Copyright 2010 by Curtis Sagmeister. All Rights Reserved.
A recent decision by the US Department of Justice to extradite Anton Geiser to Israel to stand trial for alleged war crimes during World War Two is a difficult one to comprehend on so many levels. Any time you mix emotionally charged sentiments surrounding Nazi atrocities with the continuing Jewish browbeating of the Holocaust, no possible outcome can be harmonious.
Geiser arrived in the United States in 1956 from Austria, and became an American citizen in 1962. By all accounts, this now 85 year old man was a model and productive citizen of his welcoming country. In 2006, Geiser's American citizenship was revoked after an investigation revealed, and Geiser admitted, that he was a SS prison guard at three different concentration camps as a young adult from 1943 to 1945. Why has it taken the US government this long to pursue eviction from the country?
There is absolutely no evidence to suggest Anton Geiser committed any war crimes. Not even from Israel. He is, instead, guilty by association for merely being a prison guard. And this association is inflamed by his enrollment in the SS, a branch of the Nazi military known for its voluntary service and particular affinity to Hitler's ideologies.
One must remember the times. The world was at war. There was no internet and very little in the way of outside media influence. Everything was censored. The fervor of the Nazi propaganda machine was both subtle and overt. Even today, tactics used to brainwash and program the German people then are purposely practiced with admiration by so many nations. This speaks to how effective it was. To a young boy growing up poor in and around the mob mentality of Nazi superiority, promised riches, and institutional influence such as school, government, family, peers, and employment, Geiser was unaware and ill prepared of mounting any sort of defense against such hypnotism.
This does not excuse those who chose to actively "cleanse' the planet of anyone deemed undesirable, but it does serve to establish a framework of the carefully contrived barrage of approved thought under which Nazi controlled territories were subjected. The consequences of non-conformity were grave.
Austria and Germany want nothing to do with carrying out prosecutions of alleged war criminals anymore. They gladly allow Israel to try these Jurassic reminders of a painful and deplorable time of conflict and attempted genocide. However, Geiser does not fit the bill. He was a lowly soldier guarding the perimeter fence.
Officially, the United States has revoked Geiser's citizenship and is extraditing him based on his deception under declaration when he entered his adoptive country. This is completely suspect given the timing, however, under almost every circumstance, nobody would denounce the right or motive of the American government to undertake this course of action. But, in this particular case, one would have to question why Big Brother would seek to persecute a man with more than one foot in the grave, with a history of leading an exemplary life contributing to American society, and with so much time elapsing.
There have been many Holocausts throughout mankind's existence, even during the World War Two years. Absolutely every country on the planet has participated in an attempted genocide at one time or another. Why are we continually focused on what happened to the Jews? In fact, given the current set of circumstances in the Middle East, one could easily argue that what Israel is doing to the Palestinians is attempted genocide. History does indeed repeat, despite our promises to the contrary.
We grant hardened repeated criminals more compassion and opportunity for atonement than we are willing to offer this otherwise law abiding immigrant. And speaking of immigrants, does the United States not have more pressing illegal immigration issues of mammoth proportion than to hand such injustice on a silver platter to Israel? There must be a better way to hold this old man accountable for his deception upon entering America almost half a century ago.
And that's my take.