Notebook

Published: 1997-01-01

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Family Matters If you have been a reader of this Report since December 1995. and/or before, it may have crossed your mind that this season you did not receive my special holiday roundup of the Smith family. Maybe it crossed your mind to think I did send you one but that it got lost in the mails. Nope. I didn’t do my holiday roundup this year.

The reason is incredibly trivial. At the beginning of the second week in December I had an equipment failure. It started with my printer—you can’t do a Christmas letter and a newsletter without a printer—then moved on to a hard drive problem in the computer itself, at which time I took the whole kit and caboodle to the local professionals to clear up. What was to have been an overnight stay in the shop turned into eight days of frustration and delays and when I did get it all back there were still so many glitches to overcome that I gave up on the Christmas letter for this year. Sometimes you just can’t do it.

If I had done my holiday letter I would have been able to report that Irene is well, her cancer is in remission, her treatments for it are long over, she has slowly lost 25 pounds and her vanity is returning. My mother is doing well at 95 and is still with us at home. Magaly is home from San Diego State where she is on track to graduate in Spanish in the Spring of 1998. Paloma is 10 years old and growing style conscious—she wears corduroy overalls and sweat shirts and plays blackjack and crazy-eights, both of which she has a talent for. with our retired neighbors. We have a new cat, Pete, who has been accepted as an equal by Katy, our mixed beagle. They stand up on their hind legs and wrestle each other as if they belong to the same species. They remind me of Rousseau’s paintings of jungle animals posing for the artist in peaceful co-existence. As for myself, following Irene’s example, I have lost 30 pounds and feel good and have no significant complaints. What good w'ould it serve to have no complaints whatever?

Maybe You Noticed. Smith's Report arrived late this month. I’m still wrestling with the computer glitches caused by the failures noted above. Also, I might as well admit it, I was felled by a near-terminal attack of torpor over the holidays. It’s an illness that seldom infects me, but when it does strike it leaves me as dormant as some old bear. I note these matters as a preface to assuring you that I do not intend to allow the publication schedule for SR to slip.

Nazi Apathy. Lou Rollins wonders what David Goldhagen in Hitler’s Willing Executioners thinks about the following polls, reported by Grace Halsell:

“Soon after this interview, I read an Israeli public opinion poll published in 1984 showing that 18.7 percent of the Israeli public support terrorist activities by extremist Jewish groups. In commenting on the poll, the Israeli writer Yehoehus Sobol pointed out that in 1938, a representative sample of Nazi Party members found that 63 percent of them objected to hurting Jews, 32 percent expressed apathy on the subject, and only five percent were in favor of harming Jews.

“Four years later, in 1942, when the annihilation of Jews was already speedily taking place, a representative sampling of Nazi Party members showed that those against attacking Jew's decreased to 26 percent, while the number of apathetic increased to 69 percent. The number of Nazis in favor of attacking Jews remained the same: five percent.” (Prophecy and Politics, Lawrence Hill Books, Chicago, 1986, p. 116).

In an interview with the International Herald Tribune (6 November 96) Raul Hilberg notes that “In the millions of routine government documents he has examined... overt anti-Semitism is so rarely expressed that when it appears, it leaps immediately to the attention. In the crucial higher level of the civil service, ‘the decision-making bureaucracy,’ Hilberg said, ‘anti-semitism was considered to be a sign of belonging to the lower classes.’”

When I come across such reflections, which always touch me in a haunting kind of way, I am reminded of something Hans Schmidt once told me. When he was a young man growing up in Germany in the 1930s, everyone was aware of Julius Streicher’s publication Der Stuermer.

It was available in the town where he lived but no one he or his family associated with would think of taking it to their homes as it was considered hopelessly vulgar.


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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Notebook
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 39, January 1997, p. 2
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Published: 1997-01-01
First posted on CODOH: Oct. 2, 2015, 3:45 a.m.
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