The Roma Struggle for Compensation in Post-War Germany,
by Julia von dem Knesebeck. 2011
Reviewed by Jan Peczkis
Defenders of the Holocaust Industry would have us believe that the issue of Jews seeking restitution is unremarkable because, after all, the non-Jewish victims of the Nazis are all free to pursue their own respective restitution claims. This laughably disingenuous talking point assumes that there is a level playing field, in terms of securing recognition and compensation, when this is far, far from the case. There is a world of difference between Jewish influence and that of other victims, as this book makes clear. While it focuses on the Gypsies (Sinti and Roma), it is applicable to all non-Jewish victims, including the Poles.
JEWISH INFLUENCE AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS: SOME NAZI VICTIMS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS
Knesebeck states the obvious, “Thus, Roma did not have the same status as the political or Jewish victim groups.” (p. 79). Nor do any other non-Jewish victims of the Third Reich.
In the Preface, Gunther Saathoff writes, “Unlike the Jews, whose compensation claims against Germany were supported by many governments, including that of the United States, and were turned into political capital with the aid of internationally recognized, competent organizations very early on, for decades the Sinti and Roma lacked any appreciable political lobby.” (p. 6).
Author Knesebeck makes some other statements that point to the decided inequality, between Jews and non-Jews, when it comes to obtaining financial restitution from Germany:
“However, it took two decades of legal battles by Roma to achieve what had been granted to Jews from the beginning: the explicit assumption that they had been victims of racial persecution.” (p. 11).
“Here it becomes clear how the lack of a Roma organization and the strength of the political and Jewish organizations further caused the marginalization of Roma as a victim group.” (p. 119). The Poles are also marginalized.
Some Jews get very angry when reminded that the massive, ongoing attention to the Holocaust in Western societies exists in order to promote the claims of the Holocaust Industry. The truth hurts. We can no longer pretend that there is no relationship between the degree of public attention to a genocide and to the power of its restitution claims.
Knesebeck underlines this elementary fact, “He [Spitta] concludes that a lack of public support, press coverage and international pressure on behalf of the Roma meant that they could not rely on the same victim status leverage as Jews.” (p. 16).
A TENDENCY OF JEWS TO HANG ON TO THEIR PRIVILEGES SO THAT NON-JEWS DO NOT GET FINANCIAL COMPENSATION
Author Knesebeck finds at least an indirect Jewish attempt to suppress restitution claims by non-Jewish victims. She writes, “A prominent issue is the deliberate marginalization of ‘Gypsies’ as a victim group by other, more dominant, victim groups in an attempt to preserve their own status. In addition, much of the early compensation structure was organized and staffed by the Jewish and political victim groups, where Roma had no influence.” (p. 74).
The same situation exists with the intentional diminution of the Poles’ genocide. Some Jews falsely say that “Jews were killed because they were Jews, and Poles were killed because it was war”, or that, in any case, “only” 10% of the Polish population died. Or we hear the false statement that “Poles were only to be made into slaves” and that there were no Nazi plans to exterminate all the Poles.
VICTIMHOOD COMPETITION IS INEVITABLE AS LONG AS THE JEWS’ HOLOCAUST RULES OVER WESTERN PUBLIC CONSCIOUSNESS
Knesebeck makes this sage comment, “Roma consider it as important to have similar representation and recognition as German Jews. While Jews are regarded as fellow sufferers they are also seen as ‘rivals’, because they are perceived to have received full recognition and compensation. By demanding to be regarded in the same light as Jewish victims, Roma victims hope to finally gain similar recognition.” (p. 67).
Yes. Genocide Recognition Equality Now!
GERMANY NO “MODEL OF REPENTANCE”
We often hear that German repentance is a model of contrition for past wrongs, and this claim is used as a club against Americans for not “atoning” for slavery and is used as a club against Poland for not being contrite about her imagined “complicity in the Holocaust.” In actuality, the phoniness of “German repentance” is, if nowhere else, shown by this book. The Germans pay the Jews for obvious reasons, but the Germans feel no moral duty to give compensation to the Gypsies or other non-Jewish victims. They only recognize a past Nazi wrong and pay compensation when they are forced to do so!
In terms of specifics, German “repentance” is primarily a concession to the demands of international politics. The author comments, “In the case of certain groups of Jewish victims who had not been paid due attention one can further see that the German government tended to react to international pressures, rather than being pro-active.” (p. 230).
THE IRRELEVANCE OF JEWISH-SERVING CLAIMS OF SPECIAL SUFFERING
It has been argued that Jews are special because only Jews, and not the Gypsies (or Poles), were considered existential enemies of the Third Reich. True or not, it does not matter. The author comments, “One of the reasons for the lack of awareness of Roma persecution in the German public consciousness after the war was, perhaps, that Hitler did not use the ‘Gypsies’ as a political instrument in the way he used the Jews. He barely ever mentioned ‘Gypsies’ himself, and they were largely absent from National Socialist propaganda. Whilst Roma were alluded to in decrees, such as the Nuremberg Laws (and the commentary), verbally the emphasis was on Jews. However, whereas large-scale, centralized propaganda did not portray the Roma as an existential threat to the German people, in sharp contrast to the claims made about the Jews, local initiatives clearly emphasized that Roma were not part of the German body of the people (Volkskörper).” (p. 44).
Some Jews have argued that the Holocaust was unprecedented because the Wannsee Conference was the only time a nation had ever formally decided to destroy an entire people. Apart from the fact that Wannsee is subject to different interpretations, one must remember that countless genocides have been conceived and implemented without any prior Wannsee-style conferences. Knesebeck reaffirms this fact, “Spitta gives an overview of the persecution of Roma during the Third Reich from 1933 onwards and argues that, even if there were fewer edicts against Roma than against Jews, and although there was no Wannsee Conference to decide the ‘final solution’ of the Roma (although this remains disputed even in the case of the Jewish genocide), their persecution ended in genocide.” (p. 15).
Regardless of various technicalities that may be brought up, the victims of Nazi Germany were all fundamentally equal. In fact, Knesebeck concludes, “The sick, mentally ill and physically handicapped were, in Hitler’s mind, as equally unwelcome as Jews, Roma or Slavs.” (p. 45).
It is high time that all the victims of Nazi Germany get equal access to compensation, or that none of them get access to compensation. One of the two. End the Holocaust Industry!
For more on how Jews seeking compensation are very strongly favored over non-Jews seeking compensation, see: