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Blood Libels, Gas Libels And the Difference between Them
For much of recent history much has been written, and read, of the “blood libel” on the Jewish people spread among the populaces of Europe and the countries elsewhere populated by Europeans. The story has countless variants, most of them involving the abduction of non-Jewish babies for ritual slaughter in which some use or other is made of the blood of the victims. Thus, the “blood libel” joining many other tales demonizing the Jews among the non-Jews who pass these stories about among themselves—all of this long before that Internet that seems to so facilitate such passing about of stories.
The stories are, of course, vigorously denounced by both Jews and non-Jews seeking to promote comity among the races and ethnicities that forever will characterize and divide us humans who share Planet Earth. The stories are, undoubtedly, false at least on a numerical basis: for every real case bearing the slightest resemblance to the myth, there appear to be a hundred recountings of this instance, or that occurrence, that must have been the Jews, or else it was those Gypsies. Or … where is the baby, anyway? It is the very essence of intergroup antipathy and, yes, libel.
But more recently, after the incredible carnage and devastation centered on the Germany of World War II, another libel has “arisen,” or been fomented, against the people who lost their nationhood in that holocaust: the Germans. This infinitely variegated set of myths holds that, chiefly in places the Germans conquered and occupied, these same Germans together with indigenous anti-Jewish collaborators, designed, erected, manned, and operated satanic mills of a sort never before or since offered up for contemplation by the informed, caring publics around the world: gas chambers.
These installations embodied a phantasmagoric extension of the gas technologies that made their first, lethal appearance on the public stage during World War I in the uncontrollably blunt “weapon” of poison gas in combat. Millions of soldiers, including Hitler himself, reported themselves temporarily or permanently blinded or maimed by this creeping, invisible killer that left no visible wounds on its victims, even those it killed. It was effective in the pursuit of combat missions only incidentally; at least as often, it set its own side back in offensives and, subject as it was to the whims of the weather, was largely ineffective. This did not, of course, prevent millions of combat veterans on both sides from claiming harm from its effects. A core of these claims was valid.
By the time of World War II, anticipated developments of these technologies exploiting the gaseous state of matter led both sides to equip their bomb shelters with extensive provisions to protect against aerially delivered bombs bearing the noxious vapors, including filters, hermetic sealing, and pneumatic pumps situated so as to expel any lethal traces that might otherwise invade the inevitable chinks in every structure of any usable size.
Germans have long demonstrated an enviable lead in the related technologies of chemistry and physics that govern the mastery of gasses, liquids, and even solids. They have likewise demonstrated a potentially incriminating mastery of related technologies such as medicine and war. These virtuosities have made the Germans inviting targets for accusations that they have harnessed natural—and devilishly unnatural—forces for the pursuit of goals ascribed to them by others, such as the annihilation of groups of people they feel have harmed their society.
Thus, through the agency of insuperable armed force and theatrical productions such as the Nuremberg Tribunal, an image has forever been branded on the consciousness of the world of dungeons such as Poe could never in his most fiendish fantasies have conceived, into which were infused gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide to quickly, if not painlessly, kill millions of people. The same confabulation, already taxed beyond the limits of technological—and physical—possibility, is then outdone with explanations explaining the traceless disposal of the remains of those millions in crematoria.
Both legends play heavily on materials extracted from the bodies of the victims. What the Jews wanted most in the legend about them was the blood of the Gentile babies. It seems that, in some versions, they drank the blood, either straight or mixed with wine, in a Satanic sacrament. In other versions, the blood was mixed into the ingredients of the sacramental matzoh, an unleavened baked good not known among the Gentiles, somehow not discoloring the end product, though undoubtedly the image of crimson matzoh is not discouraged, either.
The blood meme is echoed in the libels against the Germans, as in a since-discredited case where Polish children were drained of their blood for transfusion into German troops who had been wounded in battle. But the dominant theme concerning parts of the victims of the Holocaust concerns hair, the removal of which entailed neither harm nor even pain to the victims. There is not the slightest doubt that the Germans sheared most of the hair off most of the heads of inductees into their camps, nor is there any doubt that doing so greatly reduced the propagation of the deadly lice that spread typhus among the camps’ occupants.
Whether the Germans gathered and used this hair to any purpose (hair is a standard component of felt, for example) is not so clearly recorded, but the notion that it was used to weave socks for submariners is today the object of indulgent chuckles among the informed. Likewise disproven are fantastic tales of the use of human skin for producing leather or, if interestingly tattooed, lampshades, and the use of human fat for the production of soap.
Mass graves are found of the Croatian victims of Tito’s partisans from the movable slaughter through Slovenia of 1945, and thousands of corpses, still resplendent in their uniforms of Napoleon’s Grande Armée of 1812, have been unearthed outside Vilnius, Lithuania, but of those millions of victims of Nazi Germany? Little, very little, and much of what is found, contendable as to whether they were guerillas, prisoners or war, reprisal victims, or other of the unbearably tragic human detritus that always spews from the bowels of the demon War. There were the bone-grinding machines, since exposed as mere producers of gravel for highway construction, but above all, there were the Crematoria. These, sorry for the exterminationists to say, have been overworked far past the point of Hercules flushing the Augean Stables, disposing of millions of corpses consuming the time and fuel normally required for some few thousands. The Gas Libel on the Germans has required that the remains of the slaughtered millions, never found in any numbers, thus be somehow made to disappear—the technological and physical limits of reality be damned.
Mass graves are alleged to exist at numerous sites, including Auschwitz, Majdanek, Sobibor, and even the Ravine at Babi Yar of everlasting memory. But true forensic investigations of these sites have been prevented by a number of factors, including high ground water levels that would inevitably have precluded such interments in the first place, and Talmudic proscriptions against “disturbing the remains of the faithful [allegedly] buried on the sites”.
Under the laws of many European countries, the two libels occupy mirror-image positions. Public denunciation of the Blood Libel is so routine and so frequent it is stultifying, while any voice giving it the slightest shred of credit lands its owner to be charged before a court in very short order. Contrariwise, pious reinforcement of the Gas Libel is sanctified by the loftiest of humanistic virtue, while any questioning or analysis of it again lands the skeptic before a judge likely to hand down a sentence of years of imprisonment.
Germans, like people everywhere, entertained various sympathies toward people they knew and peoples they had only heard about. The sympathies of non-Jewish Germans, and some Jews, were certainly negative toward one another. That much is undeniable. But then there is the Gas Meme. It is a disgusting form of science fiction. No such gas chambers, and indeed, no such gases have ever been devised, not deliberately, nor indeed accidentally.
It is a Hatred Meme contrived to aggrandize the fortunes of those persons who claim to have “escaped” that Holocaust (this one has a capital “H”) launched against them by—those Germans. And their descendants. Not only the descendants of the perpetrators, but those of the victims, forever eluding their Barbarian tormenters in refuges such as Israel and the United States. It is from those redoubts that they ceaselessly launch assaults against not just those Germans who have been faithfully paying reparations these 61 years, but against those who would defend (the vast majority of) today’s Germans against the calumny of the blood libel that has dogged and impoverished them through their entire lifetimes.
Such assaults on freedom of expression are unjust in their own right, if for no more than the overweening power it places in the hands of the State. It should remain legal to intone memories of those German crimes even where it cannot be shown that they were committed, just as it should remain legal to intone memories of the centuries-old tradition of Jewish sadism. At the same time it should become legal to reject the anti-German Gas Libel as it is to reject the anti-Jewish Blood Libel where either or both is susceptible to honest, competent inquiry into the pertinent facts that remain available to us.
Freedom in every direction—as far as the eye can see, as far as the mind can imagine, as far as the heart can yearn. Good faith? Sometimes. Mistrust? Ever and always. Violence in the enforcement of unjust law?
Additional information about this document
|Title||Blood Libels, Gas Libels And the Difference between Them|
|Sources||Smith's Report, No. 203, March 2014, pp. 5-7|
|Dates||published: 2014-03-16, first posted on CODOH: March 15, 2014, 7 p.m., last revision: n/a|