By William Markiewicz
A sensational report went around the world that during World War II thousands of Jews served in the Wehrmacht, many awarded the Cross for Bravery. In the revisionist web groups it is even mentioned about Jews serving in the SS. Were they also in the Gestapo? As 'Gestapo' is an abbreviation of "Geheime Stadt Polizei", meaning State Secret Police, this would be harder to check. The revisionists came out with the superficial conclusion that "If the Jews were permitted to serve in Hitler's armed forces then there could not have been a Holocaust."
The paradoxical saying that the exception confirms the rule found its illustration in Germany more easily than in the rest of occupied Europe. Germany, a country quite extensive and heavily populated, was full of smaller provincial towns and villages far enough from bureaucratic centres to carry out laws more loosely. There the Jews had lived quietly for centuries, anti-Semitism among the local population was practically nonexistent and it often happened that local authorities left the Jews in peace. I read once that somewhere they wanted to deport Jews "married to Aryans" but because of the spouses' protests, nothing happened. One journalist whom I met in Europe told me that his grandparents died in deportation but they succeeded in saving their little daughter (his mother) by giving her to the Hitlerjugend! His mother described how once her father, wearing the Star of David on his shoulder, fell in the snow. She helped him to stand up and one passerby admonished her, "Why do you help this Jew?" In the Hitlerjugend she was influenced by anti-Semitic propaganda and once said to her chieftain (or whoever was in charge): "I have no right to be here; I am Jewish." The chieftain answered, "Don't worry. You don't have to attend those courses about the Jews." After the war she felt so ashamed of her Jewish origins that she wanted to commit suicide (there were cases). She lacked the courage so she decided not to have children -- and she had five! I asked my interlocutor if his father, a scientist, was also Jewish. He answered that he didn't know because his father never discussed this with him. In those isolated regions, the Jews were distinct from the rest of the population mostly because they didn't go to church. They felt German to the marrow. It was precisely those Jews that Hitler drafted into the Army and their Jewish family line was lost somewhere in the mass of paper bureaucracy. In Italy, an Axis country, the Jewish situation was sometimes similar. One Italian told me that in his unit, the Sergeant used to tell Jews: "Listen, you are a good Italian, a good soldier, a good Fascist. From now on you will be called, not Isaac but Giuseppe, not Levi but ..." and he stuck on an Italian name.
The Jews have lived in Europe since time immemorial. Alexander the Great declared, "With Jewish archers, I conquered Persia." (See Vagabond, September 95) If Jews had lived a normal national life they would now be one of the most numerous, if not the most numerous, of nations. Alain Peyrefitte wrote a book in the 60s called "Les Juifs" (The Jews) in which he more or less implied that there are two categories of Europeans: those who know about their Jewish origins and those who don't. Maybe it's exaggerated; anyway, Hitler had enough Jews at his disposal to both draft for the army and to exterminate.Back to the index of the Vagabond