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Germany's cultural-political establishment no longer orders the destruction of "socially dangerous" literature in public bonfires. Today it resorts to more modern, environment-friendly methods to destroy "undesirable" books.
In February 1995, thousands of copies of a revisionist work detailing postwar Jewish crimes against Germans were destroyed, following bitter attacks by Germany's cultural establishment.
The book, An Eye for an Eye: The Untold Story of Jewish Revenge Against Germans in 1945, was published in the United States in 1993 by Basic Books of New York, a division of the reputable publishing firm of HarperCollins.
Written by American Jewish journalist John Sack, the work details the long-suppressed story of killing and mistreatment of Germans in brutal postwar prison camps in Poland.
Although the essential facts of Sack's book are quietly acknowledged by scholars, Germany's cultural and political establishment insists that Germans must not be permitted to read the work, citing fear that it could be "exploited" by "right-wing extremists" who play down the Holocaust story.
Typical was the comment of Ralph Giordano, a prominent German Jewish writer. While admitting that he had not read Sack's work, he dismissed it as "vulgar artistic fetish."
An influential German critic, Eike Geisel, bitterly denounced Sack's book as a sensationalist "vile docudrama" and a "gift to neo-Nazis." Geisel's Jan. 26 review, published under the headline "Anti-Semitic Fodder," provoked a barrage of complaints to the book's reputable Munich publisher, R. Piper.
All 6,000 copies of the already-printed German edition were stacked in a Stuttgart warehouse when Piper publisher Viktor Niemann decided to destroy them. "They will be recycled," Niemann said Feb. 13.
Citing information from Germany's Federal Archives, Sack writes that 60,000 to 80,000 ethnic Germans were killed or otherwise perished between 1945 and 1948 in camps run by the Polish communist regime's Office of State Security. Jews played a dominant role in the Office, as they did in similar agencies in other European countries occupied by Soviet Russia during the Second World War. Many of the prisoners were beaten and tortured to death, or died of typhus and other diseases.
Vastly more doubtless would have perished, but the great majoriny of Germans living in the areas that came under Polish Communist control had already left. Between 12 and 14 million Germans fled or were forcibly driven from their ancient homelands in what is now Poland, the Czech Republic and other parts of Central Eastern and Europe between 1945 and 1948. Of this number, about two million were killed or perished.
This is not the first time that Sack, a 64-year-old Jew from New York, has encountered such censorship. An American magazine, an American publishing house, and a German newspaper had earlier backed off from previous commitments to tell the story.
A key figure in Sack's book, Solomon Morel, fled to Israel last year from Poland after prosecutors began questioning him about his killings of Germans (and some Poles) in the Swietochlowice prison camp he had administered.
Prosecutors are weighing criminal charges against Morel, a Jew. An Eye for an Eye – a 252-page hardcover work – is available from the IHR for $25.95, postpaid. [Check www.ihr.org for current availability and price; ed.]
Additional information about this document
|Title:||Book Detailing Jewish Crimes Against Germans Banned, Thousands of Copies of Revisionist Work Destroyed|
|Sources:||The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 15, no. 1 (January/February 1995), p. 28|
|First posted on CODOH:||Dec. 14, 2012, 6 p.m.|