Re: The Holocaust, The Fire That Raged

March 17, 1999

Dear Members of the Board:

I request that the book “The Holocaust, The Fire That Raged” by Seymour Rosse be eliminated from the M. Junior High School. Of the Holocaust books I have challenged so far this book is the most pernicious since it is written for young readers. I have a question for you: Can’t you wait until your charges are out of their childhood before you indoctrinate them into hate for the Germans?  This book is also anti -Christian.  It blames Christianity for being the root cause of anti-semitism to which Hitler was supposed to have added racism. The following two excerpts should make that clear:

“They (the Germans) were people who wanted jobs, who needed food, who were scared by Communism, who believed what the church had taught them about the Jews being evil and who believed that Hitler would be an effective leader (P24).” “To the church’s anti-Jewish teachings, Hitler and his followers added a new dimension -racism (P30). “ According to the book the combination of these two, the teachings of the church, and Hitler’s racism produced the “holocaust. “

Good, innocent Jews on one hand and bad, guilty Christians and Germans on the other - nothing is quite that simple! Throughout the centuries the Jewish minority lived in a Christian sea. If the Christians looked upon the Jews as Christ killers, the Jews looked upon the Christians as idolators whose very shadow made their food ritually unclean. The Talmud gave the Jews a dual moral code, a strict code in dealing with their fellow tribesmen, a permissive one in dealing with the goyim. The Christian host always had to be afraid that the Jews within the city walls might literally and figuratively open the gate to the besieging enemy. If the Jews lived in ghettos it was much more by choice than by compulsion. Only by living among themselves could they preserve what they wanted most, the survival of their religion and their race. It was strictly an us versus them. Understanding was not wanted and tolerance not given by either side.

I am quoting a sentence from the book to show you how the author operates. “For centuries, the church taught Christians to blame the Jews for the death of Jesus, even though the New Testament says that it was the Romans who put Jesus to death (p16).” This is technically correct, but nevertheless a falsehood. All the gospels agree that the chief priests wanted Jesus dead and that the Roman, Pilate, made repeated efforts to free Jesus.  The gospel of St. John is more explicit: “but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend.”  This was blackmail. Pilate was promoted to the position of governor under Sejanus, the executed usurper. Pilate therefore could not afford any complaint reaching the ear of Tiberius.

I am making this point not to indict the Jews, but to indict the author. I do not believe as Mr. M. and D. Goldhagen do in a collective guilt lasting for generations.  A personal note. I grew up a Catholic in Nazi Germany. Twice a week the priest came to school to give us Bible lessons and to instruct us in our faith. Every Sunday we went to mass. Neither in school nor in church was I ever taught about the Jews being evil.

Now to the charge of racism. Again the author leaves out a most important fact. When the American government gave the order to intern the Japanese, the motives were fear of espionage and sabotage. This fear was not justified since the enemy country, Japan, was on the other side of the world, separated from the United States by two oceans. The German fear of the Jews however was well justified in as far as Germany has very permeable borders and was surrounded at that time by hostile countries all with Jewish minorities.  Even after the Soviet (Raete) Republic in Bavaria established by the Jews had been overthrown, the Jews persisted in trying to gain ascendancy over Germany with the communistic ideology. The question is how does a country defend itself against such a determined minority without being unjust to the innocent individual.  I have no answer. The author completely ignores the ideological struggle which raged within Germany and attributes the defensive measures the government took to racism.

To go into the outright lies contained in this book would exceed the scope of this letter. But what I have written should be enough to convince every fair minded person that this book does not belong in the hands of our children.