As it appeared in THE JEWISH PRESS
Friday, April 11, 2003 - OP-ED
Time To Leave The 1920's Behind Us
The Jewish people were silent during the early
1920's when anti-Semitism was spawned by Henry Ford in
his Dearborn Independent newspaper. Ford's articles
inspired a young Adolf Hitler and helped pave the road to
the Holocaust. A compilation of Ford's articles was later
published in book form, and to this day The International
Jew - The World's Foremost Problem continues to inculcate hatred of Jews.
The International Jew is freely printed and
distributed today in many languages around the world (the
copyright has expired and the book is in the public
domain). It can be read on various hate websites and is still
sold by "legitimate" book sellers. Many of the chapters
from Ford's book were taken word for word and used by
Hitler in Mein Kampf, which was written two years after
The International Jew.
Hitler singled Ford out for praise in Mein Kampf:
"It is Jews who govern the stock exchange forces of the
American Union. Every year makes them more and more
the controlling masters of the producers in a nation of one
hundred and twenty millions; only a single great man,
Ford, to their fury, still maintains full independence."
The New York Times on February 7, 1923 (from
the Chicago Tribune wire services) noted that "Henry
Ford's financial as well as moral backing had been given to
Bavarian revolution-makers during the past year because a
part of the program of Herr Hitler, leader of the
Monarchists, is the extermination of the Jews in
Germany...Herr Hitler openly boasts of Mr. Ford's support
and praises Mr. Ford not as a great individualist but as a
great anti-Semite. A photograph of Mr. Ford hangs in Herr
Hitler's quarters in Cornelius Street, which is the center of
the monarchist movement."
In 1938 Ford was awarded and accepted the Grand
Cross of the German Eagle, the Nazi regime's highest
honor. At the Nuremberg Trial Proceedings on May 26,
1946, defendant Baldur Von Schirach testified as follows:
VON SCHIRACH: "I shall only say in one
sentence that these were works which had no definite
anti-Semitic tendencies, but through which anti-Semitism
was drawn like a red thread. The decisive anti-Semitic
book which I read at that time and the book which influenced my comrades..."
DR. SAUTER: "Please . . . "
VON SCHIRACH: ". . . was Henry Ford's book,
The International Jew; I read it and became anti-Semitic.
In those days this book made such a deep impression on
my friends and myself because we saw in Henry Ford the
representative of success, also the exponent of a
progressive social policy. In the poverty-stricken and
wretched Germany of the time, youth looked toward
America, and apart from the great benefactor, Herbert
Hoover, it was Henry Ford who to us represented
The leaders of most Jewish organizations during
the 1920's and beyond told us to seek only tolerance and to
just ignore the hateful and inciteful anti-Jewish
publications of Henry Ford. We were silent then and we
are silent still.
Many of our organizations remain shy to voice the
historical facts that led up to the Holocaust because they
want donations to keep coming in - often from some of
the very companies that were tied to the Nazis and the
Holocaust. But donated money is not the real key to
safeguarding our future, even taking into account the
"good" that these organizations may do with it. Presenting
history as it was, without attempting to conceal any of it,
serves more to protect our people - and all people -
from history repeating itself.
The philosopher and poet Santayana said that
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to
repeat it, " while Einstein observed that "The world is too
dangerous to live in - not because of the people who do
evil, but because of the people who sit and let it happen."
The Holocaust did not end with Hitler's ovens but
continues in a new form, appearing on the buses of Israel's
cities, at a wedding, a holiday or Sabbath festivity, and
many other places throughout Israel in the form of terrorist
suicide mass murderers.
Our existence as the Jewish people and as the State
of Israel cannot depend solely on the good will of the
United States or the tolerance - which is practically
non-existent - from the United Nations.
The Palestinians make no secret of their wish to
make Jerusalem their capital. We are not perceived by our
neighbors or the world as the weak, newborn nation we
once were, as David was perceived when he went up against Goliath. Must we
be in a weak position in order to loudly proclaim our
dreams and aspirations?
It seems that whenever we forget and cast those
dreams and aspirations aside, our enemies act against us
as indeed they do now, which should serve as a
reminder to us.
The media speak almost daily about "occupied
territories," yet fail to acknowledge that the holiest
occupied territory of all is the Temple Mount, where
mosques were erected on the very spot which is the most
holy place of the Jewish people and has been known as
such throughout history by the nations of the world.
Our people need not apologize for this, although
we should have long ago received an apology from those
who twice destroyed our Holy Temple and from those who
wrongfully continue to occupy its holy site.
We must leave the timidity of the 1920's behind us
and proclaim that our dream is not just to live in peace or
to be tolerated. Our dream is that which is found in the
silent whispers of our daily prayers to "rebuild the
Temple speedily in our days..."
Our dream is that which is expressed in Hatikva,
our national anthem "To be a free people in our land,
the land of Zion and Jerusalem."
Yosef Cohen resides in Holon, Israel and owns and
operates the website Stock Maven® at
www.stockmaven.com which has a new section called "Business and the Holocaust."