The Role of Eastern Europeans in the Exploitation, Subjugation and Murder of Their Jewish Neighbors During the Holocaust

    January 2010            
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East European Murder of Jews

Reviewed by Fern Sidman


The Role of Eastern Europeans in the Exploitation, Subjugation and Murder of Their Jewish Neighbors During the Holocaust
BY: Dr. Sheldon Hersh and Dr. Robert Wolf

Devora Publishing
Release Date: June 2009
ISBN: 978-1934440391
135 pages

In this meticulously documented treatise of centuries old European anti-Semitism, "The Bugs Are Burning" authors Drs. Sheldon Hersh and Robert Wolf graphically depict the hellacious barbarism and heinous atrocities committed against the Jewish people before, during and after the Holocaust by those they believed to be their close neighbors and friends throughout the length and breadth of Eastern Europe.

The authors painstakingly take us through a nightmarish odyssey of the toxic manifestations of deeply entrenched anti-Semitism in such countries as Lithuania, Latvia, the Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Croatia and Poland in the decades preceding the Holocaust. Quoting from a litany of respected books on the history of pre-Holocaust Jew hatred, they impart unique perspective on the nihilistic philosophies that proliferated throughout Europe in the early 20th century as well as offering a salient exploration of the genesis of bellicosity towards Jews and the ramifications thereof. Lusting for Jewish blood, the indigenous gentile population of Eastern Europe, the authors inform us, rapidly morphed into unabashed miscreants. Gladly becoming more than "willing participants" in the wholesale slaughter of the Jews, when their respective countries were occupied by Nazi forces, these Eastern Europeans possessed no compunction about liquidating Jewish assets and property, or for that matter, engaging in the most horrific forms of sadistic mass murder of their Jewish neighbors.

Clearly, rabid Jew hatred was endemic to Eastern Europe since the influx of Jewish immigrants centuries before. Aided and abetted by the insidious dogma of the church and the hateful rhetoric against Jews in the media and the government; European resentments of the Jews grew exponentially as the entire continent stood poised to explode like a powder keg. One need only read of the wanton murder of Jews prior to the advent of Nazism throughout Europe to gain a cogent understanding of why Hitler's manifesto held sway in these countries; soaked with Jewish blood and tears.

In June of 1941, when German forces occupied a town called Jedwabne, the Polish residents held a town meeting in which they decided that the Jewish residents must be annihilated. One can only recoil in horror as they authors tell us, "Hooks and wooden clubs were the murders' instruments of choice. Jews were set upon; their heads severed from their bodies and kicked about like soccer balls. To escape the killers, women fled to a nearby pond and drowned themselves along with their babies. Those who survived were brought to the town square, where they were beaten with clubs and stones, and herded into a barn that was set ablaze by their Polish neighbors. As for the younger children, they were roped together by their legs, carried on the executioners' backs to be impaled on pitchforks, and thrown onto the smoldering coals of the burning barn".

Other such depraved stories of mass murder of Jews in countries as Romania, Hungary, the Ukraine, Slovakia, Lithunia and Croatia are also told here in chilling detail. The authors give us pause and something to reflect upon as it pertains to the scourge of modern day anti-Semitism when they quote Rhoda G. Lewin in her book, "Witnesses to the Holocaust". She writes, "The Holocaust was not committed by a cadre of sadistic beasts. Before the war these people were doctors, lawyers, architects, teachers, clerks, farmers and students...It means that it takes relatively little to turn 'normal' humans into creatures capable of the most sadistic acts."

Eastern European collaborators murdered well over a million Jews sans the assistance of the Nazi death machine while the world stood in abject silence. Rife with vociferous hatred towards Jews, these Eastern European residents interpreted the world's reluctance to voice objections to such acts as a tacit imprimatur to continue their diabolical rampages.

This book is replete with a plethora of profound lessons on the vituperative and lethal nature of unchecked anti-Semitism, but its most paramount insights relate to the existential perils that the Jews of today's world confront. Jew hatred has become a fashionable and "politically correct" phenomenon in the spheres of the Western academy, but this time around it is couched in semantics. While classical Jew hatred is dismissed by intellectuals as an odious anachronism, these very same pernicious sentiments have been summarily replaced by the updated terminology, better known as "anti-Zionism". Much more than a cut and dry history book, "The Bugs Are Burning" teaches us that the brand of Jew hatred that we are now witnessing in this new millennium must be accorded intellectual and emotional gravitas and addressed in the strongest of terms. Now, before it is too late.


from the January 2010 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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