The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Air Date: 
April 11, 2018

Screen shot: Guest on this program (Hour 2, Blocks C and D) and friend of Malcolm Hoenlein: Mazen Mahmoud Al-Sawwaf.  
In the Name of Allah the merciful, and peace and blessings upon His Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.
As we live in a time of constant local and global change, evolving knowledge, and rapid technological advancement, we at Global Investment strive for continuous support of national creative thinking and innovation. Our goal is the transfer, localization and development of best-of-breed technologies within our beloved Kingdom and fostering opportunities to grow, succeed, and become a leader in every business that we engage in contributing to the knowledge based and sustainable economic, social and environmental development of the Kingdom.
Co-hosts: Monica Crowley, London Center for Policy Research; Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents;  & Gordon Chang, Daily Beast.
Hour One
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 1, Block A: John Batchelor, Monica Crowley, Malcolm Hoenlein, in re: In Cracow for the march of the Living, which honors those who perished in WWII.  Today we walked in the Jewish quarter, which was almost obliterated and now is filled with cafes. This is a prosperous and growing city. Dynamism, strong youth culture, vibrancy. Many house that had been in ruins have been renovated. Churchill: The farther back you look [in history], the farther ahead you see.  Many non-Jews here from all over the world on the March. Poles ask, where are they all coming from?  Presidents of Poland and Israel marching together. An important message: the annihilation was uniquely Jewish, but there are universal messages.  Don’t succumb to the evil forces. 
When you arrive at some of the death camps – the peace, birds chirping, the silence – it reinforces the understanding.   The new Polish law oblige everyone to say, ”German concentration camps” to exculpate all Poles from any participation in the mass murder. Courts are considering if this is legal. When at the labor or death camp, you feel the need to touch the visible remnants.
A Polish law that criminalizes simply naming Polish labor or death camps as Polish; to avoid criminal proceedings, need to say “German camps.” That is, the new law criminalizes accusing the Polish nation of crimes that were committed by Nazi Germany [or, frankly, that identifies the same crimes as committed by some Poles] has taken effect. The law has sparked a crisis with Israel, where officials fear its true aim is to repress research on Poles who killed Jews during World War II, something Polish officials deny.
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 1, Block B: Gordon Chang, Daily Beast, in re:   . . . Yes, I was surprised to see Xi Jinping, president for life, blink so quickly.  Last week we were hearing hostile statements from Ministers, but Pres Xi’s keynote speech acceding in some measure to American interests was a volta face. Pres Trump has unnerved the Chinese in several realms, including trade, North Korea, war-fighting.  Of course, China is not surrendering, but we do seem to be in a strong position. Credit to Pres Trump, who created this simply by an act of will. I think Xi made a tactical retreat, being unsure of what Trump might do to him. Meanwhile, John Bolton may go to Taiwan in June for the opening of the AIT office there.  Chinese are most concerned that Trump, Bolton and Pompeo might expose how weak China is.  Used to be [endlessly] kind and generous to China in hopes of its becoming more genteel, honest in trade, and closer in to the rest of the world.  This did not happen,. We’ve learned that we need to show strength We They're used to seeing Americans surrender peremptorily. Arthur Waldron: “We’ve taught China to ignore our warnings” with the Bushes, Clintons, Obamas.   Chinese are uncertain with Trump and are giving the US a wide berth.
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 1, Block C:  Irving Roth, Holocaust survivor of Buchenwald and Auschwitz; in re: Important for young people to understand the process that led to Auschwitz, and recognize the signs along the way.  We were all fairly at peace after WWI; a mere twenty years later, a whole society was transformed into murderers. The murdered were people who had lived in harmony among neighbors for over a thousand years.
Essential to speak to young people, explain the actual facts – not propaganda; let them experience it by coming here to Birkenau. Go to Maidanek and see the actual gas chamber and crematoria. 
MH: Your story is almost not believable – as a teenager, you hid in closets and toilets and in pipes merely to survive.
JB: All of a sudden, tens of thousands of Jews were transported to Auschwitz. Did people hear stories and not believe that they were headed to death?  IR: Yes, at first.  My father spent WWI as an officer fighting for Austro-Hungary; he couldn’t think that his allies would murder him.  Must understand the step-by-step process.  Newspaper: “The Jews are our misfortune” day after day after day. Now this group becomes responsible for every misfortune – no jobs, all other problems. Goebbels: “If you repeat a big lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” 
MC: The Western mind has a great deal of difficulty believing that there exists evil in the world.
IR:  Look at events in history, incl from 1918 to 1938. Look at events, Olympics in Berlin: Jews no longer allowed to participate. Germans wouldn't allow a single Jew in any part of the Olympics. Now a group of taxpayers and social participants have been demonized and will be destroyed.
A man named Hitler wrote a book saying that Jews are different genetically; as a cow doesn't mate with a horse, so a Jew must never mate with a human.  People believed him because he was the Fuehrer.  Germans paid money for each Jew exterminated in Czechoslovakia.  Jews were taken away; 300 houses suddenly empty, so the city auctioned each house. The whole town showed up. They’d slept through the removals; now, at the auction, are they bystanders or participants?
When I was six, I had a most beautiful little classmate: she and I did homework together and I carried her books. She was Russian Orthodox.  One day, she said, “I no longer will speak with you because you're a Jew and therefore evil.”
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 1, Block D:  Irving Roth, Holocaust survivor of Buchenwald and Auschwitz; in re: Buczacz, a Polish town, lost all their Jews by murder, incl by the local polizei, who took them to the woods and shot them.  Their houses were taken over by townspeople.  Still this level of denial in Poland?
Yes, town participated in the murder. People hold that they can become pure as driven snow simply by changing the facts.  It’s horrendous that I can now go to jail by speaking truth of the Holocaust.*
MC: Bad education currently in the West.  Also, speak of faith the death camps.
IR: Look at drawings of gas chamber, you’ll see not God but a person with a name and a date. We can choose to be evil or good. In Auschwitz, I look now and see the train tracks, where cattle cars held 120 people sometimes for weeks.  Today, I see legions of healthy young Jewish people and see that the evil did not prevail.
The most important part of the March of the Living is to take what you learned in school or movies, you have to feel it. Step on the ground here and you feel it.
Hour Two
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 2, Block A:  John Batchelor, Monica Crowley, Malcolm Hoenlein, in re:  We’re all here in Cracow for the march of the Living, which honors those who perished in WWII. Today we visited a Medieval town spelled Budzin [pron: bun-chin?]; was the last Jewish settlement in the area to be destroyed by the Hitlerites when they were here. Town spread out along the river; we went up to the castle on the hill, figuring that was the oldest part of the town. Monica esp enjoyed the dungeon. Castle was blt in 1326 as a fortress.  However, there was nothing at all left of the Jewish section. Nazis invaded on 1 September 1939; burned the synagogue down with parishioners inside.  Made Jews deconstruct what remained of the bricks.  Bldgs of the town completely destroyed; all pastureland now. For those who claim they didn’t know what was going on: impossible. Everybody saw, everybody knew. Saw their neighbors being deported; often took the houses and possessions. 
Could walk from Budzin to Auschwitz-Birkenau. MC: My Polish grandparents used to joke: “There’s no such thing a Poland – we’ve been invaded by so many armies throughout history.”
This year is the eightieth anniversary of Kristallnacht, 1938. That message went all over Europe.  Photos of people standing watching as all synagogues were being destroyed and set afire; the pogrom, the arrests of thousands of people. 
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 2, Block B:  Richard Heideman, president of the American Zionist Movement, past president of B’nai Brith Intl; in re:  We anticipate that the marchers tomorrow will leave Poland with a renewed commitment to memory, to truth, and to honoring those who perished for no proper reason. The March of the Living was established in 1988, with 750 from the US, and 750 from Israel. Today we're approaching over 260,000 young people.  . . .  Discussions with Danny Danon, Israeli amb to the UN, led to inviting ambassadors from many different countries to the March of the Living, then on to Israel for the seventieth anniversary of Israel’s independence. Now we have more than __ ambassadors participating. Poland emerged from the [tyranny] of the Nazis, then the [tyranny] of the Soviets. It's been free for only a short time.   . . .  Holocaust speech law* in Poland
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 2, Block C:   Mazen Al Sawwaf, Saudi businessman, in re:  In Cracow for the annual March of the Living, in remembrance of all who perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau. 
MH: A walk in the Jewish quarter of Crakow: a thousand years of Jewish history.  Can see renovations of the disaster of seventy years ago, but not the history. However, there is a renascence.  Mazen, what motivated you to come here and participate? 
MaS: I heard so much of the Holocaust; I read about it, but reading is not touching. What I saw today is history. People see this as pertaining to Jews. I look at it another way:  It’s a human case. When God created the globe, the most important was Adam, to whom he gave credibility.
MC: When you stand on that sacred, hallowed ground, it affects you on a spiritual level.   It did so to me on my first trip; this is my second and I absorb it more as history.  What surprised you most?
MaS: When I saw an old man, a survivor, singing, with an IDF cantor; they sang a famous Yiddish song, “Where do I go now?”  And how strong together the Jewish community is.
JB: In the Jewish quarter today, I saw that if you have faith, there is no end; only beginnings.  Can focus not only on the horror, but on the rebirth.
MH: It's about not being indifferent to Yazidis, Kurds, Copts, Christians  . . .  the world that was indifferent to the Jews (they said they didn’t know; that was a lie) . . .
Mazen Al Sawwaf is a Saudi Arabian businessman. He manages assets and operations in numerous countries and regions, including the United Kingdom, France, the Middle East, and North Africa. Al Sawwaf's work is driven not only by his commercial insight but also by his commitment to social and moral causes.
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 2, Block D:  Mazen Al Sawwaf, Saudi businessman, in re:  JB: Here in springtime in Cracow, Poland, we see the Jewish quarter coming alive.  The people on the planet are coming together. 
MaS:  We pray to God that it will be better than today.  When I travel, I see materialism.  [MH: Saudi Minister said to deny the Holocaust is to deny reality. King of Morocco wants it in the national curriculum.] This is a big, good step, maybe a hundred years forward. There are two different things: The concept of Islam. If you surrender to God, that’s Islam, which translates to “surrender.” In Hebrew, when you meet someone, you say Shalom. I say Salaam.
MC: Many Muslims saved Jews in WWII.
JB: It was a treat to walk in the Jewish quarter today with Mazen, and Monica and Malcolm. People should visit Poland and see that the Holocaust was not the end.
Hour Three
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 3, Block A: 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR―Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny, by David Pietrusza
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 3, Block B:  1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR―Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny, by David Pietrusza
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 3, Block C:  1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR―Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny, by David Pietrusza
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 3, Block D:  1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR―Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny, by David Pietrusza
Hour Four
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 4, Block A: Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, by Timothy Snyder
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 4, Block B: Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, by Timothy Snyder
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 4, Block C:  Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, by Timothy Snyder
Wednesday 11 April 2018/ Hour 4, Block D:  Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, by Timothy Snyder
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