Reagan: Schoah & Tell

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The American Thinker steps forward once more to advance The Cause That Shall Not Die: Proving Ronald Reagan never claimed to have liberated Nazi death camps.

It’s a tough fight.

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Jack “not the politician of the same name” Kemp is stirred to action by Jonathan Alter’s passing mention of Reagan’s story telling to retired terrorist and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

Did Ronald Reagan really say this, Mr. Alter? Or are you just repeating another Democratic wishful thinking fib?

Kemp “refutes” this stain upon the seamless Reagan garment by attributing Alter’s story to Reagan’s authorized biographer/fictionalist Edmund Morris. reagan-edmund-morris.jpg Because you can’t trust a man who made things up.

Morris is a fun punching bag if you don’t want to refute facts, but he didn’t invent the story, and Alter nowhere mentions him. Kemp plows on regardless.

Unless Mr. Alter comes up with another credible source for his claims about President Reagan saying he liberated Nazi death camps, it is fair and plausible to assume he is quoting Edmund Morris’s book,”

That’s it, all this American Thinker offers to disprove the Reagan-Shamir story.

Kemp does offers a fallback position:

“If Mr. Reagan did say something approximating this, perhaps he was claiming that his efforts to process the documentary films of the atrocities helped fight the re-occurrence of postwar Nazism.”

By some miracle of time travel it’s the same defense the White House offered while Reagan was in office, considerably before Morris published or Kemp mused: Reagan wasn’t a Nazi hunter, he was a Nazi viewer!

James Baker told Lou Cannon that “.. Reagan had told him he kept a copy of the film on the death camps after he left the service because he remembered that World War I atrocities had been questioned and “didn’t want atrocities against the Jewish people to be forgotten.”

Some Reagan fans have taken this notion and made it the First Viewer the center of heroic narratives. Jason Maoz in Frontpage Magazine:

Few experiences touched Reagan as deeply as did his viewing of Nazi death-camp newsreels.

The Media Research Center’s critique of the buried Reagan made-for-TV biop makes the camp stories one of it’s charges against the film:

the movie basically jumped from negative anecdote to negative anecdote, highlighting a liberal hit parade from the 1980s … how Reagan said he “saw” the “horrible” holocaust though he was in Hollywood during the war. (He probably was amongst the first to see the video of the death camps.)

An especially neat trick as it preceded the invention of video tape.


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