German Guilt Diffusion. Hollywood Promotes Holocaust Supremacy ….

German Guilt Diffusion. Hollywood Promotes Holocaust Supremacy–Almost-Completely Ignoring All Other Genocides


  • Hollywood and the Holocaust (Film and History) by Henry GonshakPublished October 16th 2015 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers


This work focuses on questions such as whether or not Holocaust films are historically accurate, whether or not they are primarily entertainment, whether or not they are kitsch, whether or not they adequately teach important lessons, whether or not they trivialize the Holocaust, and whether or not they are explicitly Jewish or “universal”. However, none of these issues/questions is relevant to the inescapable fact that it is the Jews’ genocide that constantly basks in the limelight, and that it does so at the expense of the countless genocides of other peoples. That is the focus of my review.


The author identifies himself as Jewish (p. 18). Henry Gonshak aptly summarizes his book, “Its premise is quite simple: for better or worse, the average American (as well as millions internationally) generally learns about the Holocaust not through history books, documentary films, or “serious” works of literature and cinema but rather through Hollywood portrayals (along with other examples of mass media, such as commercial television, popular fiction, and Broadway plays).” (p. 1). He states in no uncertain terms, that “Holocaust consciousness has saturated American culture”. (p. 115). [No kidding].


Gonshak mystifies the Holocaust, repeating the assertion that “the Holocaust is an event whose horror so defies the limit of the human imagination that it simply cannot be fully artistically represented” (p. 212), and that the Holocaust is “perhaps modern history’s most tragic event.” (p. 313). Wow! No one speaks of anyone else’s genocide in this grandiose fashion.

The author also repeats the well-worn claim that Jews were targeted for total annihilation (pp. 316-317). [It does not follow that a comprehensive genocide is worthy of more attention than “only” a partial genocide. Besides, in the case of Jews, it is untrue. See comments.] Finally, the author lapses into the standard anti-Christian trope that would have us believe that putative Jewish responsibility for the Crucifixion of Christ “laid the foundation for the Holocaust.” (p. 265). [Haman tried to exterminate the Jews. Oops…that was before Christianity.]

As for modern Jews, the Holocaust has become a substitute religion. The author quips, “With a decline in religious practice among many American Jews and with American Jewry fractured over so many issues, such as Israel, it is no surprise that Jewish Americans have decided en masse that he Holocaust should be elevated to this SACRED STATUS, as the one event all Jews can agree is central to Jewish identity. This unfortunate sacralizing of the Shoah has spread from the Jewish American community to the American public at large, as can be seen in so many Hollywood Holocaust films.” (p. 4; Emphasis added).


German guilt diffusion is very real. With reference to THE READER (2009), Gonshak comments, “Rather than being ‘unthinkable a decade ago,’ such a ‘trend’ of whitewashing German guilt for Nazism has a long history in Hollywood Holocaust films, dating all the way back to such anti-Nazi propaganda as HITLER’S CHILDREN and TOMORROW THE WORLD! Thus, the exculpation of German guilt is no new message in Hollywood but rather the resurrection of a very old message…” (p. 285).


Henry Gonshak astonishes the reader by pointing out that there are only SINGULAR INSTANCES of American-viewed films about genocides of non-Jews, and moreover these have not been made solely by American companies. Thus, there is the Cambodian genocide (THE KILLING FIELDS: 1984); Armenian genocide (ARARAT: 2002); Rwandan genocide (HOTEL RWANDA: 2005); and Bosnian genocide (WELCOME TO SARAJEVO: 1997).

The conclusion is inescapable, and Gonshak unflinchingly says it, “Especially given the plethora of Holocaust films, Hollywood has shown a marked lack of interest in dealing with other atrocities…Clearly, there is a gross imbalance between the plenitude of Hollywood Holocaust films and the EXTREME DEARTH of portrayals of other genocides.” (pp. 314-315; Emphasis added). That’s putting it mildly.

Hollywood also turns a blind eye to Communist crimes. Gonshak writes, “Amazing as it may seem, Hollywood seems to have ignored Stalin’s genocide against his own people…The same is true of Mao Zedong’s murder of millions of Chinese…” (p. 315).


The author speculates that movies about genocides would be of a “feel-bad” nature, and this would be box-office poison. Gonshak also reminds us of America’s “culture of victimization”, and the way that 20th-century European Jewry had been deemed the consummate victim. (p. 315). But these beg the question why such considerations should lead to a double standard between non-Jewish and Jewish genocides. Then there is the Holocaust-uniqueness argument (p. 316), which begs the question about who said that it was, and then kept promoting this „truth” through endless repetition. [It is also false. See comments.]

Surveys, when unambiguously worded, show that only at most 2% of the American population denies the Holocaust. (p. 332). So much for the excuse (p. 196) that constant Holocaust education is needed to serve as a bulwark against Holocaust denial.


Gonshak acknowledges that, in his words, “Hollywood has always been largely a Jewish industry” (p. 315), but then tries to run away from its Holocaust-monopolizing implications by stating that Hollywood Jews, at one time, had largely avoided the Jewish victims of Nazi Germany. This is rather lame. Earlier in his book, Gonshak identified the reason for this, and it was quite simple: It was not then in the Jews’ interests to do so! Let us examine why.

During at least the first several years of the Nazi era, leading Jews in Hollywood opposed calling attention to the plight of Jews, as this could cut into their profits. Money talked. Gonshak quips, “Prior to THE GREAT DICTATOR [1940], Hollywood had almost totally ignored the threat posed by Hitler, despite the large number of Jews working in the American film industry. Germany, after all, was an enthusiastic consumer of American movies, and Hollywood had no desire to alienate these customers by making films attacking the nation’s leader. In fact, Jewish MGM head Louis B. Mayer had agreed to remove parts of his studio’s films that the Nazi authorities had found offensive when the movies were screened in Germany.” (p. 20).

Later during WWII, Hollywood Jews portrayed the European Jews as just one of many peoples that were suffering under the Nazis. It was the standard common-sense way of thinking at the time, and so they HAD to. (p. 45). As for American Jews, this was the heyday of assimilation, and so Hollywood tended to de-emphasize the Jewishness of even American Jews. (p. 75). Instead, Jews were as “all-American” as any other American.


At one time, Hollywood practically featured only white people, and treated non-whites almost as if they did not exist. Nowadays, Hollywood treats non-Jewish genocides as if they had never existed. Perhaps one day, Americans will recognize Holocaust Supremacism for what it is—a form of racism.

Jan Peczkis

Published with the author’s permission.


  • Title image: Part of cover „Hollywood and the Holocaust by Henry Gonshak / selected by wg.pco

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