Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019
Why What We Can Learn from the Holocaust Is More Important than Mourning the Holocaust Victims
Another year goes by, another Holocaust Remembrance Day. In Israel, the solemn atmosphere sets in the night before as business closes early and people are left to contemplate on the 6 million Jews systematically murdered in the early 1940s. Then, at 10:00am on Holocaust Remembrance Day itself, the whole of Israel comes to a standstill to mourn the Holocaust victims.
It is my hope that we will use such memorials not only to mourn the victims, but more importantly, to think about what we can learn from such a horrendous incident. Why is it more important to think about what we can learn from such incidents? Ultimately, it is in order to prevent their reoccurrence.
Especially since there has been an exponential boost of anti-Semitic crimes and threats the last few years, then during Holocaust Remembrance Day, we should use the opportunity to consider the causes of Jew hatred, and what would be needed to change the attitude toward the Jewish people.
- Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019: Why What We Can Learn from the Holocaust Is Much More Important than Mourning the Holocaust Victims by Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman
Consider some striking similarities between pre-Holocaust Europe and today’s world: on one hand, social division becomes felt more rampantly, Nazi, fascist and other extremist views gain popularity, and also anti-Semitic pressure increasingly mounts on the Jews. On the other hand, there is still time for the Jews to take a step toward fixing the problem in a positive light.
If we make a step toward establishing a positive connection above the intensifying social division, and especially, above the division among us Jews, according to what made us a Jewish people to begin with (the Hebrew word for “Jew” [Yehudi] comes from the word for “united” [yihudi] [Yaarot Devash, Part 2, Drush no. 2]), then we will twist open a tap toward humanity, allowing nature’s positive, connecting force to pass through us to the world. By doing so, we will provide an innovative solution to social division, and the rising anti-Semitic sentiment in the world will overturn: a Jewish people united above their differences will ripple positively throughout humanity, and people would become supportive of a Jewish people spreading a positive force throughout the world.
If we fail to make a step toward establishing a positive connection above the intensifying social division, i.e. if we fail to realize our role, to unite (“as one man with one heart,” “all of Israel are friends,” “love your neighbor as yourself”) and to be a conduit for the power of unity to spread worldwide (to be “a light unto nations”), then the demand for us to realize our role in the world—which comes in the form of anti-Semitism—will reach new extremes. Moreover, since today’s anti-Semitic sentiment is global, then the proportions of the harsh hand toward the Jewish people can potentially be much more extreme than the Holocaust, which was concentrated only in Europe.
Could Jews Have Prevented the Holocaust in Nazi Germany of the 1930s?
A notoriously overlooked fact about pre-Holocaust Nazi Germany is that the Nazis had a very favorable attitude toward Jewish Zionism. Initially, the Nazis promoted the idea of Jews moving to Palestine as a solution to what they called “the Jewish question,” and therefore supported Zionist organizations while inhibiting all assimilationist entities.
“Zionism must be vigorously supported so that a certain number of German Jews is transported annually to Palestine or at least made to leave the country,” wrote the chief Nazi party ideologue Alfred Rosenberg.
For example, as of April 1933 in Nazi Germany, Zionists were one of the few non-Nazi groups permitted to continue running their publications, while most others were closed down. This included Juedische Rundschau (“Jewish Magazine“) as well as several other Jewish publications. Moreover, Juedische Rundschau was also allowed comparative press freedoms, even compared with the Nazi publications.
In 1934, the major Nazi newspaper in Berlin, Der Angriff, which was edited by Joseph Goebbels, published a series of articles titled “A Nazi Travels to Palestine,” written by SS officer and Nazi journalist, Leopold von Mildenstein, who at the time, headed the ministry of Jewish affairs. The articles were meant to motivate German Jews to settle in Palestine. The newspaper also created a coin to mark the collaboration between the Third Reich and the Zionist enterprise: on one side of the coin was a swastika, on the other side, the Star of David.
In 1935, the only non-Nazi uniform that was permitted in Germany was a uniform for Zionist youth corps, and in late 1935, the Nuremberg Laws stated it illegal for Jews to raise the German flag, yet legal for them to raise the Zionist flag with the Star of David.
To help the Jews immigrate to Palestine more comfortably, the Nazis even signed what was known as the “Transfer Agreement” with the Jewish settlement in Palestine, facilitating the transfer of immigrants’ personal funds from Germany to Palestine. This was contrary to their policy prohibiting extraction of funds from Germany to other countries. Notably, the Jews could implement the transfer agreement only if they immigrated to Palestine, and not to any other country.
Such examples indicate that early on, Nazi Germany tried to solve the Jewish question using relatively benign means, giving respect to and trying to motivate Jews to move away from Germany in order to create Jewish-Zionist settlements in Palestine. However, when a certain time passed and the majority of German Jews didn’t make that move, then the means turned bitter, finally escalating into the Holocaust.
What Should We Learn for Today from the Examples of Nazi Germany Supporting Zionist Jews in the Early-to-Mid 1930s?
Today, there are many powers opposing Israel and the Jewish people. However, as it had been in early Nazi Germany, it depends on the Jewish people themselves to invert these powers from negative to positive.
We Jews need to seriously consider our function in the world: that we need to unite above our differences in order to bring the world the power of unity. If we do so, then we’ll give ourselves and the world the ability to envelop all the negative forces appearing in the world with a much greater and more powerful positive force: unity.
The examples of how Nazi Germany sharply shifted its attitude to Jews from positive to negative shows us how quickly and suddenly the attitude toward us can change. In the early-to-mid 1930s, Nazi Germany respected the Jewish people on condition that they moved to Palestine and built a Zionist enterprise. The majority who disagreed ended up encountering the Holocaust.
Therefore, today we need to seriously scrutinize what is demanded of us, and what we need to do toward humanity. The clock is ticking. The sooner we understand that the ball is in our court to tilt the sentiment brewing in humanity from negative to positive, then the sooner we can realize our role, unite, and become a conduit for the positive force of unity to pass through us to humanity. And if we fail to realize what we can do to tilt the scales this time around, then the already dimming response toward us from the world can be expected to become a lot darker and more severe.
 Polkehn, Klaus, “The Secret Contacts: Zionism and Nazi Germany, 1933-1941,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 5, No. 3/4 (Spring – Summer, 1976), pp. 54-82, Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Institute for Palestine Studies, https://www.jstor.org/stable/2536016.
Dr. Michael Laitman
PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute.
Into Truth: Cracking the Jewish Riddle – a film by Amit Shalev.
Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman continues explaining the root of anti-Semitism and the role of the Jewish people by answering the question: “Why did the Nazis hate Jews?”
The Nazis didn’t hate Jews from the start. Afterward, they saw it as a very good means to unite the people, and also a way to control the people, because not all Germans were Nazis. Hitler used it very efficiently to unite the people, and also to draw attention to himself from the entire world, and so they discovered that hating Jews helps them.
Also, they saw Jews as their competitors, because they thought that the Jews wanted to rule the world, and the Nazis also wanted to rule the world. On the other hand, they saw how Jews dominated science, philosophy and finance for thousands of years, and the Nazis also wanted to build their one-thousand-year Reich, and saw the Jews as people who have succeeded at it, and now it is as if their turn, to make eternal Nazi history in the world. Therefore, they hated and destroyed Jews.
Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman explains how Hitler saw that he could unite the people through anti-Semitism, and that he gained a lot of support through his anti-Semitic actions, and these were the stepping stones to Hitler’s becoming an anti-Semite.
Countries such as France, England and Poland, who were hostile to him and who he couldn’t conquer yet, agreed with him on his anti-Semitic stance, and thus he used anti-Semitism to rise above the people, unite the people, and to take the wealth of the Jews. He also publicized his actions against the Jews as much as possible, because he saw that the people agreed with and encouraged his anti-Semitic actions. Eventually, he became a true anti-Semite, even though he wasn’t one to begin with. When he started rising to power in Nazi Germany, there were even many Jews and the fathers of Zionism who supported him. In short, in terms of whether Hitler was an anti-Semite, he wasn’t one in the biological sense, where he felt a natural hatred of Jews from within. He became one as he saw that it garnered him a lot of support.