Good manners insists that I thank the excellent John Podhoretz of the Commentary site for pointing me towards this particularly rancid pile of pavement droppings even if he did warn me to avoid stepping in it. Alas, curiosity impelled me on and so I read the article in The Tablet sicked up by the afore-mentioned Anna Breslaw. The opening paragraph gives you the, er, flavour:
Since I was 12 I’ve had an unappealing, didactic distrust of people with the extreme will to live. My father’s parents were Holocaust survivors, and in grade school I received the de rigueur exposure to the horror—visiting geriatric men and women with numbers tattooed on their arms, completing assigned reading like The Diary of Anne Frank and Night. But the more information I received, the less sympathy the survivors elicited from me. Each time we clapped for the old Hungarian lady who spoke about Dachau, each time Elie Wiesel threw another anonymous anecdote of betrayal onto a page, I eyed it askance, thinking What did you do that you’re not talking about? I had the gut instinct that these were villains masquerading as victims who, solely by virtue of surviving (very likely by any means necessary), felt that they had earned the right to be heroes, their basic, animal self-interest dressed up with glorified phrases like “triumph of the human spirit.”
It's difficult to know how to respond to this except to wonder if the gas is still switched on at Dachau and if so whether or not they could squeeze in just one more! Ms. Breslaw claims to possess "a gut instinct". I would put it more accurately by describing it as a 'gutter instinct'. To sneer, to insult, to spit upon anyone who survived the Nazi extermination factories (or the Communist gulags, or the Chinese mass murders of Mao, or - well you fill in your own choice) is behaviour so vile as to be beyond description. Needless to say, or at least, needless to say amongst grown ups with even half an idea of the way of the world (so that excludes the brainless Ms. Breslaw), they were not all saints inside places like Dachau. There were, perhaps some outright saints but the other 99.9% of the inmates were the usual very human mixture of vice and virtue. They all wanted to survive because that is part of being human. Most did not and those that did were, I guess, 95% lucky and 5% intelligent. Your name either came up on the daily rosta or it did not. The longer you were an inmate the smaller became your chances of surviving.
So, Ms. Breslaw, here's five examples of those who made it. What would you do if you were facing them? Shriek insults at them for surviving? Insinuate slyly that they obviously worked for the Germans because they lived and others did not? Harangue them for failing to push themselves to the head of the queue leading to the gas chambers? Perhaps even suggest that they do the 'decent' thing and top themselves?
True evil comes in many forms but amongst the worst is when it appears in the form of a monumentally stupid, 'Noo Yawk' Jewish, clacker-mouth with the moral and common sense of a slug - if that is not an insult to slugs! I truly hope and wish (and would pray if I knew who to pray to) that Ms. Breslaw gets cancer. Then we'll see what she has to say about survival and survivors!