Daily Israel Report

Auschwitz Survivor's Son Hits Back at Oz's 'Nazi' Slur

Writer whose father is a famous Holocaust survivor tells Amos Oz he is 'an ignorant boor' for calling Hilltop Youth 'Hebrew neo-Nazis.'
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/12/2014, 3:04 PM

Tal Gilad
Tal Gilad
Courtesy Tal Gilad

Nationalistic screen writer and satirist Tal Gilad, whose father is a famous Holocaust survivor, has fired back at famed writer Amos Oz for his statement that so-called Hilltop Youth and perpetrators of Price Tag attacks are “Hebrew neo-Nazis.”

Gilad's Facebook post Sunday was widely shared and lauded.

"Hello Amos Oz,” wrote Gilad, who was the main scriptwriter for the Latma satire show.

"The word 'Nazi,' or – in the form that is considered somehow softer – 'neo-Nazi', is too often used as a doomsday weapon on any subject, apparently because people like you, who blurt it out freely, are unable of fathoming the depth of horror of Nazism and what it perpetrated," he accused.

"People are always trying to place this term in a mold that will make it understandable for our consciousness. But that is impossible, because a Nazi is not simply someone very bad, or a nationalist, or a traffic policeman. A Nazi is something else, from a different reality.:

The 81st Blow

"My father is an Auschwitz survivor," he continued. "His two parents and young sister were murdered by the Nazis and he remained alone, a 17-year-old youth with no one in the world, in the worst hell human the race has created.

"He survived, despite it all. During the death march, when the Germans force-marched the survivors westward, in the freezing winter, he succeeded in escaping, together with two comrades. Then he hid in a village until the Russians came, volunteered for the Red Army, became a tank soldier in the Czech front and fought the Germans.

“You may have heard of The 81st Blow, even though you did not write it,” Lapid stings Oz. “The story about the youth who was punished with 80 blows in the Pshemishel Ghetto, because he hid books. He survived this terrible punishment, in the course of which he lost his consciousness several times. A cruel punishment that many died from, but he survived, and even managed to get up and go bring the books.

"My father is that youth, Michael Goldman Gilad. He got over it, got over Auschwitz, got over everything. He held on to life, he was in hell and got out of it, and even returned there to get revenge on the demons, with a resolve that people like you cannot understand.”

When he made aliyah to Israel and told some people about the whipping in the ghetto, relates Gilad, he encountered disbelief. “From that point, he did not talk about it, for years. He said that for him, that was the 81st blow.”

"My father created a family, enlisted to the Israel Police, advanced in the ranks, and when [senior Nazi murderer Adolf] Eichmann was caught, he was called into Bureau 06, to be among the interrogators of the tyrant, who now was a frightened and pathetic prisoner.”

During the trial, a man who witnessed the event at Pshemishel Ghetto stood on the witnesses' stand, pointed to Gilad's father and confirmed that he had been the boy who had survived the 80 lashes.

Now 89, Gilad's father completed an autobiographical book – “Who by Fire and Who by Water” – two years ago. Last April, he joined a police officers' delegation to Auschwitz, and was symbolically raised to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Israel Police.

The most satanic thing that ever existed

"Nazis are the most terrible and satanic thing that ever existed,” Gilad states. “The Nazis annihilated Europe's Jews with a terrible systematicness and cruelty over years, starved them and tortured them in slave labor, sent them inside trains, crowded to suffocation, on journeys that lasted days, to death camps, burned them, shot them, killed them in gas chambers and buried them in mass graves, six million Jews, over 1.5 million of them children and babies, including my aunt whom I never met, because she was 11 when she was murdered. Not killed, murdered, on purpose, in a planned, intentional and inexplicably evil manner, because she was Jewish.

"A person who spray-paints 'price tag' is not a Nazi. A person who utters some profanity against Arabs, or thinks that illegal work migrants should be repatriated, is not a Nazi, and even a soldier in Hevron who points a weapon at a Palestinian carrying brass knuckles, or a settler who interferes with the olive harvest, are not Nazis or neo-Nazis or Judeao-Nazis and not all the other inflections, not even close to that.

"A Nazi is something completely different. And you, Amos Oz, may think you are a man of letters, but you are an ignorant boor, who – luckily for him – does not have a clue as to what he is talking about. Too bad there is no time machine for sending you and your friends, whose fingers are so light on the keyboard, to Auschwitz for one day. It will suffice. One day in hell. And after that, open your mouth, which is willing to say any stupid thing for the Nobel Prize, and talk about Nazis and neo-Nazis.

"The members of your political camp like to keep saying that 'We have learned nothing from the Holocaust,'" Gilad winds up. "And indeed, you are a real-life example of the fact that we did not learn anything from the Holocaust and from what it was in reality. More than that, you are the ultimate proof to what I always say – that even a man of letters can utter complete inanities.”