Double genocide

Double genocide is an argument that the victims of a genocide in their turn committed genocide against the perpetrators. Some suggest that it is a tool of genocide denialism.[1] The term has been used in contexts of the Rwanda genocide and the Holocaust of European Jews in the mid-20th century.

In the context of Rwanda, the phase "double genocide" implies an equivalence between the genocide of the Tutsis by the Hutus and the previous history of oppression of the Hutus by the Tutsis. In the context of the Holocaust, "double genocide" holds that the killings of Jews by Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust is comparable to the killings of non-Jews by Soviet paramilitaries.[2]

Rwandan genocide

in his controversial book Black Furies, White Liars (2005), French investigative journalist Pierre Péan alleged the existence of a "double-genocide" in Rwanda. Péan claims that the real causes of the Hutu massacre of the Tutsis were the Tutsi shooting down of Hutu President Juvénal Habyarimana's plane on April 6, 1994, and the context of the historical Tutsi oppression of the Hutus. Péan was publicly supported in this view by then-French president François Mitterrand.[1] In 2009 an investigative team submitted a report to the UNHCHR on the Rwandan genocide. When this report was subsequently leaked, the (now Tutsi dominated) Rwandan government responded by claiming that it was a "part of a political agenda seeking to absolve those who committed the 1994 genocide and to undermine the developments that have taken place in Rwanda by claiming that there is no difference between those who committed the genocide and those who stopped it".[3]


"Double genocide theory" as a concept about the equality of the Holocaust and Soviet crimes was critically evaluated by associate professor of political science Dovilé Budryté in 2004 in a study of Lithuanian memory politics with regard to Soviet and Nazi repression, where the view held by a segment of that country since before the restoration of independence in 1991 was that Lithuanians similarly suffered "genocide" under Soviet rule.[4][5][6] Lithuania is one of several Eastern European countries which has embraced the "double genocide" theory; which posits that both the Nazis and Soviets committed genocides. A 2015 article of Slate magazine explained the appeal of "double genocide" for Lithuanians, where 95% of its Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, mostly by Lithuanian collaborators.

What the hypothesis lacks in intellectual honesty, it makes up for in political expediency. By positing twin genocides, Lithuanians become victims—and "Judeo-Bolsheviks" become perpetrators—in a second, mirror-image holocaust.

This is a form of Holocaust denial known as Holocaust Inversion. As Ephraim Zuroff of the Wiesenthal Center explained, "If everyone is guilty, then no one is guilty." In Lithuania Jewish anti-nazi partisans are often accused of "war crimes" against Lithuanian fascists and Holocaust collaborators, who are portrayed as anti-Soviet freedom fighters. Lithuania has not tried any of its Holocaust collaborators since its independence, despite the overwhelming evidence. Shortly after the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism was adopted, Latvia and Lithuania spearheaded a campaign to drop Holocaust memorial day in the EU.[7]

Prague Declaration

The Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism (June 3, 2008) calls for condemnation of and education about Communist crimes.[8] The declaration demands that crimes committed in the name of Communism should be assessed as crimes against humanity following the same process by which Nazi crimes were assessed during the Nuremberg Tribunal. The declaration takes care not to equate Nazi and Soviet crimes, advocating that the "Nazi and Communist totalitarian regimes" are to each "be judged by their own terrible merits ...".[8]

The Prague Declaration was criticized by Dovid Katz and Efraim Zuroff as having the effect of "relativizing" the Jewish Holocaust, amounting to a "whitewash" and an "attempt to rewrite history."[9] In Zuroff's words, the Prague Declaration ...seeks recognition of the canard that the crimes of Communism are equivalent to those of the Nazis and calls for the rewriting of all European history textbooks in that spirit.[10] Dovid Katz calls the argument contained in the Prague Declaration "Holocaust obfuscation", which he defines as a form of Holocaust denial that, rather than denying the existence of the Holocaust, seeks to diminish its significance by equating it with crimes of smaller magnitude.[11] Zuroff sees Holocaust obfuscation as even more insidious than outright Holocaust denial, which he points out, was always a fringe phenomenon that never permeated mainstream European society.[12]

The late director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center and Jerusalem Post columnist, Barry Rubin, on the other hand, urged that it was "in the interest of Jews and Israelis to support the Prague Declaration which seeks to discuss, expose and recognize Communist crimes of war in the same way Nazi crimes were." Rubin downplayed the declaration's detractors, calling them "a tiny group of people, " whose "relentless campaign" of opposition to the Prague declaration had the effect, in his opinion, of making Jews appear to be "defenders of the Communist totalitarian system that murdered and tortured millions of people, including hundreds of thousands of Jews."[13]

Seventy Years Declaration of 2012

The Seventy Years Declaration, drafted by Danny Ben-Moshe and Dovid Katz rejects the Prague Declaration and its alleged "attempts to obfuscate the Holocaust by diminishing its uniqueness and deeming it to be equal, similar or equivalent to Communism."[14] The Seventy Years Declaration denounces the glorification of Nazi and collaborationist nationalist war criminals on the pretext of their supposed fight against Communism; defends those who fought against and resisted the Nazis from vilification and defamation; and advocates for ongoing genuine Holocaust education and memorialization across Europe, separate from and in addition to education and commemoration of other tragedies and human rights abuses in 20th century Europe. The document was published on January 20, 2012, on the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference and has been signed by 70 parliamentarians from 19 EU countries,[15] including eight MPs and MEPs from Lithuania and has been endorsed by a variety of progressive and reform Jewish organizations, including: the World Union for Progressive Judaism ( Israel ); the Holocaust Survivors Association ( Brazil ); The Board of Deputies of British Jews ( UK ); and the European Union for Progressive Judaism ( UK ).[16] On the day of its issuance Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis condemned the Lithuanian signatories,[17] arguing that "it is not possible to find differences between Hitler and Stalin except in their moustaches."[18] One of the signatories, MP Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, now the nation's Health Minister, responded to the foreign minister.[19] UK MP Denis MacShane entered the fray with a letter in support of Andriukaitis and all eight Lithuanian signatories.

Armenian and Greek Genocides

Hundreds of thousands to over a million Turkish and Kurdish civilians are alleged to have been massacred by forces loyal to the Russian Empire during World War I in reprisal for the Armenian Genocide.[20][21] There were also massacres of Turks carried out by the Hellenic troops in reprisal for and during the occupation of western Anatolia from May 1919 to September 1922.[22]

Bengali genocide in East Pakistan

Immediately following the Bangladesh independence war of 1971 and the coinciding genocide, the Biharis living in Bangladesh were accused of being "traitors" or "pro-Pakistani" by the Bengalis, and an estimated 1,000 to 150,000 Biharis were killed by Bengali mobs in what is described as "Retributive Genocide".[23][24]

Native American genocide

The indigenous rebellions of Túpac Amaru II and Túpac Katari against the Spanish between 1780 and 1782, cost over 100,000 colonists' lives in Peru and Upper Peru (present-day Bolivia)."[25]

In The Wild Frontier: Atrocities during the American-Indian War from Jamestown Colony to Wounded Knee, lawyer William M. Osborn compiled a list of alleged and actual atrocities in what would eventually become the continental United States, from first contact in 1511 until 1890. His parameters for inclusion included the intentional and indiscriminate murder, torture, or mutilation of civilians, the wounded, and prisoners. His list included 7,193 people who died from atrocities perpetrated by those of European descent, and 9,156 people who died from atrocities perpetrated by Native Americans.[26]

See also


  1. 1 2 Cruvellier, Thierry; Chari Voss (2010). Court of remorse: inside the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-299-23674-8.
  2. Straus, Scott; Lars Waldorf (2011). Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights After Mass Violence. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-299-28264-6.
  3. Budryté, Dovilé (2004). ""We call it Genocide": Soviet Deportations and Repression in the Memory of Lithuanians". In Robert Seitz Frey. The genocidal temptation: Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Rwanda, and beyond. University Press of America. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-7618-2743-6.
  4. Roger Cohen (January 30, 2012). "'The Suffering Olympics'". New York Times.
  5. Katz, Dovid (May 3, 2010). "The Crime of Surviving". Tablet Magazine.
  6. 1 2 "Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. 3 June 2008. Archived from the original on 2012-01-20. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  7. Ricky Ben-David (June 8, 2010). "Digging up the future". Jerusalem Post.
  8. Zuroff, Efraim (February 4, 2011). "A shameful Shoah whitewash". The Jewish Chronicle.
  9. Etgar Lefkovits (June 30, 2009). "Baltic states assailed for 'Holocaust obfuscation'". Jerusalem Post: 8.
  10. Tim Whewell. "Reopening Lithuania's old wounds". BBC News.
  11. Barry Rubin (13 August 2010). "Those who neglect their past have no future". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  12. "70 Years Declaration".
  13. Roger Cohen (January 30, 2012). "'The Suffering Olympics'". New York Times.
  14. The Seventy Years Declaration website.
  15. "Lithuanian Foreign Minister Berates his Country's Parliamentarians who Signed '70 Years Declaration'; Says Hitler = Stalin Except for Length of their Moustaches". Defending 22 January 2012.
  16. "A. Ažubalis: apgailėtina pasirašyti deklaraciją, atmetančią nacių ir sovietų nusikaltimų sulyginimą". 20 January 2012. Archived from the original on 20 January 2012.
  17. MP Andriukaitis's response appeared in on February 9, 2012, and in English translation in Defending History on February 11, 2012.
  18. Rummel, R.J. "Statistics Of Russian Democide Estimates, Calculations, And Sources". STATISTICS OF DEMOCIDE.
    Who calculated from
  20. Taner Akcam, A Shameful Act, p. 322
  21. George Fink (2010). Stress of War, Conflict and Disaster. Academic Press. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-12-381382-4. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  22. R.J. Rummel (1997). "Statistics Of Pakistan's Democide Estimates, Calculations, And Sources". University of Hawai'i. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  23. Robins & Jones 2009, p. 1.
  24. Osborn, William M. (2001). The Wild Frontier: Atrocities During The American-Indian War from Jamestown Colony to Wounded Knee. Garden City, NY: Random House. ISBN 978-0-375-50374-0.
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