Rabbi Yitchok Hutner

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Rabbi Yitchok Hutner Z"L

Rosh Hayeshiva of Mesivta Rabbi Chaim Berlin - Kolel Gur Aryah

Quotes from an article by Rabbi Hutner published in "The Jewish Observer", October, 1977 explaining the Holocaust:

Public Opinion vs. Truth

Before we explore the second of the new directions in detail, it is important to establish a clear distinction between any common approach to world events and daas Torah -- a Torah view of the world, "Public opinion" and any but the Torah approach is by definition colored by outside forces, subjective considerations and the falsehood of secular perspective.

An example of how public opinion can be molded -- indeed, warped -- at the whim of powerful individuals can be taken from a study of Russian history textbooks published during the respective reigns of Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev. During each period, the textbooks hail the then-current leader to the exclusion of all his predecessors as the savior of Russia and hero of his people. Undoubtedly, "public opinion" during each period, once children's minds had been suitably molded, reflected the thinking and wishes of the state. While more subtle in form, this ability to direct public opinion exists in democratic countries as well. Thus, we already pointed out at the beginning that we must make every effort to free ourselves from the powerful grip of public opinion, and must be ever on our guard that our opinions of the true nature of world events will be shaped only by Torah views as seen through Torah eyes.

Sadly, even in our own circles, the mold for shaping public opinion lies in the hands of the State of Israel. An appropriate example of this dangerous process of selectively "rewriting" history may be found in the extraordinary purging from the public record of all evidence of the culpability of the forerunners of the State in the tragedy of European Jewry, and the sub-situation in is place of factors inconsequential to the calamity which ultimately occurred.

To cover its own contribution to the final catastrophic events, those of the State in a position to influence public opinion circulated the notorious canard that Gedolet Yisroel were responsible for the destruction of many communities because they did not urge immigration. This charge is, of course, a gross distortion of the truth, and need not be granted more dignity than it deserves by issuing a formal refutation. However, at the same time as the State made certain to include this charge as historical fact in every account of the war years, it successfully sought to omit any mention of its own contribution to the impending tragedy. While the State omitted in its own version of history is the second of the above-mentioned new directions in recent Jewish history. It is that phenomenon which we must now examine.

"The Jewish Observer", October, 1977, page 7.

Tochocha vs. Specific Guilt

For other reasons, too, one must be careful of sudden and popular "awakenings" to different aspects of Jewish history, such as "Holocaust studies."Nachum Goldmann, head of the only international secular Jewish organization not directly subservient to the Jewish State, has stated that the weakening of sympathy for the State was the result of a lengthy period of time after the Holocaust having passed and the resultant forgetting by the world at large. Undoubtedly, this State, taking advantage of the arbitrary figure of thirty years, sought to reawaken interest in what it now termed the Shoah to regain some of that lost sympathy of the late 40's and 50's.

"The Jewish Observer", October, 1977, page 9.