By William Markiewicz
I read a report (Reuters) about a suspected Nazi plot to ensure their final victory even after the war was lost. It talks about a secret meeting in 1944, describing the place, the date, names of people and firms who participated. Supposedly the goal was to connect people faithful to Nazi ideals all over the world and give them enough power to achieve their goals. Various allied secret agencies which helped unmask the plot are named. The article ends with a rhetorical question by Flan Steinberg, Executive Director of the World Jewish Congress -- was the plan, once discovered and unveiled, carried out or not?
I was only mildly interested in the topic because, even if I didn't discard the possibility of such a plot , it didn't seem to be a major discovery or event that needed debate. What really triggered my interest in the subject was Nikole's reaction who said categorically "I don't believe in plots." When I asked why, she said, it isn't that easy for a bunch of Nazis to convince businessmen to carry out a plot when all they are interested in is money. She said that if this crazy Nazi plot exists, then we can't differentiate anymore between paranoia and common sense and all the other plots, Jewish plots, Masonic plots -- you name it -- can be put in the same bag. Well, she makes me realise that the topic deserves discussion. As many people believe in plots, we should try to find out if a notion of a plot makes any sense, who may be the possible perpetrators and have plots ever been successful.
Belief in plots is probably a rather modern phenomenon. We don't know too much about the Antique fears of collective plots. Very often people may confound a plot with simple solidarity. In certain professions it may help to be Jewish, Mormon, Philipino, Gay ... I know certain public libraries and offices where the employees are predominantly lesbian. It is not a lesbian plot; simply, one lesbian informs another. After all, being a member of some particular interest group has to serve for something. From my observations, the most unified people are the Mormons.
We should also distinguish between plots and more or less petty conspiracies in the political and criminal fields which are in abundance everywhere. The difference between solidarity, conspiracy and plots is that the first two aim for more or less immediate profit and the latter is aimed at overall dominance. This goal throughout history has always been achieved more successfully through the power of arms than through "plots." Look at the Roman Empire, the British Empire ...
As far as I know, among the most ancient and persistent stories of plots are those which concern Jews and Masons. Let's take a general look at the Jews throughout the millenniums. A s they are a very old people, even a short look must be longer.
In Biblical times when they were independent, the Jews made no notable moves toward conquests, remaining confined to the territories which, in their belief, were given to them by God. Several times they were conquered and have revived through their own efforts. By the time they finally lost their independence to the Romans, they were no longer united and had become two separated kingdoms, Judaea and Israel which were often at war with each other.
Even before the Jews were dispersed, after their senseless revolt against the Romans, important Jewish communities had existed outside the Holy Land throughout the centuries; in Babylon, all over the Orient and Europe particularly in Spain, in Yemen, Ethiopia ... There were even occasional Jewish kingdoms short in duration and territorial extensions because they were in opposition to Biblical law which accorded the Jews only the Holy Land. In some of the mention ed countries, like Spain, Yemen, perhaps in Ethiopia, the Jews were the oldest inhabitants because they were the first historically known population -- still, they obviously had little ambition for political power and were subjugated by much younger, more primitive populations that arrived later.
The Jewish plotters are like ET - everybody's heard about them but nobody has ever seen them. When names were needed to make the theories sound a little bit more serious, non-Jews like Rockefeller, Ford (active anti-Semite), Stalin, Beria, Tito, even Hitler were put on the "Jewish" list. The world's great fortunes, like banks, heavy industry, mines, are not in Jewish hands but in the hands of those who wouldn't invite a Jew to dinner.
We never play with the destiny of the stronger, only with that of the weaker one because the stronger are beyond our judgement. Is this one of Murphy's Laws where everything that can happen, happens? For the Nazis the Jews were just too easy a target, completely unprepared. Still they didn't lack warnin g with over one thousand years of antisemitism.
As long as they were protected by the powers in place, the Jews could subsist and even bloom. Even in the best of situations it was always artificial, being based on protection from outside, a greenhouse situation. The conception of self-defence, on which all the rest of the world is based for security's sake, wasn't even thought about. Once the protection disintegrates, even the most solid-looking structures evanesce.
Several times in their long history the Jews were a people. I haven't looked lately at the encyclopedia definition of a "People" but it seems to me that what characterizes a people is roots, tradition, culture, language ... Two most recent Jewish peoples which corresponded to this definition were Jews from pre-Inquisition Spain and pre-Hitler Europe. With their disappearance, the notion of a Jewish people is no more to be applied. Israel is a melting pot, a nation without being yet a people. "Nation", contrary to "people", is a political term. Today, Jews all over the world are communities not a people, even if they are powerful communities as in the U.S. for instance. Culturally they are definitely a part of the melting pot in their respective countries.
Toronto, where I live, is a multicultural city. I was quite involved professionally in the multi-ethnic press phenomenon. I selected excerpts from the multilingual ethnic press to be published in the English daily, The Toronto Sun. All the ethnic groups, even the smallest, backed by cultural and family links with the old countries, have a quite vibrant cultural life and press in their languages. The Jewish press is virtually non-existent; anyway, no comparison with the others. As for cultural activities, yes, some klezmer ensemble from time to time, some Jewish film festival -- a drop in the ocean. Only the Hassidim are visible Jews. They have religion as a support and don't look for any other future. They are a religious community, cloistered among themselves; no people, no nation, not too much into "plots."
A few words about Masons; they were popular in the 19th century when mystical symbols, codes, etc. were fashionable. Now Masonry is inconspicuous among many other groups.
Nazism, Communism, offer perhaps more fertile ground for those who fancy plots. Contrary to those who have grown old and tired they are relatively young, feisty, aggressive and present a mixture of mystical fervour and philosophical rationalisation. Could they be long lasting? On a marginal level, probably yes. Can they play a vital historical role? Quite doubtful.