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The U.S. Holocaust Museum Should Become A Holocausts Museum By: Robert Locke
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, May 25, 2001

HISTORY is a key battleground of contemporary politics, and one that conservatives must win on if we are to restore the intellectual culture of our nation to reasonableness. There is in that culture a pernicious myth, seldom stated out loud but deeply entrenched in the public mind, that although the 20th Century showed extremes of both Left and Right, the extreme Right proved itself to be the distilled essence of evil whereas the extreme Left was a misguided but honorable experiment in the name of a desirable ideal of equality. This myth is not usually made the premise of explicit argument, but it creates an invisible cloud that hangs over right-of-center thinkers and politicians, even though they have nothing in common with extremists. It creates an uneven intellectual playing field that inexorably tilts our culture's thinking against us, albeit so gradually as to go unnoticed. The core of the myth is this proposition:


The Nazis exterminated people, but the Communists didn't.

Most educated readers will know, of course, that this is false. The Bolshevist Gulag and Maoist Laogai were actually even more deadly than the Nazi concentration camps, and this is all not to mention other exterminations that took place outside the camps or due to criminal follies like Mao's collectivist agricultural experiments, which killed millions by crippling food production. But while names such as Himmler and Eichmann are recognized around the world as bywords for savagery, the names of Feliks Dzerzhinsky, Genrikh Yagoda, and Nikolai Ezhov, or their Chinese, Cambodian, Korean, Vietnamese, Turkish, Pakistani and other counterparts, remain unknown. There were war crimes trials to dispose of the perpetrators of the atrocities of Nazi Germany and Japan, but there have never been the equivalent for the Communists, or for the non-Communist tyrants.

This double standard is expressed in a number of other ways. For example, it is acceptable on American college campuses to be a Marxist faculty member but not a Nazi one. We are so used to this that we don't see anything unusual about it and it even sounds odd to make the comparison explicitly. But why is it permissible to teach one genocidal ideology and not the other? If any history teacher denied the reality of the Jewish Holocaust, he would be deservedly pilloried like the mendacious British crank David Irving. But Columbia historian Eric Foner can deny that the Soviets practiced genocide and not only get away with it but be elected president of the American Historical Association. The main source of this double standard is obviously the strength of Marxism in American intellectual life. This is a product of the fact that while huge sections of the American Left treasonously converted to the ideology of the enemy, the American Right, to its credit, produced very few Nazis, a difference between them and us that deserves to be emphasized when honest histories of 20th Century America are finally written. It must also be told that Marxists bear partial responsibility for Nazi crimes, for four reasons:

1. Because they made socialism a political force, and the Nazis, as far too few people know, were socialists.

2. Because they invented totalitarianism.

3. Because Hitler got into power partly because his anti-communism was attractive to reasonable people, and they made communism a threat.

4. Because the Soviet alliance with Nazi Germany in the years 1939-41, which only ended when Hitler invaded Russia, helped the Nazis subjugate the rest of Europe.

Thus the international Communist movement (whose American section helped Hitler by promoting isolationism until he invaded the USSR) must answer not only for its own crimes, but for some fraction of the responsibility for the crimes of their nominal arch-enemies. To my knowledge, they have not even acknowledged, let alone apologized for, this complicity.

The second source of the double standard lies in the excessive memorialization of the Jewish Holocaust in American life, which has squeezed out the historical memory of the other holocausts. This memorialization has many positive aspects, as we are certainly a culture that needs more historical memory, not less, and has an underdeveloped sense of the tragic dimension of politics. But it is also historically imbalanced, because now everyone is more conscious of the fate of the 6 million Jews than of the other 150 million-plus victims in our century. Let us review these holocausts:

1. By Communist China: 65,701,000.

2. By the Soviet Union: 62,000,000.

3. By Nazi Germany: 30,000,000.

4. By Kuomintang (Nationalist) China: 10,075,000.

5. By Nazi Japan: 6,000,000.

7. By Turkey: 2,500,000 (mainly Armenians and Greeks.)

8. By Communist (Khmer Rouge) Cambodia: 2,035,000.

9. By Communist Korea: 2,000,000.

10. By Communist Vietnam: 1,700,000.

11. In Africa: 1,700,000 (various Communist and other regimes and rebels.)

12. By Communist Poland: 1,600,000 (mostly ethnic Germans post-1945.)

13. In Pakistan: 1,500,000 (mostly in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.)

14. By Communists in Afghanistan: 1,500,000.

15. In Mexico (mostly in revolutionary chaos to 1920): 1, 417,000.

16. In Communist Yugoslavia: 1,072,000.

17. In Czarist Russia: 1,066,000.

18. In Rwanda: 800,000.

(Sources: R.J. Rummel, Death By Government & The Black Book of World Communism. These are civilian causalities and do not include military losses for which these political entities were responsible. Figures are in some cases controversial and are intended to be indicative of scale, not exact. I refer to the Japanese regime as "Nazi" because it was based on a totalitarian cult of pseudo-racial supremacy; whether the pseudo-race in question is the "Aryan" or the "Yamato" is secondary. I use the term "pseudo-race" because the collectivities valorized by Nazi ideology do not correspond to any biologically valid taxonomy of human racial differences but are concoctions of racial, geographic, ethnic, national, linguistic and cultural concepts.)

One must commend the Jews who built the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington for starting the process of memorializing the victims, and it is time to complete this process by extending it to victims of the other holocausts. Therefore the United States Holocaust Museum should become the United States Holocausts Museum. It is time to tell not only the truth, but the whole truth.

Some of my Jewish acquaintances tell me there are undesirable aspects for them about the near-exclusive memorialization of their own Holocaust. They tell me it was pushed on them as children in a creepy and depressing way. They tell me it smothers other aspects of their history as a people. One even told me that "Reform Judaism is degenerating into the twin cults of Holocaust remembrance and the Democratic party." They dislike the way that Holocaust remembrance is used for partisan purposes like attacking immigration reduction on the spurious grounds that American failure to allow Jews to immigrate here (as opposed to our failure to establish refugee camps) contributed to the Holocaust. This discomfort could be mitigated by expanding public memorialization to include the other holocausts.

It has already been suggested that the solution is to create additional museums for these holocausts. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is raising money to build a memorial. In 1993, it received formal legal approval from President Clinton and Congress. There are also Ukrainian and Armenian groups working on separate projects. But the problem with this is twofold: one, how many museums would it take? Do we really want central Washington littered with holocaust museums? Two, having separate museums would de-emphasize the common humanity of these similar tragedies, an aspect that needs to be played up in order to prevent this from degenerating into splintered ethnic bitterness. The slightly less bad alternative would be for us to end up with two competing museums, one for the victims of the far Right and one for those of the far Left. But this would infect the whole thing with political partisanship and make it seem like an argument in which the truth depends on what side you are on.

If the scope of the museum is extended beyond our own century, questions will inevitably come up concerning whether certain historical tragedies belong in it or not. You know the usual suspects. These questions will have to be raised and debated. It will do the country good to force them into the political open by making them determine the contents of a museum that everyone will see, rather than simply being settled by liberal academics. If the past is a key battleground of present-day politics, then it is high time we fought in the open. If this forces historical questions to be debated on the floor of the Congress, so much the better. Conservatives have suffered for years from the leftist control of our intellectual life, but it is an axiom that the closer to explicit politics one gets, the more even the fight. By turning covert questions into overt ones, we get closer to the truth, which favors our side. It is absolutely essential in the long run that conservatives take control of history, and this is the right place to start.

Note: Either Rummel's Death By Government or the multi-author Black Book Of World Communism should be required reading for everyone who holds political opinions. Rummel's book is more comprehensive, giving detailed line-by-line breakdowns, with proper source notes, of all manners of politically-accomplished mortality. One can compare, for example, the death tolls in wars of decolonization after WWII with the corresponding tolls of democide (people-killing; genocide is ethno-specific) afterwards. The biggest shock is to read of huge massacres one hadn't even heard of: for example, I had no idea that Communist Poland had exterminated 1.6 million people, or Pakistan 1.5 million. The sheer numbers involved make a mockery of so much politically-correct whining as to be worth reading for this reason alone.

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