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A Guided Tour of the Sydney Jewish Museum

A Guided Tour of the Sydney Jewish Museum

 by David Benedikt

First offered September 3, 1999, periodically revised since.

[photos added to enhance the text]



A vandalized Jewish gravestone showing that anti-Semitism still abounds

First of all, the word itself – anti-Semitism – is a total misnomer.  It’s simply a polite way of saying what it actually means: Jew hatred, anti-Semitism has racial overtones: ‘Semite’ – Arabs are also Semites, so the phrase ‘antisemitism’ obviously doesn’t apply to anyone else except the Jews.  It is an agreed modern term that was coined to give a pseudo intellectual title to an ugly word which is the descriptive word ‘Jew hatred’. 


The consequence of the church having repeated over practically two thousand years from generation to generation the accusation that the Jews were involved with the death of Jesus was this estrangement of the Jews from the people among whom they have lived since the dispersion.  This constant repetition eventually resulted in this ‘otherness’ not because of a difference in religious belief but because of this accusation that was maintained by the churches all along.


It was only in 1963 – that was the first time that we had a pope, John XXIII, who had the courage to issue an official Vatican document exonerating the Jews once and for all of that accusation.  The consequences of this estrangement, that ‘otherness’ felt towards Jews, is the level of anti-Semitism, the level of dislike, that the Nazis found prevailing at the time when they took power in 1933.  The basis for what eventually started to happen after the Nazi take-over in Germany is this prevailing dislike.  Dislike eventually leads to fear, fear eventually results in hatred.  Hatred results in violence.  Unfortunately, we humans react that way. 


The difference between the prevailing dislike of Jews and the Nazi structure imposed on the German-speaking Europeans since the take-over of the Nazis in ’33 is distinct.  Nazidom, the Nazi ideology is that they intend to plan for the achievement of the cultivation of a super race, a race of super men, a German, Aryan master  race which would form an exclusive strata of humanity.  This was to be arrived at the way you breed horses in a stud.  Race horses are bred by eliminating those generations of horses, as you breed them, which are not capable of being trained as race horses until you arrive at a superior number of horses which lend themselves to being trained as race horses. 


This mad idea was to be applied to the generation of German-speaking Europeans until they had achieved this superiority.  Not only would the result be that they would all be six foot tall, blue-eyed and blond but they would have such exclusive qualities after that breeding process, after the exclusion of the inferior races, that this in itself would entitle them to rule the world for a thousand years.


Just beneath that strata of superior, master race individuals there would be those whom they called in German ‘Werktiere’ labouring individuals, animals of burden, so to say.  They would be left alive.  They would be inferior racially speaking but would be entitled to do the menial work for the master race.  These would be the second layer of the slightly flawed ones and the bottom layer would be the ‘disposable individuals’ headed by the Jews and the Gypsies, the homosexuals and their own, pukka, German, mentally and physically handicapped.  Suffice to say at this stage (as we come back to it later) mass murder by the Nazi structure was applied first to their own German, mentally and physically handicapped. 

Nazi Racial Classification chart

You must think in those degenerate terms of a superiority to be achieved for which you could not include flawed individuals.  I don’t have to remind you that in a civilized society it is the responsibility of the community and the State and it is to be taken deadly seriously, that we make sure that the handicapped enjoyed life to the fullest possible extent, but this is in a normal society.  When we speak of Nazi Germany we are not speaking of a normal society.


How did they achieve acceptance for such an ideology?  The methodology was simple: everyone was put into a uniform which everyone had to wear.  Everyone was made to attend mass meetings and at those mass meetings, from those balconies, that ideology is pumped into the population and we find a strange situation.  Every neighbor is watching his neighbor, making sure that he too is conforming and attending those mass meetings. 


Pressure is exerted from the top for this to take place.  Over a period of time we find a general acceptance because mass murder cannot be practiced unless there is a silent, passive acceptance of this murderous ideology.  This is the method.  It is left over a period of time to find passive acceptance and to sink in.  So from 1933 to 1935 this process is taking place in Germany and in Austria who joined them with great enthusiasm in March 1938.  Round about 1935, in a place called Nuremberg, a city in Germany, the racial laws are promulgated.  The racial laws are there to help distinguish between one individual and another to start the process of separation, of pushing out Jews form the general community.  That was the initial stage of this process.


To give you a very condensed and abbreviated idea of the content of the racial laws, if you had a grandmother or grandfather who was traceably Jewish, it was enough for you, two generations later, to become an object of persecution.  These were roughly the German racial laws introduced in 1935.  Signs appeared all over Germany asking people who had anything to do with Jews not to associate with them, to kick them out of the general community, to isolate them simply because the accusation was that they were the misfortune of the German people.  Again time was allowed for this to sink in, for this to become somehow passively acceptable until we come to the first definite date of the holocaust, the first outbreak of organized violence against Jews on the night from the 9th to the 10th November 1938 which was called the ‘night of broken glass’ or in German, ‘Kristallnacht’. 

Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/essays&editorials/guidedtour.html

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team


Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto
H.E.A.R.T 2010

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