Hjemme/Home         Om Dictum/About Dictum         Redaksjon/Editors         For bidragsytere/For contributors            Arkiv/Archive      

 Leder/Letters from the Editor




 Bokanmeldelser/Book reviews





Anti-Semitism with and without Jews





According to a newspaper debate, one of the participants at a meeting about Anti-Semitism on 30th of August this year contends that there is very little anti-Semitism in Norway. Why? There aren’t that many Jews here.

Without Jews there is no hate of Jews. Is this correct? 

Jan T. Gross wrote two books about the fate of the Polish Jews. That is a hard text to read. The first book, with the title Neighbour, created a scandal in May 2000. The book shows how half of the population in a Polish town in July 1941 murdered the other half – 1600 individuals of all ages. This is a story how ordinary Polish people killed their, through generations, closest neighbours. How Polish people persuaded Gestapo officers to let them take things into their own hands, to make sure that none of the Jews could run away. How the head of the prettiest Jewish girl was used as a football after they have chopped it off with a huge enthusiasm in front of the crowed. How all those who were not killed with axes and different kitchen appliances ended up burned alive in a huge barn. 

Recently, the second book came out with title Fear. In this book Gross tells a tale of a Polish town Kiecle from the July 1946, a year after Nazis surrendered. An 8-year-old child reported to the police that he had been kidnapped by the “local Jews” and kept locked up in a cellar, until he managed to escape. The police went to the location, a meeting place for all local Jews. They found a huge crowed of people in front of it, a crowed furious about the kidnapping of the boy. Instead of protecting the Jews, the police turned on them with their weapons and a clear signal for lynching was given. The large-scale butchery went on for days: the biggest execution that took place on the European soil after the Second World War. These murders were not about an occupying power or a state ordering them to do so. These were ordinary people who volunteered as soon as there was an opportunity. The ordinary nurses refused to give medical assistance to those who were bleeding; they let them bleed to death. 

The history of Polish Anti-Semitism is complex and cannot be presented here. Gross offers some answers. “Judeo-communism” is one of them: an idea that Jews supported (Soviet) communism in Poland before the war and that they were a privileged group in a power apparatus. Jews were also accused of performing rituals where they used blood from Christian children. Gross documents that none of this has any root in reality. Jews did not cooperate with The Red Army. The truth was that the Hitler’s Wermacht was met with enthusiasm in this Polish town, nevertheless because of the Jew extinction that was authorised. There was not a single case of a “ritual killing” of Christian child by Polish Jews documented, either before, during or after the war. It was however shown that the cellar where the Polish boy claimed to had had been kept, did not exist. This made no difference. 

      Today, there are only several thousands of Jews in Poland, in contrast to 3.5 millions before the Second World War. This makes no difference to Anti-Semitism, which remains. The Polish people who hid Jews during the war received death threats; they are the shame and they still remain anonymous today. When their Jewish were taken to the extermination camps, their neighbours asked them to take off their nice shoes and jewellery, since they were going to die anyway. It would be nice to know that someone who knew them took over their goods. Someone’s death, others’ bread: cooperation as the best guarantee against future reconciliation (a general rule, according to Bosnia). The camps Treblinka and Belzec were dug up and ransacked in the summer of 1945; the people were hunting for gold teeth that SS officers might have overlooked. The few that survived were not met with sympathy but with abuse. Grosse quotes Tacitus: “It belongs to human nature to hate the ones you went along with hurting”. 

The British Guardian sums up Blair’s anti-terror law in form of the following advice to British Muslims: Never wear a long coat. Never travel for holiday to Pakistan. Do not grow beard. Do not become a member of clubs. Do not wear the veil. Do not live in a big city ghetto. Do not be a leader. Do not have a striking success. To sum up: You are free to be a Muslim, but do not show it to anyone. 

This analogy is lame but there is a resemblance: To demand from someone not to be who he or she is, is impossible. We know how bad this can go. Group thinking, even in the name of freedom has a deadly outcome.




                                                                  Copyright © 2007 Dictum.no                                                                                

                                                                           ISSN 1504-5307