Establishment steals Nazi holocaust

"Nothing ever quite prepares you for the reality of Auschwitz-Birkenau. A tangible sense of evil hangs over it. Other Nazi concentration camps that have been preserved seem like survivals from the distant past, like something from a blurred black-and-white newsreel. Auschwitz is different".

So writes John Simpson in The Sunday Telegraph (January 21). How could anyone disagree with the man who presented the BBC's coverage of the UK's first ever Holocaust Memorial Day? Surely only a hate-filled holocaust denier would take issue with the above words?

Well, not necessarily. What Simpson omitted to mention was that the Auschwitz camp visited by countless 'holocaust tourists' is not the Auschwitz camp liberated by the Red Army in 1945. Rather, it is a very meticulous reproduction of the Nazi death camp which stood on the very same site.

The original disease-infested building was razed to the ground by the Germans and the incoming Soviet forces. In that sense, the Auschwitz-Birkenau on display to the world is a 'fake'.

Small point, you could say. It looks the same. Has the same emotive effect. Shocks people into realising the full horrors of Nazism and racist prejudice. Must be a good thing then. Maybe. But the holocaust experience offered up to us at the 'new' Auschwitz-Birkenau is a graphic example of how the truth of the Nazi holocaust has been trivialised and then repackaged as an 'educational' experience.

Before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, talk of the Jewish, Slav, gypsy and other national victims of Nazism was viewed, particularly in the USA, as evidence of distinct communist-pinko tendencies. To make the post-1967 Israeli superpower into a victim state, the holocaust - as a unique event - was invented. Since then it has been adopted by the western bourgeois establishment as its own and a whole ideological industry has been generously financed and patronised from on high to expropriate the memory of the Nazi holocaust.

Pro-Nazi apologists, such as David Irving, have shot at the obvious lies and half-truths in their attempts to whitewash Hitler-fascism. This has created a symbiotic relationship. The holocaust industry feeds off the likes of Irving. It needs him and his fellow pro-Nazi revisionists in order to justify itself. Together they form a self-perpetuating, denial-affirmation system, whose highest manifestation to date was Holocaust Day on January 27.

The "moving ceremony" (Independent on Sunday January 28) which took place at London's Westminster Central Hall on Saturday was broadcast live on BBC television. A solemn procession of the great and good were on view - Prince Charles, Sir Bob Geldof, Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Anthony Sher, Sir Trevor McDonald, etc. Naturally all the leaders or figureheads of the religious faiths were present - Jewish, Anglican, catholic, Methodist, Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.

There was music. Poetry. Eyewitness accounts from survivors of the Nazi holocaust and the 'killing fields' of Cambodia/Kampuchea, Rwanda and Bosnia. Chief rabbi Sachs, leader of the orthodox Jewish community, stated that "memory is the moral guardian of mankind", denounced the "unique evil" of the Nazi holocaust and praised "diversity".

Tony Blair exhorted us to 'learn the lessons' of the holocaust: that mankind is "capable of evil"; that "racism must be fought against the moment it appears"; to be always "on our guard", seeing how the "origins of racism" lie in our perfectly correct and understandable desire to "belong to a community", whether it be religious, national or familial; that "fascism can be defeated", as was demonstrated by World War II; the urgent necessity to "teach our children" about the evils of racism and to remember "our history", and finally - but certainly not least - the vital need to disseminate "spiritual values", which rise above the passing fancies of "material wealth" and "political ideology".

Blair concluded: "A society without spiritual values is at risk" ... of repeating the holocaust and all manner of other unspeakable atrocities. Like revolution. After all, a previous speaker had already informed us that the suffering imposed on the Kampuchean masses by Pol Pot and his venal henchmen was attributable to his "fundamentalist brand of communism", which sought to impose a "primitive, peasant economy" on the country.

Here we come across the real agenda of Holocaust Memorial Day - to further legitimise the ideological, political and moral authority of the bourgeoisie, which for the time being has a virtual monopoly over the discourse and rhetoric of anti-racism/anti-fascism. The Nazi holocaust has to become 'The Holocaust' so the ruling class and its faithful servants can selfishly use the memory of the holocaust survivors and hence World War II - now presented as a noble crusade against fascism.

Sheer bunkum, of course - but, given the 'collapse of communism', who is going to say otherwise? The undoubted attraction and 'moral' pulling power of Holocaust Memorial Day is more a product of our weakness than the bourgeoisie's strength.

More concretely, the UK's first holocaust memorialisation ritual is part and parcel of the Blairites' determination to promote and expand its anti-racism and multiculturalism. As The Economist put it, "The immediate reason why Britain has its own memorial day is that Mr Blair and Jack Straw wanted one. They have explicitly related the event to New Labour's wish to forge a tolerant, multicultural society" (January 27).

The aim is clear. The Blair government's official anti-racism is just a continuation of World War II and democratic imperialist values. The killers of Stephen Lawrence are the direct heirs of the Nazi holocaust. The struggle to catch the killers is a battle against incipient Nazism. January 27 symbolised this declaration of 'total war' against the forces of intolerance, racism, bigotry and anti-multiculturalism ... which will be conducted in a manner that serves the interests and needs of the bourgeoisie and its system.

Eddie Ford