Break His Bones:
The Private Life of A Holocaust Revisionist
Chapter Twenty Four
Boston University Chancellor Dr. John Silber wrote an “Open Letter to Colleges and Universities” and mailed it to college and university presidents around the country, then published it on the World Wide Web so no one would miss it. He didn’t like the text of one of the ads I was running in campus newspapers around the country titled “Holocaust Studies: Appointment With Hate?”
He wrote that my ad was “false propaganda … a violation of civil discourse … a repudiation of learning [comparable to] flat earth theory … a jumble of “vicious lies” and some other nonsense. If a nationally known university chancellor like John Silber, a good man, an advocate of intellectual freedom and a free press, can be wrong, or half-wrong, or wrong-headed about most everything he writes in response to such texts, the problems separating American students from the professorial class in this country are even more serious than I had supposed.
Maybe I failed to communicate clearly what I was trying to say. Dr. Silber is not the only university chancellor or president who has dismissed my work as contemptible. He’s one of many. But his prose has a certain edge, a directness, that catches my attention. With regard to the Holocaust story and the professorial class, it appears that I have to spell out everything as if I were talking to children. It’s difficult to explain why this should be so.
In his Open Letter Chancellor Silber wrote:
The advertisement begins by misunderstanding the idea of the university. It is not merely to promote intellectual freedom, but also to promote intellectual responsibility in the pursuit of truth.
I did not write that the idea of the university is “merely” to promote intellectual freedom. What I wrote is that “one” ideal of the university is to promote intellectual freedom. The way I look at it, “merely” implies one, while “one ideal” implies that there might be more than one. Two, perhaps? Not having attended university myself, I may be wrong about this. Not only did Silber misstate what I wrote, he did not give the URL to my ad so his readers would not have access to my text and would not know if Silber had quoted me correctly or not. I do not think Dr. Silber deliberately misquoted me. He’s a busy professional. He probably tossed off his response with his left hand one morning over coffee and bagels.
Dr. Silber wrote:
… anyone who cares about the truth is under an obligation to think twice before offering a platform to those who systematically lie by denying the Holocaust. Those lies are at the heart of the advertisement submitted by Mr. Smith ….
Well, my ad does not state that I “deny the Holocaust.” What was the Holocaust? Does Silber have in mind what I have in mind when we use the word “Holocaust?” I doubt it. But in any event, I did not write what he suggests I wrote. Here is a guy who is one of the most respected academics in America and he is not willing or not able to read the simplest text accurately in order to criticize it usefully. I can only observe that he represents very well his professional peers on this particular matter, for which he is a guiding light. I suppose it’s easier for someone like me. I didn’t go through the university processing mill. I quit higher education when I graduated from John C. Fremont High School in South Central Los Angeles. You know about South Central-the place where they do the riots?
I’m a skeptic about some of the core stories promoted by the Holocaust Industry regarding the Jewish Holocaust. I am most skeptical about those charges against Germans, which most clearly allege a unique German monstrosity. The more unique the alleged crime, the more skeptical I am of it. Germans have enough on their conscience without being burdened with charges that are not true. Skepticism on the university campus is a good, not an evil. Belief is not an evil, either, but it is merely belief. The Jewish Holocaust story is a war story. Like every other war story, some of it’s true and some of it isn’t. It’s not an all or nothing affair. Students do not have to swallow the entire enchilada the way the Holocaust Industry peddles it. Students have the right to their own integrity.
The primary thrust of Silber’s Open Letter is that my ad “libeled” Nobel Peace Prizewinner Elie Wiesel. Wiesel is a former inmate at the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. In the ad I wrote ironically about Elie Wiesel as an “eyewitness authority” and as an “authority on hate.” My language is ironic because I find Elie to be a false eyewitness and a man devoted to promoting hatred for Germans and others. Silber was particularly troubled by my use of a direct quote from Elie’s book Legends of Our Time. Wiesel’s use of Legends in the title of this book is significant in ways that Silber’s professional peers have been reluctant to recognize. I’m here to encourage them to take charge of their professional lives with regard to this one subject.
In my ad I wrote “Elie Wiesel has won the hearts and minds of Holocaust Studies professors with his counsel on how to perpetuate a loathing for Germans. I quote directly from Elie:
Every Jew, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate-healthy virile hate-for what the German personifies and for what persists in the German.” (Legends of Our Time, “Appointment With Hate,” NY, Avon, 1968, pp. 177-178.)
The ad states: “Students understand the implications of this statement when brought to their attention, while their professors appear not to. Perhaps if we change one word in Elie Wiesel’s advice, it will focus their attention:
Every Palestinian, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate – healthy virile hate – for what the Jew personifies and for what persists in the Jew.
Many professors, including many Jewish professors, have been outraged by this little exercise. Silber was outraged by it. So far, however, no Palestinians and no Palestinian professors have communicated their outrage to me. Why not? Surely those Palestinians who belong to the professorial class have about the same moral and ethical concerns, as do Jewish professors and those from Texas. Or are we to presume that ethics on the university campus generally are, and should be, an expression of ethnic identification?”
The quotation cited by Smith doesn’t even support his libel. In the quote, Elie Wiesel does not say that every Jew “should set apart a zone of hate-healthy virile hate” for Germans. Rather he said they “should set apart a zone of hate-healthy, virile hate-for what the German personifies and for what persists in the Germans.” As the Nazi generation has passed from the scene, what Germans personify and what persists in the Germans has changed. What Germans personified in 1945 is not what a different generation of Germans personify today.
I’m willing to be convinced that Silber is right about this, and that I am wrong. A hatred for Jews is one thing, shall we say, while a hatred for what the Jew “personifies” and for what “persists” in the Jew is something very different. Is that the way our John Silbers would have us have it? And is it not ironic that while the Nazi generation has “passed from the scene,” the “Zionist generation” that co-existed with the Nazi generation and cooperated with it in significant ways, and which at the close of World War II directed the invasion and conquest of Palestine, the destruction of Palestinian culture, the creation of a million Palestinian refugees, and built a Jewish settler state on Palestinian land, did not pass from the scene at all but still flourishes today?
What part does Silber and his professional peers believe the policies of that generation of Zionists play in the hatred so many Palestinians feel for Jews today? How do they distinguish their hatred of Jews from, say, their hatred for what “the Jew personifies,” or for “what persists in the Jew?” Are these issues that should even be addressed?
Smith writes, “Elie Wiesel claims in All Rivers Run to the Sea, ‘I read [Immanuel Kant’s] The Critique of Pure Reason in Yiddish.’” Smith continues, “Kant’s Critique has not been translated into Yiddish. Here again, EW did not tell the truth.” But selections of Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason had been translated into and published into Yiddish in pre-war Warsaw-I have a photocopy of the title page before me as I write. After the passage of 50 years, Wiesel misnamed the Critique he had read in 1945, but his minor slip hardly justifies Smith’s claim that “EW did not tell the truth.”
Frankly, I did not know that a chapter from Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason was published in Yiddish in pre-war Poland. Always glad to learn something new. It turns out that others also knew about it. For example, Norman Finkelstein, author of The Holocaust Industry, knew about it. When he was chatted up by Salon, Professor Finkelstein had an interesting take on the Wiesel/Kant matter.
Wiesel claims to be a Kant scholar. He says that when he was a teenager, girls were running away from him because all he could do was talk about Kant … [what was] published in Warsaw in 1929 was Kant’s “Critique of Practical Reason.” One chapter, 60 pages. … Everybody agrees on that. There is no dispute. The “Etik” comes from Kant’s “Critique of Practical Reason.” Confusing the two Kant books is like a Tolstoy scholar having read one chapter of “Anna Karenina” and confusing it with the whole of “War and Peace.” That’s ridiculous.
Knowing the facts of the matter, as I now know them, I could not have said it better myself. Wiesel is a foolish man who has found an entire class of fools, the professorial class, to help him promote his foolishness.
In his Open Letter Silber wrote:
Smith writes. “EW claims that after Jews were executed at Babi Yar in the Ukraine, ‘geysers of blood’ spurted from their grave for ‘months’ afterward.” Wiesel’s words are these: “Eye witnesses say that for months after the killings the ground continued to spurt geysers of blood. One was always treading on corpses.” Nowhere did Elie Wiesel claim to see geysers of blood, only that he heard these reported.
It’s remarkable how often I have to agree with the John Silbers and others in his class, when we are at such loggerheads with one another. Dr. Silber is right. Elie does not claim to have seen these “geysers of blood” with his own eyes-he only forwards the story as if it were true.
But then, if we are going to go with that standard of public story telling (which in this instant is a charge of unique German monstrosity), I have a story for Dr. Silber about how Jews murder Christian children and drain their blood to use in cooking matzoh balls. Remember that one? No? Many Jews know about it. Jewish patriots call it a “blood libel.” Admittedly, I have not seen such a cookout with my own eyes-but I have heard it reported by others! Using the standards that Dr. Silber, Elie Wiesel and the professorial class employ, I suppose it could be found to be ethically correct for me to forward the Christian-blood-for-matzoh-balls story to Boston University students as if it were true. It depends on how vulgar one really wants to be.
Or-maybe Dr. Silber and some of the other old farts at Boston University will be willing to argue that there really were eyewitnesses to Elie’s grotesque geysers-of-blood-months-after-the-Jews-were-buried gossip, and that this can be demonstrated to be fact. Is that how I should take it? I kind of hope so. It would be immensely comic to discover that the chancellor of a great (well, large) American University has been taken in yet one more time by his little buddy in the humanities department.
Dr. Silber wrote:
[Smith] reports that Elie Wiesel claims that he was liberated from Dachau, from Buchenwald and from Auschwitz. That is contrary to fact. Elie Wiesel wrote in Night that he was liberated from Buchenwald, and he has never claimed anything else. Newspapers occasionally get facts wrong, and Smith bases his claim about Wiesel not on Wiesel’s writings but on newspaper reports. From these erroneous accounts, Smith claims that Wiesel is not a credible witness.
Again, I agree with Dr. Silber. Elie wrote in Night that he was liberated from Buchenwald. I agree that newspapers do occasionally get facts wrong. But when Dr. Silber writes that the newspaper accounts reporting that Elie claimed to have been liberated from Auschwitz and from Dachau are erroneous, he does not tell us what evidence he has that those two reporters misquoted what Elie said. If Dr. Silber, or anyone else, has such evidence, I’d like to see it. And then one wonders why Elie has not publicly pointed out these errors of fact so that readers of the New York Times and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency would not go on believing he said what they reported he said?
Are reporters for the JTA so unprofessional, for example, such amateurs, and have such tin ears that they would mistake “Dachau” for “Buchenwald?” What is the JTA, a refuge for the comprehension impaired? Is it possible that there is or ever has been one editor at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency who has not followed the Elie Wiesel story for the past ten years-the last thirty years-who is not aware that Mr. Wiesel was liberated at Buchenwald? Is there one print editor in any great city in America who has not seen over and over again the famous photo where Elie is posing for photographers in someone else’s bunk at Buchenwald-the photo that has been reprinted endlessly all over the world?
Who are we kidding here? Who are we trying to kid? the New York Times reporter mis-heard “Auschwitz” for “Buchenwald?” I believe that the Times would have printed a correction of such a stupid blunder-if our Nobel Laureate had sent it to them. What are we to think the New York Times is-chopped liver?
Dr. Silber writes:
Elie Wiesel was invited by the President and Chancellor of Germany to speak in Berlin on January 27, 2000, the day of the remembrance of the liberation of Auschwitz […] In that address Wiesel commented favorably on Germany’s support of Israel, on Germany’s compensation for the victims of the Third Reich, and on Germany’s recent initiative in compensating those who were used as forced laborers.
I believe it. I have no doubt whatever that Elie Wiesel, along with the rest of those who speak for the Holocaust Industry, and those who have profited so greatly from the creation of the Israeli State upon the ruins of a destroyed Palestine, look “favorably” upon the billions of marks that have flowed from the German people into Israeli coffers and Jewish coffers. To say nothing of the hundred billion dollars that have flowed to the same places from the US taxpayer and now from one European nation after another-all of which is being paid for by the labor of people who, for the most part, were not yet born during WWII.
As a matter of fact, isn’t that really rather the point of it all? The whole Holocaust Hate Industry scam? Influence? Then money? Then more influence, more money? If it isn’t about that-that is, about power, what is it about? Remembering? If it is, I have a suggestion that would be a great boon to ordinary Jews the world over-forget it!
In the final paragraph of Dr. Silber’s Open Letter to Colleges and Universities, which compresses into a few words the entirety of the message of his letter, he writes:
What is the motivation and purpose of Mr. Smith and his CODOH? Why do they find it personally important to deny the Holocaust and to abuse and denigrate Professor Wiesel? Isn’t it relevant to ask? Bradley R. Smith and his Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust are a travesty and a repudiation of all that a university should stand for when falsehood is disseminated and truth is suppressed
It is customary for all members of the professorial class to introduce the issue of motivation when they run up against sensible criticism of men like Elie Wiesel. Yet none of us knows what the motivation of the other is, and when we look closely at our own motives we find each one to be rooted in a maze of complexities. Who knows what tangle of motive lies behind the cruelty and bad faith of an Elie Wiesel? How would I ever get to the bottom of the motives of a man like Dr. Silber, who is willing to write with such carelessness about such important matters? I would have thought he would understand the problems with motive. I thought he was a philosopher.
I wonder what Dr. John Silber, along with so many others in the professorial class, think the “Holocaust” was? Has he just gone along with the journalists, who have gone along with the big money people in the Holocaust Industry? Did he believe for forty years, for example, that four million victims were murdered by the Germans at Auschwitz? When the Auschwitz Museum authorities admitted that it was not four million and more like “one million” (Yehuda Bauer had mentioned publicly that revisionists can count) did Dr. Silber stop believing the four million figure and start believing the new one-million figure? Or did he know all the time that it was not four million-but chose to remain silent-as did the entire professorial class in America? Did Dr. Silver, or any of his colleagues, ever comment publicly on the contemptible role their professional peers played in the Auschwitz four million charade? Or did he and they consciously choose to remain “bystanders?”
Dr. Silber charges that I am a liar. He does not demonstrate that I am. Even if he were able to show that I am factually wrong about something in the ad, and he did not, it does not follow that I lied about it. He knows that, I know he knows that, but it looks like he thought he could get away with saying it anyhow because he’s a university chancellor and I’m-what?-a simple writer with no position, no wealth, and no influence. I don’t know what Dr. Silber’s motive was for deciding to write something so careless and empty, but I think if he were to take a run at trying to figure it out it could change something very deep about the way he lives his life.
Just for a lark, Dr. Silber should ask Elie Wiesel about the New York Times story where Elie relates how he was hit by a taxicab and flew “an entire block” (200-plus feet) down Broadway. A friend suggests that Elie should be nominated for the Nobel Prize for Flying. But then, this tale was just another error, I suppose, on the part of a New York Times reporter who meant to write something entirely different. Maybe that rag is chopped liver after all.
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