The Liberation of Auschwitz and the Liberation of Syria
by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace
Fifty world leaders joined Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem for the World Holocaust Forum, or perhaps it should be called the World Hypocrisy Forum as many of these heads of state are engaging in massive human rights violations and killings. It was held to celebrate the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Certainly the liberation of the camp by the First Ukrainian Front of the Soviet Army is indeed something that should be celebrated, but not by Netanyahu, Putin and Pence in the capital of apartheid.
Now about the death camp itself, there’s something that only Fox News and PBS brought up, the question of why Auschwitz wasn’t bombed by the Allies. As early as May 1944 Allied bombers were in range of the camp. As former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg wrote, the allies were “indifferent” to the plight of the Jews. And Jewish leaders in the U.S. hardly made an issue of it. Top leaders like Rabbi Stephen Wise rejected any efforts to save European Jews that weren’t tied to bringing them to Palestine. As dissenter Peter Bergson wrote at the time, it was as if people were in a burning house screaming for help and rescue would only be attempted if it was agreed that the fire victims would be taken right away to the Waldorf-Astoria.
Bergson in 1943 rented out Madison Square Garden and filled it to display the pageant “We Will Never Die.” That year he organized 450 rabbis to march to the White House. Roosevelt didn’t meet with any of them, but in the next year, he approved a War Refugee Board which by some estimates saved 100,000 lives. Bergson’s efforts should be a model for those concerned with Syria.
March 15 marks the 9th anniversary of the start of mass demonstrations in Syria. Their bloody suppression led to the uprising against the Assad tyranny. RPM, Revive the Peace Movement (network) is calling for people to mark the date in some way, by demonstrating, films, webinar, etc. and to call attention to the 3 million people being slowly overcome by Assad-Iranian ground forces and Assad-Putin bombing. More at www.rpm.world.