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March 25, 1988 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-03-25

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PURELY COMMENTARY

State of War: Women's Common Sense Weapon

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

t was not only the affirmation by
Israel Prime Minister Itzhak
Shamir, while he was in
Washington, that this is a state of war.
Spokesmen for the Arabs everywhere,
in Israel and in this country, keep
declaring that the Jewish State must
give up the rights inherited in Eretz
Israel.
A statement published as more
than a half-page advertisement in the
New York Times on March 15, ap-
parently as a greeting to Premier
Shamir, listed demands which would
bar every Jew from as much as men-
tioning justice and rights to decency. It
would put an end to statehood.
It stands to reason that there will
never be submission, and that declara-
tion of war will be fought to a finish.
There must, as there will surely arise,
a total Jewish unity. The admonition
was quoted in this column from Isaiah,

I

Banim gidaltu . . . v'hem posh'chu bi —
"I have raised sons and they betrayed

me"

will surely be corrected and there
won't be destruction from within.
Opposite the referred to NYTimes
advertisement with the threats to Israel
and, therefore, to Jewry appeared an ad
from the women of Hadassah with a
message of decency to Arab women. On
the eve of Passover, the Hadassah

women posed these Four Questions:
One: From the beginning of
recorded history Jews have liv-
ed in Palestine. Why do your
leaders refuse to recognize the
right of Jews to live in their
land?
Two: For 40 years every
leader of Israel has sought
direct peace talks with
neighboring Arab nations. Ex-
cept for Egypt, all have refused.
Why won't the Arab states talk
peace directly with Israel?
Three: Throughout our com-
mon past, Arab nations sought
to resolve their differences with
Israel by violence. They have
failed. When will your leaders
learn that the path of violence
has never led to peace?
Four: Only Israel has been
asked to make concessions
before peace talks begin. Tell,
us, what are your leaders will-
ing to give up in the cause of
peace?
These questions are introduced by
a solemn and factual reminder of what
the women of Israel have done and are
doing for their Arab neighbors
What Hadassah describes is the
human commitment that is inerasable
from Jewish action and invitations for
accord with their neighbors.
The Hadassah statement asserts:

The world knows you, the
Palestinian Arab women, from
newspaper photographs. We see
your sons hurling stones and
burning tires on the evening
news. But we know you in a'
dif-
ferent way.
We have seen you and your
children side-by-side with
Jewish mothers and their
children in our hospitals in
Jerusalem. We have cared for
you and your families. Saved
your babies' lives. Just as we
have cared for all who have
come to us for help in the Land
of Israel for 75 years.
We think it's time we talked
directly to you, woman to
woman. You know that we are
committed to life and human
dignity. We are anguished over
what the conflict in the Ad-
ministered Territories is doing
to all sons and daughters. We
also know pain and grief, and
suffer with every victim of a ter-
rorist attack.
That's why we want you to
join with us to seek an end to
violence and lawlessness.
Soon it will be Passover, the
joyous affirmation of the right of
all human beings to be free. For
centuries at the seder table the
youngest among us has asked
four questions about why this

night is different from all others.
In the spirit of this holiday, we
ask four questions of you.
The women in all mankind, and the
menfolk as well, will hopefully heed
this message and urge responses to the
posed questions.
An entire area of the world has been
forced into turmoil — under the
repeated slogans that Jews have no
rights whatever. That is the only way
to read the declarations of war from
Arab quarters.
It would be totally calamitous if the
Arab threats were totally planned.
There are the exceptions and some who
are called "moderates" are under threat
of assassination. From the functioning
Arab governments there has not come
forth much comfort for the peacemakers
who are treated abominously.
At the approaching Passover Seder
the questions addressed by the
Hadassah women to the Arab neighbors
will echo as a reminder of the Jewish
ethical codes that have a message for all
people. At the same time there will be
the reminder to celebrants and to all
peoples that just as the Exodus is recall-
ed, the indestructibility of Israel also is
reasserted.
The Passover signifies the freedoms
for mankind and introducers of the
ideal will never be omitted from the
libertarian benefactions. That's the
message of all times, with emphasis at
Passover.

Holocaust Defined In Impressive Summation

H

istory Professor Michael R.
Marrus of the University of
Toronto makes a most definitive
contribution to Holocaust literature
with his The Holocaust in History,
published for Brandeis University Press
by the University Press of New
England.
As a valuable summation of all the
experiences during the tragic years of
the Nazi terror, Marrus' assembled data
provides guidance to the study of the ex-
periences and events during the years
of horror, as well as the opinions
resulting from the events and reactions
to them.
Dr. Marrus calls attention to the
vastness of the published material

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
(US PS 275-520) is published every Friday
with additional supplements the fourth
week of March, the fourth week of August
and the second week of November at
20300 Civic Center Drive, Southfield,
Michigan.

Second class postage paid at Southfield,
Michigan and additional mailing offices.

Postmaster Send changes to:
DETROIT JEWISH NEWS, 20300 Civic
Center Drive, Suite 240, Southfield,
Michigan 48076

$26 per year
$29 per year out of state
60' single copy

Vol. XCIII No. 4

2

March 25, 1988

FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 1988

about the Holocaust:
"An international symposium on
the origins of the Final Solution was
held in Stuttgart in 1984, bringing to
the surface disputes that have their
counterparts in other issues concerning
Nazi Germany. We now have a vast
literature on the Holocaust as a result
of this scholarship. Indeed, the field is
by now far too vast for any one scholar
to master. A recent select bibliography
lists close to 2,000 book entries in many
languages and notes over 10,000
publications on Auschwitz alone."
It is safe to assert that in the last
30 years perhaps a thousand such en-
tries about the death camps and their
initiating mass murderers appeared
also in the columns of The Detroit

Jewish News.

There is genuine historiography in
Prof. Marrus' definitive explanation of
the emphasis given to his thesis. He
states in an elaborate explanation:
The term Holocaust, widely
used only since the 1960s, may
originally have reflected such
preoccupations and serves now
to separate this particular
massacre from other historical
instances of genocide.
Holokaustos, we are remind-
ed, comes from the third cen-
tury B.C. Greek translations of
the Old Testament, signifying
`the burnt sacrificial offering

dedicated exclusively to God:'
As such, the designation of the
massacre of European Jewry
connoted an event of theological
significance, and perhaps as
well an event whose mysteries
were not meant to be under-
stood. In addition, Holocaust
may have indicated a preference
to focus upon recounting the ex-
perience of the martyred vic-
tims, rather than the victimizers.
Holocaust it has been sug-
gested, is a nonspecific term
that implies to most people a
bolt from the blue — like an
earthquake or a flood — rather
than a deliberate, criminal act.
It does not suggest perpetrators,
and like the Nazis' own designa-
tion, Final Solution, may easily
lend itself to abuse by
misappropriation.

In this respect, it is well to
remember how recent is the
beginning of professional study
of the Holocasut and how short
a period of time the enterprise
has had to establish itself. Up to
the time of the Eichmann trial in
Jerusalem, in 1961, there was
relatively little discussion of the
massacre of European Jewry. At
Nuremberg, immediately after
the war, crimes against the Jews
were part of the proceedings

conducted by the International
Military Tribunal, but such
crimes never assumed a promi-
nent place. The most important
Nazis who directed the Final
Solution were either dead —
Hitler, Heydrich, Himmler — or
missing, or were not deemed im-
portant enough to be judged as
major criminals.
Several of the most sinister
Nazi murderers were tried and
executed subsequently — in-
cluding Otto Ohlendorf, head of
a murderous team of Eisatz-
gruppen that shot masses of
people in the Soviet Union;
Rudolf Hess, commandant of
the Auschwitz death camp (and
who apeared at Nuremberg as a
defense witness); and Dieter
Wisliceny, Eichmann's deputy,
responsible for the deportations
from Slovakia and Greece. But
these trials did not draw wide
attention and were not the occa-
sion for recounting the full
history of mass murder.
Two surveys did appear in
the early 1950s — by Gerald
Reitlinger in England and Leon
Poliakov in France. Important
collection of materials was also
undertaken in those years, as
was the establishment of in-

Continued on Page 42

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