tv Book Discussion on Our Crime Was Being Jewish CSPAN September 28, 2015 7:05am-7:55am EDT
he said how a priest reacted to that. i only know the ones who likeed it. that doesn't mean a lot of people that don't hate it. the ones that express hate, not to me personally, they want the priest to tell them what to do more than the priest wants to they will them on their own, at least the ones i know. they know i was not attacking the priesthood. catholics if they come to church on sunday, well, there's nothing to do, let's get out of here.
that would not have happened in st. agustín's church. when bread and alter -- receive the body of christ. priest are very nice. most of them i like. they make contributions. spirit only sends gracism through one con dui t. if they were true, they would lead without god. they don't have the right channel. >> thank you so much. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] [laughter] [inaudible conversations] >> a signature feature of our book tv is all day coverage with top nonfiction authors. here is our schedule. the weekend after that we are live from austin for the texas book festival and near the end of the month we'll be covering two book festivals. back on the east coast, the boston book festival. as a tart of november, we'll be in portland, oregon for word stock following by the national book awards from new york city.
at the end of november we are live for 18th year in a row for florida for the miami book fair international. that's a few of the fairs and festivals this ball on c-span2's book tv. >> book tv continues now with anthony pitch, whose book our crime was being jewish, 258 holocaust survivors. >> our subject today is the haul cost, hitler eradication of jews during world war ii, the full extent of their pursuit of the final solution remained unintelligible, unimaginable to the outside world until the fall of the third right.
recorded the liberation of the camps. the documentation now preserved in the national archives was used as evident in the war crime trials, document actions and thoughts for those who carried out the crimes and those who discovered the rules. what if the stories of those trapped within the camps. in today's featured book we have stories including that of my sister-in-law's mother. since the end of the war we have been urged to never forget books like our crime with being jewish ensure that we do not. anthony pitch is a journalist who long ago abandoned native
england for the united states of many nonfiction books, the two i'm most familiar with are award winning, they have killed papa dead, subtitle, abraham lincoln's motor and range for vengeance and british invasion of 1814. some years back i remember reading in the washington post the 1812 book that president bush had packed for summer reading. tony pitch has been featured on previous c-span shows including history channel, national geographic, book tv, pr and pbs. he covered stories in england, africa and israel. heavies been editor for
appreciated press and writer for u.s. news and world report books division. i first met him in 1990's here in washington. i can also attest that tony, associated with lincoln's assassination. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome tony pitch. [applause] >> thank you very much. i want to pay tribute to rod to help me enormously in my previous books even the one coming up in march next year. thank you, rod. also to all those archivist.
without them i couldn't write any of those books. now the crime of being jewish. i think it's a marvelous title. it's taken from one man's interview, when he said my crime was being jewish. i said, that's great. it sums it up all up. you may think it's about heritage. the importance of knowing what happened in the past and the survivor, people of all faiths that gets -- where all the nazi leaders? they're all dead.
hitler were mass murderers and the trash of history. what about the survivors? well, before that, they said that it would last for a thousand years. he didn't ask two decades. what about the survivors? they were not liquidated like so many wanted them to be. they were descended from a long line who had hatred and then the greatest of all the holocaust. the tormentous included the
pharaohs who enslaved them for many years, pesians, románs people of many different shades, and they survived. now, as i made my closing yields of life it's time to sum up and i am even more convinced that the survival of the jewish people is truly phenomenal, and if anything -- if we judged the past, survived in the past, i'm absolutely convinced that they will overcome the current rise that has raised its murderers heads after the holocaust.
that's what surprises me. within a generation would come again, would surface again. now, my hope is that this book will be read by people of all ages and all faiths for people who know nothing or little about the holocaust, for people who are ignorant of the heritage and those for don't realize that if taken to extreme, it must result in the contents of this book. for this book, i researched, interviews of the holocaust memorial mus. [music] .
>> and so i got a very, very good view and there were hundreds of interviews in this book. you don't have to read hundreds of books, it's all in this one. i think that the survivors have right to hold their heads high because they recount in their own words the enormous number of atrocities, whether or not he will range they had to confront and survive and you get a good sense. it might frighten some people and shock others to read this but i couldn't write about the holocaust without writing exactly as it was, and that's what i did in their words preface but the rest for their
words excerpted to show atrocities. you will not find a chronology of this book. it's reflection really of the shadowed lives. many people that would have been included were silenced by murder. always remember what a holocaust survivor told another women, i can't watch holocaust movies, the survivor said, don't expect me to pat you on the back f we could live it, you could watch it. there's so much wisdom in the book. not my wisdom but theirs. the interviews, it's so amazing
what they wrote about and as you -- i go through now, some of those excerpts you'll see the wisdom that comes out of it. this book was really prompted by revolting antisemitism in france by a so called comedian. he has one skit where he he -- redicules haul cost. the audience roar with laughter. it's on youtube, you can see
them. and they -- you cannot say that his after holocaust is justified by it. says all these things when he wasn't even there. i think that the best answer i could give them would be the words of those who came out alive. now, jews have always defied the odds even though they were targeted because they were jewish. they defied the odds. these were people who increased triumph endurance.
my book testifies to those ever lasting resilience. they cannot answer a survivor that told me after his death last year, if the holocaust wouldn't happen, then where is my family. you have to listen to a lutheran who helped. he said, i was there, i saw it with my own eyes. i can testify. and another man had nothing but content for denials. he said, they should have been there and they would find out it really happened. 500 bodies. you don't forget something like that. another american soldier saw
railroad cars packed with bodies. i hope i never see it again. you know, some people managed to hide finding refuge in the city sewers. that's where children played with rats. that's where a man drowned looking for something to drink. on 1938, a mother took her children and wanted to see the sign at the strans -- entrance
gait and told them to not forget what was written there. jews and dogs are not allowed in the park, and then displayed without any shame. there was a distinguished jewish lawyer who went to the same coffee house for more than 20 years and he sat at the same table served by the same waiter and after the holocaust, union of greece and -- i'm sorry, germany and austria in 1938, the waiter came up to him, signifying and say i don't wait on dirty jews.
perhaps, they didn't appreciate the peril to their lives. there was a doctrine in berlin that said he would not take a position in a hospital in brazil because he said nazi will not last. he said, i am -- the germans will not do anything to me. i am a war veteran. i have the iron cross. the other man by comparing it to rain where people open umbrella and waited for it to stop. so the only really dismissed
accounts of mass murder, majority did not, man escaped from a train going and when he got back to london, spoke about the massacres said he was lying and frightening everybody. and then another man escaped in the same year from a train, that was 1942, when he got back to relatives, told them, they said to him, it's farfetched and they didn't believe him. so failed to influence many people. that was the night of broken glass. on the ninth and tenth of november, 1938 burned more
senegals. they rounded up a lot of jewish men and sent them to concentration camps and murdered others. one incident, a man who had befriended a jewish child as he was a boy, threatened the boy's parents. so you have consider all background and then what broke out in september 1939, and persecution intensified. that was when hundreds of thousands of jews were packed for the tortures journey for the death camps.
no space to feed babies. no medication to take and little air to breathe. they had to make with one bucket to defecate and urinate. imagine standing like that for three or four days with little or no food and swelling your clothes there was no place to go. if you were fortunate to come to greece, that journey took nine days. there was panic, broke out in one train when a rumor spread that they would be burned alive. so a female doctor cut open the veins. when they arrived they were
tired and hungry and gasping for anything to drink. nobody was there, instead they were met by nazis scheming at -- screaming at them that would either be forced to slavery or slapped and dogs bit those that were dazed to know what was going on. they did nothing wrong, degraded and beaten, stabbed and murdered because they were jews.
the nazis considered them venom. they couldn't fight back. they had no weapons. they were faceing -- nothing taint the jews than fear. others reacted like human beings and expected something to turn in their favor even when all seemed lost. the heartache. you have to listen to some of the people that were there. the heartache of a man who swore his mother, sister and brother being sent away to be gasped.
there was no time to see anything, nothing, nothing, nothing. we were in a hole and another girl, her mother with a frail heart being sent up, from that moment i lost my emotions. i didn't know how to cry. one boy who lives retired, professor from university in engineering, he wrote a blog for my back cover, he hid from selections by hideing and the nazis were pettyless that two girls hid between corpses to
and if they fai failed to follow orders properly at roll call, they were me to hop on all fours like frogs. they would discover that she was hugging a woman who died overnight, and then everybody fought over the thin slice of bread that she must have left behind, another girls arm of the walking off to be gassed and she said, i'm only 18, i haven't even made love. a man looking for footwear walked into the ghetto by a nazi known as the butcher and
recognized his own mother to choose. they considered a luxury because the ordeal of suffering was over, and then there were the medical experiments come on people that absolutely nothing wrong with them, suffered excruciating pain and many died of barbarism. women were sterilized in painful procedures, and some men had their testicles removed. teachers gave poisoned candy to their pupils expecting them to die before the nazis could get them. and one man had to kneel before a dog and address him and then apologizing for stealing food from his bowl. witnesses to murder close-up, nobody was better positioned to talk about it then those who really saw close up of some of
their commanders. they were the people whose terrible task was to supervise the gassing and then to remove the bodies to the ovens. and they were killed, all of them, after six months and other men brought in as replacement. it was hoped then that nobody would survived to tell about the horrors. but in the confusion of reparations some of them did manage to escape, and their memoirs prepared some of the fancies of the denials but they never spoke to one another, barely spoke. they carried out these horrible tasks because as one man said, he remembered what his mother had told him. that when there is life there is hope. one of those commanders died last your but before he died he wrote a marvelous book and the exposed the atrocities.
he writes putting the people in the gas chamber, and then when all the screaming and crying was hushed, he opened the door and they had to wade through excrement and urine, blood and vomit. one day they heard a baby crying, and they went over and found that a two month old girl had survived, but then along came a nazi guard and shot her in the back of the head. that was the end of that one. death was considered cheap and easily achieved if desired. and now i will go to the instances of bravery, of courage. there was a woman who escaped from a camp, and she was caught and brought back to the gallows to be hanged.
the camp commandant was standing next to her and he said i forgive you, i really do. and she spat in his face and said, i will do the same thing again. so he hanged her and let her dangle for days. and then there were five the boys who were arrested for stealing cigarettes meant for german troops. so they were thrown in a cell for a week without any food or water, and then they were taken up to the gallows. with the nooses around their necks, they didn't give the germans a chance. while the reasons for their faith was being read out, they jumped off the stills to commit collective suicide. now, this is the story that i think is the best of all in the book. the nazis gave one man 30 minutes to -- we would be shot dead.
he happened to be -- and the new it took 20 minutes to play, so he hummed it to himself and, of course, he finished seven minutes ahead of schedule and saved his life. he didn't have a uniform relationship with the god. there was a rabbi who went to a synagogue and walked up, at addressing god, he said, many times i've come your and try to forgive the sins of my community. now as i stand before you i don't think we will forgive you of your sins. and then there was another man who looked at his neighbor who was praying, and he said to him, why are you crying? can't you see that we have been abandoned and are in miserable conditions and that development in reply to exit, you don't understand, i am praying to god
to thank them for not making me like the murderers around them. you see the wisdom of this. it comes from a lot of stories. when it arrived at a concentration camp. he was a very, very religious. but then he saw how long those people had suffered four, and he said, and understand that jews were internalized for days and weeks maybe months do not year after year. i am angry with god. i have a problem with him. then there were others who died with dignity and spirit. the rabbis are the people waiting to be gassed like him and he said to them, there's nothing to be afraid of death. we will die as martyrs. so they danced as they went to the door to their deaths. how do they pick up their lives? when most of them were freed in the spring of 1945, there was a woman who was freed, but 38
years later she was on the west coast of american she found out she was sitting next to a soldier who helped free her camp. so she went up to him, she shrieked hysterically, clutched his arm and sat there whimpering, she said she had found her savior. there was a woman who had told people in a speech she gave all about the horror works of auschwitz. and in the ensuing said why did you bring children into this world of auschwitz was so terrible? and she said, hitler had wanted to eliminate us. i got my revenge by saying look, we are here. and then another lady compared her concentration camp to the pain of having, she said it was
like the pain of having babies. you always remember the beauty, never the pain. otherwise, women would never have babies. and there do whatever in. there was a man called david jaegejacob the camp of auschwito washington, d.c., got a job at the famous restaurant on connecticut avenue. and one day he heard that the leader of the american nazis with the addressing people on the mall. he decided to go, but he swore to himself that he would not be like meeting jews in europe who he said prayed them in a nazis -- so he went down and he was horrified to see swastikas and people with crossed arms just like the gestapo. had been approached a marine and
so did we suffered enough under hitler? showed a misstep to it is that i got that in auschwitz. the marines had come your line. how much did you pay to have it put on? we are going to build bigger and better gas chamber than the nazis ever have. that is when david jaeger jumped over the rope and started the riots. the marine try to poke out his eyes but he managed to tear off the marines gear. even, a policeman and a good, dragged off jagr and he was fined. and the nazis foun found out whe lived and he found out where you live and they found it and they said were going to kill you, your wife and your children get so his friends protected the family while they went back to work, but then he had to go to court. and a judge said to them, mr. jaeger, you have suffered enough under the nazis. why don't you go downstairs, get back your money, we will make
believe it never happened. they were ghastly encounters for people who pretended to the gentiles. a woman went from a concentration camp back to poland to see her sister who have been baptized and hidden with the catholic family. and the sister said to her, i was saved because i became a gentile, and she even went to a mass to atone for the sins of her parents who she said had killed jesus. and that was when the sister, the other one, the survivor, said i've lived as a jew. i have suffered as a jew and i will die as a jew. and then the woman passed through her work on her way back to her place -- patch the nuremberg, and she's a german children begging for anything to eat. and even though she had
chocolates and oranges in a suitcase, she refused to give them any. it was as if they had killed all the victims, all the people had been murdered. and later did she say she changed her mind. in new york there was a dot of a holocaust survivor who represented the tax division of a large legal firm at a meeting with the german clients. and afterwards she told one of our colleagues that she felt very uncomfortable in the presence of german middle-aged men. our colleagues said, don't you know that you are speaking to -- that was hitler's, the son of hitler's foreign minister. and when he said that, all the color drain from her face and she was speechless. another man had seen choosing upside down by their feet at birkenau, and he said one thing, he said every day i said the memorial prayer for the dead
just as they would have done for my parents and my sister and my brother, but he had one word of advice for future generations. he said, and less we know about it and tell others about it, it is bound to happen again. now i want to end with this one. there was an american major and his aide who were told there is a top ranking nazi living in a chalet in austria but they didn't know his name. so they were sent out to arrest them. the major went up the stairs with his revolver at the ready and he already saw an artist painting the alps opposite. so we said to the man, are you, who are you? and he said i am julius.
and it matched the name on his id. and then the major saw the initials js printed on the card and said are you julius stryker? amounted yes, that's who i am. and going back to major said to him, are you the julius stryker who hated jews so much? that's who i am, said the man, who had been editor of the very anti-semitic newspaper. but the major didn't shoot him because he didn't believe in killing anybody who had surrendered. however, as -- to accelerate his departure. than a porter came up and said to them, you just killed one of the biggest stories of the war. and the major said, how complex he said, can you imagine if a man had arrested this anti-semite, what a story that
would've been. and the major said why? and he said, because achieve would be arresting stryker, as a major said but i am jewish. that's when the cameras started. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much for your talk. i want to start with what you started with, heritage, specifically listed off babylonian times, roman, persian times. cruelties tend to be cruel to each other throughout history, where the african-american indigenous people, indians, whoever it is, jewish people as you described. and you said they were treated the way because they were
jewish. i'd like maybe from york historical perspective site wide that trend to continue from the perspective of as yo she said ts point in time is a jewish group made this angry, or whatever it is, what was it that compounded throughout history? as a justification for it but what we learned from our parents and from our peers is how germany decide to use the story to give their people a reason that caused you so much pain but i'm curious if your coat -- if you were to go back to a point in time why you could say jews were treated this was because i don't think i heard the beginning, but are you saying what his reason for at the semitism? >> in a sense for where is this point what is biblical for this jewish tribe, that this group that can carry on throughout time but i know there's a lot of structure in history and joked
that continues on but he could go back to some point, from your perspective. >> if i could answer that i would be called solomon your country and. it's beyond me why some people dislike jews. they have distinguished themselves, many nobel laureates, the america the beautiful. all our jews. i don't know, it might be jealousy. it may be that they worship in another way. i don't know. they are smart because many professionals deny them. they were not allowed to be farmers and everything else. and i think that sharpened the outlook on life, that they had to be, their wits about them to survive. but i don't know the reason for it. is made an extraordinary comeback, anti-semitism. i think this is related to the
changing demographics of europe. it might be the reason, but, and which is political, but i don't know why in the past it happened under so many people, but it did. and i'm sorry, but that's the best answer i can give. >> there must be others. i finished early just to make sure that there would be room for questions. >> what made you pick up the subject after an exhaustive career in studying lincoln?
>> what made me write this? >> yes. what turned you to the subjects because i look for three criteria in books. they have to be true, they have to the epic, and they have to be horrific. so now i'm attracted to that i don't know why. people asked me to write funny things. i can't. but that's what i wrote the assassination of lincoln, the burning of the white house in washington, vietnam, and i've got a book coming out in march. it's a true story of a lynching in georgia 1946 about 10,000 documents. under freedom of information a act. but they also not in the intensity of that horror, they all fit the mold. that's why, i'm looking for subject now. if you can think of one that has been written about before, that
is epic, true and horrific, come to me. that was the reason that i went for that. but there was another reason. there was this man that i mentioned earlier, he's a frenchman, and we saw how he made fun of the holocaust. i just couldn't stand it any longer, and i had to reply to because he was so glib and people brought with laughter. and i thought this is not a funny subject. you can't deny it happened. and i filled, understood that the best answer i could give him would be the words of those who came out of those death camps alive, the survivors, and that's why i wrote it. that was the compelling force that prompted me to write this.
>> there was a letter that was left in a bottle in the warsaw ghetto. the person who is about to die. of the molotov cocktails originally, he ported over himself, and -- [inaudible] it was interesting at the same kind of code you said earlier. they said i thank god for not having make me one of those who are coming to get me now. have you ever heard of that letter? >> would you mind telling what he said? >> there was a letter buried in
a bottle in warsaw with the individual say thank god for not having made me like those who were coming to get me. are you familiar with the story or others like? >> yes, thank you for i am familiar with the story. actually it's funny, the quote that i gave that i'm thankful that god didn't make me like the murderers around me comes from another man. it seems to be the same quote but different circumstances because it was definitely not the man that you talk about. but there is so much wisdom. is the base of in this book, and if you're don't have to look for it, it's there all the time. it's extraordinary what if they
survived. >> what do you think of movies like the great dictator and mel brooks of the producers and the musical the producers which try to make fun of hitler and used for nazis for comedy? >> that's a good question. we have a first amendment right of free speech, and we may not agree with it but it's enshrined in the amendments. i believe in that free speech. the nazis marching was unbearable, intolerable, but they had the right of free speech. and that's something that does not exist in the middle east where i lived for 12 years. it doesn't exist at all, and i think that's an incredible tribute to america that we allow people to say what they want, where they want.
i'm a firm believer in the first amendment, and i don't agree with them all but, but they have a right. >> i have a slight disagreement with the scope of the exam. i think the limit on free speech when it is not used to try to convince people to talk to you about something but a deliberate act is a different thing. earnings across on someone's lawn, for example, whether they have a right to the property is not speech. it's not trying to convince other people. it's trying to terrorize. >> burning a cross is