THE HOLOCAUST: WE MUST REMEMBER
Roger Fredinburg – Host
30-Hour Series of Interviews broadcast on the Roger Fredinburg Radio Program
2-25-1998 Seventeenth Program in Series
Guest: Dr. Aaron Hass
Books: THE AFTERMATH: LIVING WITH THE HOLOCAUST
ISBN-10: 0521574595 and ISBN-13: 978- 0521574594
IN THE SHADOW OF THE HOLOCAUST: THE SECOND GENERATION
ISBN-10: and ISBN-13:
Roger: Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen! Once again, we are continuing our series. We’re near the end of the series on the holocaust. It’s been an enjoyable and educational experience for me and I hope it has been for you, as well. It’s been one of those series of events that leave a person kind of, I don’t know any better definition than to say “down in the dumps.” It’s tough, tough subjects like this that just kind of carry on with you days after you hear the story, and we’ve heard a number of them on the series and we’ll hear a few more. But, I’m enjoying it and I hope you are.
Tonight we’re going to talk about two books written by Aaron Hass, “The Aftermath: Living with the Holocaust” and “In the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Second Generation.” In that book we’ll be talking about what it’s like to grow up in a world where you hear about what happened to your parents in the holocaust. Quite interesting! Not only what happens to the survivors; but, to their children beyond that. There is a life after the death of the holocaust, so to speak!
I want to bring on Dr. Hass and introduce him, let him tell us a little bit about who he is. Aaron, welcome to the program!
Dr. Hass: Thanks very much, Roger.
Roger: Could you tell us just a little bit about yourself, Aaron?
Dr. Hass: Well, as you intimated before, I am a child of holocaust survivors. I grew up in the shadow of the holocaust. Presently, I’m a professor of psychology at California State University at Domingos Hills and Assistant Clinic Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine.
But, most important, certainly in terms of your show this evening, my formative years were spent in the shadow of the holocaust, hearing the stories, being acutely aware of the absences.
Roger: What do you mean by absences?
Dr. Hass: Well, the fact that I was the only one of my friends who didn’t have grandparents. That’s no small matter! It’s the kind of thing that continually makes you aware, not only that you’re different; but, more importantly, that something catastrophic happened to your family!
Roger: And it absolutely did! Now, in your book, “The Aftermath,” you deal with the holocaust?
Dr. Hass: Well, “The Aftermath,” deals with the post-war adjustment of the holocaust survivors; how they handled the after-affects.
Roger: Let’s talk about that because with you being in the psychiatric business, you obviously lean toward the psychoanalysis of individuals who survived that, in kind of a broad way. I mean you’re looking at how this affected people and how they lived the rest of their lives.
Dr. Hass: Absolutely! How they coped with their experience! How they coped with that kind of devastating trauma.
Roger: So, let’s talk about that. Let’s go back to the very moment that the holocaust, so to speak, ended; not that it every really did for those folks. The time that they were liberated. What was going on in their minds? What happened after that?
Dr. Hass: Many of them still held out some hope that perhaps a loved one might still be alive. So, typically, they went back to their hometown, whether that might be in Poland or Hungary or in the Ukraine. Of course, they met with evidence that, indeed, no one had survived. Keep in mind also that most holocaust survivors came from very large families. We’re talking about a person who typically lost not only his parents; but, perhaps 4, 5, 6, 7 siblings as well! So, he goes back to his hometown, discovers that his hopes are dashed, once again!
As you may know from previous programs, he also encounters the anti-semitic hostility of his neighbors! He’s met with taunts such as “We thought they’d gotten all of you!” or “How dare you come back!” The Polish neighbors, the Ukrainian neighbors, the Latvian neighbors had in many cases taken over the Jewish homes and business and were quite unhappy to see the few Jews straggle back to their homes in the hopes of reclaiming something.
So, they quickly realized they had to flee those areas; but, getting back westward was no easy feat in those days. The eastern part of Europe was occupied by the Soviets and one had to go through some rather backhanded means to get across the border into the west, as well. So, there were a lot of difficulties and privations that confronted holocaust survivors, even after they were liberated.
Roger: A lot of survivors ended up leaving Europe. Some stayed. Was this in part because of anti-semitism that was prevalent throughout eastern Europe, that so many left?
Dr. Hass: The great majority of holocaust survivors left. Approximately half went to North America and half went to Palestine, later Israel. The left because of the historical anti-semitism and because of the memories, the very recent memories of what had taken place on that soil. One of the holocaust survivors I interviewed for, “The Aftermath,” mentioned that he was on a boat embarking from Germany heading to North America and the boat sailing was delayed for an hour. He describes how he was so anxious to get away from Europe that he felt like going back onto the dock and literally pushing the boat away!
Roger: Ha, ha! I can imagine that! What was it like for people to get visas and legal papers to leave and come to America?
Dr. Hass: Of course, America was a different story than Palestine. We can get into Palestine which is a whole different issue of having to run the illegal blockade. But, coming to America was relatively easy if you could find someone, usually a distant relative, to sponsor you so you would not be a burden on the U.S. Government. Also, keep in mind that coming here for holocaust survivors meant coming to a new country without the language, without any resources available to them that they would have brought from Europe, bereft of immediate family. The remarkable story about holocaust survivors, despite all the emotional distress is how quickly they rose to American respectability and American middle class life!
Roger: That’s true! Of course, the ethic in the homes of the Jewish people that I know, with regard to education and personal prosperity is quite different than in a lot of other homes.
Dr. Hass: This went even further for holocaust survivors because for holocaust survivors, working hard which is mostly what they did, also was designed to keep their minds off their recent past.
Roger: Yes; but, is that what it was about—trying to forget? A lot of Jewish families have acquired great wealth, coming to America with nothing in their pockets!
Dr. Hass: Certainly, as you say, Jewish families, in general, have not only a work ethic; but, an education ethic, an intellectual ethic – that kind of tradition that goes back for many, many hundreds of years, thousands of years, if you will! But, there was that additional element on the part of holocaust survivors, their tremendous desire to move forward with life, not to be held back by their recent experience.
Roger: How were they received? And, maybe you could dwell on anti-semitism from a psychological perspective. What that is? I mean, is it hatred? Is it brainwashing? What is it that causes anti-semitism and how much of it did they face when they came to America?
Dr. Hass: Those are two very different questions! The first is difficult for me to answer in a brief period of time. I mean, I teach an entire course about the psychology of anti-semitism.
Let us just say that the bedrock of anti-semitism was laid with Christian teachings, specifically with the teaching of contempt – that the Jews killed Christ. That was really the foundation of all later anti-semitism. What made it unique when it came to Hitler was that he transformed a theological anti-semitism into a racial one. Before Hitler, if you were a Jew and you agreed to convert to Christianity and accept Jesus Christ as your savior, then you would be accepted into society. Perhaps, not fully; but, nevertheless no longer persecuted. During the Nazi era, of course, there was no longer that out! Your “jewishness” was not defined by your beliefs, but by your bloodline. As defined by the Nazis, if you had a Jewish grandparent, then you were doomed even if you were a practicing Catholic at the moment.
Getting back to your second question, how much anti-semitism did they encounter in America. That also depended on where they chose to live. If they chose to live in New York City their experience might be very different than if they lived down south.
More importantly, let me mention the response to these new holocaust survivors on the part of the Jewish community. Unfortunately, while they often provided some material support, their emotional support was almost completely lacking! In fact, just to give you one example, survivors were frequently met by the question, “how did you survive?’ The implication was always that you had done something really terrible — really untoward — really unseemly to make it through when so many others did not survive! One survivor I interviewed for , “The Aftermath,” even told me that she and her husband played cards with this couple for many, many years and after knowing this American Jewish couple for many years; once she and her female counterpart were in the kitchen preparing coffee and cake during the bridge break and this woman turned to her and said, “Now tell me, Sophie, I haven’t wanted to ask you all these years; but, did you have to sleep with a lot of Germans in order to survive?”
Roger: Oh, my! So, there was a lot of confusion about how to respond to these people?
Dr. Hass: It was more than confusion! On the one hand, it was indictment, in a way! The other way they responded that was so hurtful, I’m talking about American Jews, were the facile comparisons that were made. That is, when holocaust survivors would attempt to speak about their experiences they were met with, “oh, yes, yes, yes — you don’t have to describe it to me! We had it really tough in this country, too! Did you know that during the war, my mother couldn’t get a pair of nylon stockings for two years!” or “Did you know that during the war we had gas rationing in this country?” The response not only indicated a complete lack of understanding of what the holocaust really was; but, the response tormented the survivors by belittling their experience!
Roger: When I talk to survivors I find the common thread that is really, really sad. It’s guilt.
Dr. Hass: Again, I devote an entire chapter in, “The Aftermath,” to the issue of what we call “survivor guilt.” Not all holocaust survivors, and perhaps not even most; but, many holocaust survivors have been left with this uneasy sense of “why me?” Why was I fortunate enough to survive when others who were better than I—- that’s a key phrase — “who were better than I” did not survive?
For example, many of the survivors I interviewed for, “The Aftermath,” would tell me something like, “Well, you know, my brother Sam, he was an angel –he did whatever my parents told him to do – he went to school and Jewish School afterwards –he was a sensitive kid! My sister, Miriam, she was an angel – she was an artist – she was a pianist –she had so much to offer in life! And me, I was the bad kid who wouldn’t go to school– I was the kid who spoke back to his parents – I was the kid who wasn’t going to amount to anything!” So, there’s often this agonizing comparison of who was more valued. The individual is simply left with “why me?”
Roger: While the events were ongoing, when the death camps were running at full steam, people didn’t have much time to mourn their losses. Was their a mourning that came after?
Dr. Hass: In general, survivors have never mourned their losses for various reasons. One of them you just mentioned. After they were liberated there were still a lot of obstacles to overcome in order to make it to some relative safety. So, there was no opportunity for an emotional let down or emotional vulnerability. After they emigrated, say to the United States, they were so focused on making it in America, so focused on developing a new family—raising a new family of their own, giving some rebirth to the Jewish people, that they didn’t allow themselves the luxury of mourning.
There is one other more subtle reason that they haven’t mourned. One very interesting aspect about holocaust survivors that differentiates them from other trauma victims; most trauma victims need to resolve the trauma, need to forget about it and move on. But, holocaust survivors, because they are so committed to remembering the holocaust, can never fully grieve, can never fully mourn, can never fully resolve that trauma.
Roger: I’ve learned through this experience of doing this series, Aaron, that it’s almost beyond comprehension, the average person’s comprehension, what really happened there. I think because the horror of it was so intense, that maybe no one can really explain what it must have been like. I’m reminded of stories about a gentleman, with one of his relatives or friend, in one of the camps who had horrible nightmares and he was often tempted to arouse him and waken him from this tormented, horrible nightmare; then thought, “what am I waking him to?” “Let him have the nightmare, it’s got to be better than this!” was the message, you know? I thought, my goodness! How could people live through that? And they did, and went on to build lives.
The lessons I thought we’ve learned, I have discovered we didn’t learn. I’m wondering what should we learn from this?
Dr. Hass: Well, it depends on what you think the lesson is. As you know, there’s that famous Santyana dictum, “Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.” But, the Hutus had heard about the holocaust, the Serbians had heard about the holocaust, the Cambodians – some of them- must have heard about the holocaust; so the issue is not knowing about a previous genocide as a way of preventing future genocides. Obviously, that doesn’t occur.
For me, the lessons of the holocaust are the evils of which we are capable, the cruelties of which we are capable of inflicting upon our fellow human beings with impugnity! Those last two words are the key. I could say, as well, with a clear conscience! For me, those are the lessons of the holocaust. As a psychologist, I am particularly interested in how people go out and commit mass murder and consider themselves good, and at times even noble human beings!
Roger: You must be aware that anti-semitism is thriving in America today.
Dr. Hass: You could say that, and I’ve certainly never been accused of being a pollyanna or an excessive optimist; but, just as we would say that there is racism between whites and blacks in America, and certainly we can say that; but, we also have to acknowledge that things are much better than they were 30 or 40 years ago. I think, I know that the same is true with anti-semitism.
I happened to live in the south for a few years during the 1950s. I remember seeing those signs, not just NO NIGGERS ALLOWED; BUT, NO JEWS ALLOWED! You won’t see those signs anymore today in America. So, at the same time it’s important to recognize that there is still anti-semitism in
America, I also think it’s important to recognize that things have gotten much better in the past decade.
Roger: I think it’s gone underground. I say that because being a conservative talk radio host, I’ve been contacted through the years by people that you wouldn’t normally see surfacing in the general public. I know there are people out their who train people into this thinking. It’s like there’s some weird religion out there. They pull these people, draw them in with patriotic, pro-American concepts and then work them until they get them to understand that “the Jews aren’t really the Jews! Have you ever read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?” Before you know it, these people will denounce the Holy Bible, even if they’re Christians, if they think it was written by somebody who had Jewish taint, and changed the wording! What we get in talk radio, there are people who will call in today, 1998, and say, “The holocaust didn’t happen! Did you ever read that Lector Report? You know, them Jews aren’t really the Jews!” I mean, it’s insanity and there’s a lot more of it than people realize.
Dr. Hass: First of all, there’s a lot of people in America who don’t know any Jews. What they know about Jews is purely the stereotypes they’ve heard about Jews. That, of course, is a danger because most of the stereotypes are negative in nature. I must tell you that those, what I would call crackpots, who may call you show and say, “that holocaust is all Jewish propaganda. It never happened.”
As someone who is obviously very sensitive to these issues, extremely sensitive to these issues, those people don’t disturb me that much! People who disturb me more are the individuals who might call your show and say, “Don’t you think they’re exaggerating a little bit?” See, those people are much more dangerous because when you put it that way, a lot more people can resonate to that.
A lot more people can have sympathy for that and say, “Well, maybe they are exaggerating a little bit! Maybe it wasn’t quite so bad.” So, it’s that form of denial that’s much more troubling to me.
Dr. Hass: Because it’s much more seductive, much more attractive! I don’t think there are that many people out there who resonate to the message of “the holocaust never occurred!” I really don’t! I think there are many more people who resonate to the message of, “Don’t you think those Jews are crybabies? Don’t you think they’re really playing this for all it’s worth?”
Roger: Well, there’s a whole movement out there called the Christian Identity Movement. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it or not.
Dr. Hass: Yes, I have heard of it.
Roger: They draw people in with these patriotic Christian things and then subtly and gently over a period of time, they have what I guess you would call “coaches” come in to coax these people into a belief that I think is very, very dangerous! I studied it fairly intensely for quite a while because I was trying to understand where these people were coming from! I don’t know that I ever figured it out, to be honest with you! But, I found them to be a very dangerous lot of folks, I mean, people who would literally denounce the Bible if that’s what it meant to hold onto their racist views. So, all of this is wrapped in the veil of Christianity which makes Christians look bad because Christians, generally are not anti-semitic. I think they have been in history; but, I think in today’s world that Christians are anti-semitic. It taints a whole segment of people so that when the media comes out and demonizes this extremist fringe, that taint rubs off on a lot of people who arent’ guilty of anything. That demonization leads to the same kinds of things that caused the holocaust! So that always worries me.
I’ve got to take a break here, Aaron. Hang on because I want to transition a bit and talk about what it was like growing up and learning about the holocaust firsthand from people in your home who were there. Okay?
Ladies and gentlemen, our guest is Dr. Aaron Hass. His books are, “The Aftermath: Living with the Holocaust” and “In the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Second Generation.” We’ll take some calls after the break if you’d like to participate in the program.
Roger: Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. The holocaust special continues on here! Our guest this evening, Dr. Aaron Hass, author of, “In the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Second Generation.” We’re going to get to that in just a minute.
Aaron, we’ve got a cell phone caller here joining us in the discussion. Vera in Corning, California, you’re on the radio! Hello!
Caller-Vera: Hi! I just wanted to add the simple fact that if people don’t believe that the holocaust ever happened, they are quite close-minded people and they should take a trip over to Germany and look at the things that are there. I mean the gas chambers and things still exist! I don’t think there’s very many people who live over there who would challenge the notion that those things happened because they live there and they know they did.
Roger: Yes. I don’t understand the psychology of it at all, Vera.
Caller-Vera: They don’t understand that the stuff does exist and they’ve never been outside of their own little world here in the United States. My husband and I lived in France for awhile. I know it’s a totally different feeling when you’re outside of the United States. You get a whole different feeling for what home is, and for what things are like here, and for what we’re blessed with.
Roger: Yes, and we are blessed!
Caller-Vera: They don’t realize that those things do happen in the world! There are some terrible places out there; but, they’ve never been there. I traveled to Morocco which is near the tip of Spain for a little while. It’s really very, very poor there. I mean, it’s like Mexico but even worse! I don’t think people have every traveled to those places to find out the things that do exist out there, other than what’s in our little world.
Roger: Well, it’s easy to believe those faxes that have been duplicated a million times, that you can barely read in a dark room with a candle. Vera, I appreciate your call! Thank you very much!
Aaron, as a child growing up in a Jewish home—-I didn’t get the chance to read the whole book— did you interview a number of people for the book?
Dr. Hass: For the book, “In the Shadow of the Holocaust,” yes, I interviewed many, many children of holocaust survivors.
Roger: Did you find their stories were related to your experience?
Dr. Hass: Well, there’s a lot of overlap. Of course, every story is unique; but, there’s a lot of overlap. For example, the most common feature in holocaust survivor homes was a tremendous protectiveness because holocaust survivors had lost so much. They were extremely vigilant watching over their children. As a result, many children of holocaust survivors grew up with excessive fears. Many children of holocaust survivors grew up having some difficulty separating in the normal separation from their parents when they became adults.
Certainly there were some commonalities. Let me just mention one that I was speaking with a friend about the other day. Issues of entitlement; we spoke before about survivor guilt and holocaust survivors; but, there’s another form it takes in children of survivors frequently, that is, “why should I be entitled to such an easy life, given what my parents had to experience.” Often times, unfortunately, that was reinforced by the survivors themselves!
One big issue in my home, again very common, always was about food; food—food—food! You were never eating enough! If you were eating twice your body weight, you still weren’t eating enough! There were a lot of fights in my home about how much I ate or how much I didn’t eat. Again, food is such a significant motif for holocaust survivors and one which they were out of control on with their own children!
Roger: Because of the deprivation.
Dr. Hass: Because of the depriviation, exactly! Holocaust survivors, you know, many I interviewed for, “The Aftermath,” would admit to me that they know they’re irrational; but, you open up their refrigerator and there’s enough food in there for a couple of months!
Roger: I’ve never left a Jewish home hungry!
Dr. Hass: Well, again, it’s this notion of “what if it ever happened again?” Holocaust survivors anticipate that it could happen again!
When I’ve spoken before Jewish audiences, just Jewish audiences, and I’ve asked them, “How many of you think that another holocaust can occur?” From American Jews you’ll get about 20% who say “Yes”; but, if you speak to an audience of holocaust survivors, it would be flipped! That is, 80% of holocaust survivors are sure that a holocaust could, indeed, occur again!
Roger: Wow! Let’s take a cell call from Dan who’s floating around the Arkansas-Missouri border somewhere. How ya doing, Dan?
Caller-Dan: How are you this evening? It’s the first time I’ve ever heard your show! I was driving home from work, trying to get my head on my own pillow with my own family, and I was listening to your conversation with great interest. One of the comments already mentioned was the relationship between Christians and Jews in the past was pretty bad history.
I’m a product of the south. I’m 40 years old. I came in at the tail end of desegregation. I remember when the first black kids came to our school. My dad’s a pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention. One of the things I was raised with was a tremendous regard for the Jewish faith and the Jewish religion because, while not trying to sound insensitive to Jewish thought and belief, we feel as Christians, by the very name we are followers of Jesus Christ, it’s given birth —it’s a completion of what the Jewish faith started. I don’t see how any person who supposedly is a Christian can look at the Jewish faith or look at the Jewish race and show disregard and disrespect for that! In the holocaust— I’ve read the story of Dietrich Bonhoffer — when he was in one of the death camps, he was Christian pastor in Germany, he gave his life for several Jewish inmates within the death camp.
I heard you talking about some of the crazies that are out here. Unfortunately, in the area where I live we have more than our share of survivalists. Ha, ha! I can’t see how you separate your belief in God and your belief in Jesus from the Bible and say, “I can’t believe the Bible because the Jews wrote it.” Well, my friend, you can’t call yourself a Christian because Jesus was a Jew! I’ve never met a holocaust survivor; but, in my mind, Never Again! You know?
Roger: We’re together on that! Thank you Dan.
Dr. Hass: There is a fly in the ointment though that I want to respond to you caller about. That is there are still many Christians; however, and many Southern Baptist Christians who believe that until and unless Jews accept Jesus Christ as their savior, that they’re going to go to hell, or at least they’re not going to be saved. As a Jew, that does not feel like a very accepting remark!
Roger: Ha, ha, ha! Well, Christians are kind of “ex-clusive” I think, Aaron. You know, this is an interesting topic and you touch on it in one of the chapters in your book, as I recall, “Jews and Gentiles” is the title?
Let me run this by you! I don’t know if it’s related to the holocaust; but, I think it probably is. I have a very good Jewish friend who married a gentile. His mother hasn’t spoken to him for 8 years. I have another Jewish friend who did become a Christian believer whose parents have nearly disowned him! What’s with that?
Dr. Hass: Well, let’s just talk about holocaust survivors for a moment. Holocaust survivors feel a profound commitment to the continuity of the Jewish people. Their children feel it as well. The inter-marriage rate for Jews with non-Jews today is approaching 50%; but, in the holocaust survivor community and among children of holocaust survivors it’s a very small fraction of that. Clearly, there is a sense that has been transmitted to children of holocaust survivors that they have a particular obligation to sustain the continuity of the Jewish people.
Roger: So, marrying outside the Jewish realm is almost like sacrilege then?
Dr. Hass: Particularly for holocaust survivors and their children.
Roger: What about Jews who find Christ, become Christians? Why are they outcast?
Dr. Hass: They’re outcast because they’re seen as betrayers. It’s very fundamental. This is not simply a theological issue for most Jews. It’s an issue of the continuity of the Jewish people. We’re a small people. If Christians lose a few to Judaism, it’s not really going to make a dent in the Christian population. The Jewish population is very, very small!
While I say that I’m also reminded that most individuals vastly overestimate how many Jews there are! Both in America and in the world, there is this perception that are countless millions of Jews because there is also this perception that Jews have an inordinate amount of power in the world.
Roger: That comes from the conspiracy theories fostered by the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other documents.
Dr. Hass: It comes from that and it comes from even previous Christian teachings about how powerful Jews are because they’re the agents of Satan!
Roger: Then, of course, we have people who call the program occasionally and say, “The Jews control the media!”
Dr. Hass: Right.
Roger: Because, you know, a lot of Jewish people went to Hollywood! Nobody else wanted it! They’ve been very successful and so they’re more visible in the public eye many times because of the fact we all go to the movies and watch television and see a lot of Jewish names running by on the list of credits. And people think, “oh, see! Those Jews are controlling everything!”
We’ll be back in a minute ladies and gentlemen! We’ll have lines open if you’d like to call in and comment or ask a question.
Roger: We’re back! We have Dr. Aaron Hass with us this evening, ladies and gentlemen. He’s written two books, “The Aftermath: Living with the Holocaust” and “In the Shadow of the Holocaust: the Second Generation.” He is the child of survivors and has very interesting views – are you a psychiatrist, is that…?
Dr. Hass: I am a clinical psychologist.
Roger: Now, what’s the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Dr. Hass: I did not go to medical school. I got my Phd in clinical psychology.
Roger: Alright. I want to just go back and touch on this for a minute because you said that if a Jew becomes a Christian, it’s like…. I’m still missing something here. Why is that so bad? They’re still a Jew, right?
Dr. Hass: Well, actually, according to Jewish law, you are still a Jew. If you’re born a Jew, you will always be a Jew even if you adopt another religion. But again, there is this sense of betrayal of peoplehood. Jews, as you know, are very historically-minded and there’s this tremendous — while most Jews are not religious, they’re not religiously observant — they still have a fundamental sense of peoplehood and history.
Roger: Alright! Aaron, before I forget, will you tell folks how they can get your books?
Dr. Hass: They’re available at any large bookstore. If they don’t have it, they can order it for you. Both of them are published by Cambridge University Press.
Roger: Okay! Great! Michael in Fort Smith, Arkansas, you’re on the radio!
Caller-Michael: Good evening, Roger! You brought that subject up… when I first started dating my wife, my father-in-law had absolutely no problem with the fact that I was a gentile and a Southern Baptist. We got married and had a daughter. Now my wife has converted to Southern Baptist Christianity as a denomination. Both of my wife’s parents are deceased; but, her aunts and uncles still talk to her on the phone. They still exchange letters. There’s been no disowning or anything of that nature.
Roger: Were her parents survivors?
Caller-Michael: No. Actually, her parents were born here in the United States just about 1910. Her grandparents came over from the Ukraine about 1888-1889.
Roger: Of course, you pointed out that disparity earlier. I guess about 50% of American-born families are marrying gentiles. But, with the holocaust survivor families it’s quite a bit narrower than that. Do you know approximately what that percentage is? Is it pretty small?
Dr. Hass: I don’t; but, my guess is that it’s probably around 10% to 20%.
Roger: Michael, thank you very much! I also want to touch on something because this is important! Some people have this image that Jews are powerful and numerous and taking over the world, running everything. What is the population of Jews arcoss the world? Do you know?
Dr. Hass: I think it’s about 13 million.
Roger: 13 million is a real small drop in the bucket!
Dr. Hass: Ha, ha! A drop in the bucket! There was a very interesting survey done in Germany where Germans were asked how many Jews were living in Germany. This was done about 10 years ago. At the time there were 30,000 Jews living in Germany. The typical German response was that there were 3 million Jews living in Germany! Again, there’s this incredible perception of Jewish power!
Roger: Well, it’s an illusion!
Dr. Hass: Of course.
Roger: And it stems from a conspiracy, it really does!
Dr. Hass: Well, certainly that’s what the Nazis believed.
Roger: I believe there’s a conspiracy to make people think that. There’s a lot of weird stuff out there! I hope you’re never exposed to it, my friend.
Tom in St. Louis, Missouri, a new caller! Hello!
Caller-Tom: Yes, this is the first time I’ve called Roger. I have a real short question for you before I make my serious comment. Is the Ho-hum Valley like Lake Wobegon or is there really such a place?
Roger: Well, there is now. I named it that! Ha, ha!
Caller-Tom: Ha, ha! Here’s my comment. I know a caller called in earlier and said that people that denied the holocaust were people who’d been pretty well sheltered, never traveled much and don’t have much of an education. However, I want to say that I know that’s not true! I think there’s something very deep behind it and I don’t understand it! I don’t see how anybody could think that the holocaust didn’t occur!
Dr. Hass: Most holocaust deniers are definitely anti-semites. They deny the holocaust because they want to deny the Jewish people any potential sympathy for the holocaust.
Caller-Tom: Well, I agree with that. I’m not sure that it’s that logical though, because I think there’s some emotions that are pretty deep there for some reason. I do know somebody that very well traveled, has two degrees, is very intelligent, has very good judgment on many aspects of life and that person many years ago expressed an opinion very pointedly that he did not believe the holocaust occurred.
Dr. Hass: There are university professors in this country and Canada who teach exactly that! Again, just as you say, there are deep emotions underlying it! The emotions have to do with a hatred of the Jews!
Roger: Yes. Let’s see if we can squeeze another call in the last few seconds. Roy in Grants Pass, Oregon, you’re on to radio.
Caller-Roy: Hi Roger! The reason I called is that I grew up in southern California in the Santa Monica border of Ocean Park which is primarily a Jewish area. I think we were the only gentile family in that area. Now, there were a lot of holocaust survivors in 1946, 1948 and 1948 in that area. I had a paper route at that time. The holocaust survivors treated me absolutely wonderfully. I’m Germanic. I grew up in a Mennonite German background; but, the American Jews in that area just treated me like dirt…
Roger: We’ve run out of time! Aaron Hass, it’s been a pleasure to meet you my friend! I love your books! I hope everybody goes out and gets a copy! Please continue on! We need to understand the psyche of these folks into the future. It looks like you’re well on the way to understanding them better than anybody I’ve read yet. Thank you so much for that! God Bless you. Sir!
Transcription is from MP3 file converted from original cassette with minimal editing by Chey Simonton.
Errors, if any, may be due to unintelligible sections of original 1997 audio technology. Unknown/unintelligible words are spelled phonetically.)