The Crime of Politicizing the Holocaust

Two Decades of Reflection on OSI Terror
Published: 2012-07-13

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If anyone had any doubt about the power of the Holocaust politics on today’s political scene, all one had to do was watch the GOP debates. All candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, swore their allegiance to Israel and made references to “the people who suffered the Holocaust” and how they deserve our unquestioning support. It was Newt Gingrich who recently told Floridians that “allowing Iran to get nuclear weapons… runs the direct risk of a second Holocaust. That is a fact."

Then there were Netanyahu’s repetitive speeches to AIPAC and Congress claiming that the Holocaust gives them special privileges. Clearly, the goal of politicizing the Holocaust has paid off in major dividends for AIPAC and Israel. Of course, I’m not the first to make such a claim. As your readers likely know, Norman Finkelstein’s The Holocaust Industry details at great length how it’s been used for political gain. Finkelstein’s parents were both “survivors.”

But I digress.

I realized very early on in our case against my father, Martin Bartesch, that the cases bought by the OSI against its defendants had nothing to do with justice and everything to do with politics. All one has to do is review and consider the special circumstances under which the OSI came about, how it’s been run (and by whom!), and most notably, reading the Holtzman Amendment (PL 95-549) which enacted the law that created the OSI—a law which was in many ways an ex post facto law targeting a very small minority of citizens (thereby unconstitutional!). None the less, for crimes that were committed on another continent involving none of its own citizenry. It’s interesting that only in 1998 did the OSI expand its boundaries to include Imperial Japanese “war crimes”.

I realized very early on in our case against my father, Martin Bartesch, that the cases bought by the OSI against its defendants had nothing to do with justice and everything to do with politics.

I believe most honest Americans would be appalled if they understood the nature of the PL 95-549, how it was crafted to allow OSI to submit claims against as broad a net as possible and to prevent any real due process. To begin with, the law “renders ineligible for a visa any alien who participated in the persecution of any person because of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion during the period from March 23, 1933, to May 8, 1945, under the direction of or in association with the Nazi Government of Germany or an allied or occupied government.”

You’ll note that the law clearly targets a small group of individuals. This is the first bill where a restrictive immigration interpretation was applied retroactively and thereby violating civil liberties of its defendants! Where’s the ACLU?

The law was enacted under Civil Law for many reasons, not the least being that there is a much lower standard of proof and less burden on the government. I believe the real crime is that PL95-549 doesn’t define what participation in persecution is! It’s left as broad as possible for the sole reason of allowing OSI to go after men who were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. You have a situation where a broad net is thrown over mostly poor immigrants with limited education and resources fighting a government agency that doesn’t have normal judiciary responsibilities and clearly has a set political agenda!

I believe most Americans are for true justice which does not discriminate against anyone by race, religion, or national heritage! Should not all laws be applied to all people? For instance, should not Israelis who served in the Israeli Defense Forces and committed atrocities (crimes against humanity) against native Palestinians and are now living happily in the US (with dual citizenship none the less) be eligible for prosecution under this law? Did they not, at the very least, participate in persecution? Again, most Americans would understand this logic.

However, most Americans don’t understand the onerous implications of this law. Thanks to our controlled media and judicial system, the public only believes what it is told. The current “educating” of university students with the curriculum supplied by the USHMM is a classic example of how our society is being duped into believing that what our government has done through the OSI is fair and just.

Yet, one only has to do a little investigation to understand how criminal these cases have been and to also recognize the deception and outright fraud that was committed by the OSI. A quick study into the cases of Andrija Artukovic, John Demjanjuk, Frank Wallus, and even honorary NASA scientist Arthur Rudolph, would be enough to convince any fair-minded person that the real terror was committed on the OSI defendants and their families and the real persecution was being perpetrated by the OSI! I won’t go into great details on these cases as I suspect your readers may already be at least somewhat familiar with the painful facts. Certainly the most famous of all, that of Ukrainian John Demjanjuk, needs little advertisement.

However, your readers may not know much about my father’s case other than what they read in last month’s newsletter. A quick recap: Martin was the fourth of five boys born on a farm in Transylvania, Romania. At the age of 16 he was conscripted into the Waffen SS, the only division which non-Germans could be in. He served as a perimeter guard at Mauthausen for approximately three weeks in ’43 before being dispatched to sub-camp Linz III where he guarded work crews doing road repair. He was dispatched shortly thereafter and sent to the Eastern front where he was injured and subsequently captured by the Russians. As a prisoner of war, several Austrian members of his platoon convinced him to not let the Russians know he was from Romania or his death sentence would have been swift. After release from prison, he found his way to a refugee camp in Austria where other fleeing Transylvania Saxons were. This is where he met my mother and where my sister and I were born. In 1955 we immigrated, legally, through the aid of the Lutheran Church. Upon entering, Martin did not lie on his immigration form; he clearly stated that he was in the Prinz Eugen Division of the Waffen SS from July of 1943 until war’s end.

For over three decades my parents were law-abiding citizens who raised their three children (Martin Jr was born in Chicago) as Americans first! I’ll save the details of the nightmare that began when OSI knocked on my parents’ door in 1986 and served them papers charging my father with “person-ally assisting in the deaths of tens of thousands of people” and for lying on his immigration forms. I’m sure your readers can imagine the horror that ensued once the Chicago media picked up the story. Death threats became a daily occurrence.

My siblings and I were also blindsided! I recall my ex-wife telling me that once the judge found out exactly what my father did and didn’t do, and once all the facts were presented, my father would be cleared and exonerated. That was the thought of most people who knew my father and understood what was going on.

Unfortunately, there was to be no such justice. It became very apparent, very quickly, that these cases had nothing to do with justice. While my father’s case was being prosecuted, we watched in horror as Artukovic and Demjanjuk were being forced from the country. In doing my own research, with help and support from a good friend and attorney, Andrew Allen, the harsh reality of what we were up against became mind-boggling.

However, I was determined to do what I could to expose this injustice. Completely unsolicited by Andrew Allen or myself, we started receiving documents which were being discarded by the OSI. What these documents told was a much different story than the one the media was telling based on OSI feeds. Of course, OSI was unaware of the fact we had these documents (similar documents had been leaked to the Demjanjuk family).

Having these documents gave us a distinct advantage when we filed our Freedom of Information Act claim, and we could measure the degree of OSI’s compliance (United States District Court, Northern District of California Civil No. 88-1795 EFL). Not knowing we had so many leaked documents, the OSI chose not to reveal any of the exculpatory evidence or anything damaging to their image. In doing so, they violated the law and committed fraud upon the court! The Judge had no option other than to rule in our favor and the OSI was required to pay for our legal fees. Of course, it’s not every day that a private citizen wins any kind of legal action against the government! One would think that this fact would have had reporters from all the major media outlets rushing to our door to get the inside scoop. That just wasn’t going to happen as the facts took away from the image the OSI wanted to present. And now, they have the ultimate chutzpah to use my father’s case as “education”!

What the documents we have did reveal is:

  1. The OSI hid witness testimony that conditions were very mild at the sub-camp where my father guarded work crews.
  2. They hid the evidence that detainees had not seen any beatings nor even heard of any abuse of prisoners.
  3. They concealed the evidence that the prisoner my father shot, Max Ochshorn, a Frenchman, was incarcerated for forgery, which makes him a criminal rather than a "victim of persecution."
  4. They added language to the roll list to try and connect my father with the operation of Mauthausen.
  5. And, perhaps most damaging, they collected the names of all the people who were writing letters in defense of dad, and then contemplated "investigating" (i.e., taking action against) them!!

Also, what we did not know at the time as it was not leaked to us, nor presented in the FOIA documents, was that then President Carter had handwritten a note to then OSI Director Neal Sher asking if “perhaps special considerations be made in this (my fathers) case”!! It seems that President Carter actually read the letter of appeal my sister wrote and it made so much sense to him that he took it upon himself to write to Sher!

Neal Sher

Neal Sher

Can you imagine that a Director of an agency which President Carter created when he signed PL 95-549 into law, would not abide by the President’s request!! He had President Carter to thank for his job. Not only did Neal Sher not abide by Carter’s request, he saved the letter and decided to use it against him when the Nobel Peace Prize recipient wrote Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid in 2007. Sher tried to make the claim that because Carter wished to intervene on my father’s behalf, he most assuredly must be anti-Semitic. Talk about politicizing justice!

Of course, I’m certain that the USHMM curriculum that is being forced upon unknowing students doesn’t mention, as Scott Johnson did in his PowerPoint blog, that: “Reliance on Sher’s word is, to say the least, problematic. Sher is simply not a credible source. In 2003 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit disbarred Sher for his admitted ‘unauthorized reimbursements’ of travel expenses from the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, where he had served as chief of staff.”

Seems one can be disbarred for stealing shekels from Holocaust survivors, but not for committing fraud in US Courts!

I believe that now-deceased but well-known author and humanitarian Kurt Vonnegut said it best when he wrote me a handwritten note (08/1987) saying that “The only injustices which are attacked and rectified are those which are unpopular. Your father was a victim of a popular injustice, based on show biz oversimplification of history. I’m afraid too, that members of my own profession are the creators and merchandisers of the junk history which hurt your father so, and teach again and again that weaklings forgive and real men get revenge.”

Vonnegut also wrote (in 04/89) that “the biggest barrier against justice for your father is the universal and absolute certainty that anyone who was in uniform at a Nazi concentration camp cannot possibly be a member of the human race.”

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that my father was a victim. Not only was he an innocent victim of WW2, having been caught in the middle of two warring nations that he and his fellow Saxons had no interest in, he was a victim of an overzealous government agency that was set up for the sole purpose of politicizing the Holocaust. An agency that has spent well over 250MIL (conservative estimate) to prosecute one small minority of its population and not allowing them due process of law.

Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Heinz Bartesch
Title: The Crime of Politicizing the Holocaust, Two Decades of Reflection on OSI Terror
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 192, July 2012, pp. 5-7
Published: 2012-07-13
First posted on CODOH: July 13, 2012, 7 p.m.
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