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May 06, 1983 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-05-06

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



THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Holocaust and 'Academic Responsibility'

By REV. FRANKLIN
LITTELL
National Institute

On the Holocaust

PHILADELPHIA — To
persons who value educa-
tion, and to those who love
alma mater, the role of the
great German universities
in preparing the Holocaust
remains an agonizing re-
flection.
Who trained the SS doc-
tors who worked on the staff
of Dr. Josef Mengele? Who
trained the lawyers, hun-
dreds of them, who found
the precedents and pre-
pared the legal forms to rob
and murder Jewish citi-
zens? Who staffed the
"People's Courts" that
lynched Hitler's gentile op-
ponents?
Who trained the school
teachers, thousands of
them, who betrayed their
stewardwhip of young lives
— training and inspiring
the young janizaries who
carried the German war
machine? Who trained the
theologians and pastors and
priests who skillfully waf-
fled the truth, blending
Christianity with Teutonic
racism?
Who, in sum, equipped
technicians without wis-
dom and professional
ethics?
One of the great books
emerging from the
Holocaust, Max Weinrich's
"Hitler's Professors"
(YIVO), tells the story in de-
tail.
But the larger question
remains. What kind of uni-
versities have functioned in
the modern world — so long
in technology, so short in
wisdom — to make such
things possible? And how
have these faculties re-
sponded to the lessons of the
Holocaust? How have our
own universities in Ameri-
ca moved to correct the
weaknesses and false com-
mitments that the story of
the Holocaust has exposed

something to do with this,
too.)
But only one, the Univer-
sity of Frankfurt, took a
large step forward by can-
celing the degrees of major
war criminals. (Univer-
sities may, of course, cancel
as well as grant academic
degrees.)
Now a good word has
come from Gottingen: the
Council of Deans has an-
nounced the decision to
cancel the PhD degree of a
neo-Nazi "historical re-
visionist," Wilhelm Staeg-
lich.
FRANKLIN LITTELL
The so-called "histori-
to public view — and to the
cal revisionists" are a
verdict of history?
group of Nazis and Nazi
To date the encouraging
reports are all too few. At- sympathizers who, using
tention is still devoted to academic claims and pre-
"business as usual," turning tenses, seek to make cre-
out the technicians who will dible the notion that the
do — and do skillfully — Holocaust never hap-
pened.
whatever is required, so
In West Germany, to pub-
long as the price is right.
Yet there are few signs lish and distribute such
of hope, a few indications political propaganda is il-
of a turn toward true, legal. Most university ad-
learning. One of the finest ministrations have been
has begun in the glad to let the government
Philadelphia area, with handle the problem. But the
the founding at the Vil- faculty at Gottingen has
lanova Law School — on _ recognized — unlike, for in-
the initiative of Dean stance, the faculties at
Willard O'Brien and a Northwestern University
Catholic layman, John and the University of
Connolly — of an Insti- California — that an impor-
tute on Law and Moral- tant principle of academic
ity. We may hope that in integrity is also involved.
In 1979, Staeglich pub-
other places, and in other
faculties too, there may in lished a book entitled "The
time be shown a like intel- Auschwitz Myth." Like
lectual and moral com- most of the books of this
mitment to truth as well genre, including Butz of
Northwestern's "Hoax of
as technics.
Another good message the 20th Century," Staeg-
has just come from a Ger- lich's tract has a political
man university: Gottingen. rather than scholarly pur-
After the war, few of the pose. The political themes
universities immediately in all of them are the same;
involved in the Nazi pro- in fact, most of them
gram took appropriate steps plagiarize relentlessly from
to master the lessons of the previous writings with the
Holocaust. Many, to be sure, same purpose.
The themes were set by
refused to reinstate Nazi ac-
tivists to professorial rank. one Paul Rassinier, a
(Our Education Branch in French high school teacher
Military Government had who published his study to

Friday, Maf 1983 33

LEE DRIVING SCHOOL

attack Raul Hilberg's
classic, "The Destruction of
Europen Jewry," and to
"expose the Zionist plot."
The "Zionist plot" was this:
to invent a tale of the mass
murder of Jews in order to
gain sympathy for Israel, to
"blackmail" the innocent
Germans into paying inde-
mnities, and to divert atten-
tion from the monstrous
crimes of the Allied gov-
ernments during World
War II.
The head-of the Gottingen
faculty, making the an-
nouncement, has said that
Staeglich is not entitled to
retain his degree because he
misused it to give an aura of
scholarship to blatant Nazi
propaganda.

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Affairs Department
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B'nai B'rith



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