Israeli journalist Amira Hass, columnist for Ha’aretz newspaper, comes from a family of Holocaust survivors. Her mother, Hanna Levy-Hass, survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Amira Hass edited her mother’s diary from that period, and it’s being published this month from Haymarket Books.
But let us not fall into the trap and think because Israel abuses the Holocaust and very often makes use of it in order to justify the repression and oppression of the Palestinians, let us not fall into the trap and think that one should not assess the Nazi threat as it really was. And it was a huge threat to the entire humankind.
And I think that’s why I appreciate when he goes to Buchenwald. I think that beyond the propaganda that every act has, it has important content. We often ask ourselves what was different. I mean, human—the West, the Christian West, the Christian white West, is responsible for the murder of millions and millions of people, already before the ’40s, the ’30s and the ’40s: colonialism, slavery—it’s not new—the conquest of the Americas, all this. What still we have to remember, that there was something peculiar about the murder during the Nazi times, is that it was so organized. It was not a—death and murder were not byproduct of a lucrative expedition, but turned into a goal, turned into the main product. This is the difference, from the point of view of the culprit, of the perpetrator, not from the point of view of the victim, because a slave who was tortured by hard labor until death, the suffering is—I mean, there is no way to measure suffering and injustice. So when we do this, it’s in order to understand. When we diagnose an illness, it is in order to find the remedy; it’s not in order to compare—“Oh, you suffer more, and you suffer less.”