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September 30, 1988 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-09-30

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PURELY COMMENTARY

In The U.S., Under Naziism, Testing Jewish Morality

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

I

n many matters involving character
assassinations, abuse of civil
liberties, mass murders, anti-
Semitism, there have repeated defense
claims that the guilt stemmed from
"orders from above!" Adolf Eichmann
made such claims at his Jerusalem
trial. Watergate gave evidence of it. So
did the Vietnam agony.
The newest such claim is that of the
Bush for President campaign staff
member Fred Mallek who gave up his
political post so as to prevent harm to
his presidential campaign chief. This
story is so well related in a Sept. 13 New
York Times editorial that it needs to be
utilized for its factualism. It stated:

In 1971, President Nixon
became obsessed with the idea
that Jewish officials in the
Bureau of Labor Statistics were
out to hurt him politically. He
demanded a list of names, pro-
mptly supplied by the White
House personnel chief, Frederic
V. Malek. Later Mr. Nixon
ordered George Shultz, then
Secretary of the Treasury, to
audit the tax returns of Mr. Nix-

on's "enemies." Mr. Shultz flatly
refused .. .
Mr. Nixon wanted to know
(in 1971) how many of the bureau
(of Labor Statistics) senior peo-
ple were Jews. The task
ultimately fell to Mr. Malek, who
reported that 13 of 35 top of-
ficials fitted the "demographic
criterion that was discussed:'
Two senior officials, both Jews,
were later transferred.
Mr. Malek inists he was
simply following orders, and
that he had nothing to do with
the transfers.
In justice to Mr. Malek, this
editorial added:
Others besides Mr. Bush
have rushed to defend him.
Abraham H. Foxman,national
director of the Anti-Defamation
League of B'nai B'rith, says Mr.
Malek is an unprejudiced man.
Craig Fuller, Mr. Bush's chief of
staff, calls him "a decent man"
who, in resigning, "has done the
decent thing."
But the decent thing, as Mr.
Malek must now realize, would
have been to resist Mr. Nixon's
instructions, placing ethics over
loyalty. Senior officials with the

courage to say no to what's
wrong or illegal have more
power — and staying power —
than they think. Look at George
Shultz.
The basically important declaration
in this editorial is its headline: "When
Fred Malek Could Have Said No!'
This line contains a valuable factor
in journalistic ethics. There is continu-
ing criticism of the media in the man-
ner in which Israel has been, still is,
assailed in the developing intifada. The
slightest incident of Jewish guilt is
magnified, while Arab violence is
treated with measures of indifference.
The pro and con charges need more
cautious study and treatment. The
media defense is that the ultra-
moralistic Jewish peoplehood demands
what could be interpreted as submis-
sion. There is this "moral defense."
Even on this score there is evidence
that the Jewish soldier is taught com-
passion and that the guilt there is not
on orders from above. This point will be
developed in the course of this column's
discussion.
The fact to be acknowledged at this
juncture is that our national media
never hesitate to expose crimes, con-
tinue researching when it becomes
necesary to reveal truth, exercise

fearlessness and courage in calling a
political spade what it merits. Our
newspapers have not hesitated to con-
demn anti-Semitism, as in the instance
of the Bush for President campaigners
with bad records.
Therefore, the "following orders"
guilt continues to be an important topic
for analysis. It has concerned me for
many years and an expose of the
criminal submission to "orders from
above" was the subject of an analysis on
this page 17 years ago.
It was in consideration of the
challenges that emerged in the tragic
era of the Vietnamese war that the
evolving issues were discussed in my
column in April 1971. The views of a
Catholic priest who argued, similarly to
the Malek case, to reject inhuman
orders. It was under the title "The
Calley My Lai Case — Immorality of
Order-Taking," that the issue was tackl-
ed, taking into consideration also the
Israeli attitude in the time of Moshe
Dayan. Here was my analysis of the
serious issue that remains a challenge
for all time:
Let us turn back the pages of
time and recall an admonition
from a Catholic priest. In A

Soldier Priest Talks to Youth,

Continued on Page 38

Composer Robert Stolz Had A Rescuer's Role

R

obert Stolz has written his
name indelibly in musical his-
tory. If it were only for his
Zweilerzen in Dreivierteltnakt (Two
Hearts in Three-Quarter Time) his
record as a composer would be immense.
The hundreds of his popular waltzes, as
conductor as well as composer, in close
association with the most distinguish-
ed in musical achievements, place him
in the highest ranks of creativity in
music.
As librettist, as composer of music
for operas and operettas, the name
Robert Stolz will surely be unforget-
table. So also is the share he had in the
making of musical films and his con-
tributions to the most artistic in
Hollywood.
It is in Jewish historical records, in
the battle against Nazism, in the heroic
Holocaust story, that Stolz's name will
keep drawing admiration and gratitude.
From the very year of Adolf Hitler's rise

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
(US PS 275-520) is published every Friday
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Postmaster: Send changes to:
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Vol. XCIV No. 5

2

September 30, 1988

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 1988

to power he hated the Fuehrer and his
party An account of it is given in his
autobiographical work, The Barbed
Wire Waltz — The Life of the Last Waltz
King, written from his personal ac-
counts by Aram Bakshian Jr.
The Viennese-born Robert Stolz was
in Berlin in the years of his many in-
troductory creative musical works. He
treated Hitlerism and the Nazi chief-
tains with disgust. In his life story he
refers to an early incident of contempt
for the Nazis in the early 1930s. He
relates this incident:
All of my life I have been
haunted by the shadow of im-
aginary fear in the form of my
"private devil:' Intellectually, I
know that there is no real basis
for this terror, but when it
strikes it still seems dreadfully
real and uncontrollable to me.
On those few occasions
when I've been exposed to real
danger, my nerves seemed to
hold up pretty well. Between
1933 and 1938, but especially
after my permanent move to
Vienna, I became a smuggler —
a smuggler of people. Twenty-
one times I smuggled Jewish or
political refugees across the
Austro-German border to safety
in Vienna.
It began simiply enough. A
friend of mine who heard that I
was about to take a trip from
Berlin to Vienna told me that he
knew of an unfortunate woman
with two children who was try-
ing to escape, but had no
papers. The woman was a

stranger to me. But as you know,
I am the last man in the world
to say "no," especially to a
desperate woman, who is being
hunted by the Gestapo and has
two little children in tow. So,
without really thinking about it,
I agreed to smuggle the unfor-
tunate trio across the border.
In the thirties I always
travelled between my two
favorite cities by car — my huge,
sleek, black Graef & Stift, in
those days the continental
equivalent of a Rolls Royce. My
chauffeur was a hulking big
fellow, a true diamond in the
rough named Braun. I trusted
him and I also felt I owed it to
him to let him know about my
plan.
Braun responded just as ad-
mirably as I expected. "Sure,
boss. You always ride up front
anyway, so all we need to do is
put your friends under an extra
layer of carpet in the back.
Maybe it would be a good idea
to put a Swastika emblem on the
hood, just to give the impression
you're a god party member . ."
Which we did — the first and
last official sanction I ever gave
to Hitler .. .
I am lucky. Robert Stolz is a
familiar name, a celebrity name.
The German border guards
recognize me and nod approv-
ingly at the Swasika on the
hood. One of them even asks for
my autograph, "for my wife," he
says. No need to search the lug-

Einzi and Robert Stolz

gage. No notice of the lump
beneath the carpet in the
darkened back seat. The smiling
guards wave us through, Braun
winks at me, the big Graef &
Stift engine roars into action,
and we are in Austria.
Twenty more times I make
that journey with a hidden
cargo of the hunted, the
persecuted. Twenty more times
Braun, I and my cargoes of
frightened, fleeing men, women
ly. But
and children arrive safe
all too soon my "swindle" is over.
In 1938 Austria ceases to be a
haven for German Jews and
political refugees; in fact,
Continued on Page 38

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