When death becomes life. The will of the Holy Land… | by Daniel Mark Harrison | June 2022
The will of the people of the Holy Land
JThe other day I came across a wonderful historical treasure. The document is called The Harrison Report (I found it after thinking about naming a YouTube show by that name and doing a Google search the usual way when coming up with a new brand name).
The Harrison Report is one of those all-too-rare accounts of history, written after World War II. It’s one of those war reports that ends up horrifying and inspiring you with its straightforward, no-nonsense depictions of life in the aftermath of Nazi Germany.
The Harrison Report is a report that was written on the state of housing and living conditions suffered by the Jewish population as a result of the horrific war crimes committed by the Nazis during World War II. It was commissioned by President Truman and written by the late US attorney Earl Harrison. The report unfortunately does a disservice to those in my own country of England. Essentially, Harrison tells Truman in his report that British soldiers treat Jewish people much the same way the Nazis treated them, enslaving them in camps without decent food, water, clothing, or housing.
As appalling as his illuminating descriptions are, it was the state of mind of the Jewish people at that time that touched me the most. To quote the Harrison report:
Many of them are able and willing to work, but apparently they are not considered in this regard.
With a national GDP per capita of $45,000 a year and one of the world’s leading intelligence agencies, plus a handful of technological innovations most people in the world would be humbled to call their own (think to anyone at Amazon Cloud Computing software, just as an example of this), this has to be one of the most ironic sentences ever written to an American President.
Germany is now about to sink deep into recession, at risk of being militarily threatened by Russia. It finds itself isolated and all alone on the world stage, enjoying only the compassion of its beleaguered European neighbors. The country today does not have a future as bright as Israel’s, locking its people in during Covid-19 like animals (some questions have to be asked about whether things have changed so much in a century in the state of mind of certain populations).
Israel, on the other hand, is a free and libertarian, somewhat socialist, fully self-governing democracy. Even during Covid, its economy boomed – the country has had one of the highest GDP growth rates in the worldat 8.1%!
If only the Germans had welcomed the Jewish people as family, would they face a rather brighter future? Undeniably.
Whatever may be said about Israel, one of the things I find most inspiring about it is that it is a place where people want to work and live. Its streets are buzzing with the vibe of a people who know that in this life you now have at your disposal, you can achieve anything you wish. This is why, in so many contexts of scientific and revolutionary innovation, Israel, which was only a bare and mundane wasteland only three decades ago, today finds itself in pole position.
The report continues:
I want to emphasize that this is not about privileging any particular group for special privileges. It is about raising to a more normal level the position of a group that has been depressed to the lowest conceivable level by years of organized and inhumane oppression.
I found this point about what Harrison essentially describes as a Western government human trafficking ring both repugnant and deeply regrettable. It is important to realize in life when our cultures have crossed the line in their megalomania, and I think Western people would do well to be aware today in light of recent events of their mindset there a hundred years ago vis-à-vis the Jewish people.
Moreover, Harrison’s description of the pragmatic approach of the Jewish people, which leaves the games at the door, is food for thought. The Jewish people, he argues, simply seek to live a meaningful and productive life that they can attempt, building and building the architecture of the future (a dream, it should not be forgotten, that has come true in an incredibly short period of time once these cunning and conscientious people have been freed from the chains of their foolish guards).
The following passage struck a chord in my heart and mind about the power of the human spirit’s strength when challenged to extreme extremes of irrationality, and may serve as good advice to those who find themselves in positions of power and privilege all over the world are today questioning the veracity of their own fundamental ethics and practices:
[These people] must remain in the same camps…where they were herded together, starved, tortured and forced to witness the deaths of their fellow inmates, friends and relatives…
… In addition to knowing that they are no longer in danger of gas chambers, torture and other forms of violent death, they see that there is little change…
… This situation is greatly accentuated when, as in many cases, they can look out from their overcrowded and bare quarters and see the German civilian population, especially in the rural areas, apparently leading a normal life in their own homes.
Finally, Harrison makes perhaps the most astonishing insight of the entire report when he writes to Truman about the desire of those Jews who wish to continue building the State of Israel in the mighty Middle Eastern fortress that it is. today (emphasis mine):
It cannot be overemphasized that many of these people are now desperate, that they got used to under German rule use all possible means to achieve their endand that the fear of death does not hold them back.
I couldn’t find a more inspiring or appropriate passage to describe the surest path to success and prosperity than this. Like a star in the sky, these once forgotten people have risen in less than half a century to find that they lead most innovation, international relationships, Health care and other advances in meaningful and calculable ways.
Taken as a whole, the Harrison report overwhelms the reader with a sense of the kind of qualities that are too often sorely lacking in people in leadership positions today. How the heart warms to the strength of such people in the face of such adversity, but how evident it becomes that that adversity over time translates into the kinds of qualities that we not only admire but fear.
What is exceptional in this report is its foresight, at a time when we lacked foresight (much like today). For Harrison captured the very essence of what has come to define modern Israel: the determination and ambitions of a people whose goal was to conduct themselves and those they loved with justice and valour. towards a Puritan greatness which, at the time, was accessible only to the most inspired. the human mind was able to envision in the circumstances in which it found itself.