Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ugly Rumors

A chain e-mail has been making the rounds since 2007 that the United Kingdom has banned teaching about the Holocaust in order to ameliorate the sensitivities of its Muslim population.

The United Kingdom’s Department of Education has worked hard to dispel this urban myth, stating that the Holocaust is an optional selection in its secondary school offerings. One history department in a northern city avoided selecting the Holocaust as a topic for GCSE coursework for fear of confronting anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim students.

That’s one school out of 4,500 in England. One too many, but not an epidemic, either. I received the e-mail from a cousin and sent it on, not realizing how old this urban legend was.

If I seem to have “taken the bait” too easily, there’s good reason. I’ve met Holocaust deniers, in the flesh. They’re quite vocal and have been around a long time, since even before the end of the war, according to my father’s accounts.

Military personnel had heard rumors but weren’t sure whether to believe them until they actually came to the gates of one of the concentration camps and saw the horror for themselves. Gen. Eisenhower gave orders that the carnage be photographed and that the prisoners be interviewed, lest anyone attempt to rewrite history.

When I was a little girl, my parents brought me to an adult party. The guest of honor was a concentration camp survivor. An elderly-looking man, his haunted eyes burned with the truth. There was no doubting his story or the number printed on his arm.

Our neighborhood was a German-American enclave, second-generation Americans who’d become politicized during the war. One of them approached the survivor and accused him of making up stories to frighten little children like me.

He declared that the Holocaust had never happened, that the Jews invented the myth to explain away German’s financial ruin between World War I and World War II. Or something like that. Quite an argument broke out, with people shouting at one another, while the hostess, in her beribboned apron, served hors d’oeuvres.

My father ordered my mother to get our coats – we were leaving. The old man stomped out ahead of us, escorted by the Dutch immigrant couple who had brought him. The woman had worked for the Dutch resistance. Her family had harbored two Jews during the War.

Who was I going to believe? My father? My mother? Our Dutch friends? The man with the tattooed arm? Or some pot-bellied Neanderthal who embraced the national socialism of Hitler’s Germany?

I believe the Holocaust happened. I also believe there are Holocaust deniers who would try to expunge this history from school curriculums. Their Liberal communist counterparts have done a credible job of rewriting American history. I can well believe that there are factions who would attempt to rewrite the history of World War II. Our own president wants to throw out the U.S. Constitution and make up the rules as we go along. Guess that makes him a Constitution Denier.

This e-mail may have been a hoax, or at least an overreaction to a single incident. But there’s nothing wrong with putting revisionists on notice that we won’t tolerate any further deviations from history and the truth.

One such deviation is being constructed near the World Trade Center. Another revision of history. A columnist in the Washington Times recently pointed out how the Muslims make a point of constructing mosques over religious and even secular sites that they have “conquered”.

One only has to look at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem or look at the archived footage of Muslim’s destroying Buddhist statues in Afghanistan to know the truth.

It’s a history they cannot deny, no matter how hard they try.

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