudiates after she rejects his offer to 'visit' him during a feast. Esther was selected from the candidates to be Ahasuerus's new wife. As the story progresses, Ahasuerus's prime minister Haman plots to have the king kill all the Jews without knowing that Esther is actually Jewish. In the story, Esther together with her cousin Mordechai saves the day for their people. At the risk of endangering her own safety, Esther warns Ahasuerus of Haman's murderous anti-Jewish plot. Haman and his sons are hanged on the fifty cubit gallows he had originally built for cousin Mordecai. As it happens, Mordecai takes Haman's place, he becomes the prime minister. Ahasuerus's edict decreeing the murder of the Jews cannot be rescinded, so he issues another edict allowing the Jews to take up arms and kill their enemies, which they do.


The moral of the story is rather clear. If Jews want to survive, they better find infiltrates into the corridors of power. With Esther, Mordechai and Purim in mind, AIPAC and the notion of 'Jewish power' looks like an embodiment of a deep Biblical and cultural ideology.


However, here is the interesting twist. Though the story is presented as an historic tale, the historical accuracy of the Book of Esther is largely disputed by most modern Bible Scholars. It is largely the lack of clear corroboration of any of the details of the story of the Book of Esther with what is known of Persian History from classical sources that led scholars to come to a conclusion that the story is mostly or even totally fictional.


In other words, though the moral is clear, the attempted genocide is fictional. Seemingly, the Book of Esther set its followers into a collective Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It makes a fantasy of destruction into an ideology of survival. And indeed, some read the story as an allegory of quintessentially assimilated Jews who discover that they are targets of anti-Semitism, but are also in a position to save themselves and their fellow Jews.


Keeping Bowman in mind may throw some light here. The Book of Esther is there to form the exilic identity. It is there to implant the existential stress, it introduces the Holocaust religion. It sets the conditions that turn the Holocaust into reality.


Interestingly enough, the Book of Esther (in the Hebrew version) is one of only two books of the Bible that do not directly mention God (the other is Song of Songs). In the Book of Esther it is the Jews who believe in themselves, in their own power, in their uniqueness, in their sophistication, in their ability to conspire, in their ability to take over kingdoms, in their ability to save themselves. The Book of Esther is all about empowerment and the Jews who believe in their powers.


From Purim to Birkenau


In an article named "A Purim Lesson: Lobbying Against Genocide, Then and Now"[10], Dr. Rafael Medoff shares with his readers what he regards as the lesson inherited to the Jews by the Book of Esther. If to be more precise, it is the art of lobbying which Esther and Mordechai are there to teach us. "The holiday of Purim" says Medoff, "celebrates the successful effort by prominent Jews in the capitol of ancient Persia to prevent genocide against the Jewish people." But Medoff doesn't stop just there. This specific exercise of what some call 'Jewish power' has been carried forward and performed by modern emancipated Jews: "What is not well known is that a comparable lobbying effort took place in modern times -- in Washington, D.C., at the peak of the Holocaust."


In the article Medoff explores the similarities between Esther's lobbying in Persia and her modern brothers lobbying within the FDR's administration at the pick of WW2. "The Esther in 1940s Washington was Henry Morgenthau Jr." says Medoff, "a wealthy, assimilated Jew of German descent who (as his son later put it) was anxious to be regarded as 'one hundred percent American.' Downplaying his Jewishness, Morgenthau gradually rose from being FDR's friend and adviser to his Treasury Secretary."


Clearly, Medoff spotted a modern Mordechai as well, "a young Zionist emissary from Jerusalem, Peter Bergson (real name: Hillel Kook) who led a series of protest campaigns to bring about U.S. rescue of Jews from Hitler. The Bergson group's newspaper ads and public rallies roused public awareness of the Holocaust -- particularly when it organized over 400 rabbis to march to the front gate of the White House just before Yom Kippur in 1943."


Medoff's reading of the Book of Esther provides us with a glaring insight into the internal code of Jewish collective survival dynamics in which the assimilated (Esther) and the observant (Mordechai) are joining forces with clear Judeo centric interests in their minds.


According to Medoff the similarities are indeed shocking. "Mordechai's pressure finally convinced Esther to go to the king; the pressure of Morgenthau's aides finally convinced him to go to the president, armed with a stinging 18-page report that they titled 'Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of This Government in the Murder of the Jews.'"


Dr. Medoff is rather ready to draw his historical conclusions. "Esther's lobbying succeeded. Ahasuerus cancelled the genocide decree and executed Haman and his henchmen. Morgenthau's lobbying also succeeded. A Bergson-initiated Congressional resolution calling for U.S. rescue action quickly passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- enabling Morgenthau to tell FDR that 'you have either got to move very fast, or the Congress of the United States will do it for you.' Ten months before election day, the last thing FDR wanted was an embarrassing public scandal over the refugee issue. Within days, Roosevelt did what the Congressional resolution sought -- he issued an executive order creating the War Refugee Board, a U.S. government agency to rescue refugees from Hitler."


It is clear beyond doubt that Medoff sees the Book of Esther as a general guideline for a healthy Jewish future. Medoff ends his paper saying: "the claim that nothing could be done to help Europe's Jews had been demolished by Jews who shook off their fears and spoke up for their people -- in ancient Persia and in modern Washington." In other words, Jews can do and should do for themselves. This is indeed the moral of the Book of Esther as well as the Holocaust religion.


What Jews should do for themselves is indeed an open question. Different Jews have different ideas. The Neocon believes in dragging America and the West into an endless war against Islam. Emmanuel Levinas, on the contrary, believes that Jews should actually position themselves at the forefront of the struggle against oppression and injustice. Indeed, Jewish empowerment is just one answer among many. Yet, it is a very powerful not to say a dangerous one. It is especially dangerous when the American Jewish Committee (AJC) acts as a modern-day Mordechai and publicly engages in an extensive lobbying effort for a war against Iran.


When analysing the work and influence of AIPAC within American politics it is the Book of Esther that we should bear in mind. AIPAC is more than a mere political lobby. AIPAC is a modern-day Mordechai, the AJC is modern-day Mordechai. Both AIPAC and AJC are inherently in line with the Hebrew Biblical school of thought. However, while the Mordechais are relatively easy to spot, the Esthers, those who act for Israel behind the scenes, are slightly more difficult to trace.


I believe that once we learn to look at Israeli lobbying in the parameters that are drawn by the Book of Esther/Holocaust-religion, we are then entitled to regard Ahmadinejad as the current Haman/Hitler figure. The AJC is Mordechai, Bush is obviously Ahasuerus, yet Esther can be almost anyone, from the last Necon to Cheney and beyond.


Brenner and Prinz


In the opening paragraph of this essay I ask what Jewishness stands for. Though I accept the complexity of the notion of Jewishness, I tend to additionally accept Leibowitz's contribution to the subject: Holocaust is the new Jewish religion. However, within the paper I took the liberty of extending the notion of the Holocaust. Rather than referring merely to the Shoah, i.e., the Nazi Judeocide, I argue here that the Holocaust is actually engraved within the Jewish discourse and spirit. The Holocaust is the essence of the collective Jewish Pre-Traumatic stress disorder and it predates the Shoah. To be a Jew is to see the 'other' as a threat rather than as a brother. To be a Jew is to be on a constant alert. To be a Jew is to internalise the message of the Book of Esther. It is to aim towards the most influential junctions of hegemony. To be a Jew is to collaborate with power.


The American Marxist historian Lenni Brenner is fascinated by the collaboration between Zionists and Nazism. In his book Zionism In The Age of Dictators he presents an extract from Rabbi Joachim Prinz's book published in 1937 after Rabbi Prinz left Germany for America.


"Everyone in Germany knew that only the Zionists could responsibly represent the Jews in dealings with the Nazi government. We all felt sure that one day the government would arrange a round table conference with the Jews, at which ­ after the riots and atrocities of the revolution had passed ­ the new status of German Jewry could be considered. The government announced very solemnly that there was no country in the world which tried to solve the Jewish problem as seriously as did Germany. Solution of the Jewish question? It was our Zionist dream! We never denied the existence of the Jewish question! Dissimilation? It was our own appeal! ... In a statement notable for its pride and dignity, we called for a conference." [11]


Brenner then brings in extracts from a Memorandum that was sent to the Nazi Party by the German Zionist ZVfD on 21 June 1933:


"Zionism has no illusions about the difficulty of the Jewish condition, which consists above all in an abnormal occupational pattern and in the fault of an intellectual and moral posture not rooted in one's own tradition ... On the foundation of the new state, which has established the principle of race, we wish so to fit our community into the total structure so that for us too, in the sphere assigned to us, fruitful activity for the Fatherland is possible. ... Our acknowledgement of Jewish nationality provides for a clear and sincere relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities. Precisely because we do not wish to falsify these fundamentals, because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group ... We believe in the possibility of an honest relationship of loyalty between a group-conscious Jewry and the German state ... "[12]


Brenner doesn't approve either of Prinz's take nor the Zionist initiative. Filled with loathing he says, "This document, a treason to the Jews of Germany, was written in standard Zionist cliches: 'abnormal occupational pattern', 'rootless intellectuals greatly in need of moral regeneration', etc. In it the German Zionists offered calculated collaboration between Zionism and Nazism, hallowed by the goal of a Jewish state: we shall wage no battle against thee, only against those that would resist thee."


Brenner fails to see the obvious. Rabbi Prinz and the ZVfD were not traitors, they were actually genuine Jews. They followed their very Jewish cultural code. They followed the Book of Esther, they took the role of Mordechai. They tried to find a way to collaborate with what they correctly identified as a prominent emerging power. In 1969, Rabbi Prinz confessed that ever "since the assassination of Walther Rathenau in 1922, there was no doubt in our minds that the German development would be toward an anti-Semitic totalitarian regime. When Hitler began to arouse, and as he put it 'awaken' the German nation to racial consciousness and racial superiority, we had no doubt that this man would sooner or later become the leader of the German nation."[13]


Whether Brenner or anyone else likes it or not, Rabbi Prinz proves to be an authentic Jewish leader. He proves to possess some highly developed survival radar mechanism that fit perfectly well with the exilic ideology. In 1981 Lenni Brenner interviewed Rabbi Prinz. Here is what he had to say about the collaborator Rabbi:


"(Prinz) dramatically evolved in the 44 years since he was expelled from Germany. He told me, off tape, that he soon realized that nothing he said there made sense in the US. He became an American liberal. Eventually, as head of the American Jewish Congress, he was asked to march with Martin Luther King and he did so."


Once again, Brenner fails to see the obvious. Prinz didn't change at all. Prinz didn't evolve in those 44 years. He was and remained a genuine authentic Jew, and an extremely clever one. A man who internalised the essence of Jewish émigré philosophy: In Germany be a German, and in America be American. Be flexible, fit in and adopt relativistic ethical thinking. Prinz, being a devoted follower of Mordechai, realised that whatever is good for the Jews is simply good.


I went back and listened to the invaluable Brenner interviews with Rabbi Prinz that are now available on line[14]. I was rather shocked to find out that actually Prinz presents his position eloquently. It is Prinz rather than Brenner who provides us a glimpse into Jewish ideology and its interaction with the surrounding reality. It is Prinz rather than Brenner who happens to understand the German volk and their aspirations. Prinz presents his past moves as a proud Jew. From his point of view, collaborating with Hitler was indeed the right thing to do. He was following Mordechai, he was probably searching for an Esther to come. Thus, it is only natural that Rabbi Prinz later became the President of the Jewish American Congress. He became a prominent American leader In spite of his 'collaboration with Hitler'. Simply because of the obvious reason: from a Jewish ideological point of view, he did the right thing.


Final Words About Zionism

Once we learn to look at Jewishness as an exilic culture, as the embodiment of the 'ultimate other' we can then understand Jewishness as a collective continuum grounded on a fantasy of horror. Jewishness is the materialisation of politics of fear into a pragmatic agenda. This is what Holocaust religion is all about and it is indeed as old as the Jews. Rabbi Prinz could foresee the Holocaust. Both Prinz and the ZVfD could anticipate a Judeocide. Thus, from a Jewish ideological point of view they acted appropriately. They were committed to their esoteric ethics within an esoteric cultural discourse.


Zionism was indeed a great promise, it was there to convert the Jews into Israelites. It was going to make the Jews into people like other peoples. Zionism was there to identify and fight the Galut (Diaspora), the exilic characteristic of the Jewish people and their culture. But Zionism was doomed to failure. The reason is obvious: within a culture that is metaphysically grounded upon exilic ideology the last thing you can expect is a successful homecoming. In order to live for its promise Zionism had to liberate itself of the Jewish exilic ideology, Zionism had to liberate itself of the Holocaust religion. But this is exactly what it fails to do. Being exilic to the bone, Zionism had to turn to antagonising the indigenous Palestinians in order to maintain its fetish of Jewish identity.


Since Zionism failed to divorce itself from the Jewish émigré ideology, it lost the opportunity to evolve into any form of domestic culture. Consequently, Israeli culture and politics is a strange amalgam of indecisiveness; a mixture of colonial empowerment together with Galut's victim mentality. Zionism is a secular product of exilic culture that cannot mature into authentic homegrown perception.


Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He is the author of two novels: A Guide to the Perplexed and the recently released My One and Only Love. Atzmon is also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. His recent CD, Exile, was named the year's best jazz CD by the BBC. He now lives in London and can be reached at:


[1] Marc Ellis, Marc Ellis on Finkelstein



[4] Marc H. Ellis, Beyond Innocence & Redemption - Confronting The Holocaust And Israeli Power, Creating a Moral

Future for the Jewish People (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1990).




[8] Glenn Bowman-Migrant Labour: Constructing Homeland in the Exilic Imagination, Antrhropological Theory II:4.

December 2002 pp 447-468.

[9] Ibid



[12] Ibid




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