ollowing are excerpts from The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, by Norman Finkelstein:
I do not remember the Nazi Holocaust ever intruding on my childhood. I do not recall a single friend (or parent of a friend) asking a single question about what my mother and father endured. This was not a respectful silence. It was indifference. In this light, one cannot but be sceptical of the outpourings of anguish in later decades, after the Holocaust industry was firmly established.
I sometimes think that American Jewry "discovering" the Nazi Holocaust was worse than its having been forgotten. True, my parents brooded in private; the suffering they endured was not publicly validated. But wasn't that better than the current crass exploitation of Jewish martyrdom? Before the Nazi Holocaust became the Holocaust, only a few scholarly studies (by Raul Hilberg, Viktor Frankl and Ella Lingens-Reiner) were published on the subject. But this small collection of gems is better than the shelves upon shelves of shlock that now line libraries and bookstores.
As the rendering of the Holocaust assumed ever more absurd forms, my mother liked to quote (with intentional irony) Henry Ford: "History is bunk". The tales of "Holocaust survivors"--all concentration camp inmates, all heroes of the resistance--were a special source of wry amusement in my home. My parents often wondered why I would grow so indignant at the falsification and exploitation of the Nazi genocide. The most obvious answer is that it has been used to justify criminal policies of the Israeli state and US support for these policies. There is a personal motive as well. I do care about the memory of my family's persecution. The current campaign of the Holocaust industry to extort money from Europe in the name of "needy Holocaust victims" has shrunk the moral stature of their martyrdom to that of a Monte Carlo casino.
The term "Holocaust survivor" originally designated those who suffered the unique trauma of the Jewish ghettos, concentration camps and slave labour camps, often in sequence. The figure for these Holocaust survivors at war's end is generally put at some 100,000. The number of living survivors cannot be more than a quarter of this figure now. Because enduring the camps became a crown of martyrdom, many Jews who spent the war elsewhere represented themselves as camp survivors. Another strong motive behind this misrepresentation, however, was material. The postwar German government provided compensation to Jews who had been in ghettos or camps. Many Jews fabricated their pasts to meet this eligibility requirement. "If everyone who claims to be a survivor actually is one," my mother used to exclaim, "who did Hitler kill?"
The Holocaust industry forced Switzerland into a settlement because time was allegedly of the essence: "Needy Holocaust survivors are dying every day." Once the Swiss signed away the money, however, the urgency miraculously passed. More than a year after the settlement was reached there was still no distribution plan. By the time the money is finally divvied out, all the "needy Holocaust survivors" will probably be dead. In fact, by last December, less than half of the $200 million "Special Fund for Needy Victims of the Holocaust," established in February 1997, had been distributed to actual victims. After lawyers' fees have been paid, the Swiss monies will then flow into the coffers of "worthy" Jewish organisations.
The Holocaust industry has always been bankrupt. What remains is to openly declare it so. The time is long past to put it out of business. The noblest gesture for those who perished is to preserve their memory, learn from their suffering and let them, finally, rest in peace.