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ALEXANDER KIMEL - HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR
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The Verdict
   


BLUEPRINT FOR THE HOLOCAUST

by Prof. Robert Michael

In 1543 the most prominent German leader of the time advocated in his book DIE JUDEN UND IHREN LUEGEN (The Jews and Their Lies) anti-Jewish measures that the Nazis followed almost to the letter, four hundred years later. I don't think it was an accident. I am of course referring to Dr. M. Luther as he was known, AKA Martin Luther. I am not claiming there is an exact parallel, in history we do not find this. But, mutatis mutandis, the program is there. And we have evidence that Hitler read Luther.

Martin Luther wrote:
"First, . . . set fire to their synagogues or schools and . . . bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians . . .. [It would be good if someone could also throw in some] hellfire."

"Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.

"Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are to be taught, be taken from them. . . . also the entire Bible. . . . [The Jews] be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country. . . . [T]hey be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. . . . We must not consider the mouth of the Jews as worthy of uttering the name of God within our hearing. He who hears this name from a Jew must inform the authorities, or else throw sow dung at him when he sees him and chase him away. And may no one be merciful and kind in this regard.

"Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. . . .

"Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. . . .

"Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them and that all case and treasure . . . be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. . . . Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted [almost an impossibility according to Luther] he should [receive a cash bonus].

"Seventh, I recommend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow . . .. For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting . . ..

"The country and the roads are open for them to proceed to their land whenever they wish. If they did so, we would be glad to present gifts to them on the occasion; it would be good riddance. For they are a heavy burden, a plague, a pestilence, a sheer misfortune for our country."

EXTERMINATION OF THE JEWS

Luther was not a consistent advocate of killing Jews, but he discussed murder as a "Final Solution" if all else failed, and he often believed that all else would fail. Several elements in Luther's program contained murderous implications. Setting fire to the synagogues, homes, and holy books of the Jews, the first three steps of LutherŐs program, might have met with physical resistance from the Jews, which, in turn, would have led the Christian princes to use lethal force. Even Jewish resignation to the inevitability of these actions would probably have led to Christian riots and other potentially murderous actions against Jews. Moreover, Luther advocated a crude and merciless attack on Jews who pray, which could also have resulted in Jewish deaths.

Luther's program for the Jews asked the princes three times to kill Jews who resisted. His third and fourth steps mention "pain of death" and pain of loss of life and limb. In his fifth step advises the authorities to deprive the Jews of safe passage once they left their ghettos. Another passage indicated that Luther saw the necessity of killing at least some of the Jews:

"I wish and I ask that our rulers who have Jewish subjects exercise a sharp mercy toward these wretched people . . .. They must act like a good physician who, when gangrene has set in, proceeds without mercy to cut, saw, and burn flesh, veins, bone, and marrow. Such a procedure must also be followed in this instance. Burn down their synagogues, forbid all that I enumerated earlier, force them to work, and deal harshly with them, as Moses did in the wilderness, slaying three thousand lest the whole people perish. [They are a] people possessed . . .."

As mentioned earlier, Luther repeatedly employed the language of violence against most, if not all, of his enemies. Luther did not, however, distinguish between the realistic threat of rebellious peasants and the fantastic "danger" of the powerless Jews because he regarded the Jews as a menace to his theological vision of life, earthly and eternal.

Jews became a symbol for all that was evil and devilish, unChristian and anti-Christian in the world. For these reasons, the Jews appeared more threatening than Luther's other enemies, and he assaulted them with his words and advocated governmental violence against them.

In at least three other passages, Luther approached an advocacy of mass murder of Jews. A sermon of 1539 argued that "I cannot convert the Jews. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not succeed in doing it. But I can stop up their mouths so that they will have to lie upon the ground." The language is ambiguous, but it implies a death threat and reminds us of St. John Chrysostom's words. The imprecise language allowed people of good will to believe that outright murder was not being proposed, while at the same time this kind of language permitted Christians to "speak about the unspeakable," the mass murder of Jews.

Luther also wrote that Jews, like usurers and thieves, should be executed: "[Today's Jews] are nothing but thieves and robbers who daily eat no morsel and wear no thread of clothing which they have not stolen and pilfered from us by means of their accursed usury. Thus they live from day to day, together with wife and child, by theft and robbery, as arch-thieves and robbers, in the most impenitent security. . . . If I had power over the Jews, as our princes and cities have, I would deal severely with their lying mouth. . . . For a usurer is an arch-thief and a robber who should rightly be hanged on the gallows seven times higher than other thieves."

The deadly syllogism Luther concocts in this paragraph may be stated as follows: All thieves and usurers should be executed by hanging. All Jews are thieves and usurers. Therefore, all Jews should be hanged.

In another section of "The Jews and Their Lies," Luther clearly stated that all Jews should be murdered. "We are even at fault in not avenging all this innocent blood of our Lord and of the Christians which they shed for three hundred years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and the blood of the children they have shed since then (which still shines forth from their eyes and their skin). We are at fault in not slaying them."

Copyright 1999 - Robert Michael, rmichael@umassd.edu

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