Welcome to the 1930s

Roger L. Simon looks back at his favorite nurse in his father’s medical practice, back when Roger was a wee tike of six years old, after World War II:

I wondered what the numbers were. I had never seen anything like that on a grownup’s arm. She explained to me she had been in a concentration camp — Auschwitz — and felt lucky to have gotten out, maybe guilty as well, because the rest of her family had been gassed. My father told me about it too — about Mrs. Mindus’ dead husband and their dead children and so forth. I think he wanted me to know about it.

This was, as you might imagine, hard for a six-year old boy to wrap his mind around. But those macabre numbers on Mrs. Mindus’ arm had a profound effect on me. I thought of them frequently growing up and I think they had some influence on what I did in life, joining up with the civil rights movement at the age of twenty and then later making some movies about the Holocaust.

Often, however, as with many memories, Mrs. Mindus faded from my mind as I enjoyed my life, living la vida artistica, writing novels and films, traveling abroad. Those horrifying events were in the past. It could never happen again. Even when Israel was at war in 1967 and again in 1973 I never really worried. (Later histories by Michael Oren and others have taught me otherwise.) Anti-Semitism was, for the most part anyway, a thing of the past, of concern only to the Anti-Defamation League and similar organizations. They could take care of the rare outbreaks.

How naive I was!

Now more than ever in my life I am haunted by Mrs. Mindus. The tatooed numbers spook me, not because I expect to see friends and family being carted off to the camps, but because I see a world of anti-Semitism metastasizing so quickly across the globe there might not be time for that. From Paris to Caracas, from Brussels to Bangkok we hear chants of Jew-hating as loud, ugly and perhaps even more wide-spread than we did in the 1930s. Paris has even had a new Kristallnacht. And in dear old Blighty, “Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the gas!” goes the cry on the London streets with Jewish Labor Party leader Ed Miliband for all intents and purposes leading the band himself!


And speaking of the medical profession, at Breitbart.com’s Big Peace Website, longtime PJM friend Phyllis Chesler writes that The Lancet, the house organ of British doctors, is more than ready to party like it’s 1939. “The journal has told an Israeli doctor that letters of rejoiner from ‘Israeli academics’ will not be published,” Phyllis writes:

The Lancet has done this before—but this time, they will not publish any genuinely scientific and medical letters of rejoinder. They have, in fact, just rejected Dr. Boris Yoffe’s letter. Professor Yoffee is the head of the division of surgery at the “Barzilai” University Medical Center in Ashkelon, in southern Israel. The Lancet editors told him that letters by “Israeli academics” are not welcome.

A dangerous season of Orwellian censorship is upon us.  I am reminded of how swiftly German Christian physicians took over all the German Psycho-analytic Societies which were formerly headed by Jewish doctors–and of course, I remember Dr. Robert Jay Lifton’s work on the Nazi doctors. Simply because someone has an advanced degree of some kind or has won a Nobel Prize in no way inoculates them from the most vulgar common prejudices.

And in Canada, journalists are looking the other way and effectively giving those who chant blood libels — and worse — a pass:


Religious scholar Martin Marty once dubbed European intellectuals such as Marx, Darwin, Nietzche and Freud “the bearded God killers.” In the 19th century, those European intellectuals and their allies decided they would preemptively organize a going out of business sale for humanity on the Continent. Yesterday, Mark Steyn looked at the 100th anniversary of World War I, which made it official:

One hundred years ago today – at dusk on August 3rd 1914 – Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, made a famous observation that endured across the decades:

The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.

Grey died in 1933, a couple of months after Hitler outlawed all German political parties other than his own. But you could have lived a lot longer than Sir Edward, and still recognized the truth of his words – in France until 1945, in Hungary until 1989, and in the Middle East today, where we’re still dealing with the unfinished business of the Great War.

Edward Grey was Britain’s longest-serving Foreign Secretary, although, in contrast to Hillary Airmiles Clinton he had a modest appetite for foreigners: For his first eight years in the job, he never set foot abroad, and then only did so because he was obliged to accompany King George V on a State Visit to Paris in 1914. He served a prime minister, Asquith who, not unlike a certain US president today, had little interest in foreign affairs and was unengaged by distant events in faraway places until late July of 1914 – by which time it was too late, and the great unraveling of world order had begun. Five years later, the German, Russian, Austrian and Turkish empires were shattered, and in their ruins incubated Communism, Fascism and a hardcore post-Ottoman Islam. And in a more oblique sense the horrors of the trenches caused the Great Powers to lose their civilizational confidence – and across a century they have never recovered it.


Mark’s article is titled “Darkness Falls.” If Europe and other nations are reverting to a 1930s mindset, what happens next? In 2009, Newsweek looked around its offices, surveyed the new occupants of the White House, and scanned its now largely leftwing subscriber base and openly declared, “We Are All Socialists Now.”

When do they add “National” to that headline?


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