Boris Lvin (bbb) wrote,
Boris Lvin

Swords or Shields? Implementing and subverting the Final Solution in Nazi-occupied Europe


From Melos to Masada, the ancient world is littered with the ruins of those who defended principle to the point of death. But for the most part, those who prefer sovereignty to survival are the exception, not the rule. True, even the cities that survive as subjects of another bare the scars of imperial conquest and domination. And there’s little evidence that the strategy of collaboration is the ‘best’ one in the long term — much less, the ‘right’ one. But objective study of the Holocaust requires that we deflate villainy as much as we do heroism. Disturbing as the moral implications may be, we cannot deny the simple fact that collaborators — be it by the virtue of their own intention or the unwitting consequence of selfishness — succeeded in saving more Jews than the most righteous of gentiles. There is little doubt that history’s greatest freedom-fighters had the best interests of their people in mind. But if we are to learn anything from the most tragic events in Jewish history, it might be that, while Tito, ben Simon, and Bar Kokhba are rightly considered heroes of a ‘Jewish’ cause, Mussolini, Pétain and Herod saved more Jewish lives.

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