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Michael Flynn’s Holocaust delusions

The former national security adviser should talk to survivors while he still can.

Michael Flynn. Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons.
Michael Flynn. Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons.
Joseph Frager
Dr. Joseph Frager is a lifelong activist and physician. He is chairman of Israel advocacy for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, chairman of the executive committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and executive vice president of the Israel Heritage Foundation.

Former U.S. National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn recently made some outrageous comments about the Holocaust. He said of the Jewish victims that there were “thousands of them and not many guards,” implying that the Jews could have fought barehanded against machine guns and survived.

The Auschwitz Memorial Museum was quick to point out, “The assertion that Jews could have easily resisted during deportations to extermination simply due to their numerical strength compared to the guards oversimplifies the dire circumstances they faced during the Holocaust. The sheer number of SS guards made resistance nearly impossible.”

I might add that the SS were the most barbaric, brutal and cunning of all of the Nazi forces. They shot first and asked questions later.

Gen. Flynn is entirely wrong, but he did enable a discussion of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising is the most famous. It began on April 19, 1943 and ended in a major assault by the SS on May 16, 1943. Seven hundred Jewish fighters who were barely armed put up the greatest resistance ever seen in the history of man against the most terrifying and bestial army ever assembled. Seven thousand Jews died fighting and 7,000 more were captured and sent to Treblinka, where they were murdered. After the uprising, 42,000 Polish Jews were rounded up and killed in a two-day shooting spree dubbed Operation Harvest Festival by the Nazis.

A lesser-known uprising took place at the Sobibor extermination camp, which was run by the SS and their Ukrainian supporters. On Oct. 14, 1943, prisoners in Sobibor killed 11 members of the SS including deputy commandant Johann Nieman. Three hundred prisoners escaped. Only 50 of them survived the war.

There were many other pockets of resistance. Jews resisted in over 100 ghettoes throughout Eastern Europe. Others joined underground forces that helped topple the Third Reich.

One story that gets very little attention is that of 17-year-old Herschel Grynszpan. He was a Jewish refugee living in Paris who, in Nov. 1938, walked into the German embassy and assassinated Nazi diplomat Ernst Vom Rath. Grynszpan was probably murdered by the Nazis although his exact fate is somewhat murky. He was the first Jew to resist the Nazi onslaught.

Gen. Flynn does not have a correct understanding of the Holocaust. I am afraid that many suffer from similar delusions. I would recommend that they talk to Holocaust survivors while they still can.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.

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