One of the things that demonstrates how we are
a cut above lesser animals, even
our closest, primate cousins – in addition,
of course, to double entry bookkeeping –
is our ability to plan and manage
projects: like fox hunting and the Pyramids.
However, we should never forget
‘of mice and men’, ‘betwixt cup and lip’,
and ‘unintended consequences’ – like
throngs of tourists and urban foxes.
And take, for example, some of the proffered
solutions by European Powers
to the so-called ‘Jewish question’: Britain’s
Balfour Declaration, and the two
Madagascar Plans in the ’30s – the first
was Franco-Polish, the second German.
The first plan involved the voluntary
re-settlement of thousands of Polish Jews
in the island of Madagascar,
then a French colony; the second,
following the fall of France, the enforced
migration of all European Jews
to act as hostages to ensure their
‘racial comrades in America’ behaved.
Both proved unfeasible – the former
because of climate and poor infrastructure,
and the latter because, having lost
the Battle of Britain, the Nazis
abandoned the invasion of the UK.
The requisitioned British Merchant Fleet
was to have shipped the Jews to the island.
As the forces of the Third Reich conquered
Eastern Europe and entered Russia
a new plan developed: to move the Jews
and the Slavs to Siberia, to starve
or be murdered. When the Soviets refused
to be defeated the Final Solution
to that inadmissible question –
Die Endlösung der Judenfrage –
was devised: the building of gas chambers
at Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek,
AuschwitzBalfour DeclarationBattle of BritainBelzecChelmnoMajdanekSobiborthe Jewish Questionthe Madagascar PlanTreblinka