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April 13, 1984 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-04-13

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38 Friday, April 13, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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Holocaust through other eyes

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Special to The Jewish News

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commemorates.
Late in World War II
the Japanese transported a
shipload of prisoners
through the South China _
Sea and put them ashore on
Borneo, then marched them
up and down mountains and
through some of the densest
jungles in the world, until
they reached this spot, 300
miles inland. There were
just six survivors. The corp-
ses of the other 2,294 lay
along the jungle paths,
where they had dropped of
starvation and/or disease.
These are just several of
the many examples we saw
of the bestialities commit-
ted not by some elite body
like the Nazi SS, or by a few
maniacs, but by ordinary
Japanese soldiers.
The Holocaust should
never be forgotten.
But it is well, also, to
know about and to re-
member what happened at
the same time on the other
side of the world to some
other people.

This is the Era of Re-
visionist History.
(In this case "revisionist"
has nothing to do with the
Israeli political party once
called the Revisionists;
later Herut; now part of the
Likud.)
Hardly a day goes by
without something consid-
ered "historical fact" being
questioned, denied or de-
molished.
In the past several years
half-a-dozen biographies of
Adolph Hitler have been Robert St. John
published in this country
and Europe giving a re- with the war crimes corn-
visionist picture of that mitted by America's
most evil of modern tyrants. enemies on the opposite side
There have also been of the world but during a re-
many attempts to prove search trip through six
that the Holocaust took countries of Southeast Asia,
just concluded, we had an
place.
Recently I met a non- opportunity to learn a great
Jewish Canadian who was deal about Japanese cruelty
"terribly confused" as she during World War II.
In Manila, the Philip-
put it because a member of
the Alberta General As- pines, within Fort Santiago,
sembly was quoted as say- we stood in a windowless
ing that the Jews had room no larger than the liv-
greatly inflated the number ing room in the average Israeli economic
of deaths in the extermina- American home and heard a
tion camps "in order to win local historian explain how woes spread
the Japanese had packed
sympathy for Israel."
to bakeries
But there have been other 300 men, women and chil-
dren
into
that
small
space
so
Tel Aviv (JTA) — Many
revisionist questions not so
tightly that there was room Israelis in various parts of
absurd:
Did the two great heroes only to stand with arms at the country were forced to
of World War II, Franklin the side, body against body. eat cake last weekend — or
D. Roosevelt and Winston They were given neither at least bread tasting al-
Churchill, decide sepa- food nor water. One by one most like cake and costing
rately or in collusion that it they died — standing up. as much — instead of the
was more important to "get After a few days, our infor- cheaper standard bread.
Bakers halted production
on with winning the war" mant said, the stench be-
than trying to save Jews came so great that people of standard bread and in-
headed for the death camps? miles away were sickened stead produced fancy bread
Did the American Jewish by it. Finally the last of the and sweet challot, claiming
they could not afford to bake
community do all it could 300 died — standing up.
At Manila we visited the the standard loaves at the
have done to try to stop the
American cemetery, with controlled prices ordered by
Nazi slaughter?
Was the German public its 17,260 white crosses and the government. But many
during the war as ignorant Stars of David, and a circu- consumers complained that
of the Holocaust as they now lar wall on which are what they bought was
engraved the names of "more or less standard
pretend they were?
How many of the 68 mil- 36,279 American serv- bread, at fancy bread or
lion Germans living in the icemen for whom there are cake prices."
The Ministry of Corn-
Reich at that time should no graves because they were
have been aware of what "missing in action"— which merce and Industry is con-
was happening in the means something too un- sidering what steps to take
pleasant to write about.
to force the bakers to bake
camps?
In that cemetery we found and sell standard loaves at
Why did they not ques-
tio* where all those train- the grave of a brother-in- controlled prices. The bak-
loads of Jews were being law who died on the Bataan ers are responding by say-
Death March — an ugly ing that no government can
taken?
How many were close chapter in Japanese- force them to produce bread
at a loss.
enough to the camps to American relations.
The Bataan Death March
smell the smoke coming
from the stacks of the cre- is a well-known chapter of Reagan cites
matoria, yet raised no pro- history, but almost unre-
corded (as far as I know) is Leo M. Cherne
test?
Washington — Leo M.
Granted that some of the what happened to 2,300
SS men were sadists and ac- British and Australian Cherne, a B'nai B'rith
tually enjoyed the death- soldiers in Borneo — a story leader since he was a teen-
agony of their victims, even more grim, in some re- ager more than 50 years
ago, was one of 14 persons
should the German people spects.
In Borneo we spent a awarded the United States'
as a whole be condemned?
(The atrocities committed night in a hotel in the highest civilian honor, the
at My-Lai during the Viet- shadow of one of Asia's Presidential Medal of Free-
nam War by cleancut, highest peaks, Mt. dom, by President Reagan.
Presentation of the award
well-brought-up, church- Kinabalu, and next morn-
going young American lads ing not far down the moun- was made March 26 at the
made many of us think tain we stopped at what is White House.
Cherne is an economist,
twice about condemning a known locally as "the Au-
political scientist, attorney,
whole people for atrocities stralian war memorial."
No bodies. No graves. No foreign specialist and
committed by a few.)
During a war it is the crosses or Stars of David. No sculptor. He is vice chair-
duty of those who make names. Just a three-level man of President Reagan's
propaganda to picture the garden, with Australian Foreign Intelligence Board,
enemy as something less plants on the lowest level, executive director of the Re-
than human. Anyone who British flowers on the sec- , search Institute of America,
and chairman of the Inter-
remembers the stories of ond, and a Borneo garden on
national Rescue Commit-
"the Huns" during World the top.
Few tourists come this tee, which was responsible
War I knows how a whole
for saving hundreds of
way. It is not on any of the
race can be castigated.
thousands of South Viet-
It is impossible to com- jet-set itineraries. Little
pare what went on in the publicity has ever been namese refugees following
Nazi extermination camps given to what this memorial the fall of Saigon.

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