Holocaust, Genocide, and the Law, by Michael Bazyler. 2016
The Shoah and Law. Holocaust Industry Update. French Railroad Settlement. Non-Submissive Poland
Author Michael Bazyler is a Professor of Law, and a leading lawyer in Holocaust restitution cases. This book features an excellent introduction to international law and genocide. It includes an outstanding summary of both sides of the Holocaust-Denial criminalization issue. Its treatment of war-crimes trials, and Holocaust restitution, is less impressive, but still good. However, the author does not consider some other implications of Holocaust law, and I touch on these in the latter part of my review.
WILL HOLOCAUST-RELATED RESTITUTION CLAIMS EVER END?
Bazyler (p. 155) informs us that, once the remaining Holocaust survivors die off, restitution on their behalf will end. Will it? We increasingly hear that the Holocaust has traumatized not only those who actually lived through the Holocaust, but also their children and grandchildren. The implications are obvious. In addition, what is to prevent “Holocaust survivors” from being redefined as ALL Jews, including successive generations born long after WWII–thereby creating a perpetually-aggrieved class? [In practice, this has tacitly already happened. Much Holocaust-restitution activity is, and always has been, independent of the needs of actual Holocaust survivors. See next section]
THE LUXEMBOURG AGREEMENT (1952): VAST MONIES DID NOT GO TO HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS
Michael Bazyler summarizes the Ben-Gurion/Adenauer agreement, “In all, since payments began in 1952, Germany has paid over $70 billion in Holocaust restitution. Over 600,000 Jews surviving the Holocaust received some kind of payment from Germany” (p. 160). But that was only part of it. Bazyler comments, “The bilateral treaty between the Federal Republic and Israel came into force in March 1953 and led to the eventual transfer of DM $3 billion in goods and services to Israel. The transfer took place over fourteen years, between April 1, 1953 and March 31, 1966. During this period, Israel received from West Germany a multitude of goods that included such items as ships, cars, factories and medical equipment, technology, and agricultural products. The goods imported into Israel under the agreement constituted between 12 and 14 percent of Israel’s annual imports over the next decade—an enormous help to the economy of the new nation.” (p. 158).
In other words, Jews got vast monies, directly and indirectly, from Germany, and much of it was not even used to aid Holocaust survivors. Yet the Holocaust Industry now has the nerve to demand payments from Nazi-victim Poland–all under the emotive/manipulative framework of “those destitute, long-denied Holocaust survivors.” And if several tens of billions of dollars from Germany is not enough, then why not go after the German perpetrator-nation for more?
THE FRENCH RAILROAD SETTLEMENT: A NAZI-VICTIM NATION IS INTIMIDATED INTO PAYING
A lawsuit was filed against the SNCF (SOCIETE NATIONALE DES CHEMINS DE FER FRANCAIS), the French state-owned company, for its role in shipping 70,000 Jews to death camps in German-occupied Poland. (pp. 165-168). Bazyler does not explain how a nation under German rule is supposed to be liable for its actions. Could the French merrily have said “No, thanks” to the Germans?
The answer is not long in coming. As was the case with other successes of the Holocaust Industry, the main factor in forcing France to pay was not the merits of the case as determined by jurisprudence. It was the magnitude of Jewish influence in government and media. In a roundabout way, Bazyler acknowledges this fact, “The class action litigation, though unsuccessful, was the loud knock on the door that brought the issue of SNCF’s role in the Holocaust into the forefront. The media kept the issue alive by producing stories on the subject…The winning push came from American legislators. The introduction of bills in the Maryland legislature barring any company involved in the wartime deportation of Jews from being awarded government contracts appears to be the main impetus for the French government wanting to settle the claims.” (p. 168).
THE STANDARD STRATEGY OF THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY: THE “FOUR-LEGGED STOOL MODEL”
The foregoing-described orchestrated pattern of conduct that eventuated in the French Railroad settlement consisted of the following four-pronged attack: 1) litigation (however, usually never actually going to trial) against the target; 2) American public officials applying political pressure to the target, sometimes backed up with threats of sanctions for noncompliance; 3) Influential Jewish organizations keeping up the complaints against the target; 4) The American media keeping a spotlight on the complaints against the target. (p. 162, 168).
This is standard operating procedure. It was used in all the earlier Holocaust-Industry successes, so much so that Bazyler calls it the “four-legged stool”. (pp. 162-163).
As per the effectiveness of the media campaign (the fourth “leg” of the stool), Bazyler pays an indirect compliment to the decades of Holocaust indoctrination that has captured the American mind, “In our post-Holocaust world, Nazi stories make good stories, and stories of Nazi theft and search for loot are even more intriguing.” (p. 162).
THE FRENCH RAILROAD SETTLEMENT: A POLITICAL PRECEDENT FOR VICTIMIZING OTHER NAZI-VICTIM NATIONS
The reader should be aware of the unmentioned fact that the French settlement is already being used as a club against Poland (never mind the coerced nature of the settlement and the fact that, unlike France, German-occupied Poland had no collaborationist government, zero internal autonomy, and a vastly more-brutal Nazi German occupant.) The media and political pressure-groups utilize the standard manipulative, Pole-demeaning Holocaustspeak, which goes like this: “France, even though herself a victim of the Nazis, has courageously confronted the dark chapters of her history and has come to terms with the past. When will Poland rise to the same level of political maturity, get over her heroic narrative, and do the same?”
POLAND STANDS UP TO THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY SHAKEDOWN
No one has yet identified a single valid reason why Poland should pay even one cent for German crimes or for the consequences of German crimes. This book is no exception.
Michael Bazyler fingers Poland, once again the naughty boy of Europe, “The problem lingers seventy years later. Poland has yet to pass a comprehensive law dealing with seizure of property lost during the Nazi and Communist eras. It is the only East European country that has failed to pass such a law.” (p. 325).
Bravo, Poland! Keep it up!
WHEN IS A GENOCIDE A GENOCIDE?
The author features Rafael Lemkin, a brilliant legal mind, who brought legal issues to the fore in his pioneering definition of genocide. However, Bazyler does not mention the fact that Lemkin recognized the Poles as victims of Nazi-German genocide. [See my review of Lemkin’s AXIS RULE IN OCCUPIED EUROPE.]
Now for the Jews. Bazyler adheres to the standard all-Jews-were-targeted premise, but backs off a bit, acknowledging that, “What was the Nazis’ ultimate intent is still a matter of conjecture.” (p. 305).
Author Michael Bazyler makes it clear that modern definitions of genocide are subjective. For instance, the “in part” provision of the destruction of a peoples does not reduce to some kind of agreed-upon percentage or number. (pp. 51-52). He also highlights the fact that nations have differing definitions of genocide, and that some of the definitions are politically motivated, such as the avoidance of offending one’s allied nations.
Interestingly, Polish law recognizes that the destruction of political groups falls under the rubric of genocide. (p. 304). On the other hand, international law (the Genocide Convention) does not. Thus, the HOLODOMOR is not recognized as a genocide under the Genocide Convention because [in its opinion] the victims of the Great Famine were political opponents. (p. 309).
Every crime, including genocide, consists of ACTUS REUS (prohibited act) and the state of mind of the accused (MENS REA). (p. 41). Bazyler does not consider whether Katyn qualifies as a genocide. Interestingly, according to some opinions quoted by Bazyler, the MENS REA of genocide need not require the targeted death of a large part of a protected group. Instead, the specific intent to destroy a small number of the relevant group—that is, the leaders of a protected group–suffices. (p. 51). On this basis, Katyn would qualify as genocide, as it was the deliberate destruction of the cream of the Polish nation.
HOLOCAUST-EDUCATION LAWS SHOULD ALSO BE CONSIDERED
A shortcoming of this book is that it does not include the overlap of Holocaust law and U. S. education law. How many U. S. states require that the Holocaust be taught in public schools? Of these states, how many (laugh) require that all genocides get the same attention as the Holocaust?
HOLOCAUST SUPREMACISM VS. THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
One aspect of international law not considered by Bazyler concerns the preeminent status of the Holocaust as an affront to human rights. Surely it is as racist to think that a Poles’ genocide is unworthy of the same solicitousness as a Jews’ genocide, as it is to think that a black man is unworthy of the same civil rights as a white man. Could Holocaust Supremacism be formally condemned as a form of racism under international law?
This would be broad-based. It would encompass anyone saying or implying that his or her peoples’ genocide is: 1) A unique wrong (e. g, “the greatest crime in history”); 2) Qualitatively different from all other genocides; 3) At the pinnacle of some imagined hierarchy of genocides; 4) Of greater historical significance or moral gravity than any other genocide; or 5) In any way worthy of more attention than any other genocide.
Genocide-Recognition Equality now!