by Mark Musser
It has been well documented for quite some time now with the rise of Islamic populations in Europe that the EU has succumbed to increasing antisemitism. By making the Muslims, who are perhaps among the most unassimilated people groups in the world, the posterchild for politically correct multiculturalism, this is hardly surprising. European multiculturalism is a counterfeit to the American melting pot ideal as it actually rebuilds barriers and divisions between people groups since it celebrates the differences rather than diminish them. What is not as well appreciated, alongside their antisemitic multiculturalism that even goes so far so as to sometimes condemn the Jews as occupiers of their own land, European nationalism bubbling under the surface of the EU is likewise showing its fangs against Israel. Such European nationalistic antisemitism is much more subtle, pervasive, and effective than Neo-Nazi punks who have little influence over society. Furthermore, European nationalisms also often have semi-socialist slants to them as well that stand against the classical liberalism of American Republicanism.
Perhaps one of the most outstanding examples of antisemitic nationalism at work as of late has been going on in Poland. In 2018, Poland raised the hackles of Israel relative to its own past regarding their historical activities during the holocaust. The row went so far so as to envelope the museum at Auschwitz – which has since died back – but troubles are still smoldering behind the scenes. The controversy at the time even managed to create difficulties between American and Polish diplomatic relations as well.
The catalyst that caused the row was when President Duda of Poland signed in February of 2018 what has been dubbed the “holocaust law.” The upshot of this law is that it criminalizes whoever might claim Poland collaborated with the Nazis during the gruesome days of the Shoah. Polish authorities insist the new law will never be directed against historians involved in ‘scientific’ holocaust investigations. Neither will the new law affect those who claim individual Poles collaborated with the Nazis against the Jews. The new law will only be enforced against those who charge collective responsibility against the Polish people in general for being holocaust collaborators.
The motivation behind the new holocaust law is to ostensibly to protect Poland’s good name from Nazi smears along anti-defamation lines. Part of the madness is that Neo-Nazis sometimes say that it was Poland itself who converted Nazi SS concentration camps setup for Jews into death camps. On the contrary, it was SS euthanasia specialists, who were initially used in Germany to kill those considered to be the weak, the insane, the retarded, and the diseased along ‘scientific’ eugenic lines, that were transferred to Poland as the war broke out against the Soviet Union in 1941. It was they who designed death camps like Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka in the backwater areas of Poland. Their task was to euthanize Polish Jewry, and this ended up murdering millions.
While there is no question the Nazis were the perpetrators of the holocaust, neither can it be historically denied they also found fertile ground in Eastern Europe to promote their sinister plans as antisemitism was rife behind the lines of the Russian Front throughout the war. Thus, Nazi Germany had a ready-made tool to wield against the Jews in the dark shadows of World War II which made their sinister deeds much easier to do than otherwise should have been. It is beyond doubt that some Polish people even helped the Nazis in the holocaust.
Yet Poland is understandably tired of hearing people talk about “Polish death” and “concentration camps.” All such characterizations are terrible misnomers, and sometimes even come all too easily with a simple slip of the tongue or pen. While words always need to be used with caution, such a lazy tongue or pen is not a criminal act worthy of jail. Nor should it be used as a justification to take away free speech – particularly over something as egregious as the holocaust.
The Poles, of course, also suffered greatly under the Nazi regime, particularly with regard to the Warsaw uprising of 1944, a truth that is so often overlooked and ignored in all the annals of World War II. There were also some Poles who greatly risked their lives to help the Jews during horrific times in which the Nazis executed anyone who dared to help them.
Yet, it can also be easily argued that such instances were, in fact, the exception – not the rule. Meaning that it is much easier to argue that rare occurrences of individual bravery were seen from time to time from Polish people to protect or save Jews, but in general, this was far from the case. Many bystanders even watched both the perpetrators and the collaborators commit crimes against the Jews. How much cover is this? It is a very dark, murky question that scholars have been wrestling with for decades.
Thanks to Polish nationalists who were working anonymously behind the scenes, even Wikipedia got themselves in trouble for having posted an online encyclopedia article that was up for some 15 years which stated Warsaw had a death camp in its environs that killed 200,000 Poles. According to Israel’s daily newspapers, Haaretz and the Times of Israel, the article was chock “full of falsehoods and may have been the online encyclopedia’s most enduring hoax before it was rewritten in August.”
Over the years, up to a half million visitors had read the false article. Professor Havi Dreifuss of Tel Aviv University and Yad Vashem holocaust expert on Poland called the Wikipedia article “fake history.” Worse, the Haaretz newspaper “said its investigation of the false article uncovered a much wider problem — a concerted effort by Polish nationalists to alter hundreds of entries on the site to improve Poland’s wartime reputation. The effort is part of a larger trend in Poland to distance itself from culpability in the Holocaust and portray the Polish people solely as victims of Nazi persecution, despite growing research on the depth of Polish complicity in Nazi crimes. Politicians from Israel and Poland have long been at odds over Warsaw’s stance toward the genocide.”
While German Protestantism was loaded with antisemitism going all the way back to Luther, Poland’s very Catholic history is no better, if not worse. Not only did the Catholic Church consider the Jews to be “Christ killers”, and thus worthy of persecution, they also excluded the Jews from their theology in spite of the fact the Bible was largely written by Jews. With no small thanks to Augustine’s “City of God” replacement theology dating back to the 400’s, the Catholic Church presumed the church was the true ‘spiritual’ Israel – not Israel itself. Undergirded by its allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures which was deemed more spiritually minded, the import of Israel’s covenantal and prophetic history tied to the Promised Land was ignored. Augustine buried Jewish salvation and/or eschatology under a replacement theology that taught the New Testament church completely supplanted Old Testament Israel even though most covenantal and prophetic language in the Bible is unmistakably Jewish in character. In other words, the problem of Polish nationalism and antisemitism also has religious roots that is just as much a part of the problem as the more secularized political revisionism being espoused and promoted today.
Yet, such nationalistic antisemitism also cuts across the so-called left side of the political spectrum with things like antisemitic environmentalism that has been trying outlaw as much as possible Jewish kosher slaughter practices. Many European countries have strict animal rights laws that make it difficult for Jews to freely practice kosher slaughter. Poland too has been considering enacting anti-kosher laws over the years – but so far has not crossed that line. More than likely, Poland’s more recent decision to finally back off of their anti-kosher law has far more to do with the severe backlash it received from the passage of its own holocaust law rather than some genuine concern for the Jewish people. Indeed, more than a few in Poland want to ban kosher slaughter meat for export, which is already true in Germany. In 2013, Poland did ban kosher slaughter altogether, but the high court ruled the law unconstitutional since it failed to protect religious freedom.
While such laws/bills are being trumpeted in the name of animal welfare, the great difficulty here is that anti-kosher laws are virtually anti-Semitic by nature since they restrict and limit the very sustenance and subsistence of the Jewish people. Anti-kosher laws thus cross very dangerous lines. They are an attack on Jewish food supply. That the Austrian Freedom Party also tried, but failed, to pass anti-kosher legislation is no less troublesome. Such attempts at such high levels of government reveal that nationalistic European Anti-Semitism is alive and well.
Neither is it a coincidence that anti-kosher laws in Nazi Germany preceded the Nuremberg Laws which stripped the Jewish people of their citizenship back in the 1930’s. It must be remembered that Nazi Germany also passed a strong animal rights law that effectively outlawed Jewish kosher slaughter in 1933. As a part of the law, even animal experimentation was highly regulated in the name of animal welfare. In 1934, Hitler was awarded the Eichelberger Humane Award by a Seattle-based United States animal rights foundation. Yet, a whole section of the law was devoted to the alleged Jewish barbarity of kosher slaughter. In 1936, Poland followed Germany’s lead in adopting its own anti-kosher law.
Produced in 1940, the infamous Nazi documentary film “The Eternal Jew,” singled out kosher slaughter at its climax that spent an inordinate amount of time characterizing the practice as barbaric and inhumane. As early as 1930, Dr. Hans Frank, Hitler’s lawyer and the Governor-General of Poland during the war, publicly attacked the Jews for their kosher slaughter practices before a group of Munich animal lovers. After other activists and a medical expert spoke at the conference, Frank presented a lecture about the evils of celebrating the Passover because of its ties to kosher slaughter. After he finished his tirade, the assembly adopted a resolution which stated, “The time will come for the salvation of animals from the perverse persecution of retarded sub humans.”
That the Jews were later stuffed in cattle cars that broke Nazi animal welfare transport laws on trains, and then sent them to death and concentration camps in Poland set up like stockyards where they were often herded with whips and dogs – and then either experimented upon, worked to death and/or ultimately murdered – is an incredible gruesome fulfillment of that previous animal rights prophecy which needs to be taken into consideration by European authorities relative to their own legislative stances on kosher slaughter practices.
Mark Musser is a part-time missionary, author, and a farmer, depending on what time of day and year it is. His home is in Olympia, Washington, but he spends most of his time on the mission field in the former Soviet Union. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Corban University in Salem, Oregon, and is a contributing Writer for the Cornwall Alliance. His book Nazi Ecology provides a sobering history lesson on the philosophical foundations of the early German green movement, which was absorbed by National Socialism in the 1930s and proved to be a powerful undercurrent during the Holocaust.