Toronto Sun | Jan. 10, 2004 | Orest Slepokura

Facing up to the past

The Editor:

Michael Coren writes ["Facing up to the past," Toronto Sun, 10Jan04]: "I've reason to be unloving towards the Germans. But no. Wrong. Not towards Germans. Towards Nazism."

Here Coren differs sharply from one who now personifies Holocaust remembrance: Elie Wiesel. Wiesel admonishes his co-religionist Jews thus: "Every Jew, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate -- healthy, virile hate -- for what the German personifies and for what persists in the German. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of the [Holocaust] dead" [Legends of Our Time, New York: Schocken Books, 1982, p. 142].

Coren deplores "certain Canadian politicians [who] embraced Soviet leaders and refused to tolerate very much criticism of the fascists in red." But what about those who cheered the name of one such red fascist and who had uncritically reported it?

Elie Wiesel was in Moscow in the 1960s, where he joined a crowd of Jews during a street festival in which a young Jew in the gathering chanted the names of famous Soviet Jews. With each name, the "crowd roared back its approval," Wiesel recalled. Then: "Unthinking, he [the cheerleader] chose the name of one long forgotten: 'Long live Lazar Kaganovitch!' Someone near me asked jokingly whether Kaganovitch was still alive. Yes, he is still alive, but only the Jews remember him [Pfttt!]. I wonder if it ever crossed his mind [Lazar Kaganovitch's] that a day would come when his name would be trumpeted aloud outside the Jewish synagogue, while he himself was banished from the Kremlin walls" [Legends of Our Time, Holt, Rinehart and Winston: New York, 1968, p.156].

Kaganovitch was to Stalin rather like what Himmler had been to Hitler. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Sincerely yours,

Orest Slepokura
Strathmore AB

c. Michael Coren