The New German Fascism

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by Paul Gottfried by Paul Gottfried

A repulsive article in the German paper Neue Westfälische (November 11, 2003) concerning my friend Johannes Rogalla von Bieberstein and his work on Jewish Bolshevism continues to grate. First of all, contrary to the ominous references to "the extremist tradition of thought," which Bieberstein supposedly incarnates, there is nothing in his book that is even remotely anti-Semitic. Der juedische Bolschewismus. Mythos und Realität deals with the "vicious circle" between Jewish radicalism and anti-Semitism in Eastern and East Central Europe and the effects of this relation on interwar ideological battles. A disproportionate Jewish involvement in Communist activities and in Communist secret police work allowed anti-Semitic political parties to create a backlash for their own benefit. Most significantly, the Nazis invoked the threat of "Jewish Bolshevism" to rally support for their takeover of Germany and for gaining support beyond German borders. Bieberstein documents this connection without the slightest sympathy for the Nazis but as a historian of "conspiracy theories," whose earliest research was on conspiratorial views of the French Revolution. Furthermore, Bieberstein is descended from a family that staunchly opposed the Nazis, and he himself enjoyed exemplary relations with the German Jewish community, until the recent controversy surrounding his book. Indeed until "antifascists" went after his text starting in October, it was not considered by anyone who read it, as far as one could tell, an illustration of "extremism."

Clearly what made the book sell (it is now in its third printing) and brought Bieberstein his subsequent trouble was being cited by Martin Hohmann in a speech in early October commemorating German reunification. A speech that was glaringly misquoted and specifically denied what the Christian Democratic Deputy supposedly said, that the "Jews are a nation of evil perpetrators," this address cost the steadily attacked politician from Fulda his position on the Christian Democratic party council. The speech and its giver are now receiving the kind of staged media hysteria that in the USA is reserved for those who criticize the National Gay and Lesbian Alliance or the plagiarism of Martin Luther King. Because of the Hohmann-disaster, fomented by the media, Bieberstein is now in the line of fire — or as the German say, ins Visier geraten. A librarian at the very leftist University of Bielefeld in the predominantly leftist Land of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bieberstein has barely held on to his job. The university administration, prodded by the politically correct student organization ASTA (Der Allgemeine Studierndenausschuss), is going after this unassuming sexagenarian librarian who is only a year and a half from retirement. The Prorektor, and professor of law, Christoph Gusy, has already expressed gushing agreement with ASTA about the "extremist" nature of Bieberstein’s work. Gusy also stressed doubts about Bieberstein’s suitability to do "scientific" research and raised the "professional problem" of having a lowly librarian write "unscientific" historiography.

This timeserving rhetoric, supposedly further confirmed by having an anti-nationalist historian at Bielefeld Hans-Ulrich Wehler disparage Bieberstein’s doctoral study, is pure fiction. Der jüdischer Bolshewismus, as I wrote to Gusy, is an elegantly composed, well-documented monograph, and the glowing introduction that the distinguished intellectual historian Ernst Nolte appended to it would have counted for something in a pre-totalitarian learning environment. Moreover, the persistent attacks on Bieberstein, in a country where a decent scholar from a demonstrably anti-Nazi but conservative family cannot find a university professorship, should offend all who value liberty and despise hypocrisy. The incident underscores the degree to which "anti-fascist" Germany has become what we in the United States should avoid becoming, a totalitarian society. Those who are shrieking righteously about the "Nazi legacy" are ignoring the real German danger, the extent to which the post-communist "antifascist" Left has destroyed a once relatively free constitutional government. Lest my friend fall under the jackboot of this "militant democracy," whose character Hans-Hermann Hoppe has pointed out in his writings, I would urge readers of this website to send letters of support for Herrn Dr. Bieberstein to the Prorektor’s office at Bielefeld (fax number: 011.49.521.106.5844). Write in English or, for those who can, in German. What is essential is to give help to a brave German besieged by the new barbarians who have occupied his country and are now threatening his livelihood and possibly his person. And please do mention the utterly mendacious way in which German universities and bureaucrats have "confronted the Nazi past"! Right now they seem hell-bent on surpassing the Nazis and Communists as obliterators of academic freedom. The German Second Empire looks better and better with each passing day.

December 8, 2003

Paul Gottfried [send him mail] is professor of history at Elizabethtown College and author of, most recently, the highly recommended Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt.

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