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April 18, 1975 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-04-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

36 Friday, April 18, 1975

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

The Holocaust: Could It Ever Happen Again?

By JACK SIEGEL

NEW YORK (JTA) — The
recent statement by Ashraf
Ghorbal, the Egyptian Am-
bassador to the United
States, in a right-wing
weekly in Argentina that
the Arabs have decided "to
put an end to Judaism . . .
which must disappear. To-
day, tomorrow, it will disap-
pear," placed alongside the
memorializatiOn of the 30th
year of the liberation of
Nazi extermination camps
puts into bas relief the
whole question again of an-
ti-Semitism.
Ghorbal's call for the de-
struction of a religion is

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the style of the time. The
rest of him was camp cloth-
ing and woodep shoes. He
thanked me for the chance
to talk and announced he
was of Jewish origin. When
I told him that he held a top
job in the Nazi system and
that, therefore, it was not
possible, he said, yes, that is
so but he was not known as
a Jew and even in his own
mind, he had forgotten it. -
"What reminded you," I
asked, "the fact that you are
now in a prison?" "No," he
said. "As you can see, I left
the post in 1935."

new; it is not Zionism, it is
not .Israel he wants de-
stroyed,. but in effect the
whole Jewish people. Hitler
had the same idea in his
final solution and while he
did not succeed, he did dis-
pose of six million Jews,
among other nationals.

Thirty years ago, this
writer was a private in the
Military Intelligence Serv-
ice (MIS) of the Army of
the United States. And
until the time I was
shipped home in December
1945, I was assigned to two
American internment
camps for Nazi political
prisoners.

In the light of this anni-
versary, it is perhaps well to
recall that moment of his-
tory when Hitler's empire
came crumbling down un-
der the onslaught of allied
forces and the rottenness of
his society was exposed in
its corrupted human beings.
They were many and varied;
government officials, busi-
nessmeu, professors. and
workers, both men and
`women. At this writing, one
in particular comes to mind
because of the oddity of his
situation and its contradic-
tion.
He was a "Gaur.edner"
(State Speaker) and his job
was to tour his area, make
Nazi speeches and exhort
the people to support Hitler.
He had this title and func-
tion from 1933 to 1935 and
he was arrested by U.S.
forces for that reason.
The man was small, mid-
dle-aged and mustached in

"And the Nazis permit-
ted you to do it without
reason?" I said. "I was
sick," he said. "But the
real reason was that I re-
membered my grand-
father. I remembered that
he would take me to the
park. He was an old man
and he wore a beard. And
I remembered that the
children in the neighbor-
hood used to make fun of
him and call him Saujude
(Jew Pig). As a child, it
made an impression on me
but with time and events,
it faded."
"Until now?" I asked.
"Yes," he said. And
waited for me to exercise
compassion. I thought
then of all the speeches the
man must have made, not
only extolling Hitler, but
attacking the Jews as
well.

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"I find it strange," I said,
"that until you recalled that
your old grandfather was- a
Jew, you accepted the Hitler
philosophy, that you rose to
a high position in the Nazi.
hierarchy and that you
made speeches for Hitler
and his program.
"That means to me that
you were for everything Hit-
ler meant, including the
destruction of the Jews.
And only to save your skin,
you decided to separate
yourself from Hitler. And
now you come to me..w
- ith
this story and you expect
me to believe it!"
"It's true," he said. "And
you'd like me to recommend
your release from camp?" I
asked. "Yes," he said. "I am
a Jew."

Another inmate is re-
membered. The inmate's
name was Herman Gering,

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not the famous Marshal,
but a little man who was
arrested because he had
been a Gestapo "spitzel,"
or stool pigeon.

He was what the Ger-
mans•called a lumpen, a
declassed worker, part of
the mass of unemployed of
all classes who formed the
core of the S.A.(Sturm Ab-
teilung), Hitler's brown
shirted street gangs. His job
was to inform on people and
when they were "convicted"
to take them into a closed
room and shoot them with a
pistol in the head.
He was brought in. Little
and formerly fat. Prison
fare had reduced the blub-
ber and his skin hung. He
was frightened to death.
The men of the team who
came from Europe decided
to have some fun with him.
They insisted he was
"the" Hermann Goering. He
insisted he was not, pleaded
he was not, cried he was not,
because he feared if we
really believed it, he would
receive the same fate as his
victims had. He confessed to
his role with the Gestapo
but refused to admit he was
the Hermann Goering.
Then one of the men said
to him: "Why did you do it?
Why did you inform on peo-
ple, then take them into a
room and shoot them in the
head with the pistol?" We
were curious what could so
debase and corrupt what
once might have been a hu-
man being. And he said, "So
ist das leben." (Such is life.)
And seemed satisfied with
the answer.

One day, Louis S, a Jew-
ish sergeant from Newark
who was assigned to the
Military Governinent unit
came to the camp and told
me there was a German
professor of political
science in town who
wanted to help the Ameri-
cans.
The man was young,
Louis said, about 39, was
married to an English
woman and had five chil-
dren.

The next day the man and
his wife came. He was tall,
thin and ascetic looking.
What blond hair he had was
receding and he spoke an

Jewish Chaplains
Name President

NEW YORK — Rabbi
Seymour H. Brickman, a
consultant for the Board of
Jewish Education in New
York, has been elected pres-
ident of the Association of
Jewish Chaplains in the
Armed Forces.
Rabbi Brickman served as
U.S. Air Force Chaplain at
Lackland Air Force Base in
Texas and Chanute Air
Force Base in Illinois from
1956 to 1958. He was the
Jewish chaplain at the
United States Military Aca-
demy at West Point, N.Y.
from 196Q to 1962.
Active in community anti
professional organizations,
Rabbi Brickman was chair-
man of the Board of Educa-
tion of Yeshiva of Flatbush
in Brooklyn, New York from
1970 to 1974.

impeccable English, ha-.Ting
studied at Oxford.
We talked a little bit and
I discovered he had been
appointed to his job as
chairman of the Depart-
ment of Political Science of
Berlin UniverAity after
1939. In our books then, he
was a "mandatory arrest."

I also learned the profes-
sor was a Scharfuehrer
(corporal) in the S.A., the
gangs who roamed the
streets beating up and kill-
ing people until displaced
by the SS, after the 1934
break with Roehm, head of
the S.A., who was threat-
ening Hitler's leadership.

I then told the professor
he would have to remain in
camp. I told his wife- she
was a traitor and a renegade
and the only reason she was
being released was because
she had five children.
For two days, off and on,
I talked with the professor,
and I learned his basic job
was to lecture troops on the
necessity of destroying the
British Empire.
I thought that was an odd
function for a teacher and
he said he believed it. "How
come," I asked, "that you, a
professor, an intellectual, a
thinking man joined the
S.A. who were nothing but
street gangs?" He said it
was for comradely pur-
poses. They would drink a
beer, that was all. With
bums, with bullies, with
killers of defenseless peo-
ple?

I then asked him
whether he supported Hit-
ler's treatment of the Jews
(at that point the full story
was not yet out). The pro-
fessor said he was against
the policy of destroying
Jews. He believed they
should have been sent to
Palestine or in some far
eastern country. I asked
him whether he was a
Zionist, in that sense, and
he said his belief for the
dispersion of the 'Jews to
Palestine was simply a re-
jection of the need to de-
stroy them.

I said, "Your idea of the
final solution is to displace
and dispossess the Jews.
What did you do actively

against the policy of killing
the Jews?" He didn't an-
swer.
On the final day, when I
had determined he should
not be left free to roam Ger-
man cities or streets, to talk
to people about his ideas of
Nazism, I asked him: "And
what do you think of Hitler
now?" He said, "Hitler is
like your flag. He is above
criticism."
I moved to the typewriter
to do a report on these cases
for Seventh Army Head-
quarters in Heidelberg and I
remember thinking 14 -w
glad I was that this
was over, that it could never
happen again. Never?

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