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Responses to Holocaust Provocations

vampirella_2000 [1]2,376 words

A few days ago I came across by chance a Holocaust tale in series of old comic books from the late 1990s.

That is not at all surprising. It is difficult to go through a day without encountering some Holocaust propaganda. If you have functioning eyes and ears, it would be close to impossible to go through a week without encountering any. The Jewish Holocaust is almost omnipresent in our culture, much like the Kardashians. You could try to evade both, but your chances of success would range from very poor to nonexistent. Throughout the West frequent contact with the Holocaust is the price we pay for sentience.

If you can’t distinguish Kim from Khloe, or if you don’t know that Bruce now calls himself Caitlyn, you have miraculously separated yourself from the degrading media environment that surrounds us. If you haven’t heard something about the Jewish Holocaust during the last week, you may have been hiding out somewhere in Antarctica.

The example of Jewish Holocaust propaganda I chanced upon appeared in a series of Vampirella comics. It is interesting only because it is ideologically unexceptional.

The story begins in 1939. Brutal Germans have just occupied Egypt as part of their campaign of world conquest. They have even established a Joy Division brothel in Cairo, where, as a matter of policy, they transform young Egyptian girls into whores.

A German archaeologist, a sadistic member of the SS, is in Egypt searching for an ancient talisman, following the Fuehrer’s instructions. The demi-goddess Pantha, capable of transforming herself into a panther, disrupts his plans, removes his arm, and kills a group of his fellow nazis assembled at the Joy Division brothel, enjoying some recreational time with their sex slaves. Other nazis then avenge their losses on the native Arab population, using techniques of torture and violence developed at Dachau. They rip out the teeth of inoffensive Arabs with pliers; they round up pedestrians and shoot them in the street.

None of the Arabs deserved death or torture. It was the shape-shifting Pantha, in her panther form, who killed the SS officers, but since the nazis could not catch her, they inflicted grotesque punishments on innocent Egyptians instead, suspecting that they might be partisans resisting the German occupation of their country.

About sixty years later the story, which includes some SF time-travelling between various post-war decades, settles in the United States near the beginning of the new millennium. Dr. Midwinter, the SS archaeologist, has become the leader of a worldwide neo-nazi organization. He hasn’t changed much. Old nazi objectives have brought him across the Atlantic. He is still searching for the talisman, the scarab signet of the great god Atum-Ra. He needs its arcane power to bring about “the ultimate holocaust,” the genocide of all non-Aryans. He still plays chess with chessmen made from the skeletons of Jews killed at the Natzweiler concentration camp; long ago he received them from a colleague in celebration of Hitler’s birthday. So intense and cruelly obscene was the torture inflicted on the inmates at Natzweiler that its mystic vibrations still emanate, more than fifty years later, from the victims’ bones, now reshaped and sitting on Midwinter’s chess table.

Midwinter appears to have recruited, back in the 1960s, a white supremacist motorcycle gang from California, the Whiteskulls, who adorn their biker jackets with swastikas. In the story’s present his organization employs a genocidal Serb werewolf, Taltos, fresh from committing mass atrocities in the Balkans. Despite his rather obvious physical peculiarities, this shape-shifting werewolf is a strong believer in the need to expunge impure non-Aryans from the earth, whether they be vampires or normal humans. Taltos also enjoys killing for the sake of killing, while tormenting his victims. Off in London a group of British aristocrats, supported by the German Thule Society, assist Midwinter’s mission as well.

The beautiful vampire Vampirella fights on the side of racial good. Our heroine is, decades after Hitler’s death, a de facto anti-Hitlerite waging a war against the modern incarnations of old nazi evil. Vampirella vows to shed as much “Aryan blood” as is necessary to prevent the modern-day nazis from enacting their genocidal ambitions. She is, if we leave aside her vampiric incisors, racially indistinguishable from her nazi adversaries, but the moral structure of the story demands that good Caucasians kill evil Caucasians in order to preserve the lives of others. We are supposed to cheer at Vampirella’s successes, just as we were supposed to cheer the criminal Clinton-Blair bombing campaign against another Hitler, Slobodan Milosevic, which in the real world was occurring during this silly story’s composition. It seems likely that the author wanted to make his own modest contribution to the war effort.

You may wonder how a nazi archaeologist active in the 1930s is able to do battle with a youthful superheroine in 1999, the year this Vampirella story arc began. The answer is that back in Egypt, at the outset of the war, he briefly possessed the scarab, which prolonged his life. Despite two or three decades as a senior citizen, Dr. Midwinter is still a formidable adversary.

This comic-book device to defy the march of time provides an obvious analogue to the modern Holocaust, the Judeocentric commemoration of wartime events long ago. Nazis in Holocaust fantasy fiction must remain forever vigorous and therefore always dangerous. The possible recurrence of the Jewish Holocaust must, similarly, remain always an ever-present threat that requires from us constant vigilance. “The armies of the Third Reich were beaten,” an old colleague tells Vampirella, “but the [malevolent] powers that inspired them can never be defeated.”

Unique nazi evil cannot, if the Holocaust is to remain a valuable instrument of propaganda, be confined to the past. It also must not be restricted to Germans alone. It cannot be distant. It must be always somehow present. And the carriers of the nazi virus must be men and women like ourselves. All of us must be infected or at risk of infection. The Jewish Holocaust broadens old nazi guilt to include all of us. That, really, is what the Holocaust is for. It would be worthless to its promoters in our era if Hitler and his German supporters seventy years ago were its only targets. That would make the Holocaust a claim about history, not a weapon in a political campaign against all of us in the present.

The Dr. Midwinter story arc is thus a Holocaust text. Extraordinary evil, so far beyond other evils that it defies human comprehension, was first ascribed to the German followers of Adolf Hitler in the aftermath of the war; the same evil was later labeled the Holocaust and ascribed not only to modern Germans but to non-Jewish descendants of Hitler’s enemies as well, in this case to White Americans and British aristocrats, along with a solitary but dangerous Serb werewolf, still set in his genocidal ways despite NATO’s humanitarian bombing of his countrymen.

One possible response to low-grade propaganda is to ignore it. The anti-nazi Vampirella story is just as ridiculous as my summary suggests. It also has, like much fantasy fiction, little in common with the real world. In reality there are no global neo-nazi organizations staffed by uniformed fanatics planning genocide. There are no white supremacist biker gangs who sacrifice young women to extract their blood for supernatural, racially pernicious objectives. Actual followers of Adolf Hitler are now dead or extremely aged. There are no magical scarabs to keep them vigorous and dangerous.

White nationalists are not, we could argue, implicated in this comic-book story. It has nothing to do with us. We can safely ignore it, and at any rate there is nothing any of us can do about it. The story was written in 1999, and many more stories like it have been written in the intervening years. You risk looking foolish if you complain about something as apparently trivial as an old, low-circulation comic book, or even about the latest anti-nazi movie from Hollywood. A Transylvanian who complained that vampire stories unfairly malign his people would receive little sympathy. Horror stories about vampires are merely fantasy, as is a story about an old but vigorous nazi archaeologist planning racial mass murder and searching for a magical scarab, all the while fighting sexy comic-book heroines.

Another response to this sort of propaganda would be to point out historical errors.

Germans did not, of course, transform the bones of Jews into chess pieces. That plot item was derived from the post-war charge that Germans manufactured lampshades from the corpses of their victims. The author of the Midwinter story arc decided to broaden the claim. He thought he was being grotesquely inventive, but he was only erecting a new fantasy libel on top of an older libel, discredited long ago.

Nor in fact did Germans occupy Egypt during the Second World War, so German soldiers could hardly have shot suspected Egyptian partisans in the streets of Cairo or have forcibly staffed SS brothels with Egyptian women.

As far as most Egyptians were concerned, Britain was the great European power that dominated their country, while Germany was a resurgent European power they hoped would set them free. During the war many Arabs and most Arab nationalists were hoping for an Axis victory. Some of them, including Anwar Sadat, were actively working for the Germans. If victorious Germans had arrived in Cairo during the war years, they would have been welcomed as liberators. In the 1940s a substantial proportion of the globe’s brown-skinned inhabitants, wisely or not, preferred Hitler over Churchill and Stalin. They were disappointed when their preferred side lost. World War II was, after all, a world¬†war, with both sides having their respective supporters.

These Vampirella comic books are, we can (perhaps pointlessly) complain, historically inaccurate. In addition to repackaging discredited tales of German savagery, they strip away the war’s complexity. All non-Whites are presumed to be anti-German, because Germans allegedly planned to murder all non-Whites. They are still living today only because the Allies defeated the Axis. That claim is not true, but it is a staple in the more imaginative forms of Holocaust fiction, a popular form of writing that could be regarded as new literary genre, with its own distinctive conventions and standard messages. Any writer embarking on a new Holocaust tale knows ahead of time the moral lessons he is expected to impart, as well as the broad artistic license he is entitled to exercise.

oven [2]A third tactic of response, the most recent, is superficially to pretend to believe the factual claims of Jewish Holocaust propaganda, while mocking them. The repurposed graphic above, which I first saw posted in the Daily Stormer’s comment section, is an example. A woman looks angrily into an oven and shouts at any Jews who might be enclosed within it: “Fuck you, Jews!” Physically no Jew, not even a short Jew, could fit inside the oven, but the caption is pretending that there may, just possibly, be a group of Jews inside.

The woman is, I could project, angry at endless Holocaust stories. Or she may be upset at Israel-first Mideast policy. Or she may have just seen Barbara Spectre boasting about the Jewish role in promoting the ongoing Muslim onslaught against Europe. Or she may have just found out that Jewish politicians and Jewish organizations subverted American immigration law in the 1960s. Or perhaps someone just informed her that George Soros is a wealthy Jew who hates people of European descent and uses his wealth to destroy their nations. There are a host of possible explanations, because we have a host of justified complaints about Jewish misbehavior.

Whether you like the graphic or not will depend, of course, on whether you find it funny. I think it’s funny, so I like it. I also admire the thoughts behind it.

There is nothing unfair or illegitimate in an image that suggests an imaginary world where yelling at an oven is the same as yelling at Jews. None of us decided to make ovens and concentration camps symbols of Jewish identity. Jews themselves have done that over the decades. They are doing it more often now than ever before. The graphic, along with many others like it, is a belated response to them from one of us.

Of the three responses, all of which can be valuable, the second may be the weakest. An army of fact-checkers would be required to wade through the expanding ocean of Holocaust films and Holocaust books, and hardly anyone would read the conclusions of the fact checkers, who would also have the task of breaking through thick layers of historical ignorance. There is nothing wrong with such fact checking; I just wrote a few short paragraphs of it myself. It would, however, be time consuming, and in some instances it would require important distinctions that may seem unconvincing, such as the difference between killing some Jews and attempting to eradicate all Jews. It is also unreasonable to expect that many people will read the conclusions of the fact checkers, even if we could recruit an army of them. The films and books would still remain as sources of politicized entertainment and anti-racialist instruction.

The first response — the policy of ignoring even the most deranged Holocaust fictions — has the advantage of preserving some mainstream respectability, but since the difference between being called a “nazi” or a “racist” or a “white supremacist” is small, the practical benefits of this respectability cannot be large. If you do not favor invasions from the Third World, or if you suspect that on average Blacks are not especially smart, you will likely be called two of the three, no matter how carefully you avoid talking about the Holocaust.

While the third response does risk offending people who don’t get the jokes, its greatest virtues are simplicity and agnosticism. If you are tired of hearing about the Jewish Holocaust, and if you have correctly concluded that it is a political weapon directed against you, it doesn’t much matter whether its historical claims are true or false or something in between. You want to reject the political messages carried by the claims, while enjoying a transgressive laugh at the expense of the master race that currently dominates us.