“The Battle against anti-Semitic ideology and its understanding of ‘fetishized anti-capitalism’ is an integral part of any emancipatory and communist effort. 81 years later, we still remember that night’s crime in November 9 1938.
81 years passed since that terrible night on November 9th, 1938, which marked the beginning of systematic acts of extermination of Jews throughout Europe. Following the defeat of the communist movement in Germany and the seizure of power by the Nazi party in 1933, anti-Semitic policies were introduced under Hitler’s regime. Over half-million Jews living in Germany were transformed by the regime into scapegoats for all the problems the country: the defeat in World War I, hyperinflation (1921-1923) and the Great economic Depression of the 1930s. The culmination of this crime was Auschwitz.
81 years later, antisemitism continues to be the organic substance of every fascist ideology. Anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise across Europe. Only a few weeks have passed since the murderous anti-Semitic attack in Halle, escalating the anti-Semitic violence in the country – perpetrator of the Holocaust. However, antisemitism does not always come from the Neo-Nazi ideology, but in many cases also comes from the anti-imperialist left or religious fundamentalist groups.
It should be noted that it is not coincidental that the attack in Halle came few days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement that Iran’s anti-Israel stance is not anti-Semitic revealing a certain extent of a covered anti-Israel position of the German Government. German chancellor seems to forget – in order to promote the capital interests of the state she represents – that Iran leads an official line of denying the Holocaust, in that Iran is an exception, for there is no other country in the world that officially promotes the denial of the Holocaust. The denial of the Holocaust is spread throughout the Iranian elite and it finds expression in conferences such as the Holocaust denial conference that was held in Tehran in December 2006, an exhibit denying the Holocaust in Tehran in July 2007, and in numerous statements by Iran’s ex-President Ahmadinejad and senior Iranian officials.
Over the past few years, antisemitic violence in Germany has increased. We would like to mention only few incidents (of the hundreds) in the recent past years:
Hannover, 2016 – A Jewish cemetery has been vandalized three times within a year. Vandals have ripped out two gravestones and smashed a window adjacent to a sermon hall. In December 2016, the cemetery received similar treatment, when gravestones were pulled out and desecrated. In November of that year, also, Vandals smeared one gravestone with a swastika, threw paint on others and broke the glass window in the chapel.
Wuppertal, 2017 – a regional court in Germany has decided that a brutal attempt to set fire to a local synagogue in 2014 was an act meant to express criticism against Israel’s conduct in its ongoing conflict with Gaza.
Chemnitz, August 2018: A gang of Neo-Nazis allegedly staged a vicious attack on a local Jewish restaurant during a wave of violent right-wing protests.
In meanwhile, in Berlin, numerous attacks with antisemitic motives took place at districts such as Neukolln, Mitte (at the main Synagogue) etc. According to new research statistics Berlin overtook Malmo and is the new antisemitic capital of Europe.
Antisemitism in Germany and globally remains a sad and dangerous reality. Despite the proclamations after the end of the war, such as Never Again Fascism, Never Again Antisemitism, it remains a pressing issue.
What feeds antisemitism today?
Theodor W. Adorno once opened a speech, today known under the title “Education after Auschwitz” with the following statement: “The premier demand upon all education is that Auschwitz not happen again” . But this seems to be not the case in Germany, the perpetrator of the Holocaust. We all know the way Germany deals with its own history, the education in public schools and universities in Germany concerning the reasons why national socialists made it into power as well as the reasons who lead to Auschwitz remain superficial.
Historical revisionism as a central role in the national ideological narrative of Germany as well as in the EU is rising once again. Many German Historians of the 80s, such as Nolte Hillgruber put many efforts to downplay national socialist brutality by relativising the KZ with the working camps of the USSR. In that way, Nolte undermines the importance and how unique was the crime of the Nazi regime. As Primo Levi wrote: “The goal of the Lager was the extermination of the Jewish race in Europe. No one was excluded. No one could renounce Judaism; the Nazis treated Jews as a racial group rather than as a religious one.” The purpose of the Nazi camps was not the same as that of Stalin’s gulags were usually political opponents of Stalinism were imprisoned. Nazis saw Jews as the sub–human element, the future of the world depended on their extermination. The Nazis, for the first time in history, found a way to make a industry of death, its perfection to be found in Auschwitz. Any comparison to that is simply a form of antisemitism, which its purpose is not only to disrepute communist ideas but also to “wash” the German State national narrative.
It couldn’t happen in a different way, in a country like West – Germany where after the war and during the “Denazification” period, many of the Nazi officials and party members, responsible for crimes, not only stayed unpunished but even stayed in their positions as city mayors, judges etc. On many occasions they were able to destroy the evidence for crimes, which remain unpunished till today. But the problem in BRD goes deeper than city majors and judges, for instance has to be mentioned Hans Globke, who was the coauthor of the Nuremberg laws and he was the highest official in Adenauer’s chancellery from 1953 – 63 as well as Reinhand Gehlen, a secret service general of Wehrmacht, founder of precursor of the German foreign secret service BND which he lead until 1968. But also in the DDR, a state whom in the name of the “antifascist present” ignored the national socialist past and didn’t see it as part of its very own history.
It should also be noted here that, few weeks ago, the European parliament voted for the identification of Communism with the monster of Fascism, whitewashing the fascists and their actions, expressing hatred for the struggle of antifascists. Anti-communism among antisemitism is also part of the ideological narrative of capitalist sovereignty.
The remembrance events for the 81 years from the pogrom in 1938 coincides with another anniversary, the 30 years of the fall of the Berlin wall. Neonazis, AFD and other brown forces in the German society used this occaision to take to the strees. Alongside with them are also those who celebrate this anniversary as the end of “Totalitarianism” and political antagonism in the parliament offices.
what else feeds antisemitism today?
Today, antisemitic campaigns such as BDS, not only call for the desctruction of the state of Israel, which practically means another jewish genocide but also provokes with events like a demonstration the same day as the pogrom night. Wide spread antisemitic views can be found in many groups who call themselves left usually under the banner of anti-Zionism.
Are all forms of resistance against antisemitism the same thing?
Many forces of political mainstream are “opposing” antisemitism today. From the CDU, SPD to FDP and many others, but is this a real opposition? What differs between a communist critique to antisemitism from a mainstream one? Mainstream anti- antisemitism doesnt want to go to the underlying reasons and explain what lead to the extermination of the Jews, this would call into question enlightenment and modernity as a whole. In contrary a communist critique of antisemitism, requires an understanding of capitalist modernity and its complexity. As Max Horkheimer said: Those who don’t want to criticise liberal democracy should also keep quiet about fascism”.
Capitalist modernity faces again one of the biggest crisis since the end of the WWII. Neo-Fascist and neo-Nazi movements are in a rise again, reminding us that nothing really ended in 1945. Furthermore, 30 years after the fall of the wall where all these big statements with much certainty and confidence about the end of the “big narratives” such as communism etc who dominated the political atmosphere, it seems that a new round of class war has already started, from the European Metropoles to Chile. In a capitalist world full of uncertainty for the future, we need once again to arm our critique against everything existing and even more than that, to get organized and make one more big step towards how we understand today’s complex situation. The struggle against anti-Semitism can’t be separated from the struggle against capitalism.
This leaflet is not the beginning neither the end of the discussion about antisemitism from a communist view. However if you find the ideas contributing to a such complex topic don’t hesitate to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
81 years after the pogrom of 1938. We still remember…
Communists with remembrance.