Anti-Semitic vandalism in Amsterdam

Dokwerker statue, daubed with ADO colours, NOS photo

Dutch NOS TV reports today that there has been anti-Semitic vandalism in Amsterdam, probably by far-right hooligans of ADO The Hague football club. This photo shows the Dokwerker statue. It commemorates the 1941 general strike by dock workers and other workers against the deportation of Jews by the German nazi occupiers. Green and yellow, the colours of the vandalism, are the ADO colours.

The, presumably, ADO hooligans have painted the slogan JHK at various places in Amsterdam. It is an abbreviation of ‘Jews have cancer’. It is against Amsterdam football club Ajax; according to anti-Semites, a ‘Jewish club’ as it has had some Jewish players and executive members.

Swastika in Amsterdam

This nazi swastika in Amsterdam was also daubed, probably, by ADO hooligans.


Anti-Semitic violence in Germany

This video, about anti-Semitism in Germany, 1933-1950, says about itself:

German Nazi stormtroopers ride on the back of a lorry flying their swastika flags and chanting about Jews. Exterior views of Jewish owned shops with their windows being painted with slogans and the Star of David. CU of sign which reads: “Achtung Juden”. Storm troopers argue with people outside a shop. MS of shop window painted with Star and the word ‘Jude’ in large letters. More shots of Nazis standing outside shops and chanting from their lorries. (Presumably these are events surrounding Kristallnacht – Crystal night in 1938)

Large military parade in Berlin. Cutaways to show crowds giving Nazi salutes. Paratroops in their drop gear are amongst those marching. Quick shot of Adolf Hitler (the Fuehrer) and Hermann Goering saluting. High angle shot of parade of military armoured vehicles. More shots of parade and Hitler saluting.

Shots of Berlin at the end of the War. Massive devastation from bombing and shelling. Shots of bombed Reichstag.

Shots of people and corpses in concentration / forced labour camp (not clear which one). MS of skeletal looking man – very under nourished. Large number of emaciated looking dead bodies on ground. Large numbers of corpses in the end of a deep trench.

(Quick shot of unidentified man speaking to camera). Shots of people walking around in post war reconstructed Germany. CU spray painted swastika on wall. More shots of Berlin. Another painted swastika. Exterior of Adler House in London- Court of the Chief Rabbi. CU Swastika painted on door.

Police on patrol outside synagogue. Courtroom shots of trial of unidentified man. (1950s?)

Travelling shots under row of swastika flags.

Huge crowd gathers to cheer the Fuehrer. Shot of Adolf Hitler waving from balcony. Crowds give Nazi salute and chant ‘Heil’. Night shots of torchlight parade. Rudolf Hess and Hitler salute with others from balcony. Various shots of parade – lots of swastikas.

Scenes of the burning of the books on Unter Den Linden in Berlin. Copies of unfavourable books are thrown onto a large bonfire. Dr Joseph Goebbels addresses the crowds. More of the books are thrown onto the fire to burn.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

Anti-Semitic and far-right violence on the rise in Germany

21 February 2019

Statistics shedding light on dangerous political developments in Germany were released over the past week. Antisemitic crimes and acts of violence have risen sharply over the past year. According to the latest figures from the federal government, police forces across the country registered 1,646 antisemitic criminal acts during 2018. This is 10 percent more than in 2017. For that year, the federal government registered 1,504 antisemitic attacks.

The number of antisemitic acts of violence grew even more quickly last year, by 40 percent. While the police confirmed 62 violent crimes in 2018, it was 37 a year earlier.

The figures were provided in answers by the grand coalition to parliamentary questions tabled by the Left Party on antisemitic criminality. The answer also revealed that the largest number of antisemitic violent crimes were perpetrated by individuals associated with the far-right spectrum. Out of 755 criminal acts categorised as antisemitic, 670 were labelled politically motivated crimes (PMKs). Twenty-five are listed as “PMK-foreign ideology,” 17 as “PMK-religious ideology”m and eight as “PMK-left-wing.”

These extremely concerning figures were barely noted by the political establishment and mainstream media. Most newspapers published brief news items, and neither the German chancellor nor leading politicians from the government or opposition parties made statements. At the government press conference on February 13, Interior Ministry spokesperson Sören Schmidt dismissed the question of how these attacks were to be explained and what was being done to prevent them by saying that the government’s antisemitism ombudsman was looking into the matter. He had “no further comment to make at this time.”

The published figures are obviously a major irritant for the establishment parties. The figures expose the lying official claim, supported by the far-right AfD, that antisemitism in Germany has been “imported”, and is linked above all to Muslim immigrants. As the statistics reveal, the vast majority of antisemitic incidents are not linked to religious or “foreign ideology,” let alone left-wing groups, but are the responsibility of the far right.

The rise of antisemitic crimes is part of a growing wave of far-right violence. According to the latest figures on right-wing criminality published by the Interior Ministry, there were 19,105 crimes committed between January and November 2018 that were classified as “PMK-right-wing,” including 1,072 acts of violence. In addition, “one successful and six attempted murders motivated by right-wing politics took place.” The real number is likely much higher.

Most of the right-wing criminality and acts of violence last year occurred in September. During this month, neo-Nazis repeatedly marched through Chemnitz to witch-hunt foreigners and left-wing opponents. During the right-wing extremist marches, antisemitic attacks also occurred. In one of these incidents, a neo-Nazi mob attacked the Jewish restaurant Schalom. At the time, there was no outcry in the media or political establishment. On the contrary, leading government officials, including Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and former head of the domestic intelligence agency Hans-Georg Maassen, declared their solidarity with the right-wing extremist protests, and denied that any violent attacks took place.

The figures that have now been published are an indictment of the German government and the entire ruling class, which have created the conditions in which violent right-wing extremist thugs and antisemites are able to act ever more aggressively. The established parties are promoting and defending the right-wing extremist AfD, cooperating with it in parliamentary committees, and embracing its programme so as to enforce militarist policies, the strengthening of the domestic repressive apparatus and social spending cuts.

The grand coalition’s refugee policy is just as heavily influenced by the AfD as its strengthening of the police, intelligence agencies, and military. The grand coalition’s Verfassungsschutz Report, issued by the domestic intelligence agency, also bears the AfD’s imprint. While the AfD and its right-wing extremist supporters are merely mentioned as the “victims” of alleged “left-wing extremism”, all opposition to capitalism, nationalism, militarism, and imperialism is denounced as “left-wing extremist” and “unconstitutional”, The Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP) is taking legal action against surveillance by German secret service.

In his book, Why Are They Back? Historical Falsification, Political Conspiracy, and the Return of Fascism in Germany, SGP Deputy National Secretary Christoph Vandreier examines in detail how the AfD’s rise was systematically prepared ideologically and politically by the intelligence agencies, political parties, the media and university professors. This created the intellectual environment within which fascism could thrive once again almost 75 years after the collapse of the Third Reich.

In the first chapter, “The return of German militarism”, Vandreier deals with what is in a certain sense a programmatic article, “The transformation of the past”, which appeared in Der Spiegel in early 2014. Authored by Dirk Kurbjuweit, who was subsequently promoted to the position of deputy editor-in-chief of Germany’s largest news magazine, the article appealed for a “revision” of the crimes of German imperialism in the twentieth century. As key witnesses in support of this “transformation,” Kurbjuweit cited the right-wing Humboldt University historian Jörg Baberowski, and the best-known Nazi apologist of the post-war period, Ernst Nolte.

He cited Nolte as saying, among other things, “I am more and more convinced that we should attach more weight to the role played by the Poles and the British [in the question of responsibility for triggering World War II] than is usually the case.” Nolte also accused the Jews of “ ‘Their own part in the gulag’, because some Bolsheviks were Jews.” Although Kurbjuweit remarked that this has long been an argument of “jew haters”, he went on to comment, “But this man [Nolte] wasn’t wrong about everything.” He then cited Baberowski, a firm supporter of Nolte, who stated, “Hitler was not a psychopath, he was not vicious. He did not want to talk about the extermination of the Jews at his table.”

“Baberowski’s breathtaking falsification of history and downplaying of Nazi crimes met with no opposition whatsoever from academia and the media,” wrote Vandreier in Why are They Back?. He then dealt with the reasons for this. The sharp shift to the right in intellectual life in Germany “cannot be explained by referring to the spinelessness of a few professors.” Behind this quiescence lies “a fundamental development: the return of German militarism. The falsification of history prepares the ground for new wars.”

It is now commonplace for right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis to ridicule the Nazis’ victims without any protests coming from the political establishment or media. At the end of January, AfD parliamentary deputy Marc Jongen delivered a fascist speech following the annual parliamentary commemoration of the Holocaust in which he relativised the Nazis’ crimes. Prior to this, AfD deputies in the Bavarian state parliament boycotted a Holocaust commemoration event. And on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Polish right-wing extremists demonstrated on the grounds of the former concentration camp and shouted anti-Semitic slogans.

In contrast to the 1930s, fascism is not yet a mass movement. But it is equally as dangerous due to the support it enjoys from high places. The most important lesson of German history is that the struggle against fascism, antisemitism and militarism is inseparable from the fight against their source, the capitalist system, and against all defenders of this bankrupt system. This is the perspective of the SGP. The SGP is running candidates in the European elections to arm the opposition of workers and young people to the far-right danger with a socialist programme.

Holocaust survivors, new film

This 2016 video from the USA says about itself:

Surviving the Holocaust

“You don’t ever expect to be hauled out of your house, marched into a gas chamber, and be choked to death,” says Irene Fogel Weiss. Yet, that is exactly what happened to most of her family in the summer of 1944. Irene was thirteen at the time, and by several twists of fate, she survived. “There is a life force in all of us that you just want to live another day,” she says. “Let’s survive this. We have to survive this.”

Irene shares her story of survival with hundreds of high school students every year. In this program, we listen in on her presentation to Woodson High School students as she shares a personal account of the events that lead to the Holocaust. She discusses her life as a child in Hungary, the changes she witnessed as the Nazis took power, and all manner of degradations imposed on the Jewish people.

Irene describes how her family was ostracized from society and how the Jewish “ghettos” were created. She discusses what her family did and did not know about Nazi practices across Europe and how the deportation of Jews worked. She recounts her arrival at the worst of all Nazi death camps – Auschwitz-Birkenau – and shares historic photos, taken by the Nazis, which capture the very day that her family arrived.

She talks about the painful separation from her family and what it was like to be a prisoner at Auschwitz.

After sharing the story of her liberation and rebuilding her life in America, Irene examines the questions of propaganda and humanity that surround the Holocaust. She helps students understand the importance of critical examination of information and comparing sources. She discusses how a basic lack of empathy and humanity toward each other can lead to cruel, and ultimately horrific, behaviors. Irene uses her experience in the Holocaust as a lesson for us all.

By Margot Miller in Britain:

A documentary film by Arthur Cary, first shown on BBC Two

15 February 2019

The fascist right is once again rearing its ugly head, aided by a concerted attempt to falsify history and rehabilitate Nazism by minimising its crimes.

There will soon be no living survivors who can testify to the horrors of the Holocaust in which six million Jews were murdered. Director Arthur Cary has captured the testimony of some of the last generation who were children in the camps, most of whom saw the genocide of their parents, siblings, relatives and friends. Cary spent a year with the survivors making this unique documentary. His other credits include TV series American Justice.

When the camps were liberated at the end of the war, thousands made their way to Britain. But most remained silent for decades, unable or unwilling to speak about their experiences. The viewer is introduced to the octogenarians, some older, who are about to tell their stories. In 1945, Ivor Perl was a 13-year-old in Dachau, where he lost his parents and brother. “For 50 years I couldn’t talk [about it, but] you can’t reject the past, it has various ways of guiding your life,” he says.

All the participants in the film evidence a terrible level of trauma.

Ivor, now 86, shares the memories of his 13-year-old self in Auschwitz. It was time for his bar mitzvah. Looking through the barbed wire fence and seeing the birds fly by, he remembers thinking, “Please god, let me out of this hell hole.”

Grenfell Tower made a tremendous impression” on Ivor. “When I saw the flames, I could see my family burned in the camp.”

After more than 60 years, he returns to Auschwitz for the first time, accompanied by his daughter and grand-daughter. It is at his daughter’s instigation—an attempt at a deeper understanding. He clearly does not want to be there but is shown speaking to other visitors of his experience before making clear he has had enough. Talking doesn’t help.

Manfred Goldberg holds a picture of his brother, who was murdered by the Nazis (Credit: Richard Ansett Minnow Films BBC)

Ivor’s daughter explains how she felt she could not approach her father when she was upset, because of his childhood.

Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, 93, only escaped the gas chamber because she was a cellist and was enlisted to play in the camp orchestra. She is hardened by her experiences in the camps, uncommonly strong. But this has impacted on her relationship with her child, Maya, who she named “after my beloved elder sister. I wanted to recreate a family.”

Anita admitted she did not understand how to make her child happy, could not relate to the trauma felt by Maya and other children of survivors. Maya had parents and a roof over her head, so she “should be grateful.” She too found it problematic talking about what had happened in those dark days. When do you tell children why they have no grandparents, she wondered?

Maya felt “there was something wrong with me.”

We see Anita at the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. For the “neo-Nazis this is a complete eyesore”, she says. We see her addressing the Bundestag (German parliament) in Berlin at the annual Holocaust memorial Commemoration. The fascist Alternative for Germany (AfD) now sits in the Bundestag as the official opposition. Last month, an AfD deputy denounced the Holocaust Commemoration in parliament—the third attempt this year to besmirch the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

Manfred Goldberg, 87, struggled all his life to come to terms with the death of his little brother, Hermann, in the camps. He has a painting of Hermann—he paid an artist in English cigarettes to capture his likeness from a photograph. He gave it to his mother on her first birthday after they were liberated.

Finally, after 72 years, he is able to return to his hometown Kassel to place a memorial plaque to his family. Deeply moved, he says his loss has “now been publicly and officially, incontrovertibly and indisputably confirmed,” but questions how many people will stop and truly look.

Lydia Tischler recounts how she used to fantasise that her mother had survived. She was not unique in this. She wrote a short poem when “at a low point”:

Mummy, who held your hand when you were dying? Who closed your eyes when you were dead?

Frank Bright, who now lives in leafy Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, was a child inmate in Belsen. He has an old class photograph, and on each pupil is placed either a red or blue sticker. “It’s red for dead,” he tells the camera.

Frank Bright 1942 Prague school photo - those marked red died

We follow his finger on a spreadsheet where he has recorded the fate of all his classmates who died in the camps—“otherwise like all the rest they disappear into oblivion.”

Frank describes his world after liberation. “There was no home, no class mates, all was gone. I was completely on my own.”

Frank Bright

At 79, Maurice Blick attends the launch of an exhibition of his sculptures. His wife tells us that the models’ faces all portray his father, who died in Auschwitz. He has peopled his spacious garden with these larger than life statues, rough-hewn yet with grace and beauty. He says he “feels the need to bring his father back to life,” to give life to the mountain of corpses his young eyes bore witness to.

Maurice says creating does not come easily, describing his first effort—the little model he made for his sister for her first birthday in the camp. “I’d found a carrot, a bit bent. I made it into a boat, I put sticks in for masts. I was 5 and a half. I couldn’t give her this.” One morning, before her birthday, she was found dead. His older sister just placed her outside on the heap of other corpses who had passed away in the night. His work has “always been a struggle, never a lovely experience, always a torment.”

Painter Sam Dresner, who lives in Harrow, London, says he realised a year or two ago that his “hang-ups from the days in the camp seem to be getting stronger.” His mother and sister were sent to the extermination camp Treblinka, in occupied Poland, where they were gassed.

We see a beautiful acrylic sketch from memory of his mother. She looks very sad. But he cannot picture his sister and he has no photograph of her. This frustrates him. He has made an abstract collage in memory of her.

Another “obsession” he has is with forests, which he recreates on canvass. “The bigger, the darker the forest the better, for smaller exterminations like 500,” he recalls. The sick were disposed of there—“some were still alive when buried.”

Sam is consumed with anger, he has “dreams of revenge.”

Despite experiencing unimaginable horrors, every one of the survivors featured in the film are remarkable. The sorrow that they carry with them still has not given way to despair. They are, however, as bewildered today as they were so many years ago as children as to why this happened to them.

Manfred considers “those events we went through, which we cannot comprehend.”

Zigi Shipper worries about the future. “Europe, America, the Middle East, things are brewing everywhere. We could live in peace and we don’t even attempt to.”

Anita asks herself, “Who can make sense of it? There is no sense in anything that happened. We’re really talking about a 1,000-year-old virus called anti-Semitism.”

The heart-rending testimony of the last survivors underscores the monumental scale of the crimes committed by the Nazis and the fact that there is still much confusion about fascism and its rise to power. A powerful milestone in understanding these critical events from the 20th century was the publication last October by Mehring-Verlag (Mehring Books) of an examination of the current day resurgence of fascism in Germany. Why Are They Back? Historical Falsification, Political Conspiracy and the Return Of Fascism in Germany is authored by Christoph Vandreier, the deputy-chairperson of the Socialist Equality Party (Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei–SGP).

The English edition of the volume will be launched on March 17 at Foyle’s bookshop in London. Vandreier and David North, the national chairperson of the Socialist Equality Party in the US and chair of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, will speak at the event.

This vital publication will provide an important weapon in arming the working class against the return of fascism and war, so that future generations do not have to go through the agonies related by the survivors in Arthur Cary’s remarkable film.

The Last Survivors can be accessed on BBC iPlayer until February 26.

Fascists march in Auschwitz

This 17 November 2017 video from Britain says about itself:

Jayda confirms that Britain First [Donald Trump’s favourite British neonazis] support antisemitism

You’ve probably seen that Paul and Jayda’s chum has been sent to prison in Poland and they have posted this video entitled “VIDEO: Jayda Fransen calls for the release of Polish political prisoner Piotr Rybak!”

Now, Rybak isn’t a “political prisoner”. Rybak is a nasty, bigoted antisemitic fool. I have a feeling that is why Paul and Jayda get on with him so well. He has been sent to prison for 10 months as he burned a Jewish effigy at a far right march in Wroclaw last year.

He did put forward the excuse that he “wanted to burn an effigy of George Soros”, however what he did was burn an effigy of a stereotypical right wing depiction of an Orthodox Jew. He backed up his defence by saying that he “didn’t know what George Soros looked like so didn’t know if the effigy was right”.

You’d have thought that if you were wanting to burn an effigy of someone you didn’t like, that you would actually know who it was that you didn’t like…..and if you didn’t know what they looked like then there’s this little thing called Google which can help.

So, quite rightly, he has been convicted for “incitement to hatred on the basis of nationality, ethnicity or religion”. So, not only willing to go against Muslims in the U.K, it seems that Britain First are now also outing themselves as antisemitic/supporting people in being antisemitic.

⚠️⚠️TRIGGER WARNING⚠️⚠️ Jayda is in full on screech mode here, and has even bought a t shirt with Rybak’s face on it.

By Clara Weiss:

Fascists march in Auschwitz

31 January 2019

On January 27, on the 74th anniversary of the liberation of the death camp of Auschwitz by the Soviet Red Army, between 50 and 100 Polish fascists marched through the doors of the camp, where more than 1 million European Jews were gassed by the Nazis during World War II. The fascists sang the Polish national anthem and shouted anti-Semitic slogans. The leader of the demonstration, Piotr Rybak, infamous for burning an effigy representing a Jew in 2015, stated that “It’s time to fight against Jewry and free Poland from them!”

Such a demonstration of far-right anti-Semitism at the Auschwitz memorial, which is universally seen as a symbol for the horrific crimes perpetrated by fascism, is historically unprecedented. This outrageous event is the outcome of political processes that have been unfolding in Poland and throughout Eastern Europe since the dissolution of the Stalinist regimes and the restoration of capitalism.

This year will mark the 30th anniversary of the dissolution of the Eastern European regimes through their Stalinist bureaucracies in 1989. Shortly thereafter, in December 1991, the Soviet bureaucracy destroyed the Soviet Union and fully restored capitalism in Russia. …

This counter-revolutionary process was hailed and justified by bourgeois ideologists as a “democratic revolution”. The result, workers were told, would be democracy, peace and prosperity for all. The opposite has been the case.

The restoration of capitalism has given rise to obscene levels of social inequality throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and immiserated tens of millions of workers. It has also transformed the region into a center stage for the systematic preparations of imperialism for another world war. Virtually all of these countries are now ruled by rabidly nationalist regimes that are preparing for war, promoting anti-Semitism, and enacting police state measures.

The fascist protesters express what is the official state policy in Poland. In early 2018, the Polish government, led by the far-right Law and Justice Party (PiS), outlawed any mention of crimes perpetrated by Poles against Jews during the Holocaust. Since then, numerous historians working on Polish anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish pogroms have been fired from their jobs.

In November, prominent state officials, including the Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who participated in the official Auschwitz commemoration ceremony on January 27, marched alongside fascists from Poland and other European countries on Polish independence day.

The resurgence of fascism in Poland and other Eastern European countries is a particularly sharp expression of what is an international process.

In Germany, the Grand Coalition has deliberately made the neo-fascist Alternative for Germany (AfD) the principal opposition party and has adopted key aspects of its policies and rhetoric. While hundreds of thousands have demonstrated against the far-right over the past year, Jörg Baberowski, the Humboldt University academic, who has publicly stated that “Hitler wasn’t vicious”, is allowed to relativize crimes of Nazism with the backing of the leading political parties and media at the prestigious Humboldt University in Berlin.

In France, president Emmanuel Macron, who has presided over a violent crack-down on the yellow vest movement, recently hailed the fascist dictator Philippe Pétain as a “great soldier.”

In Ukraine, the celebration of Ukrainian fascist leader Stepan Bandera and his movement, which engaged in mass murder of Poles, Jews and Ukrainian civilians during World War II, has become official state policy since the US-backed far-right coup in February 2014.

Jewish anti-nazis against honouring French fascist dictator

The antifa group Jewish Antifascist Action vandalized a plaque in New York honoring Nazi collaborator Philippe Petain. Photo Jewish Antifascist Action

By Aiden Pink in the USA:

Members of a Jewish antifa group defaced a plaque on Monday in New York honoring a French leader who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.

The plaque in the Canyon of Heroes in Lower Manhattan honored Philippe Pétain, a French general in World War I who later led the Vichy regime, which oversaw the deportation of more than 75,000 Jews to concentration camps, the vast majority of whom were killed.

The plaque commemorating Pétain’s 1931 parade in the “Canyon of Heroes” was splattered with red paint on Monday, the day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, by the group Jewish Antifascist Action. They also covered the surrounding area with other antifa-related graffiti.

“With Monday’s actions, Jewish antifascists and allied forces have served notice that fascist apologism will not be tolerated in our city in 2019; that anti-Semitic ideology and violence will be confronted with Jewish solidarity and strength; and that the Holocaust will be remembered not only with sadness and grief but also with righteous anger and action: ‘We will never forget. We will never forgive’”,the group said in a statement.

The group added that its action was done in solidarity with the Outlive Them Network, an international antifascist group that has called for global actions over the next few months. The network previously inspired actions in 18 across seven countries last November on the anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Former New York state assemblyman Dov Hikind pushed for the plaque honoring Pétain to be removed in 2017. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced later that year that the plaque would be removed, but the removal has not yet occurred.

German neonazi politicians disrupt Holocaust commemoration

This video says about itself:

The Liberation of Dachau – HD & Color – International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January

ADVANCE NOTE: This programme contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion advised.

Dachau concentration camp was the first of the Nazi concentration camps opened in Germany, intended to hold political prisoners. It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory southeast of the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, in southern Germany.

Opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler, its purpose was enlarged to include forced labor, and eventually, the imprisonment of Jews, ordinary German and Austrian criminals, and eventually foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded. The Dachau camp system grew to include nearly 100 sub-camps, which were mostly work camps or “Arbeitskommandos,” and were located throughout southern Germany and Austria. The camps were liberated by U.S. forces on 29 April 1945.

By Peter Schwarz and Andre Damon:

Fascist deputies disrupt Holocaust memorial in Germany

26 January 2019

On Wednesday, deputies from the neo-fascist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party disrupted a Holocaust remembrance ceremony in the state parliament of Bavaria, with over a dozen members walking out of the room and one member posting a vulgar tirade against the speaker, a Holocaust survivor.

This week’s event, taking place in the same city where Adolf Hitler staged his infamous Beer Hall Putsch almost a century ago, has laid bare the ongoing rehabilitation of the Nazi regime and the Holocaust in Germany.

The neo-Nazis of the AfD feel emboldened to take such actions because the Grand Coalition government has worked to encourage and legitimize its anti-immigrant, xenophobic and ultimately antisemitic policies. The fascists know that they will not be seriously criticized by the ruling Christian Democratic and Social Democratic parties, which have adopted much of the AfD’s platform as their own.

Having adopted the AfD’s critique of Germany’s “welcoming culture”, the Grand Coalition has set up internment camps for refugees inside Germany’s borders. Meanwhile, the neo-Nazis are allowed by the police to rampage through the streets of German cities—as they did last year in Chemnitz, where they attacked immigrants, refugees, leftists and a Jewish restaurant.

Wednesday’s memorial was targeted by AfD members after Charlotte Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor and president of the Jewish Community in Munich, spoke basic truths that almost no one in official German politics will utter.

“The so-called AfD bases its politics on hate and exclusion”, Knobloch said. “It is our responsibility that the unimaginable cannot repeat itself,” she added, in a sharp warning about where the politics of the AfD leads.

As legislators applauded the speech, nearly all the members of the AfD party left the room in protest.

In a statement posted on Facebook, AfD member Ulrich Singer raved about the Holocaust survivor’s “lies”, “insolence, disrespect”, and “stupid and infantile babbling.” Over the subsequent days, Knobloch said she has received “insults, threats and abuse by email and telephone almost every minute.”

Charlotte Knobloch was born in Munich in 1932, where, as a six-year-old girl, she personally witnessed the burning down of the Munich synagogue during Kristallnacht. She only survived the Holocaust because a Catholic family in the countryside hid her and pretended she was the illegitimate child of their own daughter. She remained in Germany and later played a leading role in Jewish organizations.

The AfD’s leaders have justified and legitimized the Hitler regime and have sought to deny the historical significance of the Holocaust – the murder of over six million Jews by the Nazis.

AfD chairman Alexander Gauland has publicly stated that the Nazi dictatorship was “just so much bird shit in over a thousand years of successful German history.” Björn Höcke, the AfD’s leader in Thuringia, called the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin a “monument of shame”, and demanded a “180-degree shift” in the country’s attitude toward the Holocaust.

Germany’s media and political establishment have systematically promoted the resurgence of the AfD. In 2014, the German news weekly Der Spiegel ran a major story dedicated to downplaying German responsibility for World War II, featuring a quotation from Humboldt University professor Jörg Baberowski, who declared “Hitler was not a psychopath, he was not vicious. He did not want to talk about the extermination of Jews at his table.”

Over the following years, the media has promoted far-right, anti-immigrant demonstrations that heralded the formation of the AfD as a legitimate outpouring of popular sentiment, creating the political climate for a radical shift to the right by the entire German political establishment.

Meanwhile figures associated with the AfD have been promoted to key political positions by the Grand Coalition government of the CDU and SPD, including Hans-Georg Maassen, the former head of the German Secret Service, who has defended and promoted the AfD and covered-up for the neo-Nazi riot in Chemnitz.

The only political organization that stands against the rehabilitation of Nazism is the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP, Socialist Equality Party) and its student movement, the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE).

The SGP warned five years ago that Germany’s return to an aggressive imperialist foreign policy and militarism required “a new narrative of the twentieth century, a falsification of history that diminishes and justifies the crimes of German imperialism.”

In response to their criticisms of figures such as Humboldt University professor Jörg Baberowski, the SEP and IYSSE became the targets of furious denunciation in Germany’s major newspapers. The SPD president of Humboldt University, Sabina Kunst, publicly defended Baberowski and declared criticism of his neo-Nazi views inadmissible.

The AfD has been promoted not from below, but from above, through support and encouragement from the political establishment. Meanwhile, the great mass of the population views their actions with disgust, and demonstrations against the neo-Nazis have attracted hundreds of thousands of people. But this broad opposition to everything the AfD stands for finds no expression in official politics.

In contrast to the silence and complicity that prevails among the parties of the political establishment, the SGP and the IYSSE have waged a principled struggle to expose the promotion of the extreme right.

As a result, the IYSSE at Humboldt University has seen a significant increase in its vote, in the most recent election for the student parliament, emerging as one of the most broadly-supported student groups, and outpolling the Left Party

Amid the eruption of the class struggle all over the world, the IYSSE and SGP will continue their fight against the resurgence of fascism, on the basis of the fight to unify the international working class against the capitalist system.

The reemergence of fascism in Germany, and the embrace of the neo-Nazis by the media and political establishment, makes clear that German fascism was not an aberration, but an expression of the most fundamental tendencies of capitalism itself: war, reaction, and imperialist barbarism. The fight against fascism is, in other words, the struggle for socialism.