Katsav blasts Allies for not stopping Shoah

By David Horovitz January 28, 2005

The Germans knew that they were going to lose, but they continued, even accelerated, the destruction of the Jews, says president

KRAKOW – President Moshe Katsav on Thursday delivered a blistering attack on the failure of the Allied forces to bomb Auschwitz and the railroad leading to it in the final months of World War II, at a time when hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives could still have been saved.

Speaking at a ceremony in Krakow’s main theater shortly before traveling to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Katsav said, ‘Sixty years later we still find it hard to believe that the world stood silent’ as the killing went on.

‘The allies did not do enough to stop the Holocaust,’ he said, ‘To stop the destruction of Jewish people. The gates of countries around the world, the gates to Israel, were kept closed in the face of those who tried to escape.

‘The Allies knew about the destruction of the Jews and didn’t act to stop it,’ the president said. ‘Hundreds of thousands could have been saved.’

Katsav noted that air sorties passed next to Auschwitz-Birkenau, ‘but Auschwitz was not bombed. Bombing the railways would have prevented the destruction of the Jews. The Germans knew that they were going to lose, but they continued, even accelerated, the destruction of the Jews,’ Katsav said, and the Allies did not stop them.

Speaking at the same event, US Vice President Richard Cheney noted that some of the greatest crimes the human mind can conceive were committed in the death camps of Europe.

While the scale of killing was unthinkable, Cheney said it was crucial to remember that each victim had a name, a home and hopes for the future. Each was an individual whom ‘no man had any right to harm.’

The mass murder, said the vice president, took place moreover ‘in the very heart of the civilized world.’ The death camps were created by men ‘with high opinions of themselves, refined manners, but no conscience.’ The lesson of Auschwitz, said Cheney, is that evil is real and must be confronted and that messages of intolerance and hatred must be opposed before they turn into acts of horror.

He said he sought God’s help ‘to recognize evil in all its forms’ so that it could never rise again.

On Thursday morning, Katsav met with Cheney for talks that focused on new opportunities vis-a-vis the Palestinians and ways to confront the efforts by Middle Eastern states to attain weapons of mass destruction.

Speaking earlier, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko pledged that there would ‘never again be a single ‘Jewish Question’ in my country. I vow that.’ He said he wanted his people and the world to know that ‘the tragedy of the past will never again be repeated on the soil of the Ukraine.’

Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, the initiator of the 60th anniversary event, began his address with words of praise for Israel as represented by Katsav, ‘a state built by a nation that survived extermination.’

‘The lessons of Nazi crimes still remain to be fully grasped by all humanity,’ he said.

Later, in a brief conversation with The Jerusalem Post, Kwasniewski said he still considered anti-Semitism to be a problem in Poland, although ‘no different’ from that in other European countries.

Asked whether Poland had now properly confronted its role in the Holocaust, he said Poland regarded anti- Semitism and the Holocaust as a Polish national tragedy, because so much of Poland’s own Jewish community was wiped out. ‘It is our national tragedy,’ he said. ‘We lost a lot of Polish citizens – intellectuals, professors, doctors.’

The ongoing battle against anti-Semitism was a critical issue, he said, ‘for all serious people.’

‘Not for stupid people,’ he added, ‘who are only interested in money and women.’

Elie Wiesel, speaking at the Krakow event, recalled his incredulity on arrival at the camp to learn that the Jews ‘were being sent to the flames and that the world was silent.’ He told world leaders and young people in the audience, ‘if you walk away [from these remembrance ceremonies] the same, then we have lost. We have to put an end to the curse of hatred, to the scourge of anti- Semitism. Hatred is a cancer. It goes from limb to limb, from person to person, from group to group.’

Wiesel said that ‘logically,’ in 1945, the Jewish people could have had ‘a collective nervous breakdown.’ But rather incredibly, the Jews were moved to action, to be ‘more active, energetic and committed.’

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