Why a Leading Nazi Invoked Purim with His Dying Breaths https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/history-ideas/2023/03/why-a-leading-nazi-invoked-purim-with-his-dying-breaths/

March 8, 2023 | Jeff Jacoby
About the author: Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for the Boston Globe.

A member of the National Socialist party since 1922, Julius Streicher may have been less directly involved in mass murder than the other nine men sentenced to be hanged by the Nuremberg tribunal, but as the editor of Der Stürmer he did more even than Goebbels to produce anti-Semitic propaganda, usually of the most explicit kind. Just before his execution—between a shout of “Heil Hitler” and a farewell to his wife—he cried “Purimfest 1946!” Jeff Jacoby notes that Streicher was well informed about the holiday:

At Pleikhershof, his country estate, [Streicher] had a collection of books about Purim, in which he underlined in red the references to Haman and his fate. In 1934, Der Stürmer published a lengthy article on Purim headlined “The Night of Murder: The Secret of the Jewish Holiday of Purim Is Unveiled.” Fitting, then, that as Streicher went to his death, uppermost in his mind was the parallel between the hanging of Haman’s ten evil sons and the hanging of Hitler’s ten Nazi accomplices. His outburst—“Purimfest 1946!”—may have mystified those who were present, but it wasn’t meaningless. . . .

At one point in the book of Esther, Haman reveals his true mind. At a banquet he boasts of all the glory, wealth, and influence he has achieved. “Yet all this is worthless to me,” he said, “so long as I see Mordechai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” That is the unforgivable offense: Mordechai the Jew refuses to blend in, to disappear, to be indistinguishable from everyone else. Underneath everything, it is the Jew’s identity—not his money, his success, or his customs—that the anti-Semite cannot bear.

Streicher imagined that Hitler and Germany would succeed where Haman had failed; in the end, approaching the gallows, he knew it was a “Purimfest” all over again. But the defeat of anti-Semitism is never permanent. The hatred of Jews is again on the march, even in America, where for so long it was banished from respectable society. Purim is a joyous holiday, but more and more Jews are watching their backs.

Read more on Arguable: https://mailchi.mp/bostonglobe/arguablethe-nazi-who-had-purim-on-his-mind?e=b14bdda02a