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.