Auschwitz 835

I was involved in the organisation of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz, while First Secretary at the British Embassy in Warsaw. The 50th did not receive anything like the media coverage given to the 70th, of which more later.

Senior British visitors to Poland invariably included a concentration camp on their itinerary, and from escorting people around I visited camps a great deal more often than I would have wished. I found the experience appalling and desolate. The first I ever saw was Majdanek and I recall that I just had to sit helpless and shivering for some time. One thing the experience left me with – including meeting survivors and both Polish and German eye-witnesses, and seeing the architects’ plans for camps – was a contempt for those who claim the whole thing did not happen, or was an accident, or was small scale.

It in no way diminishes the genocidal attack on the Jews to remember that a vast number of Poles also died in the camps, as well as gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled and disparate political prisoners. I tried sometimes to diminish the horror I felt at involvement with the camps, with attempts at humour. I was present at a meeting listing the guests of honour; the President of Lithuania was included. I whispered that he was coming to represent the camp guards. That was offensive, and I apologise. But there is a real problem that to this day Eastern Europe – including Poland itself – has not come to terms with historical truth about collaboration with anti-Jewish genocide and other attacks on minorities. I recommend this website, which tackles these issues very honestly and is well worth a lengthy browse.

It requires bigotry not to be able to understand why nationalist resistance movements against Russian occupation became allied with Germany during World War II. That would be reprehensible only in the same sense that allied collaboration with Stalin might be reprehensible, but for the added factor of enthusiastic collaboration with genocidal and master race programmes and fascist ideology. That is what makes the glorification of Eastern European nationalist figures from this period generally inappropriate.

I fear however that the real reason that the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz received so much more coverage than the 50th is a media desire to reinforce the narrative of the War on Terror and Western policy in the Middle East by invoking the spectre of massive anti-Semitism. There have been isolated but deplorable, apparently anti-Semitic attacks of a small-scale terrorist nature in France and Belgium in recent years. But to conflate this into stories of a wave of popular anti-Semitism in Europe is a nonsense. Maureen Lipman’s claim that she may have to leave the UK is not just silly but disingenuous. I do not believe she feels in personal danger of attack – there is absolutely no reason why she should – she is rather making a political point.

There are two factors which could exacerbate anti-Semitism at present. One is the appalling behaviour of Israel and its indefensible action in continually seizing Palestinian land and using its military superiority to dominate and occasionally massacre Palestinians. Regrettably, there are a very small minority of people who wrongly blame Jews in general for the actions of Israel.

The second factor is of course the terrible economic hardship wrought across the whole world by irresponsible banking practices, and the fact that the bankers luxury lifestyles were maintained at the cost of everybody else. There are still a tiny minority of people stuck in the medieval mindset associating banking with the Jewish community. There is in fact a very plausible argument that if any “race” has a disproportionate influence on the development and character of international banking since the mid eighteenth century, it is the Scots! But those who see banking as a racial issue are nutters.

You could construct an argument from these factors, and you could identify that anti-Semitic people do exist. They certainly do. They dominate the very small category of people who get banned even from this free speech blog. But are their opinions intellectually respectable, promoted in the mainstream or able to be expressed openly without fear of either social or legal consequences? No, no and no. Anti-semites are fortunately a tiny and strange minority. I might add that in my numerous and frequent social contacts in the British Muslim community, I have never encountered anti-Semitism (unlike, say, Poland and Russia where I encountered casual anti-Semitism quite frequently).

The final point, is of course, the conflation of anti-zionism with anti-Semitism. That seems to me the fundamental design of the media campaign exaggerating the scale of anti-Semitism at the moment. Yes, we must always remember the terrible warnings from history and it is right to remember those who died in the concentration camps, Jewish, Polish, Romany, Gay, Communist or any other category. But we should be aware of those who wish to manipulate the powerful emotions of horror thus evoked, for present objectives of the powerful.

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835 thoughts on “Auschwitz

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  • Clark

    N_, I’m in a dreadful mood right now, but the background is years of hopelessness.

    Look, Scouse Billy accused me of, essentially, small mindedness, closed mindedness, dogmatism and stupidity. He linked to a Rupert Sheldrake video that begins with ten dogmas of materialism. I stated my position on all; only one did I accept, because it’s supported by every experiment and all evidence, contradicted only by one exotic, tentative theory.

    So Billy praises me (conditioning), says I’m not stupid after all. But what about that one where I didn’t fully comply, eh? And then others jump on the bandwagon.

    This, from someone who “loves” hate-filled paranoia like this:

    Yes, that’s the sort of stuff we appreciate on Craig’s site, that I put years into supporting, that Scouse Billy has done absolutely fuck all for. A tosser who proudly proclaims that he edits photos of one person to look like photos of another, then claims that one of them never existed. Yes, that’s the standard of evidence we want here, on the site of a man who risked his life and sacrificed his career to tell the truth about torture. Not some dodgy nonsense like the conservation of mass/energy.


  • John Spencer-Davis


    It doesn’t matter what other people do. What matters is what you do.

    Is that good sense?

    I’m a great fan of a rather obscure science fiction writer who was one of the funniest people who ever lived. One of his tales is a classic anarchist text (“And Then There Were None” – expanded into the novel “The Great Explosion”) that was brilliant at puncturing pomposity and pretention. It came to mind as I read your mails:

    [“This planet,” swore Bidworthy, staring purplefaced
    after it, “has more no-good bums in need of
    discipline than any place this side of —

    “Calm yourself, Sergeant Major,” urged Shelton.
    “I feel exactly the same way as you do — but I’m
    taking care of my arteries. Blowing them full of
    bumps like seaweed won’t solve any problems.”]

    Eric Frank Russell (1905 – 1978)

    Take a night off and have a read…be kind to yourself.

    Take care


  • Clark

    Mary has been coming here since before I found the place. She’s been patiently telling the story that we hear so little of, of the Palestinians and particularly of Gaza, and she diligently digs into factual records, teases out connections, exposing conflicts of interest and corruption.

    So let’s encourage the contrarian theorists that call a bin-wagon accident a false flag. Let’s encourage as many people around her as possible to believe complete crap based upon superficial similarities of faces on YouTube, screen captures selected to match as closely as possible, and a girl saying “um” and “ah” over and over again. Let’s hope we can nurture an agreement, a group-think that sucks Mary in, so she can be ridiculed and discredited and the people trapped in Gaza can be crushed.

  • Clark

    Let’s make this place as much like David Icke’s site as possible – chemtrails and perpetual motion machines that have been suppressed by the CIA. Quick, quick, don’t you know that Jewish doctors aren’t allowed to cure gentiles? Don’t you realise Sandy Hook was staged so they can take away our guns? WAKE UP! The United Nations is a plot to depopulate the planet! Those Gates Foundation vaccines sterilise every woman injected! WAKE UP!

    Let’s fill the place with crap, eh?

  • glenn

    You could be right, Clark. Just fill the place with crap. After all, the Soused Billy’s and his occasional mates put down _so_ much crap, yet they won’t actually defend one word of it. Nor will they discuss their own positions. No – just put down more crap, and yet more, and more, and more of it. There is – after all – an endless supply.

    They get you totally pissed off and down, and I’ve lost any respect whatsoever for them. Maybe it was just some deluded moron – but even that kindly interpretation doesn’t hold. It’s bad faith all round. They’ve got you really down by the seem of it, and I’ve more or less given up trying to engage them (on their own points!) because they refuse to do so. So now they’re free to carry on peddling the lies.

    You shouldn’t be down about it, see these miserable lying bastards for what they are – scum, with blood on their hands.

  • Clark

    ME trying to control the narrative, Scouse Billy? It’s YOU that has steadfastly refused to engage with every question I’ve asked for days and days. It’s YOU that called me a dogmatist and stupid, and when you’d got nine out of ten wanted the remaining one. It’s YOU who wants total compliance. I just wanted a reasonable conversation and to find out what you really stood for, but damned if you’ll ever agree to that.

  • Clark

    It’s just words, I’m told, and it doesn’t matter what others do. I disagree.

    Words are shapers of attitude and precursors to action. Orders, policy, law, arrest warrant, death sentence – just words. People are tortured to make them say the desired words, which are recorded, transmitted, collated into statistics and used to set policy.

    When Craig made his human rights speech in front of Karimov – just words.

    Anyway, Scouse Billy’s stopped commenting. Probably reassuring himself that I “have issues” – too damn right I have issues. The issues of honesty and intellectual integrity and the consequences of untruth and distortion. But he plays the role of hippy, all sweetness and light, purged of all “negative emotions”, pure. Yeah, right, as my woman Marion used to say. I’m still in love with a ghost.

    No, it’s not just Billy and his supporters that get me down. It’s the absence of self-reflection which is so widespread. Oh, we think we’ve freed our minds from the conditioned beliefs; that’s it, job done, we can relax now. But the old, old operating system runs on within, beneath, trying to corral others’ thoughts and opinions, trying to dominate, trying to WIN, and its operation is invisible from the logical, rational level above, which is dependent upon the OS for all its inputs and outputs.

    Think you’re more than a monkey? Think again! Yes, you have an additional, rational layer, but the old kill-eat-control-mate system is still running beneath, determining every word, every action, even your thoughts. Think you’re a divine Creature of Light, a fallen angel? No; that’s self-delusion – you’re a slightly elevated rat, fighting for your place in the pack. I can see it in others, but I’m better than that! Wrong again.

    No exit, no escape but (at least we hope) Death. Bring it on; I’m bored.

  • John Spencer-Davis


    I’m probably not expressing myself that well – I often don’t – and I hope I am not misunderstood.

    Expression on this blog is often frank and forthright. It’s difficult not to take things that are said personally and to be angered and upset by them. If that happens to me – as it does – I try very hard to get some perspective on that before I write.

    I often deliberately do not write before I’ve had some sleep. Sleep is a great way to gain emotional perspective.

    It’s no good getting upset with people, I think. People believe what they believe: there’s only one way to change their minds, and that is with reason. If that doesn’t work: shrug. What can you do about it? Some people on here seem to relish seeing fierce emotion expressed against them: perhaps it makes them feel they are real. Not giving people that satisfaction is the only way to counter it.

    Of course it matters what other people do, but the only way to counter it in a context like this is by example. I try my best to ignore personal attack and focus on argument. I am afraid I don’t always succeed: I am only human. If I get a sense that someone is arguing for the sake of argument, or to get a rise out of me, I stop responding to them, end of story. No further engagement, for any reason at all. It’s the only way to shut someone down.

    I’m too muddled to know if I am making sense or only digging myself deeper. I am just trying to express concern, and empathy, maybe not too well. So I’ll shut up now.

    Warm regards,


  • N_

    @Craig – I didn’t know all that, and certainly wasn’t trying to undermine you or gang up against you. Often I just post in reply to a comment without reading lots of context, so I’m sorry if I’ve helped make you feel even worse!

    I still haven’t read all the context, but might “don’t feed the trolls” be relevant advice? Dunno… I know from my own experience that often it’s difficult not to feed ’em. Some of these shits are professionals and skilled at what they do. Or take a break, maybe?

    The loony-tune response to Sandy Hook shows what a sick fucker of a cultural period we’re living through. It surprised even me. As if Sandy Hook itself wasn’t sick enough. As for a planned cull, though, well there are strands that have existed for a long while that do point in that direction. These are dark and schizo times and getting worse and there are forces that are deliberately managing things in that direction. What do we do about it? I wish I knew…

  • Clark

    John Spencer-Davis, no you’re not digging yourself anywhere. I agree with what you’ve written, but I think honest anger has its place, too. We understand it in animals; when a cat hisses or a dog bares its teeth, we understand that we’re doing something that upsets it, so we try acting differently.

    In human society, anger has been demonised and to some extent outlawed. I’ve seen this change in my lifetime. For instance, in retail situations it used to be that we dealt with people face-to-face across a counter. Say a customer returned goods to a shop. They might state their complaint politely, hoping for a refund. If they were refused they might ask for the boss, who might reason and bargain with them. If they continued without satisfaction they might become sarcastic or raise their voice. This was all considered normal, and indeed such interactions are natural to humans. Shop staff would usually try to cooperate rather than let an angry scene develop which might put other customers off and damage the reputation of the shop.

    Things have changed, and I’d say for the worse. In chain-shops and in call centres, staff have no discretion; they’re not permitted to exercise judgement and have to follow a rigid set of rules. Customers are expected to accept the rules, but there will always be exceptions, situations the rules haven’t anticipated. So customers’ natural anger hits a brick wall. Staff call security or the police.

    Worse, people have accepted this and now nearly all anger is seen as aberrant or even criminal behaviour. Total suppression of natural anger is seen as virtuous. The unscrupulous have learned to exploit this; they learn that if they can wind someone up by being bloody-minded, the anger reaction can be used to discredit the opponent.

    Scouse Billy wasn’t listening and he’d progressed to the arrogant “you’ve got issues and your anger proves you’re inferior” stage more than once – but he’d been treating me as an inferior all along by ignoring my questions. I’d have got around to politely explaining my concerns if he’d discussed any of the issues I’d raised, but his total disregard of anything I said indicated he was never going to go that way. It was just all one-sided, utterly stubborn. So I got mad and told him what I thought somewhat rudely. I feel somewhat better for having expressed myself honestly. He’ll be back when he’s licked his wounds but I doubt he’ll have learnt from the experience.

  • Clark

    N_, I take it you mean “Clark” – don’t worry, five letter name beginning with C – the other one I get a lot s “Clive”.

    Thanks, and you’re OK, N_. Same answer as to JSD. It was Billy I was mad at. I felt like I was the hapless customer in the Argument Sketch.

  • Scouse Billy

    I’m just tickled pink by your spin, Clark but don’t mind me get it off your chest.

    I don’t find myself licking any wounds – I watched an excellent Rugby League match between St Helens and Catalan Dragons and now am listening to Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise.

    I’m really ok and learning all the time – you accuse me of being anti-science and all sorts of other nonsense. Can’t see the point of engaging with you, it seems you get emotionally disturbed so, for the umpteenth time, why don’t you just ignore me? I’m absolutely fine with that btw.

    Would you seriously deny me my human rights?


    Article 19 – Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

  • Clark

    Scouse intellectual bully:
    <blockquote… and to seek, receive and impart information…
    Of those three you do but one.

  • Scouse Billy

    Just ignore me…

    I don’t need this nonsense – you come on here goading me then cry that you’re the victim, really…

  • John Spencer-Davis


    Everyone is human and feels rage, grief etc and expresses it sometimes. There’s nothing shameful in it although I always feel ashamed afterwards if I have expressed emotion to the extent that it has adversely affected others.

    There is nothing wrong with being angry, and you can say straight out “I am angry. Because…” Anger is different from rage.

    I was angry with a Government department today and said so in an e-mail. I’m getting the runaround from them. Hopefully enlisted the person I e-mailed on my side because I acknowledged it was not their fault and hoped they understood why I was angry. That’s a good deal more effective than rage (most of the time).

    Wishing you well. Good night.


  • Clark

    So Scouse Billy, you think that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression” means you can say whatever you want, eh?

    So it’s your right to “impart you opinion” to a child that cars are holograms and it’s best to just run without looking when you cross the road so as not to get scared.

    And it’s the right of Chris Spivey to encourage people to believe that certain people on Facebook “played the part” of Lee Rigby, and these people couldn’t be offended because they “never existed”.

    And it was the right of the editor and journalists of the Sun newspaper to publish what they did about the Liverpool fans at Hillsborough.

    I think it’s a bit more nuanced than that. I think that with rights come responsibilities.

  • Clark

    But Scouse Billy, are you not trying to get article 19 abolished along with the rest of the vaccine-killers, the global-warming alarmist UN?

    Fucking hypocrite.

  • Clark

    Scouse intellectual bully, the things you’ve been expressing aren’t opinions, they’re lies. When you said that any woman receiving an injection from the Gates Foundation thought she was being vaccinated but was in fact being sterilised, that was a lie. I asked you for the figures but you fucking ignored me. The Gates foundation could prosecute you for that, and I’d be glad if they did. You also claimed that the vaccine would kill the recipient. Another lie, not an opinion.

  • John Spencer-Davis


    One more thing…social disapproval of rage can be a form of social control, I think. I am in total agreement with you there. If someone is sanctioned unnecessarily, say, and they react with rage, out come the phones and the alarms and the police. The rage might be totally understandable in the circumstances, but the person is expected to shut his or her mouth and go away and spend hours writing appeal forms.

    Good night to you.


  • glenn

    Soused Bully lied, “You’re delusional.

    Err, no actually, he’s not. You have been asked a few dozen times to explain where good medical science starts, and where – in your opinion – it ends. You are unwilling to answer, because you know you’d be quickly shown to be a silly fraudster.

    Such as when these doctors supposedly confide that they secretly agree with all your anti-science, anti-medicine BS. Of course, why shouldn’t we believe you? 🙂

    Simple questions, yet as I said right at the beginning, somehow I feel you’ll do everything to avoid discussing them. Funny how I just knew that, ain’t it 😉

  • Clark

    Scouse bully, no, not a delusion on my part, you’re a fucking liar, and HERE’S YOU, LYING:

    “They are told that they are being innoculated but, in fact, are being sterilised.”

    There’s a difference between opinion and fact; you’re abusing article 19 to claim the right to deliberately mislead.

    I doubt that any study confirms your claim. You could admit mistake retract it; Glenn admitted to and retracted his mistake as soon as you pointed it out, but you seem too dishonest to do so.

  • fred

    You think you’ve got problems.

    Try convincing a Nationalist that 55 is a bigger number than 45 sometime.

  • Clark

    Fred, yes I think we’ve all got problems, or maybe one big problem. Roy would have been the best friend I’d made in decades, but I’d have had to submit to believing blatant lies. Now I really need some friendship, I’m facing catastrophe without it. I hope you’re OK; I hope you believe that. I hope it’s just me that’s failed.

  • Clark

    Fred, it’s also a problem the 45 isn’t much different from 55; you only have to move 6 from one side to the other to reverse the order of magnitude. There’s just not enough agreement anywhere. Not far from you and me, that problem is killing people and wrecking lives.

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