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Ed Driscoll

Defining The Holocaust Down

June 20th, 2007 - 4:43 pm

Here’s this week’s attempt to justify Nazi Germany’s collective actions, via England’s Daily Mail, which breathlessly asks in its headline, “Did Hitler unleash the Holocaust because a Jewish prostitute gave him syphilis?”

A brief encounter with a Jewish prostitute may have led to Hitler’s genocidal Holocaust, claim psychiatrists.They believe he may have caught the sexually transmitted disease syphilis which, if untreated, can eventually cause madness.

According to a report, mental and behavioural disturbances triggered by the advanced stages of the disease could have resulted in Hitler targeting Jews and the mentally retarded.

There is “ample circumstantial evidence” for the theory, according to a team headed by psychiatrist Dr Bassem Habeeb.

Dr Habeeb said that there had been speculation that Hitler had syphilis from diary entries made by his personal doctor, Theo Morrell.

Add it to John Cusack’s 2002 film, Max, which explained away collective German atrocities by suggesting if only young Hitler had been more appreciated as an artist, and a German comedy(!) last year titled, Mein Fuhrer, which blaimed it on abuse Hitler received as a child. Regarding the latter effort, which Pajamas’ Ron Rosenbaum absolutely buried, it doesn’t take much to translate his thoughts from last December to the Daily Mail’sarticle today:

As I tried to point out in Explaining Hitler,so called “psycho-historical” theories of Hitler have long been justly discredited, but still attract those who find some kitschy thrill in contemplating the sexual and personal perversities of Nazis.Psycho-historical theories have been discredited both for lack of credible evidence and for flawed notions of causation. Here, for instance, it sounds like the director has blindly accepted the dubious, contradicted hearsay that Hitler’s father beat him, promoted strenuously without corroboration by psychoanalyst Alice Miller (who, again without corroboration “explains” Hitler’s anti-semitism by claiming Hitler’s father beat him because the father was upset that he, the father, might have “Jewish blood”—a concatenation of unproven, unprovable old wives tales). Even if it were true that Hitler’s father beat him this does not support the notion that therefore Hitler became a mass murderer because he resented Daddy. All too many children are beaten by their fathers, true, but only Hitler became Hitler because his exterminationist impulses had the enthusiastic support of hundreds of thousands of “ordinary” Germans and other Europeans.

Second, the focus on Hitler’s alleged personal peculiarities, de-historicizes the causes of the Holocaust; making it some kind of outgrowth of personal revenge and perversion rather the culmination of centuries of murderous anti-semitic hatred in Europe carried out by hundreds of thousands of non bed-wetting accomplices to Hitler. It de-politicizes the genocidal hatred in an utterly trivializing way.

As Rosenbaum adds, “The Holocaust was not the product of one man’s personal peccadilloes, but of a powerful historical, theological and racial ideology that a juvenile comic focus on ‘bed-wetting’ utterly obscures and in effect denies”. Similarly, so does an article blaming it all on syphilis.

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