On the Issues with Mike Gousha | Program | Timothy Snyder

On the Issues with Mike Gousha | Program | Timothy Snyder


>>Mike: WELCOME TO MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY, ECKSTEIN HALL, I’M MIKE GOUSHA AND THIS IS ON THE ISSUES, CONTINUING CONVERSATIONS WITH NEWS AND POLICYMAKERS, PEOPLE DOING INTERESTING AND IMPORTANT WORK IN THIS REGION AND BEYOND. TODAY, WE ARE JOINED BY THE AUTHOR, TIMOTHY SNYDER. HE IS THE BIRD WHITE HOUSUM PROFESSOR OF HISTORY AT YALE UNIVERSITY, HE IS THE AUTHOR OF MORE THAN A HALF DOZEN BOOKS, AWARD-WINNING BOOKS. MOST RECENTLY IN 2010, HE WROTEp THE BEST SELLER “BLOOD LANDS,” WHICH EXAMINED SOVIET AND NAZI ATROCITIES IN EASTERN EUROPE AND HE FOLLOWED UP ON THAT WITH THE RELEASE OF THIS BOOK LAST YEAR, CALLED “BLACK EARTH, THE HOLOCAUST, HISTORY AND WARNING,” A NEW EXPLANATION OF THE HOLOCAUST, AN EXPLANATION OF GREATEST TRAGEDY IN THE WORLD IN THE LAST CENTURY. SO WON’T YOU PLEASE WELCOME DR. TIMOTHY SNYDER TO MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL. [APPLAUSE]>>Mike: I WANTED TO BEGIN WITH THE FLAME OF THE BOOK, BLACK EARTH, WHICH REFERS TO THE FERTILE LAND IN UKRAINE. LET’S BEGIN THERE, WHY IS UKRAINE CENTRAL TO THE STORY THAT YOU TELL IN THIS BOOK.>>Guest: OK, SO THE BLACK EARTH HAS A NUMBER OF MEANINGS IN THIS BOOK, BUT IT STARTS WITH THE MOST CONCRETE, THE MOST SPECIFIC. THE IDEA OF FERTILE SOIL, AND IT STARTS THERE, BECAUSE THIS IS THE ELEMENT THAT WE PERHAPS MOST FORGET ABOUT THE SECOND WORLD WAR, THE HOLOCAUST, THE GERMAN WAR OF COLONIALISM IN THE EAST, WHICH LED TO THE HOLOCAUST. YOU AND I, MOST FOLKS IN THIS ROOM HAVE GROWN UP IN A BUBBLE. WE’VE GROWN UP IN THE ONLY HISTORICAL TIME AND PLACE WHEN FOOD DID NOT MATTER IN POLITICS. AND FOR THAT VERY REASON, WE DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE COMPLEX, SOPHISTICATED PEOPLE IN THE DEVELOPED COUNTRY AND YET, BE CONCERNED ABOUT FOOD AND RESOURCES. WE DON’T KNOW HOW IDEAS, HOW IDEOLOGIES THAT APPEAL TO CONQUEST AND CONTROL OF SCARCE RESOURCES EVEN FOOD, HOW THAT MIGHT WORK AS POLITICS, HOW THAT COULD REACH OUR MINDS AND HEARTS, SO I START WITH THE IDEA OF BLACK EARTH, BECAUSE THE BLACK EARTH, THE BLACK EARTH, THE FERTILE SOIL OF THE UKRAINE WAS THE CENTRAL GOAL, THE MAIN GOAL OF HITLER’S WAR IN THE EAST, BUT OF COURSE, I HAVE SOMETHING BROADER IN MIND AS WELL, WHEN WE START THINKING ABOUT THE WORLD IN THAT WAY, THEN OUR OWN VIEW OF THE FUTURE MIGHT TURN OUT TO BE A BIT DARKER TOO.>>Mike: YOU SAY IN THE INTRODUCTION TO THIS BOOK, THAT OUR INTUITIONS ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST FAIL US. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?>>Guest: THE HOLOCAUST IS AN INTERESTING EVENT IN THE U.S. IT’S ONE, I THINK, THE TWO THINGS THAT MOST AMERICANS THINK WE UNDERSTAND, THE OTHER ONE BEING THE CIVIL WAR. I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY, SO I’M NOT GOING TO JUDGE WHETHER WE UNDERSTAND THE CIVIL WARM. I HAVE MY SUSPICIONS ABOUT THAT, BUT WITH THE HOLOCAUST, IT’S VERY INTERESTING, BECAUSE WE HAVE A CERTAIN CONFIDENCE THAT WE UNDERSTAND IT, AND CERTAINLY AS A MEMORIAL PRESENCE, IT’S VERY STRONG, THERE ARE A DOZEN MUSEUMS OR MORE, MONUMENTS IN MANY CITIES, LIKE MY OWN, NEW HAVEN AND WE HAVE — THERE WAS A TELEVISION MINI SERIES OR TELEVISION MOVIE IN THE 1980’S, MANY IMPORTANT HOLLYWOOD FILMS SINCE AND AS A RESULT OF ALL OF THIS AND AS A RESULT OF OUR ATTENTION TO SURVIVORS TOO, WE HAVE AN IMAGE OF WHAT IT WAS AN OUR IMAGE IS AUSCHWITZ, OUR IMAGE IS SOMETHING THAT WE CALL A CAMP, ALTHOUGH IT WASN’T REALLY, WE HAVE AN IMAGE OF THE ICON OF THE RAILWAY TRACKS, WHICH LEAD FROM A PLACE WE CAN’T SEE TO ANOTHER PLACE WE CAN’T SEE. THE ODD THING ABOUT THIS IMAGE, AND THIS IS SAD TO SAY AND BRACE YOURSELVES A LITTLE BIT, BUT THE SAD THING ABOUT THIS IMAGE IS THAT IT MINIMIZES THE HOLOCAUST. IT SEPARATES US FROM THE HOLOCAUST. WHAT WE — WHAT WE DON’T SEE IS HOW THE HOLOCAUST COULD ACTUALLY BEGIN. AUSCHWITZ WAS THE END, THE GERMANS DEVELOPED AUSCHWITZ, THEY DEVELOPED THE KILLING FACILITIES WITH GAS, SO THAT NOT SO MANY GERMANS HAD TO PERSONALLY TAKE PART IN THE SHOOTING OF JEWS. THAT’S THE END. AUSCHWITZ IS THE DEAF OF A MILLION JEWS — DEATH OF A MILLION JEWS, BUT SIX MILLION WERE MURDERED. AS THE SOVIET UNION WAS INVADED, NOT JUST THE PEOPLE WHO WERE TRAINED FOR IT, BUT ALSO PEOPLE WHO WEREN’T POLICEMEN, SOLDIERS, CIVILIAN OCCUPATION AUTHORITIES, AND NOT JUST GERMANS, BUT LOCAL PEOPLE, IN THOSE AREAS WOULD JOIN IN MASS KILLING OPERATIONS, COULD TAKE PART IN SOMETHING WHICH WAS CLEARLY INDUSTRIAL KILLING, ALTHOUGH THE DEATH FACTORIES AT AUSCHWITZ ARE STILL YEARS AWAY, SO WHAT WE NAIL TO SEE AND THE REASON WE DON’T HAVE A CHANCE OF UNDERSTANDING AUSCHWITZ, IT STARTED WITH THE REVELATION, WHO PEOPLE WHO WERE VERY MUCH LIKE US, COULD KILL PEOPLE VERY MUCH LIKE US, FOR NO PARTICULAR REASON IN VERY, VERY LARGE NUMBERS AND THAT THIS WAS FACE-TO-FACE, THIS WAS INTIMATE, THAT THIS WAS BRUTAL. THE OTHER THING THAT WE DON’T SEE, IT GOES BACK TO YOUR FIRST QUESTION A BIT, IS WHERE THIS HAPPENED. WHEN WE THINK ABOUT AUSCHWITZ, WE THINK ABOUT THE SURVIVORS, AND THIS IS AGAIN, ANOTHER WAY AUSCHWITZ IS REALLY UNUSUAL. AUSCHWITZ, THE DEATH FACILITY, WASN’T A CAMP. IF YOU WERE — IF YOU WERE ON ONE OF THOSE TRAINS, AND YOU WERE SELECTED FOR MURDER, AUSCHWITZ WASN’T A CAMP FOR YOU, IT WAS A PLACE WHERE YOU WERE KILLED, BUT NEXT TO THE AUSCHWITZ, THERE WAS A DEATH CAMP AND IN THE WORLD OF THE COLD WARS, THE MEMOIRS COULD EACH US AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, BUT ONLY GAVE US A PARTIAL SENSE OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING AND THOSE PEOPLE, ITALIAN LIKE OR GERMAN LIKE ANN FRANK, THOSE PEOPLE WHOSE MEMOIRS OR WHOSE RECOLLECTIONS REACHED US, THEY WERE USUALLY EXCEPTIONAL, BECAUSE THE ITALIANS AND FRENCH AND GERMANS ARE VERY, VERY SMALL PART OF THE VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST. THE HUGE MAJORITY OF THE VICTIMS OF HOLOCAUST WERE POLISH JEWS, SOVIET JEWS, PEOPLES WHOSE LIVES AND DEATHS WERE LARGELY FORGOTTEN, BECAUSE RIGHT AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR BEGINS THE COLD WAR AND THE COLD WAR LOCKS US AWAY FROM ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS AND MEMORIES AND DEATH PITS, WHICH IS HOW THE HOLOCAUST STARTED AND HOW ROUGHLY HALF OF IT CONTINUED.>>Mike: I WANT — YOU MENTIONED WHERE IT BEGINS, AND I THINK THERE IS THIS NOTION THAT THIS BEGINS WITH ADOLPH HITLER BEING THIS GERMAN NATIONALIST, AND HE RISES TO POWER DURING A TIME OF ECONOMIC HARDSHIP IN GERMANY, BUT YOUR POINT IS THAT YOU DO NOT SEE HITLER AS A GERMAN NATIONALIST. YOU CALLED HIM A RACIAL ANARCHIST, OR A ZOOLOGICAL ANARCHIST, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?>>Guest: WHAT I MEAN IS HITLER WAS A POLITICIAN AND IDEOLOGIST. OFTEN WHEN COULDN’T FRONTED BY PEOPLE WITH DANGEROUS AND POWERFUL IDEAS, WE DISMISS THEM IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. WE SAY HE WAS A PRAGMATIST, HE SAID THOSE THINGS TO COME TO POWER AND COME TO POWER AND DO THE TERRIBLE THINGS THEY DO OR WE SAY, HE WAS CRAZY, HE WAS A MADMAN, BUT HAD HE BEEN A MADMAN, HE WOULDN’T HAVE WON ELECTIONS, HAD HE BEEN MADMAN, HE WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO COMMAND WAS A VERY SUCCESSFUL IN MANY WAY WARS. HE WASN’T A MADMAN, A PRAGMATIST, HE WAS A POLITICIAN, SOMEONE HOE KNEW HOW TO MANIPULATE THE NOTIONS OF GERMAN. HE DIDN’T CARE ABOUT GERMANS AS SUCH, HE WASN’T A GERMAN NATIONALIST, BUT KNEW WHAT GERMANS CARED ABOUT. YOU MAY KNOW SOME POLITICIANS LIKE. THIS HE DIDN’T CARE ABOUT HIS OWN SOCIETY, BUT HE KNEW HOW TO TALK TO THE EMOTIONS OF HIS SOCIETY, HE WAS A VERY TECHNICIAN OF POWER AND HE HAD A WORLD VIEW AS YOU SAY, NOT A VIEW OF NATIONS BUT A VIEW OF RACES. HE HAD A VERY CLEAR VIEW OF THE WORLD. HIS VIEW OF THE WORLD WAS THIS, THAT PLANET HAD ONLY SO MUCH FERTILE SOIL, ONLY SO MANY RESOURCES, IT WAS A FINITE SPACE, THAT’S WHAT HE SAYS ON THE FIRST PAGE, IT WAS A FINITE SPACE. WE ARE NOT HUMAN BEINGS. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS HUMANITY, WE ARE MEMBERS OF RACES AND THE DESTINY OF RACES IS TO STRUGGLE FOR THAT LAND, THE SAME WAY THAT HE THINKS SPECIES STRUGGLE IN THE NATIONAL ORDER. RACES MUST STRUGGLE, THAT IS WHAT WE DO AND IF WE ARE DOING ANYTHING ELSE, HAVING A CIVILIZED CONVERSATION, IF WE HAVE POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS, IF WE HAVE LAWS, BELIEVE IN HUMAN SOLIDARITY, BELIEVE IN CATHOLIC MERCY, IN ANY IDEA OF RECIPROCITY, WHICH ALLOWS ME TO SEE YOU AND YOU TO SEE ME AS HUME APPLY FOR FOOD,, THAT IDEA SAYS HITLER IS — HUMAN BEINGS, THAT IDEA SAYS HITLER IS JEWISH, SO HIS VIEW OF THE WORLD, AS A WORLD OF RACIAL STRUGGLE, IS THE SAME AS HIS ANTI-SEMITISM. YOU CAN’T WITH HITLER SAY HE WAS A NATIONALISM, BUT MORE OF A NATIONALIST, THAT’S NOT RIGHT. HE WAS A KIND OF ANARCHIST WHO THOUGHT YOU HAD TO CLEAR AWAY INSTITUTIONS AND SEE WHO WON. TO SAY HE WAS AN ANTI-SEMITE DOESN’T COULD HAVE IT, BECAUSE IT WASN’T AN ANTI-SEMITE TO TURNED THE KNOB MORE AND MORE UNTIL YOU REACH HITLER. IT’S NOT LIKE THAT. HIS ANTI-SEMITISM SAYS JEWS HAVE DESTROYED THE PLANETARY ORDER, BECAUSE JEWS HAVE TRANSFORMED HUMAN BEINGS INTO SOMETHING THEY ARE NOT. WHAT WE ARE ARE RACES, WE ARE KILLING MACHINES, WE ARE PEOPLE WHO SEEK OUT LAND AND KILL OTHERS AND STARVE OTHERS ON WAY. WE ARE NOT DOING THAT, BECAUSE THE JEWS HAVE DESPOILED OUR SOULS AND MINDS AND THEREFORE, THIS IS CHAPTER TWO, THEREFORE THE JEWS HAVE TO BE REMOVED FROM THE PLANET. SO HE’S NOT A NATIONALIST WHO HAS SOME PREJUDICES. HE’S SOMEBODY WHO HAS A COHERENT WORLD VIEW, A WORLD VIEW WHICH CAN ONLY BE ACTED OUT IN A WAR OF COLONIZATION WHERE LOTS OF LIT CAST INSTITUTIONS ARE DESTROYED.>>Mike: YOU FOUND SOME INSPIRATION, I THINK YOU WRITE, FROM AMERICA AND WHAT HAPPENED TO NATIVE AMERICAN PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY.>>Guest: YEAH. ONE OF THE LOVELY THINGS ABOUT HISTORY IS THE WAY YOU’RE WORKING AGAINST WHAT PEOPLE THINK. I LIKE TO CONTRAST HISTORY AND MEMORY. I HAD A FRIEND, A FELLOW COLLEAGUE, CALLED TONY JET, WHO USED TO SPEAK OF HISTORY AS BEING THE UGLY SISTER OF MEMORY, RIGHT. MEMORY IS MUCH MORE ATTRACTIVE. MEMORY IS THE WAY WE WOULD LIKE TO THINK THINGS TURN OUT. LIKE IF YOU ASK YOURSELF HONESTLY WHAT’S THE WAY YOU USE YOUR OWN MEMORY, MOST OF THE TIME IT’S TO EXPLAIN THE WAY THINGS TURNED OUT THE WAY THEY DID AND WHY YOU WERE RIGHT AND SOMEBODY ELSE WAS WRONG, UNLESS YOU’RE A VERY REFLECTIVE PERSON AND AS NATIONS AND SOCIETIES, WE’RE GENERALLY NOT VERY REFLECTIVE AND SO NATIONAL MEMORY AND NATIONAL HISTORY EVEN TENDS TO TURN TOWARDS JUSTIFICATIONS AND EXPLANATIONS AND APOLOGIES, IT SMOOTHS OUT ROUGH CORNERS, AND SO IT CAN BE A SHOCK WHEN WE ACTUALLY DO HISTORY, WHICH IS NEVER NATIONAL AND IN A WAYS INTERNATIONAL, TRANSNATIONAL. HITLER IN THE 1920’S LOOKS AT THE UNITED STATES AN HE SEES A SUCCESS STORY. IN HITLER’S VIEW, WE ARE A COUNTRY OF SCANDINAVIANS AN GERMANS, PEOPLE HE CALLED ARYANINGS WHO SUCCESSFULLY USED SLAVE LABOR TO EXTERMINATE LOCAL POPULATIONS OVER A VAST AND FERTILE TERRAIN, AND THEN WE APPLIED TECHNOLOGY TO CREATE THE MOST PROSPEROUS SOCIETY IN THE WORLD. THAT’S HITLER’S POSITIVE EXAMPLE. NOT ONLY THAT, THE THINGS THAT WE CALLED THE AMERICAN DREAM, IS AT THE CORE OF HITLER’S IDEA, AND THIS IS DID — IT’S DISCONCERTING THAT HE IS — THAT HE SO CLEARLY SEES THE THINGS THAT WE DIDN’T SEE AT THE TIME AND OFTEN DON’T, NAMELY THE HISTORY OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE COUNTRY. IT’S MORE DISCONCERTING WHAT HE THINKS OF THE AMERICAN DREAM, BECAUSE WHEN HE THINKS OF THE AMERICAN DREAM, THAT’S COMPLETELY NORMAL. IN FACT, YOU SHOULD NEVER THINK ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SUFFERING AND DYING FOR YOUR WAY OF LIFE, RIGHT? BECAUSE RACIAL SOLIDARITY IS ONLY THING THAT MATTERS, THE AMERICANS WERE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT TO EXTERMINATE PEOPLE FAR AND NEAR, NOT JUST TO SURVIVE, BUT TO BECOME WEALTHY AND THIS IS WHERE THINGS GET DISCONCERTING. HE BLURS WHAT WE CALL THE AMERICAN DREAM, WHAT WE CALL THE WAY OF LIFE INTO THE IDEA THAT HE CALLS LIVING SPACE. LIVING SPACE FOR HIM IS ON THE ONE HAND, BIOLOGICAL. HE SAYS RACES ARE LIKE SPECIES, WE HAVE TO COMPETE FOR HABITAT, BUT IT’S ALSO SOCIOLOGYICAL. IN THE EDGED, HITLER SAYS WE GERMANS, MUST CONQUER UKRAINE, GOING BACK TO YOUR FIRST QUESTION, WE MUST CONQUER UKRAINE, THE SAME WAY THAT THE AMERICANS CONQUERED THE GREAT PLAINS. PLAINS.>>AND THEY HAD MORE TIME, THEY HAD DECADES TO DO IT THE WE MUST DO IT IN A FEW MONTHS AND WE HAVE TO DO IT TO CATCH UP TO THE AMERICANS. SO THIS IS — I HAVE FOUND COMING BACK TO THE UNITED STATES, THAT THIS TENDS TO BE DISCONCERTING FOR AMERICANS SOMETIMES, BUT IT IS NOT THAT HE’S RIGHT ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY, RIGHT. HE MISSES CERTAIN IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF THE AMERICAN HISTORY, BUT IT DOES GIVE SOME PAUSE FOR THOUGHT.>>STATELESSNESS, THIS IS A TEAM TEAM — THEME IN YOUR BOOK ABOUT WHY THINGS HAPPENED WHERE THEY HAPPENED AND WANT TO BEGIN THIS PART OF THE CONVERSATION, BY TALKING ABOUT HITLER’S DECEMBER DECEMBER — DECISION TO GO INTO AUSTRIA. WHAT LESSON DID THEY LEARN FROM THE AUSTRIAN EXPERIENCE THEY APPLIED AS THEY MOVED FORWARD WITH HITLER’S PLANNING.>>Guest: LET ME REEL BACK TO YOUR EARLIER VERY GOOD QUESTION ABOUT OUR IMAGE OF THE HOLOCAUST, BECAUSE THAT BEARS ON THIS. WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST, IF WE HAVE A KIND OF SENSE OF HOW THE HOLOCAUST HAPPENED, IT HAS TO DO WITH THE RISE OF HITLER. OF COURSE, VERY IMPORTANT. IT HAS TO DO WITH THE INCREASING OPPRESSION OF JEWS INSIDE GERMANY, RIGHT? WE MIGHT REMEMBER THE BOYCOTTS OF THE SPRING OF 1933, THE NUERNBERG LAWS WHICH MADE JEWS SECOND CLASS CITIZENS. THE EX APPROPRIATION OF JEWISH PROPERTY WHICH REACHES A PEAK IN 1938, NOVEMBER 1938, SOMETHING LIKE 200 JEWS ARE KILLED. WE MIGHT REMEMBER THESE THINGS, AND THEN WE THINK, THOSE ARE IN SOME WAY THE BEGINNING OF THE HOLOCAUST. NOW THAT’S NOT ENTIRELY WRONG, BUT IT’S ALSO NOT SUFFICIENT, BECAUSE THERE’S ANOTHER WAY OF LOOKING AT ALL OF THAT. IF YOU JUST FORGET FOR A MOMENT THAT YOU KNOW THE HOLOCAUST IS GOING TO HAPPEN, THE SCALE OF JEWISH SUFFERING AS OF NOVEMBER 1938, ALTHOUGH TERRIBLE BY THE STANDARDS OF THE TIME, IT’S NOTHING LIKE A HOLOCAUST. 200 PEOPLE BEING KILLED IN STREET VIOLENCE, I MEAN, LET’S FACE IT, AMERICANS, LIKE THAT IS NOT AN EVENTS WHICH IS OF A COMPLETELY UNFAMILIAR SCALE, RIGHT? 200 PEOPLE BEING KILLED ON THE STREETS IS NOT THE SAME THING AS SIX MILLION PEOPLE BEING MURDERED. THERE’S A BIG JUMP FROM ONE TO THE OTHER. OR TO PUSH THE LOGIC EVEN A LITTLE BIT FURTHER, THE HOLOCAUST JUST DIDN’T HAPPEN IN INTERWAR GERMANY. IF GERMANY HADN’T BEGUN A SECOND WORLD WAR, WE WOULD BE LOOKING AT A ANTI-SEMITIC STATES AMONG OTHER ANTI-SEMITIC STATES. WE WOULD SAY IS GERMAN NOT THAT WORSE THAN ROMANIA. HOW IS IT DIFFERENT, SIMILAR TO INTERWAR POLAND? THE HOLOCAUST IS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS AFTER GERMAN POWER BREAKS OUT OF GERMAN. THIS IS THE PART WE MISSED. WHEN GERMANY GOES INTO AUSTRIA IN MARCH OF 1938, IT’S NOT THAT THE AUSTRIANS ARE WORSE ANTI-SEMITES THAN THE GERMANS. THAT WOULD BE ABSURD. THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT FROM ONE DAY TO THE NEXT, THE AUSTRIAN STATE CEASES TO EXIST, WHICH MEANS THE JEWS FLOAT FREE SUDDENLY AND COMPLETELY OF STATE PROTECTION, AND IT MEANS THAT THEIR NEIGHBORS LITERALLY THEIR NEIGHBORS, ESPECIALLY IN VIENNA, WHO KNOW THAT NOW NAZI GERMAN POWER IS COMING DO WHATEVER THEY CAN TO SEPARATE THEMSELVES FROM THE JEWS, SYMBOLICALLY, POLITICALLY, SO THE FAMOUS NOTORIOUS SCENES THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE SEEN YOURSELF, THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF JEWS SCRUBBING THE STREETS IN MARCH OF 1938 IN VIENNA, WHAT ARE THEY DOING? BEING HUMILIATED. YES. THIS IS A STEP TOWARDS THE HOLOCAUST, OF COURSE, BUT ALSO POLITICALLY SIGNIFICANT. WHAT THEY’RE SCRUBBING FROM THE STREETS, THEY’RE SCRUBBING THE WORD “AUSTRIA” FROM THE STREETS. THERE WAS GOING TO BE A REFERENDUM A FEW DAYS LATER ABOUT THE INDEPENDENCE OF AUSTRIA. NOW THAT EVERYONE KNOWS AUSTRIA IS NOT GOING TO EXIST, THE JEWS ARE ASSOCIATE HE HAD IT WITH THE PREVIOUS SYSTEM AND THEIR FATE IS ASSOCIATED WITH ITS FUTURE, WHICH IS NO FUTURE AT ALL. THE JEWS SCRUBBING THE STREETS IS HUMILIATION, WE GET THAT, BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND ABOUT SYMBOLS. WHAT WE DON’T GET IS THE POLITICS THAT THIS IS THE MOMENT WHEN AUSTRIA CEASES TO EXIST AND AS THE GERMANS SUCCEED IN DESTROYING STATES EVER MORE RADICALLY, AUSTRIA, CHECKS SLOVAKIA, FOE LAND, THE SOVIET UNION, THEN THE FINAL SOLUTION, THE IDEA WE’VE DISCUSSED IN HITLER’S MIND OF A WORLD WITHOUT JEWS, A WORLD WHICH IS SAVED BECAUSE OF THE EXTERMINATION OF JEWS, THAT IDEA CAN BECOME PRACTICE.>>Mike: THE FINAL SOLUTION, LET’S TOUCH ON THAT. BECAUSE THERE WAS A TIME WHERE THE SOVIETS AND NAZIS WERE COOPERATING, THEY HAD A NONAGGRESSION PACT AND THEY WERE SPLITTING UP THE SPOILS, BUT THAT ENDED IN 1941, I THINK JUNE OF 1941, WHEN HITLER DECIDED TO MASK THREE MILLION GERMAN SOLDIERS AND MOVE ON THE SOVIET UNION, BUT THAT DID NOT GO AS PLANNED. THE FINAL SOLUTION REALLY CAME ABOUT BECAUSE OF THEIR MILITARY FAILURE, DIDN’T IT? THE GERMANS MILITARY FAILURE?>>Guest: THERE’S CERTAINLY SOMETHING IN THAT, BUT THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE DESCRIBING IN MILITARY AND POLITICAL TERMS. BETWEEN VIENNA AND AUSTRIA AND THE INVASION OF THE SOVIET UNION IN 1940, WHAT HAPPENS IN EUROPE? IT’S THE END OF THE EUROPEAN POLITICAL ORDER. AUSTRIA IS DESTROYED, CZECHOSLOVAKIA IS DESTROYED, MUNICH. POLAND IS DESTROYED. BUT ALSO, HISTONIA, LATVIA, LITHUANIA ARE DESTROYED. THIS IS THE RESULT OF WHERE NAZI GERMAN AND THE SOVIET UNION COME TO A MILITARY ALLIANCE IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER OF 1939, SO SIX EUROPEAN STATES HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE MAP AND IF YOU CAN REMOVE SIX STATES FROM THE MAP, THAT MEANS THAT THE ORDER NO LONGER FUNCTIONS. IDEAS OF TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY, SOVEREIGNTY, THE THINGS THAT WE TAKE FOR GRANTED, THEY NO LONGER FUNCTION, WHICH MEANS THAT BY THE TIME THAT GERMANY INVADES THE SOVIET UNION, WHICH AS YOU QUITE RIGHTLY SAY IS MAJOR TURNING POINT, MANY THINGS HAVE CHANGED IN PEOPLE’S LIVES, SO WHERE DOES THE HOLOCAUST ACTUALLY START AND HERE I HAVE TO FOCUS ON THE WEAK POINT, WHICH IS GEOGRAPHY. WHEN GERMANY INVADES THE SOVIET UNION, WHAT IS IT INVADING? IT’S INVADING THE PLACES THAT THE SOVIET UNION HAS JUST INVADED, RIGHT? AMERICANS, WE HAVE TROUBLE WITH OCCUPATION, WHICH IS GOOD. I MEAN, I DON’T WISH FOR THAT TO BE A FAMILIAR CONCEPT, UNLESS IT’S A CANADIAN OCCUPATION, IN WHICH CASE, YOU KNOW, ABSOLUTELY. BUT IN GENERAL, LIKE THE NOTION OF WHAT LIFE WOULD BE LIKE UNDER OCCUPATION, I MEAN, UNLESS SOME FOLKS HERE ARE IMMIGRANTS, IT’S SOMETHING WHICH IS PRETTY ALIEN TO US, BUT OCCUPATION CHANGES YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO THE LAW, RIGHT, IT FORCES YOU INTO COMPROMISES. IMAGINE AN OCCUPATION WHICH IS NOT A NORMAL OCCUPATION, BUT ONE WAY SAYS YOUR STATE DOESN’T EXIST, YOUR PREVIOUS LAWS DON’T EXIST, YOU’RE NOT CITIZENS OF ANYTHING. YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS, INCLUDING PROPERTY RIGHTS. YOUR BEHAVIOR, I’M SAD TO SAY, ALL OF OUR BEHAVIOR, WOULD CHANGE VERY MUCH. THAT IS IT WHAT BOTH GERMAN STATE DESTRUCTION DID, AND SOVIET STATE DESTRUCTION DID. THAT’S WHAT THE SOVIETS DID IN 1939 AND 1940. WHEN THE GERMANS INVADE THE SOVIET UNION IN 1941, HERE’S THE TRICKY PART, THEY’RE INVADING FIRST THE PLACES WHICH THE SOVIET UNION HAD ALREADY INVADED. THE SOVIET UNION DESTROYS POLITICAL APPARATUS, INSTALL THEIR OWN AND THE GERMANS DESTROY THE SOVIET ONES AND IT’S IN THIS SPECIAL PLACE WHERE THE STATE DESTRUCTION IS DOUBLE WHERE THE GERMANS FIND THEY CAN DO THINGS THAT THEY DID NOT EXPECT THEY COULD DO. FOR EXAMPLE, SHOOT PEOPLE IN VERY LARGE NUMBERS, FOR EXAMPLE, PERSUADE LOCAL PEOPLE TO HELP THEM DO IT.>>Mike: YOU CALM SOME OF THOSE PEOPLE, I THINK — CALLED SOME OF THOSE PEOPLE, I THINK, ENTREPRENEURS. EXPLAIN THAT, THAT PHRASE, ENTREPRENEURS, OF VIOLENCE.>>Guest: THE S.S., THE GERMAN S.S. IF WE SEE THE S.S. IN A FILM, WE SEMEN IN UNIFORM AND WHEN WE SEMEN IN UNIFORM, WHICH THINK OF THE FORCES OF ORDER — WE THINK OF FORCES OF ORDER, BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THE S.S. WERE. THE S.S. WERE THE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVED IN THE KINDS OF IDEAS THAT WE WERE DISCUSSING EARLIER. THE S.S. WERE RACIAL ANARCHISTS IN THE WAY THAT WE’VE DESCRIBED. INSIDE THE GERMAN STATE, FROM 1933 TO 1939, WHAT DID THE S.S. DO? THEY WERE THE GUARDS OF THE CONCENTRATION CAMPS. WHY IS THAT SO IMPORTANT? BECAUSE CONCENTRATION CAMPS, RIGHT, AS THEY TEACH YOU IN LAW SCHOOL, ARE PLACES WHERE THE LAW DOES NOT FUNCTION. LIKE THAT’S THE DEFINITION OF THE CONCENTRATION CAMP, IT’S A PLACE — IT’S A PLACE OF NO LAW. IT’S A ZONE OF NO LAW, OR IT’S A ZONE OF NO STATE, RIGHT? THE S.S. ARE NOT A STATE INSTITUTION. THEY’RE A PARTY ORGANIZATION. THEY DON’T BELIEVE IN THE RULE OF LAW. THEY REPRESENT SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT. THEY DON’T REPRESENT AN OPPRESSIVE LAW. THEY REPRESENT THE IDEA THE ONLY LAW IS THE LAW OF NATURE, THE RACIAL STRUGGLE IS ONLY REALITY. SO THE CONCENTRATION CAMPS THAT THEY GUARD, WHY AM I DWELLING ON THIS? BECAUSE THE CONCENTRATION CAMPS, HORRIBLE AS THEY ARE, ARE JUST THE KIND OF SMALL TEMPLATE FOR THE WAY THE S.S. IS GOING TO GOVER EUROPE, GET TO EXERCISE POWER. THEY’RE ENTREPRENEURS OF VIOLENCE IN THE SENSE THAT THEY BELIEVE THAT THE LAW OF THE JUNGLE IS WHERE WE SHOULD GO. AND WHEN THEY ARE RELEASED INTO PLACES LIKE POLAND OR THE BALTIC STATES OR THE SOVIET UNION, THEY VERY QUICKLY FIND WAYS TO EXPLOIT THE DISORDER THAT THEY ENCOUNTER AND TO TRANSFORM IT INTO THE KIND DESTRUCTION THAT THEY THINK IS NORMAL. SO STATE DESTRUCTION IS NOT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS. IT’S NOT JUST A SITUATION, WHICH IS INHERENTLY VERY DANGEROUS. IT’S LIKE IF YOU CAN’T PICTURE WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, THINK OF THE FEW DAYS IN NEW ORLEANS, JUST A FEW DAYS IN NEW ORLEANS, A FEW YEARS IN IRAQ, RIGHT, THAT’S JUST A LITTLE TASTE OF WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT, BUT THERE WILL BE SITUATIONS THAT ARE CONSTANTLY EXPLOITED BY PEOPLE WHO THINK THIS IS GOOD, THIS IS A STEP TOWARDS A KIND OF UTOPIA. THAT’S THE S.S.>>Mike: THERE’S A LINE IN YOUR BOOK THAT STUCK WITH ME AND YOU TALKED ABOUT HOW WE EXPLAIN THE BARBARITY OF WHAT WE SAW IN COUNTRIES, AND STATELESS PLACES AT THAT POINT. YOU TALK ABOUT THE BARBARITY AND WE WANT TO ATTRIBUTE THAT TO, I THINK YOU SAY, EXTRAVAGANT ANTI-SEMITISM, BUT YOU SAY IT WOULD BE A MISTAKE, IT WOULD BE AN ERROR FOR US TO SIMPLY ATTRIBUTE THIS BARBARITY TO THAT. WHAT WOULD BE THE ERROR IN SEEING IT THAT WAY.>>Guest: OK. SO TO BE VERY CLEAR, ANTI-SEMITISM IS A BAD THING, WE SHOULD CONDEMN IT. IT WAS CENTRAL TO HITLER’S WORLD VIEW. YOU CAN’T IMAGINE THE WAR WITHOUT ANTI-SEMITISM, YOU CAN’T IMAGINE THE HOLOCAUST WITHOUT ANTI-SEMITISM. IT’S A CENTRAL PART, BUT IT’S NOT THE ONLY THING THAT HAPPENS. AND THE IDEA, WHICH WE LIKE, OR WE’RE DRAWN TO, THAT THE HOLOCAUST WAS CAUSED BY ANTI-SEMITISM AN ONE CAN LINE THOSE THINGS UP IN A SIMPLE WAY, THAT IS FAR, FAR TOO OPTIMISTIC. IT’S FAR TOO OPTIMISTIC. HISTORICALLY, IT’S TOO OPTIMISTIC, BECAUSE MANY PEOPLE WHO KILLED JEWS WERE NOT ANTI-SEMITES, OR THEY WEREN’T UNTIL THEY KILLED JEWS AND THEN AFTER THEY SKILLED JEWS, THEY EXPRESSED ANTI-SEMITE VIEWS. ONCE WE KILL, WE HAVE TO HAVE SOME STORY WE THINK IS TRUE TO EXPLAIN WHY WE’VE KILLED, BUT MANY PEOPLE WHO KILLED JEWS WERE NOT ANTI-SEMITES. SOME OF THE MAJOR COLLABORATORS, THERE’S NO SIGN WHATEVER THAT THEY WERE ANTI-SEMITES. MANY OF THE PEOPLE WHO COLLABORATED WITH THE GERMANS HAD ALREADY COLLABORATED WITH THE SOVIETS AND AS SOON AS ONE UNDERSTANDS THAT, ONE REALIZES THAT IT CAN’T HAVE BEEN IDEOLOGICAL COMMITMENT IN EVERY CASE. THE REASON WHY IT’S TOO OPTIMISTIC IN CONTEMPORARY THINGS, WE THINK SO LONG AS WE’RE NOT ANTI-SEMITE, IT’S ALL RIGHT. IT’S NOT ALL RIGHT. IN GERMANY, IS PROBABLY MORE SOPHISTICATED, BETTER AT DEFERRING GRADFICATION THAN WE ARE. VIEWS ON ANTI-SEMITISM CAN SWITCH QUICKLY. THE RELEVANC CAN CHANGE FROM THE 1920’S TO THE 1930’S AND ONCE THE GERMANS GET HITLER INTO A WAR, IT CAN BECOME MORE SALIENT, BUT PEOPLE IN 1945 WHO BELIEVED THE JEWS RAN THE WORLD, THEY DIDN’T THINK THAT IN GERMANY IN 1935 OR IN 1925. AS FAR AS AN EXPLANATION OF THE HOLOCAUST, RIGHT, WE WOULD LIKE — WE WOULD LIKE IT TO BE THE EXPLANATION, BECAUSE IT’S SO ELEGANT, BUT IN A WAY, THE WHOLE QUESTION FORCES US TO THINK IN A MORE COMPLEX WAY, IN A WAY WHICH I THINK IS MORE USEFUL FOR THE PRESENT AND FUTURE. THE PLACES THAT WE THINK ARE MOST ANTI-SEMITIC ARE NOT THE PLACES WHERE THE HOLOCAUST HAPPENS, THAT’S THE MAIN PROBLEM FOR THIS LINE OF REASONING FOR THE PLACES WHERE ANTI-SEMITISM WAS NOT A MAJOR PROBLEM, OR PLACES WHERE IT DOES HAPPEN, RIGHT, SO THE SOVIET UNION, FOR EXAMPLE, WHICH IS THE ONLY ANTI-SEMITIC COUNTRY IN THE WORLD IN THE 1920’S AND 1930’S, ANTI-SEMITISM THAT’S A CRIME, RIGHT, MIXED MARRIAGES ARE VERY POPULAR AND SO ON, THE DEATH RATES IN THE OCCUPIED SOVIET UNION ARE 95%. WHICH IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS POLAND. WHERE PUBLIC ANTI-SEMITISM WAS A MAJOR PROBLEM, WHERE A MAJOR POLITICAL PARTY WAS ANTI-SEMITIC. WHERE THEY STAYED 90% OF THE JEWS SHOULD LEAVE AND THE OUTCOME, THE HOLOCAUST IS EXACTLY THE SAME, RIGHT. OR IF YOU LOOK AT FRANCE AND THE NETHERLANDS, THE NETHERLANDS WAS THE ONE COUNTRY IN INTERWAR EUROPE IN WESTERN EUROPE, WHERE PEOPLE WOULD HAVE SAID ANTI-SEMITISM IS NOT A MAJOR PROBLEM AND YET, 75% OF THE JEWS DIE. IF FRANCE, FRANCE IS A COUNTRY IN WESTERN EUROPE WHERE PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE WOULD HAVE AGREED THAT ANTI-SEMITISM WAS RA PROBLEM AND YET 75% OF THE JEWS SURVIVED. I COULD GO ON LIKE THIS WITH PRETTY MUCH EVERY COUNTRY. IT’S STRIKING HOW, IF YOU TRY TO PREDICT WHERE THE HOLOCAUST WAS GOING TO HAPPEN, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF 1938, YOU WOULD HAVE GOTTEN IT ALL WRONG, RIGHT, THAT’S THE THING. THE PLACES WHERE ANTI-SEMITISM WAS PROMINENT, EVEN GERMANY, YOU THINK 100% OF THE JEWS MUST HAVE DIED IN GERMANY, BUT THAT’S NOT THE CASE. MOST OF THE JEWS IN GERMANY SURVIVE. IF YOU LOOK AT THE REASON WHY THE HOLOCAUST HAPPENED, YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING ELSE AND THAT IS THE DESTRUCTION OF INSTITUTIONS. IN ORDER TO KILL A JEW THERE HAS TO BE A WORLD VIEW, BUT NORTHERLY FOR THAT TO BE REALIZED, WHAT TO BE CLEARED AWAY ARE THE INSTITUTIONS AND THE LAWS, WHICH CONNECT JEWS TO THEIR NEIGHBORS AND CONNECT THEM TO THE STATE. THE NAZIS — THIS IS AN AMAZING THING, THE NAZIS ONLY KILLED JEWS WHO WERE MADE STATELESS. WHEN THEY KILLED BULGARIAN JEWS, YOU HAVE — YOU HAVE ICEMEN WRITING BULGARIA, SAYING, PLEASE, YOU KNOW, REASSURE ME YOU NOT GIVEN THESE PEOPLE CITIZENSHIP, RIGHT? WHEN ROMANIA IN 1943 DECIDES, THAT IT’S GOING TO REGARD ITS JEWS AS CITIZENS AGAIN. THE ROMANIAN JEWS WAITING IN TRANSIT CAMPS, IN FRANCE TO BE DEPORTED TO AUSCHWITZ, ALL OF A SUDDEN, THEY DON’T GO ANYWHERE, BECAUSE ROMANIA SEES THEM NOW AS ITS SIT AS SOON AS AND THE — C, AND THE THING TO SEPARATE THEM FROM THE STATE, AND THIS IS THING WE DON’T GET, BECAUSE ALL THE SMART PEOPLE WHO STARTED OUR DISCUSSION OF THE HOLOCAUST, DIDN’T GET T THE SIMPLEST WAY TO SEPARATE PEOPLE FROM THE STATE IS TO DESTROY THE STATE. IT’S NOT TO HAVE BOYCOTTS AND NUERNBERG LAWS. THOSE THINGS ARE BAD ENOUGH, BUT THE SIMPLEST WAY TO GET PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF STATE PROTECTION IS JUST TO DESTROY THE STATE.>>Mike: I WANT TO SPEND A LITTLE BIT OF TIME TALKING ABOUT THE PERSONAL STORIES YOU TELL IN THIS BOOK, AND OBVIOUSLY, YOU FELT THAT WAS AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF THIS STORMY. — OF THIS STORY. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO HIGHLIGHT STORIES OF PEOPLE WHO RESCUED JEWISH PEOPLE, HELPED JEWISH PEOPLE, WHAT WAS IT THAT MOTIVATED YOU TO INCLUDE THAT IN THIS PIECE OF ANALYSIS, AND EXPLANATION?>>Guest: TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION, IT’S — THE HISTORY OF RESCUE IS A — IT’S REALLY A QUESTION OF WHAT HISTORY CAN DO AND WHAT IT CAN’T, SO WHEN YOU’RE WRITING THE HISTORY OF THE HOLOCAUST, YOU’RE FACED WITH TWO BORDERS, RIGHT, THAT ARE VERY DIFFICULT. AND THAT YOU HAVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND GET AS CLOSE TO THEM AS YOU CAN BUT NOT CROSS THEM. AT ONE END, THERE’S THE BORDER, WHICH IS HITLER’S MIND. EXPLAINING THE WORLD VIEW, AS WE TRY TO DO VERY BRIEFLY HERE, MAKING THE WORLD VIEW COMPREHENSIBLE. WHILE AT THE SAME TIME PRESERVING DISTANCE FROM IT. IF YOU DON’T MAKE IT COMPREHENSIBLE, YOU HAVEN’T DONE YOUR JOB, BUT IT’S A DIFFICULT AND PAINFUL PLACE TO BE. THE OTHER BORDER AT THE OTHER END, THE META PHYSICAL BORDER IS RESCUE. YOU CAN EXPLAIN RESCUE UP TO A POINT, FOR ME, HISTORY IS ABOUT EXPLANATION. YOU PROBABLY GATHER, FOR ME IT’S NOT ABOUT MEMORY. IT’S A LITTLE BROADER DISCUSSION DESCRIPTION, IT’S MOSTLY BROADER –MOSTLY ABOUT EXPLANATION. RESCUE WE CAN EXPLAIN UP TO A POINT. IF WE FOLLOW THE LOGIC WE’VE BEGUN, HAVING TO DO WITH STATES AND INSTITUTIONS, WE ACTUALLY CAN UNDERSTAND RESCUE, BECAUSE RESCUE IS OTHER SIDE OF SURVIVAL. IN A PLACE LIKE FRANCE, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE WERE STILL CITIZENS UNDER GERMAN RULE, PEOPLE COURAGEOUSLY RESCUED JEWS, BUT IT’S NOT THE SAME COURAGE AS THE COURAGE OF SOMEBODY WHO POLAND, WHERE THE SOVIET UNION, WHERE IF YOU’RE TRYING TO SAVE A JEW, THE PENALTY IS DEATH. PEOPLE HIDING ANN FRANK IN THE NETHERLANDS, IT WAS COURAGEOUS, BUT IT WASN’T EVEN A CRIME, WASN’T ILLEGAL WHAT THEY WERE DOING. THEY WEREN’T PUNISHED FOR IT, RIGHT? THAT’S WHY WE HAVE THE BOOKS AFTERWARDS. THEY WEREN’T PUNISHED, BECAUSE IT WASN’T A CRIME AND IT WASN’T A CRIME BECAUSE THE NETHERLANDS WAS STILL A STATE, SO WE CAN EXPLAIN RESCUE TO SOME EXTENT INSTITUTIONALLY, REALLY GOOD EXAMPLE OF THIS ARE DIPLOMATS, ACTUALLY. ALMOST EVERYBODY WHO SAVES MORE THAN 100 JEWS WAS A DIPLOMAT. WHY IS THAT? BECAUSE DIPLOMATS ARE BETTER PEOPLE THAN THE REST OF US? NO. BECAUSE DIPLOMATS — BECAUSE, FIRST, YOU CAN’T TAKE A DIPLOMAT CITIZENSHIP AWAY, IT’S VERY HARD ANYWAY AND SECOND, DIPLOMATS HAVE IN THIS CONTEXT, THE ALMOST MAGICAL POWER TO EXTEND STATE RECOGNITION TO OTHER PEOPLE. RIGHT? SO HENCE, THE CHINESE COUNCIL IN VIENNA SAVES A COUPLE HUNDRED PEOPLE, THE COUNCIL IN LITHUANIA SAVES AROUND 10,000 PEOPLE. THERE ARE MULTIPLE SPANISH, PORTUGUESE DIPLOMATING, UN-AMERICAN DIPLOMATS, WHO ALSO SAVE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE BY GIVING THEM PIECES OF PAPER. A DIPLOMAT WHO WAS A FAILED BUSINESSMAN, IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS LIFE MADE THIS DRAMATIC DECISION HE WAS GOING TO BE A SWEDISH DIPLOMAT AND GO TO BUDAPEST, HE SAVED THOUSANDS OF JEWS, BUT GIVING THEM PIECES OF PAPER, WHICH RECONNECT THEM TO STATE AND THEREFORE THEY CAN SURVIVE, RIGHT? SO THE HISTORY OF THE INSTITUTION CAN, UP TO A POINT, HELP US SEE WHY PEOPLE SURVIVE. PARTISAN ARMIES, CHURCHES, INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE A BIT LIKE A STATE, A BIT NOT LIKE A STATE, SOMETIMES THEY KILL JEWS, SOMETIMES THEY RESCUE JEWS. WHEN WE GET DOWN TO THE INDIVIDUAL RESCUERS AND WE TRY TO EXPLAIN WHY THEY DID WHAT THEY DID, ESPECIALLY IN WORST OF TIMES IN PLACES, WHERE THEY HAD NO INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT, SOMETIMES WE FIND MOTIVES, THEY WERE CHILDLESS COUPLES, WANTED A CHILD, LONELY PEOPLE WANTED SOMEONE ELSE IN THE HOUSE, SOMETIMES WE FIND HUMAN MOTIVES, BUT YOU CAN GO TO A LEVEL EVEN BEYOND THAT AND FIND INDIVIDUALS WHERE EVEN THOSE MOTIVES DON’T APPLY AND THEN THE QUESTION IS WHY DO THEY DO WHAT THEY DO AND THIS IS WHAT I MEAN BY THE OTHER BOUNDARY OF HISTORY. THERE REACHES A POINT WHERE YOU CAN’T SAY, THAT IS, EVERYTHING YOU LEARNED ABOUT STRUCTURES OR ABOUT HISTORY, NO LONGER EXPLAINS TO YOU THE ACTIONS OF THESE INDIVIDUALS AND THAT’S — THAT’S WHY I ENDED THE BOOK WITH THEM, BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE I THINK THE STORY ENDS. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO RESCUED, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE RISKING DEATH, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO RESCUED, FOR NO REASON, IN THE SENSE OF SHOWS LOGICAL REASON, POLITICAL REASON, ECONOMIC REASON, WHY, BECAUSE YOU KNOW OF THE ECONOMICS WAS ALL AGAINST THIS. IF YOU’RE IN POLAND OR THE SOVIET UNION, IF YOU TRY TO SAVE A JEW AND YOUR NEIGHBOR SEES YOU DOING IT, A NEIGHBOR REPORTS YOU, THE JEW IS KILLED, YOU’RE VERY LIKELY KILLED, JEW’S PROPERTY GOING TO THE NEIGHBOR AND YOUR PROPERTY VERY LIKELY GOES TO THE NEIGHBOR AS WELL. IF YOU’RE LOOKING AT THIS AS MICROECONOMICS 101, IT’S FROM THAT POINT OF VIEW, THEN NO ONE IS GOING TO RESCUE JEWS. YOU’RE ACTING AGAINST YOUR ECONOMIC INTERESTS, AGAINST PRETTY MUCH EVERY KIND OF INTEREST YOU CAN CONCEIVE WHEN YOU DO IT AND YET SOME PEOPLE DID. THAT I THINK HAS TO BE RECORDED AND IT HAS TO BE UNDERSTOOD AS HAVING HAPPENED, EVEN THOUGH WE CAN’T QUITE UNDERSTAND IT, BUT THERE’S A FURTHER POINT TO THIS, WHICH IS, WHAT WE VERY OFTEN DO WITH RESCUE IS WE SAY, OK, SOMEONE RESCUED AND THEREFORE, WE’RE ALL REDEEMED. AND WHAT I’M TRYING TO SHOW IS, YES, SOME PEOPLE RESCUED, BUT WE WOULD NOT HAVE RESCUED. THE HUGE MAJORITY OF US IN THOSE SITUATIONS WOULD NOT HAVE RESCUED. IF WE TEAR AWAY THE INSTITUTIONS AND THE LAWS, WE WOULD NOT BEHAVE THE WAY WE DO NOW. THE RESCUERS, I CALLED THE RIGHTEOUS FEW BECAUSE THEY WERE RIGHTEOUS, BUT ALSO BECAUSE THEY WERE FEW AND THIS TURNS US BACK TO THE POLITICAL LESSON. NOT THE HOLLYWOOD VERSION WHICH IS WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE AND THEN DO SOMETHING DRAMATIC, BECAUSE IF YOU WAITE TILL THE LAST MINUTE, FIRST OF ALL, YOU WON’T DO THE DRAMATIC THING ANYWAY, YOU’LL FAIL, BUT EVEN IF YOU SUCCEED, YOU’RE SUCCEEDING AS THE CATASTROPHE IS HAPPENING. THE IDEA OF RESCUE MEAN THE CATASTROPHE HAPPENED. THE POLITICAL LESSON CAN’T BE RESCUE IN THAT SENSE. THE POLITICAL LESSON LAST TO BE HOW DO WE CREATE, MAINTAIN THE STRUCTURES, WHICH MEANS WE DON’T GET TO THE LAST MINUTE.>>Mike: LET’S GO INTO THAT. THE BOOK IS CALLED “BLACK EARTH, THE HOLOCAUST AS HISTORY, AND WARNING, THE LAST CHAPTER OF THIS BOOK IS VERY PROVOCATIVE. A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE HAD DIFFERENT REACTIONS TO IT, BUT I WOULD SAFE THE LAST CHAPTER CHALLENGES US TO THINK ABOUT WHAT IS POSSIBLE, AND WHAT WE ARE CAPABLE OF. WHAT CONCERNS YOU THE MOST AS WE MOVE TOWARD THE FUTURE AND THE POSSIBILITY OF SOMETHING SIMILAR HAPPENING AGAIN?>>Guest: SO THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST AND THE PRESENT, PRETTY MUCH EVERYBODY HAS AN IDEA ABOUT HOW THE HOLOCAUST RELATES TO THE PRESENTS AND FUTURE. AS YOU SAFE, I’VE GOTTEN CHALLENGED FOR DRAWING LESSONS FOR THE PRESENT FROM THE HOLOCAUST, BUT EVERYBODY DOES THAT. THE QUESTION IS, WHAT LESSON AND WHAT I FIND, AND YOU CAN CORRECT ME AFTERWARDS IF YOU KNOW OF EXAMPLES, BUT WHAT I FIND IS THAT PEOPLE GENERALLY TAKE THE HOLOCAUST TO CONFIRM THE WAY THEY SEE THE WORLD ANYWAY. IT’S NOT THAT FREQUENT THAT ONE SAYS THAT ONE FINDS SOMEONE WHO SAYS, I WENT THROUGH LIFE AS A LIBERTARIAN THEN I LEARNED ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST AND NOW I’M A SOCIAL DEMOCRAT, OR YOU KNOW, I WENT TRUE LIFE AS THIS, AND I LEARNED ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST AND NOW I’M NOT. IN GENERAL, PEOPLE FIND WAYS TO MAKE THE HOLOCAUST SUIT WHATEVER IDEAS THEY ALREADY HOLD ON OTHER GROUNDS. I’M SORRY TO BE CYNICAL, BUT I’M AFRAID THAT’S WHAT I FIND. WHERE I THINK THE HOLOCAUST WAS SUCH A RUPTURE, SUCH A CENTRAL EVENT OF THE CENTURY, THAT IF IT — IF FULL KNOWLEDGE OF ITS SCOPE AND ITS CAUSES DOESN’T CHALLENGE US, TO USE YOUR VERY GOOD WORD, IF IT DOESN’T CHALLENGE US, THEN WE’VE MISSED SOMETHING’S. IF LEARNING ABOUT IT DOESN’T SHAKE UP THE WAY WE SEE THINGS, THEN WE HAVEN’T REALLY LEARNED ABOUT IT, SO I ACCEPT THE LESSON THAT EVERYONE ACCEPTS. I ACCEPT THAT THE HOLOCAUST MEANS THAT ANTI-SEMITISM IS A BAD THING. I ACCEPT THE LESSON, THIS IS THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR LESSON OF AMERICAN MUSEUMS, THAT ONE SHOULD BE TOLERANT AND ONE SHOULD DEFEND ONE’S NEIGHBOR WHEN THE MAJORITY TURNS AGAINST ONE’S NEIGHBOR. OF COURSE, I THINK THAT’S TRUE. I ACCEPT ALSO THE LESSONS THAT GERMANS DRAW. I AGREE, GERMANS SHOULD BE NICE. I AGREE, GERMANS SHOULD HAVE A DEMOCRACY, I AGREE, THEY SHOULD HAVE A RULE OF LAUGH STATE. STATE — LAW STATE. I’M NOT SURE THESE THINGS, THESE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR LESSONS EXHAUSTS WHAT IS TO BE LEARNED. IN FACT, I’M SURE THOSE THINGS DO NOT EXHAUST WHAT IS TO BE LEARNED. IF I’M RIGHT ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST, RIGHT, THERE ARE THREE BASIC FEATURES TO IT, ALL OF WHICH WE’VE TALKED ABOUT. ONE IS HITLER’S VIEW OF THE WORLD, HIS IDEA THAT EVERYTHING IS A RACIAL STRUGGLE, THAT RESOURCES MATTER, THAT THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IN RESOURCES IS SOLIDARITY WITH THOSE CLOSEST TO YOU. IF SOMEONE TELLS YOU ANYTHING ELSE, THAT PERSON IS A JEW, THE ANTI-SEMITISM. THE SECOND THING, THE DESTRUCTION OF STATES, WHICH, BY THE WAY, IS NOT JUST MY ARGUMENT. THAT’S WHAT THE SCHOLARS OF ETHIC CLEANSING AND GENOCIDE SAY. THE STUDY OF HOLOCAUST IS FENCED OFF FROM OTHER EPISODES OF MASS KILLING, BUT THERE’S A WHOLE BODY OF SOCIAL SKIES, WHICH SAYS IT’S NOT STRONG STATES THAT KILL PEOPLE. IT’S GENERALLY STATES THAT ARE FALLING APART, IT’S GENERALLY IN CONDITIONS OF STATE FAILURE THAT THE THICK CLEANSING TAKES PLACE AND WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT NAZI GERMANY IS THAT IT WAS A STATE THAT CULTIVATED AN INSTITUTION, THE S.S., TO DESTROY OTHER STATES AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ANARCHY. NOT A STRONG STATE, BUT A STATE THAT DESTROYED OTHER STATES, SO STATELESSNESS IS LESSON TWO AND LESSON NUMBER THREE IS HOW WE THINK ABOUT ECOLOGY, RIGHT, HOW WE THINK ABOUT THE WORLD AROUND US. THE GERMANS HAD REASONS TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT ACCESS TO FOOD. HOW WILL WE OR PERHAPS MORE TO THE POINTS, HOW WILL THE CHINESE BAILIFF BEHAVE WHEN THEY ARE IN A SIMILAR SITUATION. CHINA, LIKE GERMANY A RISING ECONOMIC POWER, WHICH DEPENDS UPON EXPORTS AND WHICH HAS MUCH BIGGER PROBLEMS WITH FOOD THAN GERMANY DID AND HAS PROBLEMS WITH WATER, WHICH IS SOMETHING ENTIRELY NEW, IS IT JUST POSSIBLE THAT THERE ARE MASSIVE INVESTMENTS IN EASTERN AFRICA COULD BE A PROBLEM IN THE FUTURE. IS IT JUST POSSIBLE, THAT AS THEY LOOK AHEAD, NORTH TO THE WATER AND THE NATURAL GAS IN EASTERN SIBERIA, THAT THAT MIGHT JUST PERHAPS BE A PROBLEM. WHEN I LOOK AT ALL OF THIS, MIKE, THE CLAIM IS NOT — THE POINT IS NOT THE HOLOCAUST AS SUCH, IT WILL REPEAT ITSELF IN THE SAME FORM. THE POINT IS IF WE UNDERSTAND THE CAUSES OF THE HOLOCAUST AS CAUSES, WE CAN SEE WHERE ONE OR TWO OF THESE THINGS LINE UP. BECAUSE IN RWANDA, YOU DID HAVE THE COINCIDENCE OF ECOLOGICAL AND RACIAL ISSUES. IN DARFUR, THE SUDAN, YOU HAD THE COINCIDENCE OF ECOLOGICAL AND RACIAL ISSUES. IN SYRIA TODAY, WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SYRIA TODAY, MANY THING, BUT PART OF IT IS, WE DISMANTLED THE IRAQI STATE, A MILLION AND A HALF IRAQIS FLED TO SYRIA. TWO MILLION MORE SYRIAN INTERNAL MIGRANTS IS THE CAUSE OF UNREST IN SYRIA. A STATE ELEMENT AND ECOLOGICAL HE WILL. AND HERE YOU ARE IN — ELEMENT AND HERE YOU ARE WITH AR CATASTROPHE. WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY IS THAT IF WE ACTUALLY THINK THAT IT’S THE CENTRAL EVENT OF THE 20th CENTURY, IF WE REALLY THINK THAT AND THAT’S NOT JUST SOMETHING WE SAY IN ORDER TO PUT IT BEHIND PLEXIGLASS, BECAUSE WE PUT IMPORTANT THINGS BEHIND PLEXIGLASS OR MOUNT THEM ON THE WALL, THE THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT, WE DON’T PUT BEHIND ON THE PLEXIGLASS, DON’T MOUNT THEM ON THE WALL, TURN THEM INTO PLAQUES. THE THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT, WE LEARN FROM. THINGS THAT ARE ALL OF THEM, A BIT UNFAMILIAR, LOOK FOR UNFAMILIAR AND MORE INCOMPREHENSIBLE.>>Mike: ONE FINAL POINT, YOU NOTICED SOMETHING ABOUT THIS COUNTRY AND I THINK THIS IS SOMETHING THAT YOU EVEN HEAR IN POLITICS TODAY. MANY PEOPLE IN AMERICA FEEL THAT FREEDOM IS THE ABSENCE OF THE STATE. DOES THAT CONCERN YOU BASED ON YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT HAPPENED DURING WORLD WAR II?>>Guest: YOU HAVE THE IDEA THAT FREEDOM IS THE ABSENCE OF THE STATE IS THE ARROW THAT YOU CAN AFFORD WHEN YOU HAVE A FUNCTIONAL STATE. IT’S A — ERROR THAT YOU CAN AFFORD WHEN YOU HAVE A FUNCTIONAL STATE. IT’S A LUXURY VIEW. A KIND OF POLITICAL ADOLESCENCE, AND POLITICAL ADULTHOOD COMES THE MOMENT WE ARE CONFRONTED WITH HOW YOU AND YOUR NEIGHBORS WILL BEHAVE WHEN THERE’S NOT A STATE, WHICH ISN’T TO SAY STATES CAN BE GOOD, STATES CAN BE BETTER, THEY CAN BE WORSE, BUT THE IDEA THAT FREEDOM IS ANARCHY LEADS TO SITUATIONS IN WHICH THERE WILL OBVIOUSLY BE OPPRESSION AND BLOODSHED. SO IT’S ALL VERY ELEGANT, TO IMAGINE THAT YES, WE SHOULD HAVE AN EVER SMALLER STATE, LET’S DROWN IT IN THE BATHTUB, BUT IF YOU DROWN THE STATE IN THE BATHTUB, EVERYONE ELSE WILL DROWN, AS WELL. I MEAN, THERE’S A VERY SIMPLE EXAMPLE, AS WE’RE CONFRONTED WITH RIGHT NOW. LET’S IMAGINE IT’S TRUE THAT OUR ELECTIONS ARE RIGGED, THEY DON’T MEAN ANYTHING. WHAT FOLLOWS FROM THAT. WHAT FOLLOWS IMMEDIATELY FROM THAT IS WE FIGHT IT OUT ON STREETS. ARE WE FREER WHEN WE FIGHT IT OUT ON THE STREETS, THAN, YOU KNOW, MAYBE IT’S MORE FUN, MAYBE SOME OF US WILL ENJOY IT, SOME OF US WILL, SOME OF US WILL ENJOY FIGHTING OUT ON STREETS, RIGHT. BUT IS THAT ACTUALLY FREEDOM? IS IT ACTUALLY FREEDOM TO HAVE OUR POLITICAL PROCESS BE DECIDED BY VIOLENCE ON THE STREETS AS TO A LARGE EXTENT IT WAS IN GERMANY IN 1932 AND 1933, BECAUSE PEOPLE DIDN’T TAKE ELECTIONS COMPLETELY SERIOUSLY. IS THAT ACTUALLY FREEDOM? BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT REMOVING THE STATE MEANS. REMOVING THE STATE MEANS SAYING THINGS LIKE AND THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THE NAZIS SAID, SAYING THINGS LIKE PARLIAMENT IS A JOKE, ELECTIONS DON’T REALLY COUNT. YOU DO AWAY WITH THOSE PROCEDURES, OK, THAT’S FINE, THERE’S GOING TO BE A MOMENT OF GREAT JOY AND EUPHORIA, BUT IS THAT REALLY FREEDOM? AMERICANS AND EUROPEANS TOO, TO A LARGE EXTENT, CAN IMAGINE VARIOUS THINGS WOULD BE PREFERRABLE TO WHAT THEY HAVE NOW, BECAUSE WE HAVE FORGOTTEN, WE HAVE FORGOTTEN. THIS IS AN INTERESTING THING ABOUT A HISTORICAL MOMENT. WE NEVER LEARNED TO SOME EXTENT, BUT WE’VE FORGOTTEN THINGS ABOUT HUNGER, LIKE THE GENERATION OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION, WHICH WOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD SOME OF THE THINGS I’M SAYING ABOUT HUNGER HERE, HAS LARGELY PASSED ON. THE GENERATION THAT REMEMBERS THE LATE 1930’S, WHEN THE EUROPEAN STATES COLLAPSED BEFORE THE SECOND WORLD WAR, THEY’VE LARGELY PASSED ON. WHAT WE REMEMBER IS OUR ABSTRACTIONS, WHAT WE REMEMBER TEND TO BE IMAGES, BUT THEY ARE VERY SPECIFIC THINGS THAT WE ARE VULNERABLE TOO, JUST AS EUROPEANS WERE VULNERABLE TOO AND WE WILL LEARN — UNFORTUNATELY WHAT I’M AFRAID OF, WE’LL LEARN THOSE THINGS, BUT IN PRACTICE. I WOULD RATHER WE DIDN’T LEARN THEM IN PRACTICE. I WOULD RATHER OUR STATE INSTITUTIONS CONTINUE TO FUNCTION.>>Mike: LET’S TAKE A FEW QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE. IF YOU’RE IN THE SEATING BOWL DOWN HERE, PRESS ON THE RIM. DON’T PUT YOUR FINGER ON THE BALL, BUT ON THE RIM AND JUST HOLD IT DOWN. OK, WE’RE GOING TO USE MICROPHONES FOR EVERYTHING TODAY. RAISE YOUR HAND AND WE’LL BRING A MICROPHONE OVER TO YOU AN PLEASE KEEP YOUR QUESTIONS BRIEF, IF YOU WOULD.>>HOW DO YOU FEEL RELIGION AFFECTED THE HOLOCAUST?>>Guest: SO — THANK YOU FOR ASKING THE QUESTION, IN SUCH A GENERAL WAY, BECAUSE –>>I’M TALKING ABOUT BLAMING CATHOLIC CHURCH.>>Guest: IT’S A FASCINATING THING. I’M GOING TO TELL YOU A COUPLE OF THINGS WHICH I FOUND, WHICH IS SURPRISING BUT HOPEFULLY INTERESTING. ONE THING TO THINK ABOUT IS THE WAY THAT CHRISTIAN RELIGION PERMEATES AND IS PERVERTED IN HITLER’S WORLD VIEW. I THINK THIS IS SOMETHING THAT NO CHRISTIAN CONFRONTING THIS CAN OVERLOOK. BECAUSE WHAT HITLER DOES IS HE TAKES VERY — IT’S NOT SO MUCH THAT HE TAKES TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN ANTI-SEMITISM AND USES IT, THAT’S NOT SO IMPORTANT, HE TAKES CHRISTIAN IDEAS LIKE MARTYRDOM, RIGHT, AND HE USES THEM TO DIFFERENT PURPOSES, AND SO PEOPLE WHO ARE CHRISTIAN, I THINK, SHOULD ATTEND TO THAT TEXT, AS A WAY WORLD VIEW CAN BE MOVED AROUND. HITLER IS NOT AN EXTREME, CHRISTIAN, HE’S NOT AN EXTREME CHRISTIAN ANY MORE THAN HE’S AN EXTREME NATIONALIST. HE’S SOMETHING ELSE. HE USES IDEAS SUCH AS REDEMPTION, SALVATION, THAT THE WORLD WILL BE SAVED, REDEEMED, SOMEHOW WHEN THE JEWS ARE GONE, THAT — THAT’S ONE CONNECTION WITH RELIGION, WHICH IS UNSETTLING. THE SECOND CONNECTION IS MORE SOCIOLOGYLOGICAL. WHEN WE LOOK AT RESCUE, TO GO BACK TO THIS QUESTION, IT TURNS OUT THAT IT’S NOT THE VARIETY OF PEOPLE’S FAITH, WHICH TURNS OUT TO MATTER. WHAT TURNS OUT TO MATTER IS. GENERALLY, IS WHETHER THEIR EXPERIENCE OF RELIGION WAS ALSO EXPERIENCE OF BEING AN OUTSIDER. SO IN FRANCE, AND IN THE NETHERLANDS, IT WASN’T THAT PROTESTANTS RESCUED AND CATHOLICS DIDN’T AND VICE VERSA. I FIND THIS INTERESTING, CATHOLICS WHERE CATHOLICS WERE A MINORITY BEFORE THE WAR, WERE MORE LIKELY TO RESCUE AND PROTESTANTS IN PLACES WHERE THEY WERE A MINORITY, WERE POR LIKE LICK TO RESCUE. IF WE PUSH FURTHER EAST INTO THE UKRAINE, A PLACE I KNOW WELL, THIS IS TRUE FOR POLAND, RADICAL PROTESTANT DENOMINATIONS OR PLACES SEEN AS RADICAL PROTESTANT DENOMINATIONS IN THOSE CONTEXTS, BAPTISTS, THOSE PEOPLE WERE MUCH MORE LIKELY TO RESCUE THAN THEIR NEIGHBORS. WHY? BECAUSE THEY WERE OF A RELIGION WHICH WAS USED TO BEING ON THE OUTSIDE, AND THEREFORE, AND THIS IS THE POINT, HOW IT FITS THE ARGUMENT, WHEN THE STATE GOES AWAY, THEIR BEHAVIOR DOESN’T CHANGE MUCH, BECAUSE THEIR BEHAVIOR WASN’T SO MUCH DETERMINED BY PREDICTABLE INSTITUTIONS AND LAWS, RIGHT? AND THEN IF YOU LOOK AT THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL, TAKE POLAND NOW, THE POLISH CATHOLIC CHURCH, YOU KNOW, LIKE EUROPEAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES IN GENERAL, IN THE INTERWAR PERIOD, WAS TEACHING THAT THE JEWS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF CHRIST TRADITIONALLY, BUT ALSO, TEACHING SOMETHING ELSE, WHICH IS THAT JEWS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROBLEMS OF COMMUNISM. THAT WAS A VERY UNHELPFUL THING TO BE TEACHING BEFORE THE SECOND WORLD WAR, AS IT TURNS OUT, BECAUSE THAT’S A VIEW THAT HITLER HIMSELF ALSO TAKES. HITLER’S IDEA THAT THE JEWS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL IDEAS, OF HUMAN SOLIDARITY, THAT INCLUDES EVERYTHING, CAPITALISM, BECAUSE CAPITALISM HAS CONTRACTS, BUT IT ALSO INCLUDES COMMUNISM, RIGHT, THE IDEA THAT JEWS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR COMMUNISM AND CAPITALISM WAS A PLACE WHERE HITLER’S MORE EXTREME VIEW OVERLAPPED WITH THINGS THAT PRIESTS WERE PREACHING, UNFORTUNATELY, THAT DIDN’T HELP, BUT WHERE I’M GOING WITH THIS, WHAT’S INTERESTING ABOUT CATHOLIC RESCUERS, IN POLAND, IS THAT THEY WERE THE READERS OF THE BIBLE, SO — AND WHAT THEY CITED ALMOST — WHAT THEY CITED TO REALLY STRIKING DEGREE, WAS THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN, WHICH IS AN INTERESTING THING TO BE CITING FOR A LOT OF REASONS. FORWORN THING, THEY ARE TAKING THE STAND, WHICH IS DIFFERENT THAN VERY OFTEN WHAT THEIR OWN PRICES WERE UNFORTUNATELY TELLING THEM, BECAUSE THE IDEA HAD BEEN THAT JEWS WERE NOT OUR NEIGHBOR, BUT THE OTHER THING ABOUT THE GOOD SAMARITAN IS THAT THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN IS ABOUT PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT LIKE THEM, AND IN THE PARABLE OF A GOOD SAMARITAN, A JEW IS NOT HELPED BY A JEW, HE IS HELPED BY AN ENEMY GROUP, THE SAMARITANS, AND THE OTHER THING ABOUT THE STORY, I MAY HAVE BE TAKING THIS TOO FAR, YOU KNOW, MY LOVELY CATHOLIC AUDIENCE, BUT THE INTERESTING THING IS THAT IT’S A STORY OF JEWS DISCUSSING LEVITICUS, THAT PARABLE IS ITSELF JEWS TALKING ABOUT THE MEANING OF LEVITICUS, WHICH WHICH COMMANDMENT IS MOST IMPORTANT AFTER LOVING GOD, THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENT IS TO LOVE THY NEIGHBOR. WHO IS THY NEIGHBOR? THE ONE THAT SHOWS MERCY. GO AND DO LIKEWISE. IT’S AN INDIVIDUALISTIC THING, THEY’RE READING IS AGAINST THE GRAIN OF WHAT THEY’VE BEEN TAUGHT AND THAT’S THE STORY OF THE CHURCH AND THE HOLOCAUST IN GENERAL. INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE SOMEHOW OUT OF THINGS, NUNS, FOR EXAMPLE, CATHOLIC NUNS, MUCH MORE LIKELY TO RESCUE. WHY? FEMALES IN A MALE CHURCH, OUTPOSTS AWAY FROM THE CITY, RIGHT, PEOPLE FOR SOME REASON OR ANOTHER HAD DECIDED TO LEAVE THEIR FAMILIES, YOU KNOW. IN THAT SITUATION, PEOPLE WHO ARE RELIGIOUS WERE MORE LIKELY TO SAVE.>>QUESTION UP THERE. YES.>>YES. CONSIDERING THE GREAT MAN THEORY OF HISTORY, IN YOUR OPINION, HAD THE HOLOCAUST HAD HAPPENED, IF HITLER WOULD HAVE DIED IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR OR IF HE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SO CHARISMATIC?>>Guest: SO I’M GOING TO AGREE WITH YOUR QUESTION, BUT DISAGREE WITH ITS PREMISE. THE GREAT MAN OF THEORY OF HISTORY WOULD SAY THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS GREAT MEN. BUT THE WHOLE THE — THE WAY TO ANSWER THE QUESTION IS TO POINT OUT THAT OTHER THINGS MATTER, MATTER A LOT AS WELL. WHEN — AND THIS IS SOMETHING I WAS JUST WORKING OVER WITH MY STUDENTS YESTERDAY, WHERE WE’RE DOING THE HISTORY OF EASTERN USUAL OPPOSING AND WE’RE UP TO — EUROPE AND WE’RE UP TO THE 17th CENTURY AND THEY’RE WAITING FOR THE MOMENT WHEN IT’S ABOUT THE WAR AND THE HOLOCAUST AND I’M TRYING TO EXPLAIN IN THE 17th CENTURY, IT’S NOT JUST THAT PEOPLE DIDN’T KNOW THAT THE HOLOCAUST WAS COMING, IT’S NOT JUST THEY WERE LIVING IN A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WORLD. IT WASN’T COMING. YOU KNOW, THAT’S NOT HOW HISTORY WORKS. HISTORY ISN’T A PROCESSION THINGS THAT PROCEED AUTOMATICALLY. THERE’S CHANCE, THERE’S CHOICE, THERE’S ALL KINDS OF THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT, SO I AGREE WITH YOU, I THINK I AGREE WITH YOU, THE HOLOCAUST WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT HITLER BECAUSE HITLER WAS ONE OF THE SEVERAL THINGS THAT WERE NECESSARY FOR THE HOLOCAUST. RIGHT? HE DIDN’T BRING IT ABOUT ALL BY HIMSELF. HE WAS A NECESSARY CONDITION. AMONG SEVERAL OTHER NECESSARY CONDITIONS, LIKE, YOU KNOW, LIKE THE ANXIETY OF GERMANS IN THE 1920’S AND 1930’S, LIKE THE GREAT DEPRESSION, LIKE THE IDEOLOGICAL CONFLICT BETWEEN FAR RIGHT AND FAR LEFT, LIKE THE FRAGILITY OF THE EUROPEAN SYSTEM, AND SO ON AND SO ON. HE WAS A MAJOR PRECONDITION, BUT HE WAS ONLY ONE OF THE PRECONDITIONS. SO TO TAKE — MY FAVORITE WAY TO PUT THIS WOULD BE, IN NOVEMBER OF 1939, HITLER WAS ALMOST ASSASSINATED. HE WAS ALMOST ASSASSINATED BY A TRADE UNION ORGANIZER BECAUSE OF WEATHER AND MUD, HE LEFT 45 MINUTES EARLIER THAN HE WAS GOING TO, OTHERWISE HE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED BY A BOMB, RIGHT? HAD THAT HAPPENED, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO HOLOCAUST, I BELIEVE, AS WE UNDERSTAND IT, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN ONLY GREAT MEN MAKE HISTORY. IT MEANS THAT HE WAS ONE CONDITION AMONG OTHERS OF THIS THING HAPPENING.>>Mike: I’VE GOT TIME FOR ONE FINAL QUESTION. BRIEF QUESTION, AND UNFORTUNATELY, BRIEF ANSWER TOO.>>HAVE YOU DOCUMENTED IN YOUR BOOK WHAT FDR KNEW BEFORE 1941, IS FDR IN THE INDEX IN YOUR BOOK?>>Guest: THAT’S A TOUGH ONE TO DO BRIEFLY, BECAUSE IT’S BEEN — IT’S REALLY — I’VE NOTICED — AMERICA IS SORT OF A ZONE OF FREEDOM FOR ME, BECAUSE I’M NOT AN AMERICAN HISTORIAN. I’M AN AMERICAN BUT NOT AN AMERICAN HISTORIAN. ONE THING I NOTED ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST, LOOKING AT AMERICA, THIS HAS BECOME HIGHLY POLITICIZED, WITH A VERY INTERESTINGLY STRONG CURRENT SAYING THAT FDR WAS A TERRIBLE HUMAN BEING AND COULD HAVE DONE A WHOLE LOT MORE AND SO ON. FDR WAS OPERATING, — IT’S MUCH WORSE THAN WE THINK, FDR WAS OPERATING WITHIN A VERY ANTI-SEMITIC SOCIETY WHERE GERMAN PROPAGANDA SAID IT’S A JEWISH WAR AND A LOT OF AMERICANS BELIEVE THAT, RIGHT? AND SO AND JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS HAD TO BE VERY CAREFUL, THEY WERE AFRAID IF THEY SAID TOO MUCH ABOUT HITLER, THEN THEY WOULD BE CONFIRMING HITLER’S PROPAGANDA THAT THE WAR WAS A JEWISH WAR, SO FDR WAS OPERATING ON THE SIDE OF CONSTRAINTS, WHICH WE LIKE TO FORGET, BECAUSE WE’RE AMERICANS AN WE LIKE TO FORGET THE BAD PARTS OF OUR OWN HISTORY, THAT’S NATURAL. WITHIN THE CONSTRAINTS, FDR WAS MUCH MORE CONCERNED, I WOULD SAY, WITH THE FATE OF THE JEWS THAN MOST PEOPLE AT THE TIME WOULD HAVE BEEN. THE UNITED STATES DID ACTUALLY ORGANIZE ONE OF THE VERY FEW POLICIES IN THE WORLD, WHICH WAS DESIGNED TO SAVE JEWS. THERE WAS NO SOVIET POLICY TO SAVE JEWS. NOBODY SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED POLICIES TO SAVE JEWS, EXCEPT POLAND, WHICH HAD A VERY SMALL ONE AND THE UNITED STATES, WHICH HAD SOMETHING CALLED THE WAR OF REFUGEES BOARD AND WHY WAS IT CALLED THE WAR OF REFUGEES BOARD, WHY WASN’T IT CALLED THE COMMITTEE TO SAVE LOTS OF JEWS, I LEAVE THAT TO YOU. IT WAS CALLED THE WAR REFUGEES BOARD AND THE IDEA WAS TO RECRUIT DIPLOMATS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES, WE ESSENTIALLY TELLING THEM, IF THEY GO ALONG WITH IT, WE WILL TREAT THEM BETTER AFTER THE WAR. SO YOU KNOW, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, FDR DID SOMETHING, RIGHT? THE WHOLE BUSINESS ABOUT HOW HE DIDN’T CARE, LIKE, THAT’S NOT — THAT’S JUST NOT RIGHT. MY VIEW OF FDR WOULD BE THAT IN OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES, HE WAS AWARE OF THE PROBLEM, AND SKILLFUL POLITICIAN THAT HE WAS, HE MANAGED TO DO SOMETHING AT A TIME WHEN THERE WERE MAJOR ISSUES IN CONGRESS, MAJOR ISSUES AS EVERYBODY KNOWS WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT, WHICH IS PRETTY ANTI-SEMITIC ORGANIZATION BACK THEN, MAJOR ISSUES, YOU KNOW, IN TRYING TO CARRY OUT RESCUE IN GENERAL. HE MANAGED TO DO SOMETHING. WE DID HAVE A POLICY WHICH SAVED A FEW THOUSAND JEWS. THAT IS TERRIFYINGLY NOT ENOUGH AND OUR RECORD IS NOT SOMETHING OF WHICH WE CAN BE PROUD AND THE HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM IS FINALLY ABOUT TO HAVE AN EXHIBITION ON AMERICAN ANTI-SEMITISM AND THE REACTION ACTION TO JEWISH MIGRANTS IN THE 1930’S. IT’S ABOUT TIME. IF WE DON’T UNDERSTAND OURSELVES, WE DON’T UNDERSTAND ANYONE ELSE AND MY WHOLE POINT IN THIS DISCUSSION, FOR WHICH I’M VERY GRATEFUL IS THAT THE HOLOCAUST IS SOMETHING THAT WE NOT ONLY HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, BUT THAT WE CAN UNDERSTAND, BECAUSE SOME ELEMENTS OF IT, JUST AREN’T THAT FAR AWAY, EITHER FROM THE WORLD AS WE KNOW, OR THE WORLD AS WE UNFORTUNATELY MIGHT BE ABOUT TO KNOW.>>Mike: WE’RE GOING TO GAP THINGS UP. BEFORE WE GO, I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU FOR TO EVERYBODY WHO JOINED US, FOR YOUR INTEREST AND ATTENTION BUT MOST OF ALL, THANKS TO THE AWE TORE OF BLACK EARTH, PROFESSOR TIMOTHY SNYDER. PROFESSOR, GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

12 thoughts on “On the Issues with Mike Gousha | Program | Timothy Snyder

  1. I am so thankful for this man and his unique command of history and ideas, and the human heart that annimates them.

  2. Second by second. Minute by minute. Hour by hour. Month by month and year by year what makes what is now the United Kingdom did not suffer the results of the politics of genocidal radical nationalism. I think the false nostalgic innocence of British "Baby Boom"' voters want to hide in an affluent retirement is a false reaction to 2008. In the USA and UK Keynes was the root of the government response in both countries but coloured by Milton Friedman and Monetarism. Save the banks and insurance companies with Quantitative Easing and you save the people. No. There is only "trickle up". It never trickles to ordinary people who need a job. I am on the brink of losing my Citizenship of the European Union because of immoral and dysfunctional financial regulations going straight back to Reagan and Thatcher's deregulation of the financial markets in the early eighties. people will blame anything but the truth.

  3. This is so insightful. All of a sudden, things like Bannon's "leninist" approach (and other so-called "anti-establishment" movements in Europe and the US) make so much more sense:

    “Lenin wanted to destroy the state and that’s my goal too,” replied
    Bannon. “I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of
    today’s establishment.” (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/06/lenin-white-house-steve-bannon)

    19:21: Is that Jared Diamond in the audience?

  4. He's a bull shit artist why he does not go back to the pre 1st WW turkey, Germany, Britain and France and the ottoman empire, post-1stWW the Weimar -republic, who controlled the banks oil.

  5. The takeaway: 1) Hitlers 'racial struggle' world view. 2) The destruction of states which allowed the murder of stateless people. 3) How we think about the ecology. Scarce essential resources.

    I've been binging on Professor Snyder since his appearance on 'Real Time' the other day.

  6. I have never learned as much from any historian as I have learned from this speaker and author, Timothy Snyder, and his great book, Black Earth. Thank you for the great interview!

  7. I have to come here to comment since Comments are Disabled for the Timothy Snyder speaks out YouTube posts. Admiration for this man's scholarship will in the future have to be taken with a grain of salt after hearing remarks about Russian "interference" in the recent presidential election. Did his research consist of sucking up Rachel Maddow rants on MSNBC?

  8. Amazing clarity! His book, Black Earth, is a masterpiece and changed my whole view of the history of the Twentieth Century. I’ve listened to dozens of Timothy Snyder talks and interviews and this one is particularly clear and as always, very prescient in a way that seems uncanny to me. The whole Trump phenomenon and Banning and the dumping of those who despise the institutions of the U.S. as the heads of those institutions is as sinister as anything in history. I believe that the Founding Fathers, probably feared this the most, since they set up checks and balances in respect to letting no one person or section of government to get full control of the rest. Well, this has already begun and it is this that scares me the most. All apocalyptic stories revolve around the degeneration into anarchy and then into autocracy to “get things under control,” and the human proclivity to giving power away in the name of security.

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