Tuesday, December 9, 2014


By Emery Barcs 1969-8-26

In early September, 1931, a terrible railway disaster in Hungary sparked off a political vendetta and two innocent men were hanged.

On February 27, 1933. the capture of an imbecile young Dutchman at the scene of a fire gave Hitler the excuse to grab power in Germany.

On December 1, 1934, a young Communist shot dead a leading Party member and Joseph Stalin used it as a pretext to start the terrible purges in which hundreds of thousands perished and millions more became slaves.

On the night of November 9, 1938, the Nazis killed and imprisoned thousands of German Jews and burned hundreds of synagogues -- all because of a senseless murder in Paris two days earlier.

These are a few examples of how individual terrorist acts -- or even common crimes -- can serve as excuses for political retaliation against innocent people.

They are worth remembering when one considers the burning last week of the El Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.  Sheer logic suggests that if conspirators were responsible for the disaster they did not act on behalf of any open or secret Israeli Government organisation.

The Israeli Government would have been mad to supply the necessary catalyst for both Arab fury and (still incomplete) unity by masterminding the destruction of one of the holiest Moslem places.

Unfortunately, however, the examples previously mentioned show how situations like this can get out of hand -- or be used to somebody's advantage.

Perhaps one of the most bizarre took place in Hungary in 1931 against two secret Communist leaders: Sallai and Fuerst.


Early in September, 1931, a viaduct near the village of Biatorbagy, on the main Budapest-Vienna railway line, collapsed as a passenger train was crossing.  Dozens of people died and scores were injured.  Subsequent investigations proved that sabotage caused the catastrophe. The viaduct had been dynamited.

But who could have committed such a crime? And for what purpose?
Nobody knew, but about that time the political police had been informed that the underground Communist Party (outlawed in the country since the collapse of Bela Kun's Red regime in 1919) was expecting important emissaries from the Comintern.

This was the Russian organisation established in 1919 to give Communists world leadership of the socialist movement. It was dissolved in 1943 to reassure Stalin's World War II allies).

The jumpy Horthy regime of Hungary, convinced that the explosion at Biatorbagy was a signal for a Communist uprising, declared martial law.  The political police arrested the two Comintern envoys -- Sallai and Fuerst. They were tried and hanged.

Months later, police arrested the real culprit of the Biatorbagy explosion. He was a middle-aged civil engineer, Sylvester Matuska, a completely non-political maniac who had carried out the deed "under orders" from an imaginary spiritual leader he named "Leo."

"Crystal Night" was the name given to the terrible Nazi pogrom on the night of November 9, 1938.  Two days earlier, a 17¬year-old Polish Jew, Herschel Seibel Grynszpan, shot dead with a revolver Ernst von Rath, a secretary at the German Embassy in Paris.  Grynszpan told police he really wanted to kill the German Ambassador to "revenge the Jews and to draw the world's attention to the Nazi misdeeds in Germany."  He had no accomplices.


Yet this senseless murder by a loner (von Rath was not even a Nazi) was branded by Herr Goebbels, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda, as "a new attack on the Third Reich by world Jewry."

And he called for retaliation. It came 48 hours later, on "Crystal Night.",  Some 267 synagogues were burned (with the help of fire brigades -- with orders to sprinkle the fames with petrol instead of water); 7500 Jewish-owned shops were destroyed and 30,000 Jews arrested and put in concentration camps at Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsen hausen.

Nazis themselves admitted the murder of 36 Jews, though the real figure was probably much higher. Thousands were driven from their homes, which the mob then plundered.


The Hitlerites staged the Reichstag fire. Hitler had come to power four weeks earlier but there was still a parliament and the Nazi hold on the nation was by no means complete.  He needed a pretext - for establishing the brown-shirt dictatorship over the German nation.

So the Nazis set the Reichstag ablaze, but blamed the Communists.
Their proof was an imbecile young Dutchman, van der Lubbe, found on the spot with a can of fuel in his hand and a Communist Party membership book in his pocket.

Next day the Nazis began a wave of arrests. Among those held were three Bulgarian Communists living in Berlin -- Dimitroff, Taneff and Popoff and the German Communist leader, Torgler. They were charged with complicity with van der Lubbe.

The charges were such incredible fabrications that a court later had to acquit them.

But the unfortunate young Dutchman, who was completely apathetic and incapable of coherent speech during the trial (he was certainly doped) was sentenced to death and executed.

The "loner" who gave Stalin the excuse for starting the terrible wave of purges between 1935 and 1938 was L. Nikolaev, a young Communist allegedly in revolt against the policies of the Party.  On December 1, 1934 he shot dead Serge Kirov, a member of the Politburo, head of the Leningrad party organisation and supposedly one of Stalin's closest collaborators.

The purges were staged to "save" the Soviet Union from the conspiracy of its internal enemies, whose dastardly deeds were supposedly unmasked during investigations following the Kirov murder.


What these various incidents have in common is that their murky backgrounds have not been revealed to everybody's satisfaction.
Until a man is found guilty he is deemed to be innocent and so we don't know whether the Australian charged with burning down the El Aqsa mosque really did it and if so, why.

But we can take it for granted that his trial which will be held so publicly that any attempt at "covering up" would be immediately discovered and denounced -- will not satisfy everybody either.  A new legend will be born .. and that legend won't help ease the explosive Middle East situation.

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