Origin of Holocaust Propaganda

Excerpts from Historical Revisionism, written by Don Heddesheimer

The ‘holocaust” propaganda regarding the “extermination” of “6 million” had an early start prior to the First World War and developed to a fever pitch following the Second World War. Today we are exhorted to not question these themes and warned that we are somehow “anit-semitic” if we do. Examination and discussion of these keywords are considered “hate speech” and against the law in many nations where Jews have pressed for such laws. Recognizing that we are being told to not look there, we know exactly where to look to see what is behind the propaganda curtain of illusion.

Rabbi Stephen S. Wise was the major leadership figure of the American Jewish Congress during its formative period. Born in Hungary, the son of a Rabbi and a porcelain heiress and the grandson of Joseph Hirsch Weisz, a Grand Rabbi of Hungary, he was brought to New York by his parents as a small child in 1875, when his father became rabbi of a Brooklyn, New York, congregation. The younger Wise was instructed in Talmudic law by his father and the Rev. Dr. Gustav Gotheil. He attended the College of the City of New York, and was reported to have completed his studies abroad. After returning to the United States, at the age of 20, he was elected rabbi of the Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York where he remained for over five years. Shortly after June of 1900, he went to Portland, Oregon, to head up a congregation and then returned to New York, founding the Free Synagogue in 1906. Early on, Dr. Wise was known for his progressive ideas on general topics and also as an exponent of Zionism, a movement then contemplating the reestablishment of the Jewish nation.

As early as 1900, Wise is recorded telling a Zionist gathering that "there are 6,000,000 living, bleeding, suffering arguments in favor of Zionism" as reported in a New York Times article. ("Rabbi Wise's Address", New York Times, June 11, 1900, p. 7)

The position of our co-religionists in Russia grows increasingly deplorable, and recent advices from that country indicate that there is little likelihood of any relief being afforded. The situation is of the gravest. It may be doubted whether Jewry has ever confronted a greater crisis since the overthrow of the Jewish state by the Roman Empire. Not even the horrible persecutions of the times of the Crusades or the expulsion from Spain and Portugal affected so large a mass of our co-religionists. Russia has since 1890 adopted a deliberate plan to expel or exterminate six millions of its people for no other reason than that they refuse to become members of the Greek Church, but prefer to remain Jews. REPORT OF AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE American Jewish Year Book 5672 (Sept. 1911 to Sept. 1912) p. 308

"As soon as the World War [One] started and it was obvious that a large part of the War would be fought in the zone in which six or seven million Jews lived, particularly Poland, Russia and Galicia, many worthy people started organizations to collect funds for the sufferers in the War zones." -- Felix M. Warburg, A Biographical Sketch, New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1938, p. 14.

The story of the holocaust of up to six million European Jews didn't originate with World War Two. In fact, a very similar scenario was played out in somewhat less flamboyant terms during World War One and its aftermath. After World War One it was reported as news that five million, over five million, even six million Jews in Europe were sick or dying in a holocaust from starvation, horrible epidemics, and a malignant persecution. The following focuses especially on the World War One fund raising drives. These selected campaigns by major Jewish advocacy groups may offer historical significance both on their own and in terms of the post World War Two Holocaust industry.

"Holocaust" is a World War I word. Holocaust was used during and after World War One to describe what was going on in Europe and what allegedly happened to the Jews of Europe during and after that war. While the stories that are today referred to as "the Holocaust" weren't called a holocaust during or even for decades after World War Two, the word holocaust was used while World War One was happening and thereafter. It was called a holocaust, it was called the greatest tragedy the world has ever known and it was called the greatest need the world has ever known.

Until 1917, the leader of the Jewish community in New York, Jacob Schiff, repeatedly called for an end to "this holocaust".(1)In 1919, the American Hebrew magazine used the word holocaust in describing the plight of European Jewry in an article written under the byline of a former Governor of New York State.(2) Yehuda Bauer wrote in My Brother's Keeper, an authorized history of the Joint Distribution Committee of Jewish War Sufferers, that (3)

"the destruction of European Jewry during World War Two has obliterated the memory of the first holocaust of the 20th century in the wake of the First World War."

A "holocaust of humanity" is the way World War One was described in The Great Betrayal, a book co-authored by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and published in 1930. The premise of The Great Betrayal was that the British had reneged on promises they made concerning Palestine to the Jewish leadership during World War One. (4)

The Price of Liberty is an authorized history of the American Jewish Committee that was published in 1948, after World War Two was over. It contains a chapter about World War One entitled "The Holocaust of War". This chapter mentions some of these World War One and postwar fund raising efforts and includes the following quote: (5)

"As the armies rolled back and forth in desperate conflict over the borders of Poland, Galicia, and East Prussia, terror, desolation and death descended on the civilian population in general, but most of all upon the seven million Jews. The Christian Poles, Ruthenians and Germans suffered the inevitable hardships that attend all warfare; but the Jews, already proscribed by the Russians and Poles, met with a concentrated orgy of hatred, blood lust and vindictive opportunity that threatened to wipe them out in one vast holocaust."

In 1915, at a rally in New York, Louis Marshall, on behalf of the American Jewish Relief Committee, along with Jacob Schiff and Congressman Meyer London, denounced the apathy toward the suffering of co-religionists declaring that millions were in dire distress and pleading with the rich to give. Marshall said there were about 13 million Jews in the world, and that over 6 million of them are in eastern Europe where the war is being fought. Marshall also read a letter from Schiff that "private reports" had been received showing conditions in Russia, Palestine, Poland, and Galicia, "the frightful nature of which could not be pictured." Mr. London said this was the worst period in Jewish history and that millions of Jewish peoples depended on the generosity of more fortunate Jews of the United States. (6)

Another 1916 project was a book entitled The Jews in the Eastern War Zone. Published by the American Jewish Committee, 25,000 copies of this book were sent to the leaders of American thought and the molders of public opinion including President Wilson, members of the Presidential Cabinet and Congress, the press and the magazines, influential men and women everywhere.(7) The book said that Russia has virtually converted an area into a penal settlement, where six million human beings guilty only of adherence to the Jewish faith are compelled to live out their lives in squalor and misery, in constant terror of massacre, subject to the caprice of police officials and a corrupt administration - in short, without legal rights or social status: (8)

The Pale of Settlement

At the beginning of the war the number of Jews in the Russian Empire was estimated at six million or more, comprising fully half of the total Jewish population of the world. Ninety-five percent of these six million people were confined by law to a limited area of Russia, known as the Pale of Settlement, consisting of the fifteen Governments of Western and Southwestern Russia, and the ten Governments of Poland, much of which territory is now under German occupation. In reality, however, residence within the Pale was further restricted to such an extent that territorially the Jews were permitted to live in only one two-thousandth part of the Russian Empire. No Jew was permitted to step outside this Pale unless he belonged to one of a few privileged classes. Some half-privileged Jews might, with effort, obtain special passports for a limited period of residence beyond the Pale; but the great majority could not even secure this privilege for any period whatsoever. A tremendous mass of special restrictive legislation converted the Pale into a kind of prison with six million inmates, guarded by an army of corrupt and brutal jailers.

The Jews in the Eastern War Zone is an important book from this period because the language in the book is reused extensively by other sources, such as the New York Times. It is important today because it shows what the American Jewish establishment was telling people before the United States entered World War One, as a reading of the introduction and the introduction to the section on Russia shows. This book's concept included the theme that the Jews in eastern Europe were experiencing a unique suffering, that this suffering was to an extent suffered by no others, that they were denied elementary rights denied to no other people, and were the victims of government sponsored persecutions. It even contains the buzz words "six million" and "extermination."

After America entered the war, "actual war films" (sic) were produced in Hollywood and released, and the Committee on Public Information employed an immense army of speakers and pamphleteers. Lies were successfully circulated including poisoned sugar-candy dropped by German airplanes for children to eat and German soldiers giving poisoned candy and hand grenades to children. A particularly gruesome lie about German soldiers crucifying a young girl was the basis of a war propaganda drama, "Duty to Civilization", which had the blessing of President Wilson. (9)

It was during this period that the Provisional Zionist Committee whose chairman was Stephen S. Wise in a news story entitled "Germans let Jews Die, Women and Children in Warsaw Starving to Death" vouched that "Jewish mothers, mothers of mercy, feel happy to see their nursing babies die, at least they are through with their suffering." (10)

This report ignores the facts that aid had been sent to Warsaw through Hamburg while America was still neutral and that just a month before, in May of 1917, 'Joint' officials made arrangements through both the U.S. Secretary of State and German officials to send relief funds to the German occupied areas of Poland and Lithuania by way of a committee of Dutch Jews as noted previously in this chapter. The Netherlands managed to remain neutral throughout that war and provided asylum for Kaiser Wilhelm the Second from the time of his abdication until his death in 1941.

Also in 1918, the American Jewish Congress was founded with the original goals of "providing humanitarian relief for European Jews who had suffered from the carnage of the war and restoring the State Of Israel to Palestine". (11) The American Jewish Congress saw itself as the voice of the eastern European Jews rather than the American Jewish Committee, whose members were mostly German Jews.

In November of 1918, Wise was named chairman of a delegation to go to London, England, on behalf of the Zionist Organization of America. (12) In January of 1919, after conferring with Lord Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, Wise was in Paris, France, where he conferred with Colonel House and received the Legion of Honor decoration in appreciation of his eminent services to the French cause. When asked if there was any likelihood of boundary difficulties in the Near East, Dr. Wise said:

"Not if France and Great Britain act as they may be expected to act in the spirit of friends and allies - and have regard not for obsolete conventions and questionable facts, but for that spirit throughout the permanent conference."

After returning to the United States, Dr. Wise met with President Wilson in 1919 who approved of a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine under British rule. Wise was quoted on page one of the New York Times on March 3, 1919, saying: (13)

"The rebuilding of Zion will be the reparation of all Christendom for the wrongs done to the Jews."

The occasion was a meeting of Zionist leaders headed by Wise and President Wilson at the White House, where guarantees for human rights to Jews throughout the world including eastern Europe and Palestine were discussed. Afterwards, Wise and other leaders spoke to a large Washington, D.C., audience about his recent experiences in Paris and its bearing on the Paris Peace conference. He predicted that Britain, through the League of Nations, would accept a mandate over Palestine and that the Jews would return to their rightful place in the world.

These articles show that by 1919 the Jewish lobby was international, focused, and powerful. They were in friendly contact with the heads of the victorious allied governments and a strong voice at the Paris Peace Conference. Wise was a major player as the head of the Zionist Organization of America and later the driving force behind the American Jewish Congress. Wise was meeting with world leaders, passing on their agendas, and representing the Jewish leadership on the issue of Palestine. Chaim Weizmann, Chairman of the British Zionist Committee who had been that organization's central Paris Peace Conference figure, indicated that the allies and especially the British were sympathetic to the Zionist cause. Displaying confidence and assurance that the mandate of Palestine through the League of Nations would naturally evolve into a Jewish commonwealth, Weizmann said:

"The League of Nation has made it possible to give expression to the centuries old desire of the Jewish race."

An early American Jewish Congress news story and fund drive article from May 20, 1920, included this message:

"The fund for Jewish war sufferers in Central and Eastern Europe where six millions face horrifying conditions of famine, disease and death."

In the second paragraph Dr. Wise says:

"If American Jews now fail to help those who suffer through no fault of their own, the blame will rest on their own heads should they miserably perish. Surely no self respecting American Jew will wish, or even will suffer, the extinction of large numbers of Jewish people to come to pass."

The article lists many large contributors, including a ten thousand dollar contribution from Adolf Ochs, who was then the owner of the New York Times. (14)

We are concentrating on Stephen S. Wise because of his role in breaking the World War Two extermination stories to the American mainstream media through the New York Times. A New York Times article of November 25, 1942, written under the byline of James MacDonald, has been mounted and displayed in the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. It is titled:

"Himmler Program Kills Polish Jews. [...] Officials of Poland Publish Data - Dr. Wise Gets Check Here by State Department."

The first part of the article was based on a report issued on November 24 by the Polish government in exile in London, England, although details of the report had allegedly been previously printed in unnamed Palestine newspapers. It stated that in June of 1942 Himmler had visited Warsaw and ordered that half the Jews in Poland be killed by the end of the year and that this was being done throughout Poland and especially at Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor. There is no mention of Auschwitz because according to Arthur Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, p. 89, Auschwitz entered the Allied war propaganda with the publication of a booklet by the War Refugee Board in November, 1944. Therefore, it makes sense that Auschwitz isn't mentioned in this 1942 story. Stephen S. Wise, who was still the president of the American Jewish Congress as well as chairman of the World Jewish Congress, is the source of the second half of the article "Wise Gets Confirmations-Checks with State Department on Nazis' Extermination Campaign." Wise said that he had learned through unnamed sources confirmed by the State Department "that about half the estimated 4,000,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe had been slain in an extermination campaign" and that "the plan was drafted by Herman Backe, Secretary of State for Economics, and was put into effect by Hitler by late summer." Wise presented a detailed memorandum on atrocities committed in areas occupied by German, Rumanian, Hungarian, and Slovak troops and summarized the statistical effect of the campaign on the Jews living in each country. One example:

"The total number of Jews in Poland, after the deduction of some 500,000 refugees in Russia, should have approximated 2,800,000."

I don't want to say that Wise's numbers in the article were wrong because one would think that, if anyone knew the Jewish population in German occupied Europe in 1942, it would be the chairman of the World Jewish Congress. If anything, he would inflate the numbers, which may have been the case here. For example, however many Jews purportedly were in Poland, since there was no modern Poland before 1918, they were previously also counted as citizens of other countries, chiefly Russia. In 1939, when Stalin invaded eastern Poland, it was on the pretext of protecting the minorities within what had for two decades been Poland. The Soviet Union considered the Jews under their control to be Soviet citizens as they had been Russian citizens before 1918. Also many so called Polish Jews moved to Hungary, a country that Wise left out of his statistical analysis. This historic article contains several inconsistencies and is historically significant for its timeliness, not for its accuracy.

There are many other articles. One such example is an article on page one of the New York Times of July 22, 1942, printing the text of messages from President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to Dr. Wise containing vague statements of atrocities. There are other such examples. The points are that Wise was a major force behind breaking the World War Two holocaust story to the mainstream press through the New York Times, that he then had a history of an active ongoing relationship with the Times that went back over forty years, and that he also had a long history of making extermination claims all the way back to World War One. This makes Wise's activities during the First World War era holocaust fund raising drives all the more significant.

You can't help but wonder how much of what he said he actually believed but it's possible he believed everything he said.

In summary, at the beginning of World War One the leadership of the American Jewish Committee established The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee for Jewish War Sufferers, ostensibly to help Jews living in Palestine. It channelled aid to Jews living in eastern Europe through Jewish welfare agencies in Germany until America entered the war, after which, with the permission of the German and American governments, aid continued to be sent through the neutral Netherlands. The suffering of Jewish civilians living in eastern Europe was described literally as a holocaust, a unique suffering, and regular fund raising campaigns to aid these people were conducted throughout the war. January 27, 1916, was set aside as Jewish Sufferers relief day by President Wilson, and also in 1916, an influential book was published by the American Jewish Committee entitled The Jews in the Eastern War Zones, that reported Jews were being denied rights denied to no other people, and used the words six million and extermination in describing their persecutions under the Czar. Anti-German hate propaganda, directed against both Jews and non-Jews in the United States reached a fever pitch. The Balfour Declaration was declared a month before the British army entered Jerusalem. The American Jewish Congress was launched and both the American Jewish Committee and The American Jewish Congress sent delegates to the Paris Peace Conference that placed Palestine under a British mandate.

1. Naomi W. Cohen, Jacob H. Schiff, A Study in American Jewish Leadership Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press, University Press of New England, 1999.

2. Martin H. Glynn, "The Crucifixion of Jews Must Stop!," The American Hebrew, Oct. 31, 1919, pp. 582f.

3. Yehuda Bauer, My Brother's Keeper. A History of the American Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939, Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1974.

4. Jacob de Haas, Stephen S. Wise, The Great Betrayal, New York: Brentano's Publishers, 1930, p. 287.

5. Nathan Schachner, The Price of Liberty. A History of The American Jewish Committee, New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1948, p. 60, 287.

6. "Jews Indifference to War Aid Rebuked", New York Times, Jan. 14, 1915, p. 3.

7. Nathan Schachner, op. cit., (note 58), p. 63.

8. The American Jewish Committee, The Jews in the Eastern War Zones, New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1916, p. 19f.

9. Arthur Ponsonby, M.P., Falsehood In Wartime-Propaganda: Lies of the First World War, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1929.

10. "Germans Let Jews Die. Women and Children in Warsaw Starving to Death" New York Times, August 10, 1917

11. Gregg Ivers, To Build A Wall. The American Jews and the Separation of Church and State, Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995, p. 36.

12.  "Send Zionist Mission", New York Times, Nov. 29, 1918.

13. "President Gives Hope to Zionists", New York Times, March 3, 1919, p. 1. For the complete article, see Appendix, p. 101.

14. "Jewish War aid Gets $100,000 Gift", New York Times May 7, 1920, p. 11.

Excerpts from Historical Revisionism, written by Don Heddesheimer