Special to the JTA Publicity on ‘Holocaust’ Film, Hazners’ Trial, Sparks Anti-Semitic Reactions in U
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Special to the JTA Publicity on ‘Holocaust’ Film, Hazners’ Trial, Sparks Anti-Semitic Reactions in U

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Publicity surrounding the NBC-TV "Holocaust" series scheduled to begin Sunday evening and the deportation hearing of Vilis A. Hazners, accused of Nazi atrocities against the Jews of Riga, Latvia, may be responsible for anti-Semitic sentiments that are surfacing in the Albany area.

A live radio call-in show, "Ethical Dimensions," aired on the local NBC affiliate station last Sunday, produced a rash of anti-Semitic callers. Charles R. Allen, Jr., noted author and expert on Nazi war criminals, was the featured guest on the program, which is produced by the Ecumenical Communications Office of Christians United in Mission.

One caller asked Allen if he had ever heard of the Stem group, and then tried to equate the isolated incidents at Deir Yassin and the King David Hotel in pre-State days with the genocide by the Nazis during World War II. Another caller, stating "Vengeance is the Lord’s," said that Hazners is an old man and should be forgiven for what happened almost 40 years ago.

Hazners, a resident of Dresden, New York, is the defendant in an Immigration and Naturalization Service hearing that began in Albany last year and is continuing in New York City this week The caller continued her remarks about the Hazners hearing, saying that charges against him were very "shaky" and that it was wrong for the Jews to want to have him murdered now, even if he was responsible for the murder of Jews during World War II.

When Allen tried to explain that no one was seeking to murder Hazners, but that the hearing was for the purpose of deporting him, the woman refused to accept his explanation.


Another call came from a man who claimed to have been a tailgunner with U.S. forces in Europe during World War II. "I don’t understand why," he said, "only the Jews are complaining about the murders committed during the war. Many other people were killed, soldiers and civilians, but only the Jews complain about it."

Acknowledging that, in addition to the six million Jews murdered by Hitler’s regime, II million non-Jews were also killed, Allen explained that only the Jews were singled out for mass genocide. The caller claimed not to understand the difference.

"If murder of Jews was the law in Nazi Germany," one caller asked, "then why was it wrong? If it was legal to kill Jews in Nazi Europe during World War II, then the United States has no business interfering now," she said. The greater laws of humanity, she felt, did not apply when it came to murdering Jews. Several callers also tried to "steal time" from the show, but calling to ask irrelevant questions about sports figures and other trivia.

The final call on the 90-minute program was from an irate woman who ranted, "You Jews know how to dish it out, but you can’t take it. You’re not perfect, you know. You’re always shooting off your mouths about the Holocaust."

Allen, of Quaker background, responded to the caller and his radio audience that he believes that it is necessary for the Jews to "remind all of us what happened to them during World War II, so that such genocide will never be repeated." Stating that he is "very much a ‘WASP’ whose family came to America in 1644," he concluded by saying "It isn’t only the Jews who want to see justice done to Nazi war criminals."

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