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The Holocaust: A New History;De-Mystifies the Holocaust. Implicitly Challenges Holocaust Supremacism and the All-Jews-Must-Die Misconception,

jan peczkis|Tuesday, July 11, 2017

At the end of his book, Laurence Rees repeats the standard line about Jews being in the core of Nazi thinking and the Holocaust being exclusively Jewish and not analogous to the Nazi genocides of any other peoples. (p. 425). Ironically, he had just spent much of his book undermining both premises!

Holocaust supremacy rests on the premise that the Nazis targeted every single Jew for death, and the premise they were willing to spare no effort to kill every possible Jew. To begin with, it does not follow that a total genocide is worthy of more recognition than “only” a partial genocide. Nor is a more-fanatically-conducted genocide worthy of more recognition than a less-fanatically-conducted one.

All this is moot. Rees inadvertently shows the fallacy of both pillars of Holocaust supremacism.


The term “Final Solution” is usually taken as synonymous with the Nazi genocide of the Jews. It was not: It meant different things as different times, and never necessarily required the death of all Jews. Before WWII (p. 136), and even as late as July 1941 (p. 230), it meant deportation. Moreover, even at the height of systematic Jew-killing (1942-1944), the Jewish “problem” was considered solved if the Jews left Europe, which some were allowed to do. All this is elaborated in the ensuing paragraphs.

Rees challenges the common notion that Hitler’s speech of January 30, 1939, in which he threatened the “annihilation” of Europe’s Jews if “international Jewry” provoked another war, implied a decision to exterminate the Jews. Hitler’s terminology actually meant “banishment” (forced expulsion), being plainly made in the context of Hitler’s mockery of the democratic world hypocritically professing a concern for Jews while refusing to take them in. (p. 147).

The early proposed Nazi projects against Jews in wartime Europe utilized a combination of segregation, deportation, and death. These projects included the forced ghettoization of Jews, the Jews-to-Madagascar idea, the Jews-to-Siberia idea, etc. (pp. 200-201).

Laurence Rees considers the functionalist interpretation to have triumphed over the intentionalist one. Furthermore, instead of speculating on a clear-cut date of Nazi decision to exterminate the Jews, Rees understands what has become known as the Holocaust as a series of independent systematic murderous acts against Jews (EINSATZGRUPPEN-conducted shootings starting in mid-1941; experimental gassings of “surplus” Lodz-ghetto Jews at Chelmno (Kulm) in December 1941) that had escalated. The Wannsee Conference (January 1942) was NOT a decisive event or milestone. It merely coordinated the independent murderous “projects” that were already taking place, and left the fate of the Jews of the General Government (the eventual victims of the Operation Reinhard/Reinhardt death camps) an open question. (pp. 251-253). Interestingly, the decision to exterminate the Jews—assuming that there was any such single decision--could have happened as early as July 1941 and as late as mid-1942 (p. 429), long after Wannsee.

The systematic murder of Jews in progress (1942-1944) did not obviate deportation as a viable part of the Final Solution. For instance, the Fuhrer, in December 1942, approved of Jews being ransomed for large sums of money. (p. 396).

Nazi German Werner Best’s connivance with the Danes enabled the famed evacuation of Danish Jews to Sweden to take place. (October 1943). Far from seeing this is a defeat of Hitlerite policies, Werner Best wrote to his Nazi superiors that the JUDENAKTION in Denmark had been successful, because, after all, the de-Judaization of Denmark had become a reality. (p. 341). Rees suggests that Werner Best had abandoned his earlier murderous harshness, against Jews as well as Poles, because he feared justice after Germany’s increasingly-likely defeat. However, the very fact that Best could write the letter he did to top Nazi officials, seriously claiming success, underscores the fact that the extermination of Denmark’s Jews had NOT been essential for the fulfillment of Nazi objectives. All that mattered was that Denmark was now JUDENREIN—which it was.

In 1944, deportation continued to coexist with extermination as a viable part of the Final Solution. The best-known examples of the former are the Eichmann-Kasztner deal and the efforts of Joel Brand to ransom a large number of Jews for trucks. (pp. 393-394).

In addition to murder and deportation, the Nazis had a third way of getting rid of Europe's Jews--the redefinition of Jews as Aryans. Rees does not mention this. For details, see comments.


Rees stresses the fact that, in the case of recalcitrant allied nations, Hitler decided to go after Jews in those places he considered worthwhile (Hungary; but not Finland and Bulgaria). The Nazis chose not to pursue the Jews on the Greek island of Zakynthos, probably because they considered the number of Jews living there to be too low to justify the resources needed to find them. (p. 342).

Far from being ruled by some kind of mystical sense of destiny in destroying Jews, the Nazis were governed by pragmatism. Rees quips, “What the history of the Greek and Danish Jews demonstrates once again is how the Germans could implement their Final Solution in radically different ways in different countries. And in deciding how much they wanted to find and deport Jews in each individual place—something that, as we have seen, was a crucial element in determining how many Jews subsequently died—the Germans would, of course, have to be influenced by a whole range of other factors. Such as how easy it was to deport the Jews in practical terms, the political consequences of deporting them, how ‘racially’ dangerous they considered the particular Jews to be, whether the Jews lived near the front line or not, and so on.” (p. 343).


Laurence Rees corrects the popular misconception that the Germans added gassing to the shooting of Jews because more Jews could thereby be killed in a shorter time. It did not. At Babi Yar [Babyn Yar], the Germans proved capable of shooting 34,000 Jews in two days—a killing rate much greater than that of any death camp. (p. 223). The real reason was the sparing of the sensibilities of the killers—by making the killing less direct and personal.

Now consider the logic of genocide. It was not based solely on Nazi racism against Jews. In an October 1943 speech to senior SS leaders and other leading Germans in Posen [Poznan], Heinrich Himmler stated that he could not justify killing only Jewish men, because then the children would grow up and take revenge on “our sons and grandsons.” (p. 353).


The author does not go as far as calling Pope Pius IX Hitler’s pope. Unfortunately, however, he repeats the standard accusatory Holocaust narrative against Pope Pius XII. However, he gets at least one thing right: While Pope Pius XII did not speak out against the murders of Jews, he also did not speak out against the Nazi German murders of millions of Catholic Poles! (p. 286).

Rees debunks the claim that Hitler was a Christian. Hitler did call himself one, but that was a confessedly cynical ploy to gain the support of both Protestants and Catholics in getting his movement off the ground. (p. 33). When Hitler used terms such as “God” and “Lord”, this was in reference to a self-serving mystical force, not a Supreme Being, and this religious terminology covered-up his scorning of Christianity in private. (p. 118). The Nazis learned anew the danger, of showing their true colors, when they ordered the removal of crucifixes from schools in Bavaria, causing a public-relations disaster. (pp. 213-214). For more on Hitler’s belief in “God”, see my review of HITLER’S RELIGION, by Weikart.


Author Laurence Rees cites eminent Lithuanian historian Alfonsas Eidintas, who had studied Lithuanian-Nazi collaboration in the killing of Jews. Eidintas (p. 219) had identified five motivational factors: 1) Revenge against those seen as helping the Soviets oppress the Lithuanians; 2) expiation for one’s own earlier collaboration with the Soviets; 3) anti-Semitism; 4) opportunism (self-advancement); and 5) self-enrichment.

However, Rees does not put two and two together. Exactly the same motives can be identified behind the heavy presence of Jews in Communism: 1) “Getting back” at the Russian people for real or imagined wrongs; 2) expiation for the “backwardness” of traditional Jewish ways (especially belief in God); and 3) anti-Christianity. The Jewish spirit of self-advancement (4) and self-enrichment (5), which are quite prominent regardless of which nation Jews find themselves in, needs no elaboration.

In fact, author Laurence Rees is quite facile in the way he manages to avoid the fact of Jewish-Soviet collaboration (pp. 218-219). This is sometimes called the ZYDOKOMUNA. To see a corrective of Rees’ glosses on this subject, see comments.
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