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Confusion is understandable...

Reader comment on item: Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World
in response to reader comment: Fact check 2 (easier)

Submitted by AEWHistory (United States), Feb 28, 2011 at 22:22

Confusion on this subject is understandable, but it is possible to disentangle this complex web and understand many of the processes that led to Holocaust (at least to the extent that it is possible to understand complex systems and make general rules that explain there function; in other words, there will always be small exceptions).

So, in regard to, say, Albania, consider this: you argue that Catholic Italy and Muslim Albania were safer for Jews, but since Italy ruled Albania in this period--and hence it was Italian policies that were enforced in Albania--there was little anti-Semitism to test there. In other words, the same Italian policies that protected Italian Jews (only Italian Jews btw, not immigrant Jews) also generally protected local Jewish communities that were citizens of areas ruled or governed by the Italian armed forces. An excellent example is southern France where the Italian army made exceptional efforts to protect the Jewish community. So it is quite possible that even if the Albanian Muslim community had acted out against Jews the Italians would have intervened until they were removed.

What I think you must take away from this is two things: the anti-Semitism of the populace was just a mechanism, albeit an important one, that made it more difficult for Jews to avoid the Holocaust.... but that this was irrelevant given who was in charge. Hence it was the ruling power that made the Holocaust possible and it was the possibility to either participate in the Holocaust, or oppose it, that exposed underlying anti-Semitism.

What I am trying to say is that you need to consider more than religion, even when religion is the main subject under consideration. For instance, in France there was a plentiful pool anti-Semitism that the Germans were able to tap into in order to further the goals of the 'Final Solution' and yet even in France there existed historical circumstances that mitigated this. The Huguenots, for example, had a history of conflict with Catholics and of persecution, so it was understandable that a small but vibrant community of Huguenots would feel compelled to defend some Jews for these reasons (opposing the Catholic community and empathizing with persecution). At the end of the war this was reinforced by the Italian army in the south of France for totally unrelated reasons: Italy had little history of anti-Semitism (especially compared to virtually every culture surrounding it) and the Italians had ample reason to thumb their noses at the Germans. But, you see, some of these reasons have absolutely nothing to do with religion, or Jews for that matter....

One last point: while the narrative is finally changing to include the Arab and Muslim roles in the Holocaust, one of the issues that have always bothered me is that if you have the desire and willingness to kill someone, but you do not have the opportunity, this does not magically negate that simple fact that the desire and willingness was, and perhaps is, there. There is plenty of evidence showing Muslim/Arab complicity in the Holocaust (and, to be fair, some examples of righteousness) that it is time to ask if the only difference between the Germans and the Arabs is one of opportunity. After all, Germans, Italians, Romans, etc. all had clear and massive opportunity to participate in the Holocaust--no one has ever denied this--and yet the Italian role in the Holocaust is remarkably small given that they were actually allied to Hitler. Conversely, while the Romanians were allied, so were the Hungarians, and the two governments behaved, IMHO, completely differently. So I think that the relative lack of opportunity should be a key modifier in evaluating Arab complicity in the Holocaust...... (and the British willingness to cave to Arab demands limiting Jewish emigration etc.).

Well, that was a long two cents, but hopefully that is more illuminating than muddying,

Aaron

Submitting....

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