I wrote last month about the opening of the definitive archive of the Holocaust in Germany, called the International Tracing Service, which was featured in this extraordinary report on 60 Minutes. That segment said that the archive was finally, after years of being — for no particularly good reason — closed to the public, going to be opened. But Anne Applebaum, writing in Slate, says that “although commission members are meeting in Holland this week, supposedly to make final arrangements, it’s still far from clear that they will finish the process soon.” She’s naturally upset about that, and rightly so.
There is sense in this world, even when the Hand of God is not so evident, as Jews were reminded last Sunday in celebrating the holiday of Purim. The Book of Esther commemorates that Hidden Hand, describing how a seemingly unconnected series of events and “coincidences” in ancient Persia resulted in salvation of the Jews from yet another plot to destroy them all. To the Jews it is elementary that, through all the Purims of history, Providence directs the events. Sometimes we need the perspective of many years to understand why awful things are perpetrated in this world.
So once again, in Persia — not ancient Persia, but one which resists modernity with a vengeance — awful events, such as the threat by the national leadership to annihilate the Jews of the region, the staging of a neo-Nazi “Holocaust Conference,” and a bizarre obsession with The Jews — may perhaps act as something of an historical spur to the urgent need to unlock the archives. The purpose is not to bask in Holocaustism (one of the worst religion-replacements Western Jews have yet invented) but to take the cap off the memory hole so truth and horror may be seen, and learned from. If learning is still at all possible.