Reparations Ė For Whom?
Mermelsteinís Mom buried the familyís wealth in a hole in the back
yard. It was Hungary, 1944, and the Nazi troops were coming down
the street. Mermelsteinís parents and siblings subsequently died
in Auschwitz, and the family treasure was never recovered. So Mrs.
Mermelstein is suing the U.S.
the U.S.? Well, the answer seems to be that the Nazis hauled the
loot from Hungarian Jews on a train, the Gold Train, which was intercepted
by Americans in 1945. The U.S. claims to have returned identifiable
property after the war, but Mermelsteinís suit says the items in
the train were deemed unidentifiable and spread among various agencies,
or sold, or pilfered.
thatís certainly possible. I seem to recall someone bringing suit
against Madeleine Albright for looting the wealth of the family
whose home Albrightís family occupied during or after World War
II. There wasnít anything in the news about it, was there? And,
of course, isnít looting and pillaging what war is all about? What
about property seized or destroyed by the Union Army in the South?
What about the gold taken from South America by the Spanish? Oh,
and those Elgin Marbles!! Anybody for reparations?
about all those German scientists, like Werner von Braun, that we
acquired after the War? OK, they wanted to come here, but so what?
As German citizens, were they free to go where they wanted? What
if Germany had demanded their return? At the end of the war, there
were over two million Soviet citizens in Germany, and Russia demanded
them back. Most didnít want to go, but the U.S. sent them anyway,
in the famous Operation Keelhaul. Was our government supposed to
believe that people could just live where they wanted? This "land
of the free" business doesnít extend THAT far!
there are some black leaders demanding reparations from the U.S.
for slavery. If the demand is made often and loudly enough, it will,
sooner or later, be taken seriously. So how about an idea which
is not at all fantastic, and has not yet been proposed, although
it should have been.
Roosevelt seized the gold of Americans in 1933. He didnít do it
lawfully: how could it have been lawful? Gold was money in those
days; how could it be against the law for people to own and use
money? Moreover, the reasons he gave for the seizure were blatantly
absurd. How much of the peopleís gold was stolen? Iíve never read
any estimate, but it must have been a considerable amount, doubtlessly
many millions, especially in terms of todayís undefined "dollars."
want it back. I have every bit as much right to it as Mrs. Mermelstein
does to her familyís treasures, which almost certainly will never
be discovered. Even so, sheís entitled, by some sort of "law,"
to 10,000 in compensation. Iíll settle for that from Uncle Sam,
plus interest, of course. Whose claim is the greater, the more reasonable,
the more powerful: mine, for property seized from my family by the
government, in this country, or Mrs. Mermelsteinís, for property
seized by Nazis from her, a foreigner in a foreign land? Mark my
words, Mrs. Mermelsteinís claim will be given attention, mine will
not. Of course, sheís suing as one of thirteen claimants; I stand
someone will realize, in this discussion of reparations, whether
reasonable or ridiculous, that were there no governments, there
would be no wars; and were there no wars, reparations, at least
for Mrs. Mermelstein, would be unnecessary.
him mail] is a semi-retired ophthalmologist in St. Louis,
and the author of All
Work & No Pay.
© 2003 by LewRockwell.com