Finkelstein comments: [Jan. 13,2006]
Postscript added Jan. 18, 2006.
Shortly after University of California Press announced publication on my book Beyond Chutzpah, Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School began alleging that my late mother was, or I believed she was, a Nazi collaborator during World War II. In an article for FrontPageMag.com (“Why is the University of California Press Publishing Bigotry?” 5 July 2005), Dershowitz stated that “[Finkelstein] suspects his mother of having been a kapo (‘really, how else would she have survived?’ he asks rhetorically),” while in a statement posted on Harvard University Law School’s official webpage, Dershowitz wrote that “He suspects his own mother of being a kapo and cooperating with the Nazis during the Holocaust” (law.harvard.edu/faculty/dershowitz/). A more elaborate version of this claim appeared in Dershowitz’s book The Case for Peace:
Finkelstein even doubted his own mother’s denial that she was a kapo, asking whether her frequent statements that “the best didn’t survive” constituted “an indirect admission of guilt?” The most he was willing to do was “assume” that his mother answered him “truthfully.” But he questioned even that assumption: “Still, if she didn’t cross fundamental moral boundaries, I glimpsed from her manner of pushing and shoving in order to get to the head of a queue, which mortified me. . . . Really, how else would she have survived?” (p. 174)
Writing on the same website as Dershowitz, and apparently relying on information supplied to him by Dershowitz, Professor Steven Plaut of Haifa University has recently stated:
While Finkelstein likes to defend his own anti-Semitic ravings by claiming his parents are themselves Holocaust survivors, Dershowitz recently revealed that Finkelstein’s mother was in fact a collaborator with German Nazis during the war. (“DePaul U Confronts Amerikan ‘Empire,'”
FrontPageMag.com (3 January 2006); posted on this web site under “The New Year Begins”)
In previous postings on this website I documented how Dershowitz transmogrified my reflections on my late mother (see “Haunted House” and my remarks upon publication of Beyond Chutzpah). However, until now I have held back directly refuting these statements, hoping that they would go away. It now seems they won’t so I’ve decided to post an interview my late mother did shortly before her death to give some insight into her experiences and character. (I include another interview with a Black G.I., done at the same time as my mother’s and which deeply affected her.) In addition, I am posting several photographs of mother, as well as of my late father.
On a brief biographical note, my mother grew up in Warsaw, Poland and was a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto, Maidanek concentration camp and two slave-labor camps. Every member of her family in Poland was exterminated. After the war she was a key witness at a Nazi deportation hearing in the U.S. and at the trial of Maidanek concentration camp guards in Germany. My late father survived the Warsaw ghetto, Auschwitz concentration camp and the Auschwitz death march. His entire family in Poland was also exterminated.
Those wanting to express an opinion to Professor Dershowitz regarding his depiction of my late mother should write: dersh[at]law.harvard.edu. Those wanting to express an opinion to Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan, who permitted Dershowitz to post his depiction of my late mother on Harvard Law School’s official webpage, should write:
EKagan[at]law.harvard.edu. (Although acknowledging that the Law School webpage had content limits, Kagan did not consider Dershowitz’s statements objectionable.) Should you want your letters to be posted on my webpage, please cc them to: NormanGF[at]hotmail.com. Thank you.
Postscript: [Jan. 18, 2006]
Those writing Professor Dershowitz have received this form reply:
I received your letter in which you reiterated Norman Finkelstein’s lie that it was I who accused his mother, Maryla Husyt Finkelstein, of being a kapo. I think you accuse the wrong person of making
this claim. It was Finkelstein himself who planted that idea in his own writings.
Here is my full statement about Norman Finkelstein’s mother. It is from my book, The Case For Peace, a chapter of which appears on my website:
Normally, no one would take seriously the ridiculous claims Finkelstein makes, but he boasts that he “can get away with things which nobody else can”53 because his parents were Holocaust survivors. As Alain Zucker, in his review of The Holocaust Industry, put it, “If Finkelstein wasn’t Jewish, his book would have been dumped by the reviewers as a right extremist pamphlet.”54 Finkelstein accuses others of exploiting the memory of the Holocaust for personal purposes, yet it is clear that he himself ranks as one of that tragedy’s most perverse exploiters. He quotes his mother as asking rhetorically, “If everyone who claims to be a survivor actually is one . . . who did Hitler kill?”55 Finkelstein even doubted his own mother’s denial that she was a kapo,asking whether her frequent statements that “the best didn’t survive” constituted “an indirect admission of guilt?” The most he was willing to do was “assume” that his mother answered him “truthfully.”56 But he questioned even that assumption: “Still, if she didn’t cross fundamental moral boundaries, I glimpsed from her manner of pushing and shoving in order to get to the head of a queue, which mortified me. . . . Really, how else would she have survived?” A ninety-year-old Holocaust survivor in Canada told me that “this Finkelstein man is, in some ways, worse than an outright Holocaust denier, because he acknowledges only the dead but not the living. It hurts so much to hear him say that we didn’t actually suffer.”
Any fair-minded and unbiased reader will come to the conclusion that this is an accurate and fair interpretation of what Finkelstein himself wrote. Even after becoming aware that his
description of his mother’s actions were open to a negative interpretation, Finkelstein declined to change this description on his website.
If you have a grievance regarding the depiction of Finkelstein’s later mother, send this email to him, not to me. I did not supply any information to Professor Steven Plaut that “revealed that Finkelstein’s mother was in fact a collaborator with German Nazis during the war.” He drew his own conclusions from Finkelstein’s own words.
Alan M. Dershowitz
Here is the actual excerpt from my memoir that Dershowitz is allegedly quoting:
Except for allusions to relentless pangs of hunger, my mother never spoke about her personal torments during the war, which was just as well, since I couldn’t have borne them. Like Primo Levi, she often said that, being “too delicate and refined, the best didn’t survive.” Was this an indirect admission of guilt? Much later in life I finally summoned the nerve to ask whether she had done anything of which she was ashamed. Calmly replying no, she recalled having refused the privileged position of “block head” in the camp. She especially resented the “dirty” question “How did you survive?” with the insinuation that, to emerge alive from the camps, survivors must have morally compromised themselves. Given how ferociously she cursed the Jewish councils, ghetto police and kapos, I assume my mother answered me truthfully. Although acknowledging that Jews initially joined the councils from mixed motives, she said that “only scum,” reaping the rewards of doing the devil’s work, still cooperated after it became clear that they were merely cogs in the Nazi killing machine. When queried why she hadn’t settled in Israel after the war, my mother used to reply, only half in jest, that “I had enough of Jewish leaders!” The Jewish ghetto police always had the option, she said, of “throwing off their uniforms and joining the rest of us” — a point that Yitzak Zuckerman, a leader of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, made in his memoir. (It was always gratifying to find my mother’s seemingly erratic or harsh judgments seconded in the reliable testimonial literature.) Still shaking her head in disbelief, she would often recall how, after Jews in the ghetto used the most primitive implements or even bare hands to dig bunkers deep in the earth and conceal themselves, the Jewish police would reveal these hideouts to the Germans, sending their flesh-and-blood to the crematoria in order to save their own skins. One of the first acts of the ghetto resistance was to kill an officer in the Jewish police. On a sign posted next to his corpse — my mother would recall with vengeful glee — read the epitaph: “Those who live like a dog die like a dog.” Still, if she didn’t cross fundamental moral boundaries, I glimpsed from her manner of pushing and shoving in order to get to the head of a queue, which mortified me, how my mother must have fought Hobbes’s war of all against all many a time in the camps. Really, how else would she have survived? (www.NormanFinkelstein.com, “Haunted House”)
According to Dershowitz,
“Finkelstein even doubted his own mother’s denial that she was a kapo,” and
“any fair-minded and unbiased reader will come to the conclusion” from what I wrote.
In addition, Dershowitz writes that Professor Plaut
“drew his own conclusions from Finkelstein’s own words.” Plaut wrote that
“Dershowitz recently revealed that Finkelstein’s mother was in fact a collaborator with German Nazis during the war.”
Those wanting to express an opinion regarding Professor Dershowitz’s mental poise and competence to Dean Elena Kagan of Harvard Law School should write: EKagan[at]law.harvard.edu.
Should you want to post your letter on my web site, please cc it to: NormanGF[at]hotmail.com
Sent : Friday, June 15, 2007 12:23 PM
Subject : Fwd: Tenure Denial / Alan Dershowitz
Philippe writing. I have been silent, but last Friday’s news has been
on my mind every day over the past week. I have thought about it so
much. Even before the decision came through on June 8, I was thinking
about you all the time, and wondering when the answer would come
through, and what it would be. I believed you were going to get
tenure, in spite of everything. I listened two times to your
excellent radio interview with Chicago Public Radio on the June 1967
War (recorded June 6, before the tenure decision) and for a brief
portion at the end of the show you described what your last year has
been like. You said “People have no idea…” and you paused. You
paused for a very, very long time and it broke my heart. I know I
will never have either your courage or your integrity but at least I
have the sense enough as a person to see those beautiful things in
you. You know how many people out there, how many, many people, know
how special you are. On the other hand I remember when I ran the NYC
marathon, the crowds, while their energy and cheers and support meant
a lot, it didn’t change the fact that I was running the race on my own
and the pain was still there, everyone in this life it seems is
ultimately alone in their own struggle.
These disgusting ugly people have upped the ante. I see on your
website that on June 12 (my birthday) a guy named Jim wrote to you and
said “I read the bad news yesterday. I was very upset. Maybe I am
just a lawyer, but I say, sue them.” I didn’t write that message, but
I tell you Norman I agree with him. I think you should sue them, or
otherwise fight this decision to the very end, and no matter what the
prospects are for victory, force them at the very least to stand up
and repeat their lies publicly, in all their shame, for everyone to
see and hear.
Date: Jun 15, 2007 5:33 PM
Subject: Tenure Denial / Alan Dershowitz
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Dear Dean Elena Kagan and President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider,
My grandmother, Adriana Hagenaar, is a survivor of the Nazi
concentration camps. Something she read recently upset her deeply-
Alan Dershowitz suggested that the late mother of Norman Finkelstein
(with whom Dershowitz has been feuding) had been a kapo in Maidanek.
My grandmother is extremely sharp, lucid, fiercely political, and
exceptionally independent- she still lives alone in her apartment in
New York, and still flies to Europe without assistance of any kind.
She is currently in Hamburg Germany, visiting one of her grandsons.
Before leaving New York for Europe, Adriana wrote a letter to Alan
Dershowitz. Here is my grandmother’s actual correspondence with Alan
From: Adriana Hagenaar
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2007 12:38:26
To: Alan Dershowitz firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Letter from a camp survivor
Dear Mr. Dershowitz,
My name is Adriana Hagenaar. I am an American, and a New Yorker.
During World War II, I was an active member of the Dutch Resistance.
I was eventually captured by the Nazis and survived 2 years in various
concentration camps. Close to the War’s end I was imprisoned in a
German concentration camp at Salzwedel, west of the Elbe, in the
Saxony-Anhalt district; I was liberated by the US Army’s 84th Infantry
In your book, “The Case for Peace,” you write the following:
Finkelstein even doubted his own mother’s denial that she was a kapo,
asking whether her frequent statements that “the best didn’t survive”
constituted “an indirect admission of guilt?” The most he was willing
to do was “assume” that his mother answered him “truthfully.” But he
questioned even that assumption: “Still, if she didn’t cross
fundamental moral boundaries, I glimpsed from her manner of pushing
and shoving in order to get to the head of a queue, which mortified
me… Really, how else would she have survived?”
I was shocked that the child of a survivor would say such things about
a parent, or any family member- that they suspect that family member
of having been a kapo. I spoke with my daughter about this. My
daughter didn’t buy Finkelstein’s book but she did give me a print out
from the internet showing exactly what Finkelstein wrote.
It turns out that in your quotation Mr. Dershowitz, you have removed
some words, and replaced those missing words with ellipses.
The missing words are:
“how my mother must have fought Hobbes’s war of all against all many a
time in the camps.”
By removing those words and replacing them with the ellipses, you have
changed the meaning of Finkelstein’s statements. Your quotation
suggests that Finkelstein is saying that his mother had to have been a
kapo in order to survive. But when the missing words are put back in,
it’s clear that what he was actually saying was that she had to have
“fought Hobbe’s war of all against all” in order to survive.
Being a kapo- and fighting Hobbe’s war of all against all- are two
In the camps one of course fought Hobbe’s war of all against all in
order to survive, this is understood.
The kapos on the other hand were only a tiny minority of the prison
population- they were the shameless traitors, the collaborators, the
most wretched vicious scoundrels!
One did not need to be a kapo in order to survive; I was NOT a kapo; I
survived- thanks to the US Army.
More importantly, saying that someone fought Hobbe’s war of all
against all IS NOT THE SAME THING as saying that someone was a kapo.
I repeat: saying that someone fought Hobbe’s war of all against all IS
NOT THE SAME THING as saying that someone was a kapo. AND YOU KNOW
THAT, Mr. Dershowitz.
By removing those critical words, you radically changed the meaning of
Finkelstein’s remarks, deliberately making the paragraph, for a
survivor like me, shocking and unfathomable.
(1) Do you have any idea what it would mean to a survivor, like me, to
be accused of having been a kapo?
(2) Is it not fundamentally immoral to say such a thing about someone
who is no longer alive to defend him or herself from the charge, when
there is no evidence to support such an accusation?
(3) Do you believe your quarrel with Mr. Finkelstein (and I am not
concerned about Mr. Finkelstein, I am concerned with his late mother,
who survived the camps, just as I survived the camps) gives you the
right to deliberately and radically distort something that Finkelstein
said, when it relates to an issue so extremely serious, not just for
survivors like myself, but for those who didn’t survive, and for the
relatives of the victims?
These are not rhetorical questions. I am a living survivor, and I
want formal answers. Absent a formal response I intend to take this
up not only with Harvard’s administration but also with local Jewish
groups and survivors’ groups here in New York and in The Netherlands.
Re: Letter from a camp survivor
From: Alan Dershowitz email@example.com
Sent: Wed 6/06/07 1:05 PM
To: Adriana Hagenaar
I believe that the context suggests that he believed is mother may
collaborated. His mother also doubted that people (like you)who
claimed to be suvivers actually were. He quotes his mothe as saying
that if everyone who claims to be a suriver really was one than who
did hitler kill. He has also questioned the accounts of survivors like
elie wiesel and argued against compensation for survivors. All this
leads me to belive he was questioning his mothers deniel of complicty.
If you read I’d differently so be it. Why do you care about muy
reading unless you and or uyou daughter support finkelsteins bigotry
Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless
Re: Letter from a camp survivor
From: Alan Dershowitz firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Wed 6/06/07 1:11 PM
To: Adriana Hagenaar
By the way I took out the hobbes reference because most readers would
not understand it
Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless
Dean Kagan and President Rev. Holtschneider, in 1954 a one-time graduate of the Harvard Law School, Mr. Joseph Welch, told Senator Joseph McCarthy, “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really
gauged your cruelty or your recklessness… Let us not assassinate
this lad further, Senator… You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of
decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”
Alan Dershowitz’s false and outrageous accusations, and his callous
and disrespectful response (spelling and grammar mistakes littered
throughout) to my grandmother’s letter (which she spent a great deal
of time developing, and which turned into an entire family episode and
emotional event), illustrate very well Dershowitz’s capacity for
cruelty, recklessness, indecency, and shameless character
Dean Kagan, Alan Dershowitz is a high profile professor at Harvard
University; he has engaged publicly in vicious, outrageous behavior,
apparently with no comment or censure whatsoever from you or from
anyone in the Harvard administration. My grandmother Adriana is a
camp survivor; if today, or worse, if years in the future, after her
death, someone writes that my grandmother Adriana was a kapo, I simply
cannot imagine what I would do. Please Dean Kagan, just think if
someone were to say the most vicious, horrendous thing about you, or
about a member of your family- now multiply that insult by one
thousand- then imagine that this insult or accusation is coordinated
around the most abominably painful experience you or that family
member had ever endured- and finally, that the entire accusation is
based on a deliberate falsification of evidence. Dean Kagan, won’t
you please censure him? If you will not censure him, will you please
let me know why you will not censure him, based upon the facts and
correspondence I have presented?
President Rev. Holtschneider, it is shocking to me that input and
pressure from this scandalous Alan Dershowitz actually helped deny a
professor at your university the tenure he deserved. I am speaking of
Norman Finkelstein- the same Norman Finkelstein that the most
respected Holocaust historian in the entire world, Raul Hilberg, was
referring to when he said of Finkelstein recently: “So I would say
that his place in the whole history of writing history is assured, and
that those who in the end are proven right triumph, and he will be
among those who will have triumphed, albeit, it so seems, at great
cost.” This is what Raul Hilberg said about Norman Finkelstein. Can
either of you imagine anyone possessing even a remote fraction of
Hilberg’s monumental stature ever saying anything so stirring about
President Rev. Holtschneider, when someone of Raul Hilberg’s stature
heaps praise upon a professor’s work and upon his character (“it takes
an enormous amount of academic courage to speak the truth when no one
else is out there to support him”), and the DePaul Board on Promotion
and Tenure denies that professor tenure, you have the power and the
right to make the final decision. You have said that “I find no
compelling reasons here to overturn the UBPT’s decision.” I am
writing to ask you now, President Rev. Holtschneider, to please think
about the correspondence between Adriana Hagenaar and Alan Dershowitz,
and then reconsider your decision to not overturn the UBPT decision.
You can tell me that neither your decision nor the UBPT decision were
based on Dershowitz’s interference- but it is obvious to the entire
world that Alan Dershowitz exerted a considerable and negative
influence, whether such interference and lobbying was “welcome” or
not. I ask you President Rev. Holtschneider, to please reflect on
what kind of a person Mr. Dershowitz really is. Also consider that
Dershowitz, in spite of his “deliberately hurtful,” “inflammatory,”
“ad hominem,” “unprofessional personal attacks” (using terminology
from your letter to Norman Finkelstein), has enjoyed tenure at Harvard
for years- isn’t that correct? If Dershowitz was, and remains worthy
of tenure at Harvard, how then can Finkelstein be so unworthy of
tenure at DePaul? President Rev. Holtschneider, having learned now
about the character of the outside individual who spearheaded the
anti-tenure campaign, and the kind of behavior that he engages in-
falsification, distortion and outright character assassination- I
deeply hope you will reconsider the UBPT decision.
Dean Kagan and President Rev. Holtschneider, I know that you both
occupy important positions, and I congratulate you on the success you
have earned for yourselves. My grandmother never achieved such
professional success; however, she lived through times of high stakes
and great danger; for her, the consequences of taking a principled
stand meant Nazi prison camps, yet she took that principled stand, and
she has never shown any regrets. For you two, the consequences of
taking a principled stand- censuring Dershowitz, Dean Kagan- and
reconsidering the UBPT decision, President Holtschneider- will not be
nearly so severe. I sincerely hope that each of you will pause for
just a moment now, and quietly think- and then make the difficult
choice, but the right decision, sending out a powerful message of
professional and personal commitment to decency and reason.
I look forward to responses from each of you.
Subject: Re: Dershowitz should admit his assertion, apologize and retract the assertion
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 11:00:34 -0800
Dear Dean Kagan:
I write to condemn Alan Dershowitz’s unspeakably vulgar ad hominem attack on Norman Finkelstein’s family. The whole “Finkelstein admits his mother was probably a Nazi kapo, but you didn’t hear it from me” line of argument from Dershowitz is about as low as one can imagine argument getting, given that it is clearly not a plausible inference from the text he cites (this is a professor, after all, there should be a some relationship between data and inference). And then to say, as Dershowitz does, that it wasn’t he who said it but his victim..! This is, at the least, utterly unworthy of the scholarship of a great university, if not quite the academic version of the rapist saying the victim asked for it. Goebbels, I am ashamed to say, would probably be impressed. And Mr. Dershowitz should be ashamed to pretend he found in Mr. Finkelstein’s text what he projects there.
Dershowitz perhaps is playing a “good” (in the sense of effective) lawyer here: he may or may not have the facts about the Israel-Palestine debate (that is not the point I am here concerned with), but he acts as if he doesn’t have the facts by arguing the man. Then Dershowitz says the man implied something awful when he did not, then says he wasn’t the one who said it, the man revealed it himself! ‘Don’t look at me, I’m just reporting the facts as I see them.’ A freshman would have his work returned to him.
Dershowitz in once place says (I paraphrase) that If Finkelstein weren’t Jewish, his arguments would be recognized as a right wing screed, castigated and thrown aside. And yet to call the son of holocaust survivors the child of murderous Nazi collaborators in order to undermine his argument is also only possible because Dershowitz is Jewish. Were he a gentile, the whole world would be ridiculing your institution as well as shunning him. You would certainly have something to say about it then, and so you should now.
Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan
Dear Prof Kagan,
When I was doing some research on East Timor in the late eighties/early
nineties in reaction to what I had discovered had happened in West Papua and East Timor,
the one thing I discovered was that the person to believe was the person with
the accurate recollections. Vague recollections, vaguer explanations, even vaguer excuses were the mark of the charlatan. (If you care to investigate the
fascinating field of scientific quackery, you will find exactly the same
phenomenon – real scientists make accurate and testable, ergo falsifiable, predictions and statements, while the quacks have rather vaguer statements and
I rediscovered that the first time I opened a book published by the PLO in
Beirut in the 1970s, and concluded that everything I had learnt from the
Zionists about Israel’s foundation was utter (censored).
Now I find this well-respected Harvard University has a Law Professor, Alan
Dershowitz, in a dispute with a Political Science lecturer, Norman G.
Finkelstein; and the Political Science lecturer has the details precise and to
hand. While the Law Professor rolls around in the dirt like a two-year-old
calling dirty names.
And what is worse, you have taken the time to give this Law Professor time and
space on your prestigious web site. Incomplete with messed-up recollections of
having vaguely read in said Political Science lecturer’s notes on his web site,
details about his mother, a survivor of the Majdanek Death Camp.
Have you no self-respect? No respect for the art and science of law? Details, details, details – didn’t your own law professors drum that into you as a
I think you owe Norman G. Finkelstein a full and public apology at the very least.
From: “R. C. Olwen” prochoice8[at]hotmail.com
Subject: settling accounts
Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2006 16:53:39 +0000
saturday I had a deja vú- experience, and thanks to your slandering
Mr. Norman Finkelstein’s mother Maryla Husyt Finkelstein, it had a
better ending. When I was upset that you got Claus von Bülow out of
the jail he belongs in, I was chastised for fearing you would effect
the American legal system to become as womanhating as the German
one. People demanded from me to side with the brute- because he was
German – and you were not to be criticised because of being born
Jewish!!!!! Last year, with Denmark an ally in the Stupid War, and
Danish soldiers accused of torture just like American ones, I chored
the first point against warmongers by pointing out that the pilots,
who refused to shoot rockets on densely populated Palestinian
neighborhoods, are also Jewish.
And now, directing several Danes and Germans to your website (and
translating it into Danish for those with a rusty school English), I
could make my point that it´s all about warmongering, and nothing
else. For that you use everything and everyone, including a Jewish
woman, who survived the Holocaust, and disregard the conclusions she
drew from her experiences. I have never, do not and will never accept any justification for
war, and your way of “quoting” provides me with perfect arguments.
Thank you, and go on to undo every damage you have ever done!
Rune C. Olwen, Flensburg (Danish-German Border Region)
CC: dersh[at]law.harvard.edu, NormanGF[at]hotmail.com
Subject: Prof. Dershowitz is degrading Harward !
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 20:32:19 -0800 (PST)
Dear Professor Kagan,
I am a 31 year old man born and raised in India.
While growing up, my family and my teachers always explained me the importance of higher education. They explained me how these respectable institutions build and improve the structure of a society.
While doing my Graduation I came to know about a university known as Harward. I used to go to American Center in New Delhi and dreamt of some day getting to harward. For financial and other reasons I never made it.
But then I did my Masters in India and came to USA for work. I became interested in the world events and began to pursue the quest to find the truth behind all the suferring and deaths in the world.
I started visiting a local library and started reading books about Plaestine problem as well.
The more I read the more I got confused about who is right and who is wrong here.
I started watching various debates which provided me some prespective.
One day I stumbled on a debate between Prof. Finkelstein vs Prof. Dershowitz and anybody who would have seen the debate would realize the falsification of the facts which Prof. Dershowitz had cooked. It didn’t surprise me much that this person had cooked some facts and presented in his book (as its commonly done by people with less credentials to create some stir in the intellectual circles or just to prove a point based upon lies) But When I came to know that this Gentleman is from Harward, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that Harward would allow such a person to go out and print such low level material.
But anyways, I was not sure if Harvard had any control on the books which Prof. Dershowitz writes but I was sad when it became clear that Harward somehow
was supporting his cheap and personal attacks on Prof. Finklestein’s desceased mother who herself is a Holocaust surviver, when it actually allowed Prof. Dershowitz to print his completely false deductions on harward’s website.
I have a deep respect for this University and I would request you Professor. Elena Kagan to ask this Gentleman (who doesn’t really deserve to be called a Gentleman) to apologies to Prof. Finkelstein and in future try and behave respectfully, if not for himself, for this great University.
From: Shawn Ashworth mosaic70[at]yahoo.com
Subject: Harvard’s Moral Standard
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 19:09:28 -0800 (PST)
Dear Professor Kagan
I really used to hold Harvard in
high esteem, but it is sorry to witness such a low
moral standard of the faculty members like Dershowitz.
I wonder what would students learn from him? What
would be their moral standard, and what about ethics
of working with honesty and for truth and justice?
Mr.Dershowitz can not even lose with dignity, his
conduct is pitiful and a disgrace to whole academia in
general and Harvard in particular (I wonder if such
conduct is promoted at Harvard). If you have moral
courage, you will make Dershowitz send a written
apology to Dr. Finkelstein for what Dershowitz
said/wrote/published about Dr. Finkelstein’s mother.
I think Dr. Chomsky best described Dershowitz, and I
“Turning to Dershowitz….. Again, he knows that he
can’t respond to what I say. He doesn’t have the
knowledge or the competence to deal with the issues.
Therefore, the idea is to try to shut it up by
throwing as much slime as you can. There’s a famous
story attributed to Sam Ervin, a conservative Senator,
who once said that as a young lawyer he had learned
that if the law is against you, concentrate on the
facts. If the facts are against you, concentrate on
the law. And if both the facts and the law are against
you, denounce your opposing counsel. Dershowitz is not
very bright, but he understands that much. If you
can’t answer on the facts and if you can’t answer on
the principles, you better throw dirt.”
From: PETER CHRISTIANSEN smi2le[at]sbcglobal.net
Subject: Professor Dershowitz’s mother was nazi collaborator?????
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 13:58:07 -0800 (PST)
I was astounded and appalled to read Professor Dershowitz’s claim that Professor Normal Finkelstein’s late mother was a nazi collaborator. To support this allegation, Professor Dershowitz cites an excerpt from Professor Finkelstein’s book that in fact says exactly the opposite of what Dershowitz claims. This attack on Professor Finkelstein’s late mother is not only false, it is mean spirited and cruel. To paraphrase attorney Joseph Welch, in his confrontation with Senator Joe McCarty, “Have you no decency left Professor Dershowitz?”
(Rev.) Peter H. Christiansen
Unitarian Universalist minister
From: “N J Makdesi” njm_1974[at]hotmail.com
To: ders[at]law.harvard.edu, EKagan[at]law.harvard.edu
Subject: Maryla Finkelstein
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 17:20:58 +0000
One of the first lessons I recall as a student, was that during a
discussion or disagreement, it is valid to totally disrespect your
However, it was repeatedly emphasised that at no point does one
attack the individual during the course of discussion or
disagreement . What you have done is not only attacked Professor
Finkelstein but attacked and smeared the name of a dead woman who
deserves to be respected and acknowledged as a holocaust survivor.
If I understood this lesson as a child I am amazed that you, with
your much vaunted academic credentials , have yet to do so!
There are certain rules of conduct and morals that one would think
we all instinctively abide by, but in your case you have sunken to
new depths by your unsubstantiated claim. Having just viewed a
debate between yourself and Finkelstein, I may have not necessarily
agreed with many of your views but I acknowledge you as an
individual with the right to form and express an opinion.
How can the bridges be built between Arabs and Israeli even begin
when people like you set such an appalling moral standard?
How can an institution such as Harvard not challenge such a
dangerous and cowardly remark?
An apology to Professor Finkelstein and his family has to be made.
From: Seth Kulick skulick[at]seas.upenn.edu
CC: EKagan[at]law.harvard.edu, NormanGF[at]hotmail.com
Subject: mail for Alan Dershowitz
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 13:03:35 -0500
I am writing to comment on your characterization of what Norman
Finkelstein writes in his piece “Haunted House”. You write:
Finkelstein even doubted his own mother’s denial that she was a kapo,
asking whether her frequent statements that “the best didn’t survive”
constituted “an indirect admission of guilt?” The most he was willing to do was
“assume” that his mother answered him “truthfully.” But he questioned even that
assumption: “Still, if she didn’t cross fundamental moral boundaries, I glimpsed
from her manner of pushing and shoving in order to get to the head of a queue,
which mortified me. . . . Really, how else would she have survived?” (p. 174)
I know that you have received letters about this, and in response you
have repeated what you wrote in your book, adding that “any fair-minded and
unbiased reader will come to the conclusion that this is an accurate
and fair interpretation of what Finkelstein himself wrote.”
It is not, and, while I can hardly believe I need to do this, I will
explain why it is not. I will focus solely on the paragraph in question,
although I found the rest of his piece “Haunted House” quite moving in
Finkelstein’s depiction of what his parents went through.
The question about “an indirect admission of guilt?” comes in the
beginning of the paragraph. After that, Finkelstein recalls asking her “whether she
had done anything of which she was ashamed”. There is then a recounting of
how she felt about the kapos and collaborators, and Finkelstein says, based
on such comments that “I assume my mother answered me truthfully”.
Finkelstein’s “asking whether her frequent statements that `the best
didn’t survive’ constituted ‘an indirect admission of guilt'” WAS NOT IN
RESPONSE TO HIS MOTHER’S DENIAL THAT SHE WAS A KAPO, CONTRARY TO WHAT YOU WROTE.
And he did not question that assumption – he specifically says, in a sentence
which you partially quote, “Still, if she didn’t cross fundamental moral
boundaries, I glimpsed from her manner of pushing and shoving in order to get to
the head of a queue, which mortified me, how my mother must have fought a
Hobbes’s war of all against all many a time in the camps. Really, how else would
she have survived?” Again, I don’t think I actually need to explain this,
but Finkelstein explicitly does not doubt that his mother “didn’t cross
fundamental moral boundaries”, but had to fight a “war of all against
all”, pushing and shoving in lines, and so on. That is not the same thing as
being a collaborator, which truly would have been crossing “a fundamental
Mr. Dershowitz, I have to say, it was somewhat degrading to have to go
through that, but you seem to have difficulty accurately summarizing
what Finkelstein says. There is unfortunately another example of this in
the very same chapter of your book which has the comments on Finkelstein’s
mother. You write:
“When Noam Chomsky learned of the Peters book, he became outraged
Chomsky telephoned Finkelstein, then a graduate student already notorious for the virulence of his anti-Zionism, and directed him to expose the book as a fraud. According to Finkelstein’s own account, Chomsky told
him that “if I go through the book more carefully, [Id] probably
discover that the whole thing is a fraud.…. (p. 176)
Reference 64 is to:
Norman Finkelstein, “Is Criticism of Israel Anti-Semitic”, public forum at the Vancouver Public Library, May 15, 2005, accessible at
I was curious about this, so I took a listen. It directly contradicts
your account. Finkelstein very clearly says that he came across the
Peters book on his own, found the flaws in it, wrote up what he had found and
sent it to 25 people (part 1, 11:20). One of the 25, Chomsky, responded and
called him. At that point, Chomsky told him that if he read it further he
would find more evidence of fraud. This is exactly the opposite of the
impression you give of Chomsky directing Finkelstein “to expose Peters’ book as a
fraud”. (And this account is corroborated in Chomsky’s Understanding
Power, pp. 244-248.)
Whatever you may think of Finkelstein and his views, your false comment
that he “even doubted his own mother’s denial that she was a kapo” must
set some sort of new low. It is simply beyond me how anybody who cares
about what happened in the camps could treat this topic as a cheap way to
smear a political opponent. The decent thing to do is to withdraw your
charactization of what Finkelstein wrote, and issue an apology.
From: “Weinberg, James L.” JWeinberg[at]ReedSmith.com
Subject: Alan Dershowitz
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 21:43:53 -0500
I have only recently become aware of the controversy surrounding Alan Dershowitz’s characterization of Norman Finkelstein’s memoir. It is readily apparent that Mr. Dershowitz has intentionally and maliciously misrepresented the passages in question. His cavalier and arrogant attempts to avoid responsibility for his misrepresentations only enhance the impression that he will do and say anything -no matter how cruel or untrue- to besmirch Finkelstein. It would seem a reprimand, at a minimum, is required.
Subject: Academic Integrity
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2006 03:54:01 +0000
I find it absolutely shameful and repugnant that one who has
attained your level of accomplishments and notoriety would engage in
a smear campaign against the dead. It is one thing to have
disagreements with Prof. Finkelstein concerning his findings and
critiquing of your work, but to draw the conclusion from Prof.
Finkelstein’s writings that he thought or believed his mother to be
a Nazi collaborator; then continuing to propagate your belief to
influence the masses, speaks volumes about your character and
non-existent standard of morality.
The words that come out of a man’s mouth reveals that which is in
his heart. In your attempt to justify the wrongs that are committed
in the interests of power, you have met one who, in challenging your
authority and academic credibility, revealed the empty shell that
lies behind all your achievements. In your attempt to discredit
Prof. Finkelstein and silence his voice, you yourself, Mr.
Dershowitz, have become the very Nazi collaborator you claim Maryla
Finkelstein to have been. In your marginalizing of Maryla
Finkelstein’s suffering, you have marginalized the suffering and
deaths of all the Holocaust victims. You, Mr. Dershowitz, have taken
on the mantle of being everything you accuse Prof. Finkelstein to
be; a holocaust denier, the self-hating Jew, the anti-semite, and a
traitor to your people.
Mr. Dershowitz, you should remove your statement about Maryla
Finkelstein from your Harvard website, and have your works, as well
as Prof. Finkelstein’s judged based on their academic merits, and
not by a smear campaign.
Shame on Harvard.
From: “Dave Flouton” flouton5[at]comcast.net
Subject: duplicitous dershowitz
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 07:27:57 -0500
I have followed loosely over time the controversy between Norman Finkelstein and Alan Dershowitz et al. I have come to the opinion that Dershowitz and Harvard Law are on the low road and Finkelstein is on the high road. Why would any respectable university employ the sorry spectacle that Dershowitz has become? Why would any respectable law school use its web page to promulgate falsehoods? It’s obvious that Dershowitz is a plagiarist and it’s obvious that Dershowitz is despicable in his attempts to falsely portray Finkelstein’s late mother.
From: “Karim K” karimguy[at]hotmail.com
To: EKagan[at]law.harvard.edu, normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: Ridiculous response
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 21:15:30 +0300
Dear Professor Kagan
I and several people have written to you, complaining about the misuse of an excerpt off Mr. Finkelsteins memoir by Alan Dershowitz. Mr. Dershowitz has now responded to these complains in a formal letter, proving once and for all that he suffers severely from megalomania. He points to the excerpt, intending to prove that it is open to subjective interpretation and that it is Finkelsteins fault that he has not removed it from his official webpage. This is insulting to the intelligence and sensibilities of every reader following this feud, since what Mr. Finkelstein has said about his late mother clearly has absolutely no resemblance to what Dershowitz claims it does. Only a ruthless and extremely biased reader, clearly fitting Dershowitzes profile, could possible interpret it as claiming the late Maryla Finkelstein to have been a kapo. In the response he also claims that Steven Plaut was not inspired by the falsehood that he has circulated. This is a ridiculous defense, since Plaut readily (and stupidly) admits otherwise. It seems that Mr. Dershowitz academic position has put him in a place, or so he thinks, of invincibility. There seem to be absolutely no consequences to his derogatory actions and defamations. I hope that you will take actions against these cruel allegations of him, clearly unbefitting the good name of academic institution such as Harvard.
From: “Maren Hackmann” marenhackmann[at]hotmail.com
Subject: Survivor of the Nazi holocaust slandered on your website after her death
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2006 15:21:55 +0100
As you will be able to tell from Prof. Norman G. Finkelstein’s excerpt
of his forthcoming political memoir, “Haunted House” (available at
www.NormanFinkelstein.com), his late mother, who survived the Warsaw ghetto,
Maidanek concentration camp, and two slave-labor camps, was everything BUT a
Yet Prof. Dershowitz, in an official statement on Harvard Law School’s
website, writes: “[Finkelstein] suspects his own mother of being a kapo and
cooperating with the Nazis during the Holocaust.”
Kindly inform Prof. Dershowitz that he has committed an egregious slander and
that you cannot tolerate flat-out lies on Harvard Law School’s official website.
In fact, if you have any decency, you will not only see to it that this
particularly disgusting and absurd claim be removed instantly from Harvard Law
School’s website, but also inform Prof. Dershowitz that the full statement, in
its present form, is unacceptable. Challenge Prof. Dershowitz to come up with
something truthful instead. Should he fail to do so, as can be expected, have
him move on. It is totally beyond me how a leading university (indeed any place
of learning) can tolerate a professor with such a long history of both stupidly
misunderstanding and willfully misrepresenting sources, on its faculty, and be
proud of him no less.
I was going to express my opinion to Prof. Dershowitz as well, but find it
physically impossible to even address him. Kindly inform him of my opinion for
You go too far by dragging Norman Finkelstein’s mother into your personal feud with Professor Finkelstein.
I remember watching the debate between you and Finkelstein on “Democracy Now”, and I recall at one point your saying to Professor Finkelstein that in a debate between reasonable people, one should refrain from ad hominem attacks. In the dialogue that has followed that debate, you have broken your own “rules” too many times to count. You have attacked Finkelstein not on a basis of his arguments, which are quite valid, but instead have tried your best to soil his name with with petty name-calling repeated ad nauseam, hoping, I surmise, that repetition will make your claims stronger.
He has exposed huge holes in the thesis of your book, he has shown in the very least that your academic research methods are highly questionable, and has demonstrated with supporting evidence that your contributions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue are basically void. You tried to block “Beyond Chutzpah”, you have hysterically tried to tear down his credibility, and what you fail to realize is that with all of your actions, you have effectively heaped shame on YOUR name and your position.
Professor Dershowitz, you have now sunk to an all-time low with your comments concerning his mother. Your actions are despicable. Since I do not comprehend your moral perpective, I’ll try my best to explain why your comments are morally reprehensible. Professor Finkelstein can defend himself against your ad hominem attacks and your pathetically-argued points. His dead mother cannot defend her name, which you assaulted in a cowardly manner. A person should be judged by their actions, and not by the number of degrees they possess, or the number of books they have written.
From: Evan Siegel evan_j_siegel[at]yahoo.com
To: dersh[at]law.harvard.edu, EKagan[at]law.harvard.edu
Subject: Norman Finkelstein
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2006 13:46:28 -0800 (PST)
Mr. Dershowitz and Ms. Kagan,
I find Alan Dershowitz’s vendetta against Norman Finkelstein, and particularly again his mother, appalling. Dershowitz doesn’t seem to be aware of how he is scandalizing himself in public.
It baffles me that the Harvard Law School has agreed to enable him by allowing him to post his slanderous and shameful attacks on its website.
From: Jeff Schneider trialofsocrates[at]yahoo.com
Subject: Maryla Finkelstein
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2006 12:44:50 -0800 (PST)
Dear Alan Dershowitz,
I find the accusations you made about Norman Finkelstein’s mother Maryla Husyt Finkelstein to be disgraceful. Based on what I have read, the entire dialog you have had with Dr. Finkelstein in print, I conclude that you are exactly what he claims you to be.
First, you must understand what you are commenting about, to state that Norman’s late mother Maryla is seen by him as a kapo is truly a savage attack. You are talking about a survivor of the most horrid conditions in a time when unprecedented mass insanity was running amok. I think your overblown ego allows you to equate your petty, fiction of an argument with a son’s deep feelings about his mother, what his mother endured, and what he is now doing academically to combat such violations to ever happen again in this world; you slander his valuable and important
contributions. Obviously, he focuses on Israel’s human rights violations as a current example of how humans can allow themselves to disregard peace and rather choose to slaughter for petty pride and insatiable greed. It seems you can’t understand this, because your pride apparently has been damaged (somewhere along the line) and it seems that your entire life has been a reactionary rage against that very basic problem that you cannot overcome on a personal level.
Second, by being so overly defensive, you fail to realize what you are advocating. Against the will of many Israelis, the majority of Israeli scholarship, and many American scholars (who have repeatedly exposed and refuted your falsehoods) you persist. You persist in advocating the basic, fundamental doctrine of those in the past who corrupted Zionism, those who sold it out and further those who choose ethnic cleansing, destruction etc. in
another context, that is the doctrinal foundation you are advocating. Also, you lobby for use of force in a situation you know nothing about and cannot measure the outcome in any way of what you ask others to do. Your ego, it is observed, assures you that you are not involved, but somehow you can say what those who are should do, even at the cost of their morality, their lives and the essentials of their faith. The Case for Peace is indeed doublespeak (not turn-speak mind you) and the claims you make about Finkelstein within are repugnant to say the least. In a nutshell, what you are doing is a true disservice to those who suffered in the Nazi Holocaust and it pains me to think that you are so low that you would attempt to disgrace the memory of a woman like Maryla Huyst Finkelstein, a person who (it seems to me) had courage in regard to truth, something you know nothing about. Also, I suggest you stop associating with Stalinist turncoats like
frontpagemag.com’s David Horowitz and his hateful minions, that you openly apologize to Dr. Finkelstein in person and in print, and you move back to dealing with smaller aberrations of truth such as the next OJ trial or whatever comes your way for the money/ego boost.
Last, please do not be upset by this, I hope you simply look in the mirror and ask yourself, honestly, if what this person (me) is saying has any truth to it, get beyond your pride, your ego, because I know if so many people were telling me the same thing, I would at least allow myself to ‘check myself before I wrecked myself’. It seems from hearing you speak on Democracy Now you have a built in guard that disallows this type of reflection and contemplation. It is not too late in your life to repair and it would be an asset to peace if you would begin reporting the truth rather than the obfuscation of the facts and the slimy attacks on an
honorable scholar’s deceased mother. Just try it, you have amends to make, begin with Dr. Finkelstein.
Jeffrey Alan Schneider
p.s. Your acting as the judge in Reversal of Fortune was great. I enjoyed that book and your role in the movie.
From: “Karim K” karimguy[at]hotmail.com
To: EKagan[at]law.harvard.edu, normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: Show some integrity
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2006 06:40:52 +0300
Dear Professor Kagan,
It is really sad that prestige and power seem to be far more important and far reaching then academic integrity. What should we for example make of the Felix Frankfurter Professor of law Alan Dershowitz calling the mother, a Holocaust surviror, of an esteemed scholar a Kapo and even worse; the Dean of Harvard Law permitting the awful slander to remain on the Harvard Law schools official webpage? I understand that Mr. Finkelstein contacted you and that you are therefore fully aware of the malicious lie that Professor Dershowitz has circulated in order to vilify Mr. Finkelstein. There can be no excuse not to remove this slander and prove Harvard a worthy institution. What does it say about an institution and its members when the mother of a scholar,who has obviously far less financial and legal assets then Professor Dershowitz, is slandered because of an academic feud? I ask you kindly to show some integrity and do what is decent.
From: Khadija Uddin khadijau[at]gmail.com
Subject: A note of revulsion
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2006 23:55:58 -0500
I would like to express the extreme disgust I registered upon reading your allegations that Norman Finkelstein’s mother was a Nazi collaborator. These are extremely serious, and false, not to mention morally disgusting and reprehensible allegations.
You have no right to allege such things without proof. You have no right to try to taint the legacy of Holocaust survivors, who endured Nazi concentration camps, in such a manner to achieve some cheap personal satisfaction from hurting their children. You owe an apology not only to Professor Finkelstein and relatives of the late Maryla Husyt Finkelstein, but to all Holocaust survivors and Jewish people everywhere for your outrageous and extremely offensive comments.
It is abosolutely disgusting that you would slander a woman who survived the Maidanek concentration camp and two slave labour camps, who lost her entire family to the Nazis, and accuse her of being a sympathiser with the people who exterminated all her loved ones! It is unbelievably callous and it could not be plainer that you have no basic sense of morality.
It seems that on top of plagiarizing essentially false work on Palestinians, while advocating for the destruction of their villages (populated by completely innocent civilians), who have taken it upon yourself to slander dead Holocaust and slave labour camp survivors as well. It seems there is almost no depth to which you would not sink to achieve whatever sick personal agendas you subscribe to.
I will be contacting the Harvard Law School Dean on this matter. It is absolutely atrocious that people like you, with your callous disregard for basic senses of right and wrong, are teaching at a university that proclaims itself (apparently falsely) to be the best in the world, with the best faculty. You are tainting this institution and it is inconceivable to me how you are taken seriously in academia.
From: Khadija Uddin khadijau[at]gmail.com
Subject: Regarding Professor Dershowitz’s recent comments
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 2006 00:14:53 -0500
To the Dean Elena Kagan,
I would like to express the extreme revulsion I registered upon reading Professor Dershowitz’s comments regarding Professor Norman Finkelstein’s parents, that he posted as an official comment on his website. It was unbelievably callous of the professor to allege that Maryla Husyt Finkelstein was a Nazi collaborator, especially in light of the facts that she survived the Maidanek concentration camp and two slave labour camps, and lost her entire family to the Holocaust. Alan Dershowitz’s comments come across as being absolutely disgusting, cheap, extremely offensive tactics to any person with a basic sense of human decency.
I was shocked that you allowed such a thing to be posted on the Harvard University website. I was shocked further still to discover that the comments have not been taken down promptly. I thus infer that it is indicative of the Harvard University policy not only to tolerate, but to facilitate slander and libel against innocent sufferers and survivors of the Holocaust. He undermines every positive perception people have of Harvard University as being a serious place to study and abandon ignorance.
It is disgusting that the university is not only treating a man like Alan Dershowitz, with the complete lack of moral character as Alan Dershowitz seriously, but is maintaining such a man in a teaching position, but is allowing him to post his vitriolic, baseless garbage on official website. This reflects badly on the entire university and particularly your office. He reflects badly on academia with his offensive statements.
Alan Dershowitz has in the past not only advocated for war crimes to be committed against innocent Palestinians, but has plagiarized others’ fraudulent work. It seems now, as he stoops to level the charge of Nazi collaboration on innocent female Holocaust survivors like Maryla Husyt Finkelstein, that there is no morally reprehensible statement that this man will not make.
If your office insists on maintaining a man of Alan Dershowitz’s caliber, which is not a compliment, as a professor at the very least I will implore you to reprimand him and remove the offensive posting from the website. This is the least you can do in the face of the indisputably terrible atrocity that was the Holocaust.
Alan Dershowitz should apologise to all relatives of the innocent woman Maryla Husyt Finkelstein, to all Holocaust survivors, and indeed to all Jewish people everywhere, although if he has as little integrity as he would need to have to make such a posting, I do not doubt that he will never make reparations for it.
From: “Karim K” karimguy[at]hotmail.com
To: dersh[at]law.harvard.edu, Normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: Where is your honor?
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 2006 06:35:59 +0300
Dear Mr. Dershowitz
During the academic feud between you and Mr. Finkelstein, you have obviously resorted to some legal tactics and also some written comments which are, to say the least, unscrupulous and dishonest. But by far the most repugnant and meanest thing you have done is to publicly defame the honorable memory of a Holocaust Survivor, namely the deceased mother of Mr. Finkelstein. Instead of limiting your attacks to the Academic value of Mr. Finkelsteins work, while also claiming to support civil liberties and the right of free speech, you have chosen a way in which to hurt him personally, defame his background and desecrate the memory of a loved person. You have obviously realized the value that Mr. Finkelstein places on the memory of his parents and the moral legitimacy and responsibility he draws out of their past. This makes your statements of him claiming his Mother to be a Capo even more repugnant. You claim to care for the well being of Jews and like Mr. Finkelstein claim to draw moral legitimacy out of the tragedy of the Holocaust, but this disrespect for a survivor betrays your alleged good intentions.
Do you ever think about the person you have become? Was there a point in your life when you would have shuddered at the mere thought of someday being the person you are now? If your mother is still alive is she proud of what you are? If she is dead would she be? How would you like someone to openly call your mother a whore, never mind a Capo? You have obviously won quite a lot in your life, forgetting how it feels to loose. Well, now you are loosing. You are loosing your reputation; you are loosing an academic feud and worst of all you are loosing what is left of your honor. I suggest publicly apologizing to Mr. Finkelstein and stating what a lousy thing it was to claim something so mean.You don’t have to do it for him, do it for what is left of your self respect… do it for the memory of six million murdered Jews.
From: Shirley Ranz shranz[at]earthlink.net
Subject: Maryla Huyst Finkelstein
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2006 19:57:06 -0500
My Brother is exactly right. No matter what you think of him and his views on the Middle East, keep my mother out of it.
You are lucky she is no longer with us, because even at the age of eighty six , she would have kicked your touchas and would not have needed a Garrison Belt or single edge razor blades to do it. My mom had no use for appeasers and collaborators like you.
From: “Tanweer Akram”
To: dersh[at]law.harvard.edu, EKagan[at]law.harvard.edu
Subject: Mr. Dershowitz’s statement regarding Prof. Finkelstein’s late mother
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2006 20:40:55 -0500
Dear Mr. Dershowitz and Dean Kagan:
I am horrified to learn what Havard Law School teacher Mr. Dershowitz wrote regarding Professor Norman Finkelstein’s view of his mother. Mr. Dershowitz & Co., wrote that
“[h]e suspects his own mother of being a kapo and cooperating with the Nazis during the Holocaust.” This completely untrue.
I am sure that that Mr. Dershowitz & Co., know Professor Finkelstein has enormous respect for his mother and that his moral persuation has been largely shaped by the legacy of his parents, both of whom were surviors of the Nazi holocaust. His intellectual work has been guided by the values that his late parents taught him. That why’s I am horrified and shocked at Mr. Dershowitz’s & Co., grostesque and shameful and indeed shameless distortion. It is an insult to Prof. Finkelstein late mother and to Professor Finkelstein.
I urge Mr. Dershowitz & Co., therefore, to offer a public apology to Professor Finkelstein Norman for making such a malignant statement about him as well as his late mother. As one should know, the Nazis or various apologists for dictators and violence are great liars. It is rather unbecoming of a well known lawyer to engage in a malicious lie worthy of the Nazis.
If one is caught lying, the honorable thing is to apologize for lying and ask for forgiveness and perhaps even provide compensation of the damages. I urge, thus, Mr. Dershowitz & Co., to follow the most ethical course of action, rather than engage in even more lying. It would be rather apt to describe someone who has deliberately distorted and misrepresented what Professor Finkelstein wrote about his late mother as a bloody liar of the highest order.
I realize that ethical standards at Harvard often fall short, but surely Dean Kagan ought to realize what Mr. Dershowitz & Co., have said about Professor Finkelstein is unethical and shameful. If Harvard still has some standards, I would urge Dean Kagan to investigate this rather shameful antic on the part of Mr. Dershowitz & Co. I would in particularly ask Dean Kagan to reflect on whether this is the sort of moral standard that one would want the country’s best and brighest future lawyers to emulate.
Tanweer Akram, PhD
From: Sanjeev Mahajan smahajan[at]sbcglobal.net
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2006 15:04:32 -0800 (PST)
Dear Prof. Kagan,
I am quite appalled that a repellent fraud such as Alan Dershowitz – whose
scandalous “scholarship” has been copiously and indefatiguably documented
by Norman Finkelstein – can get away with calling late Maryla Husyt Finkelstein(
a holocaust survivor) a kapo. It is even more lamentable that he is a prominent
member of your faculty, and Harvard law school does not consider it worthwhile
to admonish him for shamelessly calumniating against someone who
suffered during the holocaust. Even Harvard must have some standards,
and I urge you to take appropriate action against Dershowitz.