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Eternal Treblinka

In his foreword to Dudley Giehl's book 1979 book, Vegetarianism: A Way of Life, Isaac Bashevis Singer writes:

"Even though the number of people who commit suicide is quite small, there are few people who have never thought about suicide at one time or another. The same is true about vegetarianism. We find very few people who have never thought that killing animals is actually murder, founded on the premise that might is right. This is true today and it was also true in ancient times as Dudley Giehl shows in his work Vegetarianism: A Way of Life. Ovid, Plutarch, Porphyry, and in later generations, Byron and Shelley and still later Bernard Shaw and Edward Fitzgerald were all interested in this question--I will call it the eternal question: What giv es man the right to kill an animal, often torture it, so that he can fill his belly with its flesh?...

"Various philosophers and religious leaders tried to convince their disciples and followers that animals are nothing more than machines without a soul, without feelings. However, anyone who has ever lived with an animal--be it a dog, a bird, or even a mouse--knows that this theory is a brazen lie, invented to justify cruelty.

"The only justification for killing animals is the fact that man can keep a knife or an ax in his hands and is shrewd enough and selfish enough to do slaughter for what he thinks is his own good. The Old Testament has many passages where the passion for meat is considered to be evil.

According to the Bible, it was only a compromise with so-called human nature that God has allowed people to eat meat. I'm often astonished when I read about highly sensitive poets, preachers of morality, humanists, and do-gooders of all kinds who found pleasure in hunting...I often read of people who say that when they retire they will go fishing. They say this with an understanding that from then on they won't do any damage to anybody...It never occurs to them for a moment that innocent beings will suffer and die from this innocent little sport.

"Dudley Giehl seems to have the same feelings as I do because not only is he a vegetarian but he has devoted his life to arousing people's consciences in this matter--to tell them again and again that by eating the flesh of animals, by hunting, they are committing murder all the time. All their nice talk about humanism, a better tomorrow, a beautiful future, has no meaning at all as long as they kill to eat or kill for pleasure. It is true that there is no evidence whatsoever that nature or even God is against the killing of animals. But is there any evidence that nature is against killing human beings? The earth receives all kinds of blood. It does not discriminate.

"I, personally, am very pessimistic about the hope that humanity's disregard for animals will end soon. I'm sometimes afraid that we are approaching an epoch where the hunting of human beings may become a sport. But it is good that there are some people who express a deep protest against the killing and torturing of the helpless, playing with their fear of death, enjoying their misery...

"I do not fool myself in thinking that Mr. Giehl's book will bring about an end to human cruelty, but a least it will stir some minds. And, as a vegetarian, I'm grateful to him for doing this so well. I personally believe that as long as human beings will go on shedding the blood of animals, there will never be any peace. There is only one little step from killing animals to creating gas chambers a' la Hitler and concentration camps a' la Stalin -- all such deeds are done in the name of 'social justice.' There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is. I say, 'Thank you Mr. Giehl. Let people know they are not so good as they think they are and that they deserve many of the misfortunes that come upon them for being so cold-bloodedly indifferent to all of us.'"

"In his thoughts, Herman spoke a eulogy for the mouse who had shared a portion of her life with him, and who, because of him, had left this earth. 'What do they know -- all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world -- about such as you? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka."

---Isaac Bashevis Singer, "The Letter Writer"

"In Eternal Treblinka not only are we shown the common roots of Nazi genocide and modern society's enslavement and slaughter of nonhuman animals in unprecedented detail, but for the first tie we are presented with extensive evidence of the profoundlytroubling connection between animal exploitation in the United States and Hitler's Final Solution...This examination is long overdue,for without it, American culture is unlikely ever to reconsider the values that still make it the most animal-exploiting civilizationin history."

---Lucy Rosen Kaplan, Esq., from the foreword to Eternal Treblinka by Charles Patterson (Lantern Books, New York, 2002)

"One of the greatest admirers of the destruction of the native peoples of America was Adolf Hitler. He found the white Anglo-Saxon conquest of the North American continent inspiring, and it convinced him of the practicality of genocidal measures against racially inferior peoples. His biographer John Toland writes that Hitler 'often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America's extermination -- by starvation and uneven combat -- of red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.'...

"In Germany this kind of vilification began long before the Nazis came to power. At first, the leader of the Protestant Reformation,Martin Luther (1483-1546) praised Jews for rejecting the corrupt teachings of the papal "antichrist." But when it soon became clear the Jews weren't al l that eager to convert to his brand of Christianity, he denounced them as 'pigs' and 'mad dogs.' He said that ifhe were ever called on to baptize a Jew, he would drown him like a poisonous serpent. 'I cannot convert the Jews...but I canclose their mouths so that there will be nothing for them to do but lie upon the ground.' According to John Weiss, Luther made it clear that 'death was his final solution to the 'Jewish problem.'...

"In the Nazi propaganda film Der Ewige Jude ("The Eternal Jew"), which opens with a mass of swarming rats, the narrator explains,'Just as the rat is the lowest of animals, the Jew is the lowest of human beings.'...Josef Mengele treated Jews 'like laboratory animals'...In Hitler's Willing Executioners Daniel Jonah Goldhagen states that the Germans often used Jews as playthings, 'compelling themlike circus animals, to perform antics -- antics that debased the Jews and amused their torme ntors...

"The philosopher Theodor Adorno (1903-69), a German Jew who was forced into exile by the Nazis but returned to Germany after the war to a professorship at Frankfurt University,wrote: 'Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse andthinks: they're only animals.'...the road to Auschwitz begins at the slaughterhouse...

"...it was but one step from the industrialized killing of American slaughterhouses to Nazi Germany's assembly-line mass murder...Most people are unaware of the central role of the slaughterhouse in the history of American industry...Henry Ford, who was so impressed by the efficient way meat packers killed animals in Chicago, made his own special contribution to the slaughter ofpeople in Europe. Not only did he develop the assembly-line method the Germans used to kill Jews, but he lau nched a vicious anti-semitic campaign that helped the Holocaust happen...

"At the time nativism and prejudice were very much part of the national climate, with the intense racism and anti-semitism on therise and the nation preparing to adopt a national origins quota system to stem the admissions of immigrants from eastern andsouthern Europe. The anti-semitism evident in 1915 with the lynching of Leo Frank, a Jewish businessman in Atlanta, wasincreasing with the rapid spread of the anti-black, anti-Catholicm anti-semitic message of the Ku Klux Klan, which by 1924 had a national membership of more than four million...

"...(Ford's anti-semitic productions) influenced many readers, writes David Lewis, 'all the more because they carried the imprint,not of a crackpot publisher in an alleyway, but of one of the most famous and successful men in the world.'...After Ford's books came to the attention of Hitler and his followers in Munich, the Nazis used (these) in their propaganda war against the Jews of Germany...Hitler regarded Ford as a comrade-in-arms and kept a life-sized portrait of him on the wall next to his desk in hisoffice at the Nazi Party headquarters in Munich. Hitler spoke of Ford in glowing terms to his followers and frequently bragged to them about Ford's financial support...Hitler praised Ford, the only American to be singled out in Mein Kampf."

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