To commemorate the Palestinian holocaust Day, ISL will be running a series of interviews with the survivors of one of history's most tragic episodes – the failure of Palestinian Arabs to exterminate the remnants of the Jewish people that returned to their ancient homeland to establish a viable country for their people. Today we interview Salah Abu – Hitler, from the picturesque hilltop village near Jerusalem, Beit-Shimush.
ISL: How are you today?
Abu-Hitler: I'm ok. Life goes on you know, despite not killing any Jews.
ISL: Does it still hurt? Do you still feel the pain?
Abu-Hitler: Of course. It never goes away and I don't think it ever will. Sometimes I wake up at night from nightmares – I dream that I am walking in Jerusalem and all around me there are Jews – talking, eating, and shopping – and I am helpless! I have a machine gun but for some reason it is not working – I am pulling the trigger and nothing happens, no Jews fall down in pools of blood, nobody screams, no sirens coming near, the Jews keep swarming around me, their liveliness mocking me, shaming me, torturing me - and then I wake up screaming in terror.
ISL: My God. That sounds horrible. Do you dream often about the past?
Abu-Hitler: Nearly every night. Our psychologists even have a name for it. They call it "The Dream about the Jew That Got Away". Nearly every one of us survivors dreams about it. It's part of the trauma that we will carry with us forever.
ISL: I understand that you are part of a support group of survivors.
Abu-Hitler: Yes. It started just several years ago. For decades, many of us were so ashamed that we did not feel comfortable talking about what happened to us. This is a well known phenomenon – as victims we blame ourselves and we are filled with guilt and shame. But as time went by the need to share overcame everything. Today we meet regularly.
ISL: That's great. Does it help? What do you talk about?
Abu-Hitler: Of course it helps. Just knowing that there are other people like you that suffered the same trauma, the same frustration of not being able to kill enough Jews – it is a great comfort not being alone.
ISL: So you just talk about old-times?
Abu-Hitler: Well, we talk about what happened. We were all in the same tragedy, but everyone has his own unique story.
ISL: Can you tell us your story?
Abu-Hitler: Yes. It is just the usual story – I lived here in our village near Jerusalem, living in peace and minding my own business when all of a sudden Jews started coming. They bought barren land and cultivated it, and right before our eyes they succeeded where before we never even thought to try! You can imagine our frustration.
Abu-Hitler: They came, and built roads, and factories, and homes – it was terrible. I cannot even begin to describe the pain and humiliation. They made jobs that paid better than ever before, they brought us electricity, and modern machinery and medicine – In short, they ruined everything we never had. The horror of it is just too cruel to describe.
ISL: I can imagine. If it is too painful than please, just say so, we will stop.
Abu-Hitler: No, I can't stop – this tragic story, the utter modernization of our people must be told over and over again – we must never, ever forget.
ISL: Of course.
Abu-Hitler: We did everything we could to stop the improvement of our society. We ambushed their convoys and their settlements, killed, and maimed and raped and ruined as much as we could - but to no avail. For every Jew we killed it seemed that there was always another one there with an even better gun to take his place. We knew that wasn't true – after all we outnumbered them at least ten to one, but it sure seemed that way.
ISL: It sounds like you did everything inhumanly possible.
Abu-Hitler: I know, I know. But still – to this day I can never shake the feeling that we could have done more to avoid this Nakba, this Catastrophe – maybe if we just could have killed more Jews, burned more fields, marauded more villages – I don't know. When you fail on this scale, when so many Jews go un-killed, un-molested, un-mutilated - you can never stop blaming yourself. On the other hand – there are only twenty four hours a day and even the most dedicated murderers must rest.
ISL: You did the best you could under the circumstances.
Abu-Hitler: Thank you for understanding. We did. Indeed we did. It is surprising how many young people fail to sympathize with us survivors.
ISL: You feel that the survivors have been neglected?
Abu-Hitler: Absolutely. It is obvious that no one wants to acknowledge what happened to us. People do not want to talk about the tragedy, the pain, the loss. Many survivors live in poverty, surviving only on the measly Israeli National Insurance check.
ISL: It's never enough, is it?
Abu-Hitler: Never - they continue to torture us even in the little things! We tried to raise public interest in our plight but nobody wants to listen. The young today are only interested in becoming suicide bombers and killing a few dozen Jews, for their own, selfish ends. Nobody really cares about our society anymore – it's become dog eat dog.
ISL: You think this generation is missing out on the wisdom of your generation?
Abu-Hitler: Yes. They have much to learn from us. Many lessons to learn, mistakes to avoid. I fear that if they do not learn from the past, history will repeat itself, and like us they will suffer a horrible tragedy, and will not manage to destroy the Jewish state.
ISL: In conclusion, if you could give the younger generation one lesson that you have learned from your experience in the Palestinian Holocaust of 1948, what would it be?
Abu-Hitler: If I learned one thing from our Holocaust it would be this – ordinary, traditional violence will not solve anything. What we need is extravagant, insane, diabolical violence. We need unrelenting, unending, unquenchable brutality. That is the only way to ensure that all the Jews will be killed and maybe then, after we drink the blood of the last Jew in Palestine, us survivors will finally be able to get a good nights sleep.