Boston, Monday, April 19, 2004
[ SSC professor says there was no blueprint for the Holocaust: "There is no smoking gun linking Hitler to genocide" ]
SSC professor aims to debunk myths about Holocaust in book
By Jack Butterworth
PEABODY -- Salem State College History Professor Christopher Mauriello had a warning for those attending the Holocaust Center Boston North's annual Holocaust commemoration ceremony Sunday afternoon, especially the 14 local survivors of the persecution and murder of 6 million Jews that occurred from 1933-1945, which he called "one of the most important moments in history."
The survivors sat in the front center rows of the Peabody Veterans Memorial High auditorium during the 90-minute ceremony, which also included remarks by center President Robert McAndrews, Mayor Michael Bonfanti and Jewish Federation of the North Shore officer Merritt Mulman, music by the Gordon College Women's choir and Shir Shalom Children's Choir, an interfaith service led by the Rev. Louise Mann of Swamspcott, Rabbi Ilana Rosansky of Salem, Cantor Sam Pessaroff of Peabody and Holocaust survivor Sonia Schreiber Weitz and Harriet Wacks' presentation of the Holocaust Center Service Award to Sandy Weitz, center clerk and daughter of Sonia Weitz.
A large art display in the high school lobby included the work of students and Peabody artist Apo Torosyan, whose relatives were caught up in the Armenian Genocide and who presented his display, "My Story, Everybody's Story."
Mauriello, who has a book in progress called "Nazi Myths," said the Holocaust is undergoing in-depth study by historians -- not the revisionists who deny the Holocaust ever happened, whom he dismissed with a wave of his hand -- but by researchers whose findings may force the survivors and their families to let go of some of the feelings and memories they carry.
"There is anxiety about this," he admitted, "but historians have to insist on accuracy in place of myths and misconceptions." He said his talk and the myths he plans to bring forward are based on "consensus among historians" -- in fact, he has asked German historians to review a draft of his book for accuracy.
In fact, Mauriello told his audience, anti-Semitism has long, deep roots in Europe, with spikes in persecution when there were plagues, wars or other social strife. From 1933-1939 the Nazis were careful not to alienate their political allies, the Conservatives, in a Germany where Jews were as integrated as any in Europe. "It wasn't until the invasion of Poland that war made racial cleansing possible," he said.
As for the Master Race, Mauriello said a pseudo-science of racial purity called Eugenics swept America as well as Europe in the early 20th Century, when county fairs gave prizes to families whose blond hair and white skin denoted a high rate of racial purity.
Furthermore, there was no blueprint for the Holocaust, which evolved from 1933-1939 as the Nazis grew more opportunistic. Poland became a laboratory for racial cleansing as the Nazis tried deportation, then ghettoization and finally racial cleansing.
Instead of a ruthless centralized regime, Hitler issued vague orders and his bureaucrats, eager for status, credibility, promotions and pay raises, competed to find innovative ways of making those orders happen.
"There is no smoking gun linking Hitler to genocide," Mauriello said, but he didn't let the lack of an arch-villain give his audience any peace. "This can happen again."
Professor F. Littell has said "You can't discuss the truth of the holocaust. That is a distortion of the concept of free speech. The United States should emulate West Germany, which outlaws such exercises."--Mind-boggling! Don't you think? http://184.108.40.206/jhr/v11/v11p365_Bennett.html