Comment: The New York Review of Books offers some of the best analysis around on history and contemporary affairs. If you are going to subscribe to this excellent journal, you have to set aside a lot of time to read the lengthy and well-written reviews.
The Holocaust will always live by us like an ugly reminder of our savagery, or in particular of a regime that based its existence on racism and ethnic homogeneity. Some have asked on Migrant Tales what does the adjective “Nazi-spirited” mean before an association like Suomen Sisu? The answer is in its racial views and, like the Nazis, to the idea that ethnic homogeneity is an important value that society should strive to maintain.
This idea is not only shared openly by PS MPs like Jussi Halla-aho who are emembers of Suomen Sisu, but by many far-right populist parties in Europe like the Sweden Democrats and others. In other words, their reason for being and aim is based on their objection to multiculturalism, or cultural diversity, which is a threat to ethnic homogeneity.
One matter that these parties and associations don’t tell you is how they plan to preserve never mind return their countries back to some “ethnically homogeneous” society. Taking into account that over a million Finns emigrated from here in the last 150 years and that Finland has always been a part of Europe, we can even argue if we’ve ever been ethnically homogeneous.
Ethnic homogeneity as an ideal of society has its roots in racism and most recently to the rise of fascism in the 1930s.
This explains as well why PS MPs like Halla-aho and Suomen Sisu don’t openly condemn the works of Alfred Rosenberg and David Duke. Halla-aho even plays down the Nuremberg Trials. “It is quite justifiable to see the Nuremberg trials as a farce,” he wrote. “Sure, the guilty had been condemned in advance and their convictions carried out on absurd grounds.”
Peter Longereich’s Holocaust not only tells us how misguided Nazi Germany was concerning their pathological ethnic policies but how it led to mass murder when they tried to implement them and make their country and occupied territories ethnically homogeneous. If the Nazi ideology failed in this task and caused as a result the systematic murder and social engineering through death camps and deportation of millions of Europeans, it is doubtful that far-right parties will ever succeed in the task today.
Do you agree?
It is fruitless to reduce the manifold evil of the Holocaust to a single cause. Ideology, charisma, conformism, hatred, greed, and war were all very important, but each was related to the others and all mattered within rapidly changing historical circumstances. In his profound study Holocaust, Peter Longerich puts forward an analysis that includes all these factors and shows how politics or, as he puts it, Politik, set them all in motion. In this amplified English edition of his Politik der Vernichtung (1998), Longerich preserves the German term Judenpolitik, and with good reason. In German Politik means both “politics” and “policy,” and the compound noun (Juden + Politik) gives a sense of a joining of concepts that English cannot quite convey.