- Last week saw Holocaust survivor Thomas Blatt, 82 give
testimony at the trial of John Demjanjuk. Blatt stated that he still has
nightmares about his time at the camp at Sobibor, "I go there in my
dreams, they are so real. In them I am still there. I can't get it out
of my head. This is the price I paid for getting out."
- Ukrainian born John Demjanjuk, 89, is accused by the
Munich court of being an 'accessory'* in the death of 27,900 Jews at the
Sobibor camp while being a German POW. As it happens, the German Justice
system is now chasing 'accessories' to the Nazi crime. Embarrassingly enough
it doesn't do very well in the current case. Demjanjuk denies anything
to do with the crime referred to him and furthermore, the German prosecution
lacks any evidence whatsoever that supports or links Demjanjuk personally
with murder or any other holocaust related criminal event.
- Mr Blatt does not remember John Demjanjuk either, nor
can he say if he is guilty as charged of helping to gas 27,900 Jews. "More
than 60 years have passed" said Blatt "I can't even remember
the faces of my parents. The court must decide if he was there. If he was
there when I was there then I can imagine he shoved Jews at bayonet point
to the gas chambers".
- According to The Mirror, Blatt was brought to the court
"to give a living voice to the horror instead of a dusty historical
account". Seemingly in our current state of hyper realistic world
affairs, historical documents and factuality are diminished to "dust"
while a personal narrative, saturated with speculation, associations and
emotions are realised as a persuasive 'living voice'. At the end of the
day, Demjanjuk, a geriatric man is accused here of assisting in the death
of no less than 27,900 people. The German court better bring something
concrete rather than mere speculations.
- Mr Blatt maintained that "Ukrainians 'like Demjanjuk'
were the worst of the worst. We were more afraid of them than we were of
the Germans." There were "120 Ukrainian guards compared with
only 17 S.S. men at any one time" said Blatt to the German court.
Blatt clearly 'got away' with generalisations. I wonder whether a Palestinian
boy suggesting that Jews 'like Blatt' who killed his family a year ago
dropping bombs on a UN shelter in Gaza, would also be welcomed at the Munich
court. For some bizarre reason, within the context of the Western liberal
discourse, where Jews are concerned, generalising is okay and so is freely
employing racial categories and even suggesting guilt by association. Somehow
the rest of humanity is advised to avoid such a manner of speech.
- However, such crude blanket accusations of the Ukrainians
as a people that apparently pass as evidence in the Munich court, may actually
throw light on the sinister motivation behind the current court case. Like
the rest of humanity, the Germans seem to show some clear signs of 'Shoa
fatigue'. They appear to prefer to withdraw responsibility from the Nazi
past and to leave Ukrainian POWs to take the heat. Similarly, we could
expect that at a certain stage America and Britain may decide to use the
same tactics and to charge their collaborators in the Arab world for the
death and carnage they themselves left behind. Israel, that is now facing
pressure for its mounting record of crimes against humanity, may also put
the German trick into action. It may also want to cherry pick some Palestinians
and charge them for being accessories to the crimes against the Palestinian
- But there is a much more interesting twist to this evolving
shameful legal case. While Demjanjuk denies being an accessory to the Nazi
crime, Mr Blatt freely admits working for the SS and assisting in what
he himself describes as a death machine: "Another job was to cut the
hair of women about to be killed", says Blatt. "Those from places
like Holland believed the lie," he maintains. "The women would
say to me: 'Please don't cut my hair too short!' But the Polish Jews -
they already knew. They had heard too many stories, smelled the bonfires
at night." Blatt continues, "they would say 'How can you do this?
How can you work for the S.S.?' I did it to survive."
- One may wonder why Blatt's will to survive is more Kosher
than an Ukrainian prisoner's desire to come home. In other words, considering
Blatt's admission in assisting the SS, why isn't he charged by the same
German court for being an 'accessory' for the Nazi crime?
- One possible answer is that Blatt is a Jew and Demanjuk
is a Goy. As sad as it may be, in the eyes of the Munich court, a Jew's
will to 'survive' must be superior to an Ukrainian's desire to make it
to the end of the war in one piece. If this is indeed the case, the German
court fails to operate ethically and universally. Accordingly, it would
be reasonable to argue that the Munich court fails to draw the necessary
and elementary lesson from Germany's Nazi past. German Justice somehow
differentiates between people according to their race and ethnicity.
- *An 'accessory' is a person who assists in the commission
of a crime, but who does not actually participate in the commission of
the crime as a joint principal.
- To read more: