Harrison Report, Patton, & the Holocaust Memorial Industry

Making waves at NYT.com is “Surviving the Nazis, Only to Be Jailed by America” by Eric Lichtblau, Washington correspondent for The New York Times and the author of “The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men.”

Now that the Holocaust Memorial industry is firmly entrenched, and all resistance futile, now’s an opportune time to start trashing the U.S. military’s post-concentration-camp liberation of Jews:

Even after the victorious American and Allied forces took control of the camps, the survivors — mainly Jews, but also small numbers of gays, Roma, Communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others — remained for months behind barbed wire and under armed guard in what became known euphemistically as displaced persons, or D.P., camps. Many Jews were left wearing the same notorious striped pajamas that the Nazis first gave them.

With the American forces overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of refugees under their control, underfed survivors lived for months in decrepit camps in Germany and Austria — a number of them on the same grounds as the concentration camps. Even after conditions improved, thousands of former prisoners remained inside and in limbo for as long as five years because the United States and most other nations refused to let them in.

In the early months after the war, thousands of survivors died from disease and malnutrition. Food was so scarce that rioting broke out at some camps, as Allied commanders refused to give extra food rations to Jewish survivors because they did not want to be seen as giving them preferential treatment over German P.O.W.s and other prisoners.

Faced with complaints by outside Jewish groups about conditions of “abject misery,” President Harry S. Truman sent a former immigration official, Earl Harrison, to Europe to inspect the camps. His findings were blistering. The survivors “have been ‘liberated’ more in a military sense than actually,” Harrison wrote Truman in the summer of 1945.

“As matters now stand,” he wrote, “we appear to be treating the Jews as the Nazis treated them except that we do not exterminate them. They are in concentration camps in large numbers under our military guard instead of S.S. troops.”

The background of the Harrison Report is not new news.

The real bombshell of the piece, though, is Lichtblau’s discovery of journal entries by Gen. George Patton, in which the General has less than P.C. impressions of the Eastern European, D.P. Jews remaining in the camps:

“Harrison and his ilk believe that the Displaced Person is a human being, which he is not, and this applies particularly to the Jews who are lower than animals,” Patton wrote. He complained of how the Jews in one camp, with “no sense of human relationships,” would defecate on the floors and live in filth like lazy “locusts,” and he told of taking his commander, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, to tour a makeshift synagogue set up to commemorate the holy day of Yom Kippur.

“We entered the synagogue, which was packed with the greatest stinking mass of humanity I have ever seen,” Patton wrote. “Of course, I have seen them since the beginning and marveled that beings alleged to be made in the form of God can look the way they do or act the way they act.”

How long after the camp liberations did Patton and Eisenhower tour the synagogue, which may or may not contextualize Patton’s opinion? We don’t know. Might there be other ways to contextualize Patton’s impressions?

Hundreds of thousands of war refugees from Eastern Europe — including many top Nazi collaborators — gained entry to the United States in the first few years after the war, but visas were scarce for those left in the camps. Some Washington policy makers were actively opposed to the idea of taking in Holocaust survivors because of lingering anti-Semitism…

Mr. Rosensaft, the editor of a new book by Holocaust descendants called “God, Faith and Identity from the Ashes,” added: “Nobody wanted them. They became an inconvenience to the world.”

So, the only possible explanation for U.S. policymakers not wanting to take in hundreds of thousands of displaced Jews (as an immigration policy decision) is…. anti-Semitism?

Not mentioned in Lichtblau’s piece is Harrison’s own proposed solution for what to do with displaced Jews (i.e., liberated Jews who did not want to return to their home countries.) Harrison petitioned to have the U.S. pressure Great Britain, who at the time controlled Palestine, to greatly increase the number of Jewish immigration slots into Palestine. This, in turn, became a significant variable towards the eventual formation of Israel as a nation-state in 1948.

In any event, as we see with the endlessly proliferating Holocaust Memorials and such, ‘The Guilt’ shall never end.

If only the Culture Makers micro-analyzed Stalin’s Willing Executioners as much as they do Hitler’s Willing Executioners.

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