Eduardo Szklarz is a journalist based in Buenos Aires who covers political and economic news. In his new book, which is available currently in his native Portuguese only, he shows his prowess in explaining to Latin American writers that there remains fertile ground in the world where crazed national socialism of the sort that gripped Germany and much of Europe during the second two quarters of the 20th century.
Szklarz does a yeoman's service and brings his scholarship to bear by referring to multiple sources in multiple languages to show how a civilized nation -- Germany -- sank into barbarism and then savagery but always with terrible purposefulness and efficiency. He cites the work of Edwin Black, the author of "IBM and the Holocaust" and "War against the Weak", as a warning against those who all too easily fall into the trap of seeking to create a heaven on earth but ultimately create a hell like Auschwitz and Dachau. It was American social reformers and progressives, for instance, aided by foundations such as the Carnegie Foundation that promoted the pseudo-scientific craze of eugenics in the United States that legislated the forced sterilization of so-called "unfit" Americans. It was American eugenics that Adolf Hitler emulated and then took to its logical conclusion in the extermination of the weak, the halt and the lame, and in a Final Solution, it was Nazism that sought to abolish the Jewish people.
There is little written in Portuguese or Spanish by native-speakers on issues relating to the holocaust unleashed by Nazis against political opponents and ethnic/religious/racial minorities such as the Jews. His new book,"Nazismo: Como ele pode acontecer" (Nazism: how it came to be) is an excellent primer for those who seek to know how it was that Nazism transformed Germany and turned it into an infectious canker that could only be cauterized by a war prosecuted by free peoples.
The will to power, racism, and anti-Semitism are spiritual diseases that are merely dormant and can be found in Latin America to this day, where Nazis fled after the Second World War on the so-called "rat line" to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The cinders that rose from the crematoria in Europe, where hundreds of thousands of Nazism's victims were incinerated, took flight and settled elsewhere. In Buenos Aires, for example, newspaper kiosks still offer copies of the Czarist fabrication known as "The Protocols of Zion" that was used by the Nazis, and later by anti-Semitic movements of both the left and right.
In Venezuela, the tiny Jewish community is being lashed by the failed economic policies of that country's socialist government just like other Venezuelans but has also been subjected to anti-Semitic smears and assaults on Jewish places of worship. Anti-semitism is no stranger to leftists, which is a truth to which Jews who fled the Soviet Union can attest. And of course, there are the perennial nationalists in certain Latin American countries whose anti-Semitism sprouts like odious fungi on the dung heaps of their ideology.
Szklarz' book deserves wide reading in Latin America and it is to be hoped that it will also be issued in Spanish and English for even wider reading.
Eduardo Szklarz began his career in journalism in 1997 as a writer on cultural affairs at the Estado de Minas newspaper in Brazil. He has written for Superinteressante since 2003 and is also a contributor to the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, the G1 website, and magazines such as Exame, Aventuras na História and Galileu. He is also an editor of Nueva Sociedad -- a journal that specializes in social sciences.