Skip to comments.Another Tack: The follow-up crime
Posted on 12/09/2004 3:53:31 PM PST by CHARLITE
Occasionally in our existence bureaucratic inflexibility and legal technicalities deserve unstinting praise. Like the dry ruling by the Dutch Justice Ministry that the country's citizenship can't be conferred on the dead.
It's our cue to heave a sigh of relief and cheer common sense, even if bound in red tape. Dutch officialdom stated the obvious in response to an impudent initiative to make Anne Frank a citizen of the Netherlands nearly 60 years after a Dutchman betrayed her, leading to her deportation and miserable death at Bergen-Belsen - before her 16th birthday.
The rationale for the posthumous naturalization is to include the prodigy on "The Greatest Dutch Person" list. This retroactive tinkering with identity is on a par with the wholesale conversion of numerous Holocaust victims to Mormonism. No one asked them, and they never knew that they'd become Latter-day Saints in their afterlife.
The fact is that during her life, no one agreed to make Anne and her family - Jewish refugees from Germany - Dutch citizens. Though resident in Amsterdam, she remained formally stateless, emblematic of the plight of fellow uprooted Jews whom no one wanted and whose entry into the Jewish homeland was barred by Britain.
Anne perished because she was Jewish, not Dutch. The drive to Dutchify her now isn't an honor but a desecration, an attempt to obscure why her life was taken. She was physically wiped out because of her identity, and now comes the follow-up crime to erase that identity as well from the world's collective memory.
It's no different from Holocaust-denial even if Dutch invokers of universalist piety are convinced of their good intentions. They're nevertheless rewriting history and purging it of Jewish particularity. It matters little if the revisers are anti-Semitic or those who make Jewish pain a vehicle for securing facile forgiveness in the victim's name for ruthless tormentors, greedy collaborators, and indifferent onlookers.
THOSE WHO superficially universalize Jewish suffering tolerate Judaism only marginally more than the universalizers who equate Jews with evil incarnate.
The former don't claim that Judaism is villainous, just that it either counts for nothing or is too uncomfortably "narrow." Therefore, to broaden perspectives they homogenize, sentimentalize and, above all, falsify.
An April 11, 1944, entry in Anne's diary reads: "God never deserted our people. Right through the ages there were Jews. Through the ages they suffered, but it also made us strong."
By the time this quote reached Broadway in 1955 it was transmuted into: "We're not the only people who've suffered... Sometimes it's one race... sometimes another."
De-rigueur relativism trivializes the uniqueness of the Jewish tragedy and turns Anne into a stylized icon for mutual understanding, international cooperation, and nonviolence. But a massive overdose of saccharine can be as lethal as strychnine, especially if the humane goodwill Anne has been synthesized to symbolize is touted in order to tolerate the hate spouted by those who would continue today to destroy the Jews and their state.
The vicinity of Amsterdam's Anne Frank House, a top-draw tourist attraction, resonates with demonstrators who liken Israelis to Nazis yet chant: "Hamas, Hamas - all Jews to the gas."
Holland brims with inane pseudo-morality and shallow sanctimony, which demonizes Israel but sympathizes with Arab terrorists whose raison d'etre is to annihilate more Jewish children like Anne. Had she survived, they'd have targeted her and her offspring. They'd have killed Anne because she was Jewish - just like the Nazis.
Had Anne survived and returned to postwar Amsterdam, she wouldn't have been feted as a preacher of brotherly love. Like other German-born Jews, she'd have been interned together with Nazi collaborators. That's how Dutch Anne was.
It's convenient for the Dutch to focus on Anne's shelterers but avoid emphasis on her betrayers; on the fact that the Dutch collaborated in rounding up, looting, and transporting Jews like Anne to their deaths; that their nation contributed the largest percentage of Waffen SS volunteers in Western Europe; that of all occupied Western European countries, the largest percentage of Jews murdered in the Holocaust was in the Netherlands, and that Netherlanders didn't warmly welcome the horror's scant survivors.
They can afford to sanctify and kitschify Anne because she didn't come back.
That makes it possible to turn a precocious, imaginative, normally egotistical and moody girl into a martyr for their brand of righteousness. It enables them to claim her as one of their own.
But Anne knew who she was and who she wasn't. On that same April 11 she wrote: "If we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews when this war is over... we can never become just Dutch or English, or any other nation for that matter. We will always remain Jews. We must remain Jews. We want to remain Jews."